A Perfect Family Day Out at Bowood House
A family day out was planned and Bowood House & Gardens was our destination. Located between Calne and Chippenham in Derry Hill village it was a little over an hour from our house according to the Satnav. We were prepared with our wellies, a picnic and three very excited children and fingers crossed the weather man would be wrong.
We arrived at Bowood House main entrance (Temple Gate) just as they opened at 11am after a very straight forward journey on well sign posted route and even on the drive through the gardens, it was impressive to see how the lawns were immaculately tendered and the budding florals – I would love to come back later in the year to see all the different colours.
The staff were polite, they explained Bowood House’s grounds with a map and directed us to our first attraction, Tractor Ted’s Little Farm, which is new this year. As soon as my three excited children saw the mini farm, they all broke into a sprint to find their own tractor at the mini tractor track. From here they headed into Ted’s Barn. They saw pigs, calves, sheep with lambs, rabbits, guinea pigs & chicks and each area / pen had information and posters which were educational & informative. There was also an area to watch Tractor Ted’s real action farming films. My son who’s 6 years old took a shine to the chicks and even got close enough to stroke one – which put a big smile on his face. The staff were very helpful with answering questions and there was also a mini digger den where you could scoop play balls.
Our next stop was the Adventure Playground and it was simply spectacular. One of the largest and most impressive ones I’ve ever seen and worth the entrance fee alone! I just wished I was under 12 years to go on it! The playground included a life-sized pirate ship, giant slides (of which we counted eleven), aerial rope-walks, trampolines and a scary space dive (death slide). Our older two children (5 & 6 year old) became totally absorbed and really surprised us with all they attempted and achieved. The aerial rope-walks linked the slides together and were about 25ft up… so not for the faint hearted, and I had to walk away to hide my fear. Thankfully there were scramble nets under everything just in case. This area was also manned by first aid staff members who wore distinctive red uniforms. The biggest shock was my son going on the wide vertical slide with a 19 foot vertical drop – madness! With all this temptation my youngest (3 years old) didn’t want to miss out so we found the Partridge Play Pen which was designed for the under 7’s. This included log bridges, swinging log steps, stepping stones and balancing beams. Her favourites were the large wooden wendy house, sea saw, trampolines & ball pool (this had open sides but under cover). It was great to see my children thriving on having a great time playing out in the fresh air.
We had a quick lunch buying a much needed coffee & cake to go with our picnic eating this at one of the many picnic benches dotted around the grounds.
We then pretended to be Ladies & Lords living in the historical Bowood House and its beautiful & fragranced garden terraces. There were many stone statues and water features. Water always being a big hit with my children but they became very interested with a particular lady bird doing back stroke….. Daddy with his lifesaving skills rescued it from the water after persistent pleas. We briefly visited the house which also had a restaurant (offering two course Sunday lunch but pre-booking is required) & gift shop.
As the weather looked like it would soon change we headed for the Soft Play Palace. It wasn’t too busy and our children had lots of fun running around and playing in the ball pool. This was also opposite another coffee shop but we resisted temptation on this occasion.
The day flew past with such fun and it was so refreshing for all to enjoy this beautiful location as a family and so many of its qualities. It really made up for the disappointment of poor weather in the Easter break! The feeling of spring in the air was just one more bonus. We will definitely return to Bowood House in the summer months and hopefully enjoy more of the grounds we missed this time. This is definitely somewhere I would recommend to my friends and family and I haven’t stopped raving about our day yet…..
Check out the Bowood House Website to see more information.