WIMPOLE HOME FARM AND GARDENS REVIEW; AN EXCITING ADVENTURE OF NATURE AND HISTORY

My son turned 5 this month and thankfully we were blessed with good weather. So I decided to take him and my daughter (22 months) to visit Wimpole Home Farm, Adventure Park and The Walled Garden.


Every year we have family birthday barbecue for him (the Greek Cypriot in me), however this year his actual birthday fell on a week day. So rather than be stuck indoors, we ventured out for the day.



About Wimpole Estate


Edward Harley, Earl of Oxford and Mortimer, owned the Wimpole Estate during 1711-1740. An avid collector, He collected 50,000 printed books, 350,000 pamphlets, and 41,000 prints, which were acquired after his death in 1753, and used as the foundation of the British Library.


After being sold once again, Wimpole Estate, and its 600 acres of parkland, ponds, woodland belts, ditches and streams, was gifted to the National Trust by Mrs Brambridge in 1976.


Entry Fee*


Adult £17.50

Child £8.75

Family £43.75

Group adult £14.85

Group child £7.45


*Prices correct at time of publish (27/03/20202). Prices are subject to change.


The tickets give you access to Home Farm, Hall and Gardens.


You also have the option to pay gift aid, which adds a small amount to the standard prices.


The family ticket permits two adults and three children.


Plus they are offering a discount voucher when you arrive by public transport or bicycle.


National Trust members do not need to pay for parking or any additional charges. Simply scan your National Trust cards, and follow the signs to where you want to go!


Wimpole Home Farm


The Home Farm had a good variety of animal that my children found interesting, including cows, donkeys, horses, sheep, goats, and rams.



There were many families with young children, but it wasn’t overly busy despite it being a gorgeous sunny day during the summer holidays.


Just before you come to the picnic café area (the only space where you are allowed to picnic for hygiene and safety reasons), there’s a wooden cart for children to dress up in historical clothing, and beside it are milking buckets (like udders), for children to learn how to extract milk.



Both my children enjoyed the latter, with my eldest even having a go at dressing up. It was a great chance to talk about the outfits people used to wear, 'in the olden days' as my son says.


As you enter the picnic area there are soap and hand washing facilities, including tissue dispensers. These were clean and encourage visitors to wash their hands thoroughly.


There’s also a café for customers to purchase food, and toilets alongside it.


As we’d prepared a picnic at home, so my son selected a spot in the shade and we had an enjoyable lunch together talking about his birthday.


Once fed, the children played in the two designated play areas, and had a look at a few more animals before heading to the Adventure Playground.


Adventure Playground



The adventure playground, set in a small woodland area, is available for children aged five and above. Although my twenty two month old daughter was able to join in the fun too!


There are five playground activity sets, all wooden, with bark covering the ground. Each set offers different challenges for children such as climbing frames, nets, slides, a wobbly bridge, balance logs, a climbing rope and more.


As stated on the sign, you know your children’s abilities, and parents are urged to use their judgement to ensure their children's safety.


Further back there are a large variety of wooden logs. Children, with help from their grown up, made bridges across the dip in the ground, while others worked together to make dens.



Beside the bridge making area were sheep grazing (behind a fence), which my daughter

found fascinating.


Plus, they’ve recently added a bug hotel made from old palates. The signs encourage children to add additional leaves, twigs and bark to it for the ‘mini beasts’, as my son calls them.


There was an excellent variety of play equipment on offer, which gave my little ones some great physical challenges.


The selection of wooden logs offered hours of fun. My son enjoyed making a bridge to balance across, plus he and my daughter had a blast building a den together, with pretend bonfire to boot!



The bug hotel and sheep offered a fun and natural opportunity for my children to learn about nature, animals and insects.


Plus the trees offered some vital shade on a hot summer’s day.


The only down side was the distance of the toilets.


So if you have younger children who are potty training, it may be helpful to have them use the facilities before heading over to the adventure park.


During our visit, a ladder on a play set, and a balance board were securely closed off for safety reason. This led to an interesting conversation with my son about why they were not safe to use.


The Walled Garden



As you leave the Adventure Playground you can follow the signs to the walled garden. It’s a lovely walk along a path which boasts incredible views.


Once we arrived at the walled garden, a charming wooden door with a beautiful iron design requests that you close it behind you to keep the rabbits out. This led to a conversation about rabbits, Peter Rabbit in particular, and Mr McGregor’s garden.



My daughter had fallen asleep in her buggy during the stroll, which gave my son and me the chance to wonder around the garden admiring the striking flowers, pond and large vegetable patch.



It’s an enchanting quiet space that smelled wonderful. It was perfect for a bit of mummy and son time.


The Old Rectory Restaurant


On the way out we stopped off at The Old Rectory Restaurant, and treated ourselves to hot chocolate, lemonade, and ice creams.


The restaurant has a ramp path for access.


Once inside there are two tills where people form two separate queues. One queue is by the hot food section, and the other is by a good selection of cakes.



It’s a tight squeeze with a pram, with little space to manoeuvre. As a result I didn’t buy a cake my son showed interest in as it would’ve be too difficult to get a plate, due to customers queuing beside them.


The outside space is beautiful. There are tables and chairs, plus deck chairs on the lawn for visitors to use.


If there are no spare deck chairs on the lawn, check by the back wall of the restaurant (by the access path), there was a pile there which customers helped themselves to.


We sat at a table in the shade, overlooking the gorgeous view outside.


Unfortunately we, and the table behind us, were continually bothered by a group of wasps.


On the up side, it gave us a chance to talk about wasps! I tried to encourage my children not to be afraid of them, not easy when I’m terrified myself!


It got to the point where my son leapt out of his chair, and gave up on his hot chocolate, because he was too frightened. It was a shame, but that’s nature for you!


After five hours of fun, we made our way home, and I promised we'd return again soon!



Conclusion


Wimpole Home Farm and gardens offer fun for all the family, and rich learning experiences for children in a wonderfully natural environment.


The Adventure Playground in particular did not disappoint. If offered the children a chance to take calculated risks, think outside the box, use problem solving skills and communicate with each other and me, to achieve their goals.


Plus my son said, and I quote, ‘It's the best birthday ever!’, so thumbs up all round!


Key features


  • The Adventure Playground had wide variety of engaging, and challenging activities for children.

  • There are an admirable range of beautiful flowers in the walled garden.

  • The farm is a compelling space for children to learn about animals.

  • The picnic and play area.


Great for

  • Families

  • Couples

  • Individuals


If you’d like further information about Wimpole Estate, check out The National Trust website here.


Address

Wimpole Estate, Arrington, Royston,

Cambridgeshire, SG8 0BW

(Sat Nav SG8 0BS)


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