Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Halloween Adventures at Tatton Park - Cheshire

Tatton Park is a historic estate with a large tudor hall, neo- classical mansion, gardens, deer park and playground. It is a popular attraction in the center of Knutsford, Cheshire. It is owned by both the Cheshire council and the National Trust.

Starting at the pay and display car park (free on sundays) near the Laura Ashley, you avoid the extortionate car park prices of the national trust. You then can enter the park via the Knutsford, King street entrance totally free.
Then walk straight up through the deer park keeping the Tatton mere on your right. During autumn this area of the park is beautiful, the trees are a vibrant vision of orange and reds and the children will love kicking through the fallen leaves on the floor.

After about 10 minutes of walking you will notice that you are not the only things enjoying the tranquility of the park. The parkland is home to herds of Red and Fallow deer which roam freely in the wide open spaces. Many people explore this 2,000 acre area of Tatton on either bike or horse as well as by foot.

As the park is very open plan the Mansion is always very visible so it is unlikely you will get lost, however if you are worried about maybe losing your way in the parkland then the Tatton park website has several maps that easy to download and print off at home
before your visit.

If you would prefer to visit the park purely for the mansion and gardens then I would recommend the stableyard car park which is closer to the gardens, however this car park is very expensive for non national trust members.

After the walk through the parkland you come to a main entrance where you can turn left into the mansion or carry straight on to the yard. To start of with we headed towards the yard where the specialty shops and restaurant are.

In the center of the yard there were funfair rides including a old fashioned carousel. Despite her age we certainly could not let Zara miss out on this one so for £2.50 she had a ride on the carousel.

After this we entered the gardens, which (unless you are national trust member) costs £6 per adult and £4 per child to enter. Separated into four sections (The Walled Kitchen garden, Japanese garden, Glasshouses and Pleasure areas) it is certainly not one to be missed.
Especially during  Halloween as the gardens are  decorated with all sorts of wonderful things for the children.

Inside the walled kitchen gardens, we discovered pumpkins bigger than the BFG's head and all sorts of exoctic squash being grown.

Outside there was a stand in, where we could pretend to be witches and vampires.

Then we headed towards the glasshouses, which was built in the mid 1700's. They have been used to grow pineapples, figs, grapes and other fruits which are normally grown in hot climates and now one of them is used to grow a collection of orchids.  During 2016 Tatton Park had a Roald Dahl take over and the BFG was found lurking about the treetops in the largest of the the glasshouses.

Leaving the Glasshouses, we entered the section named the Pleasure areas. This is also known as the playground as it has a maze and an arboretum. 

Another wacky Roald Dahl feature!

Following the crowds we came to a board walk which then led into the Japanese gardens. This area can only be viewed from its perimeter unless you are on a guided tour.  In the style of a tea garden this section is an example of japanese art displaying scenes both mythical and factual which harmonise with nature. It is utterly stunning and definitely my favourite part of Tatton.

By this time we were getting a bit peckish which meant we did not have time to view inside the mansion as we were having a coffee stop in Knutsford. However I do know that inside the mansion there is a large collection of paintings and books so if you prefer arts to nature then I would recommend you went there first. Again there is a charge to the mansion unless you are a national trust member so it is probably best to consider which you would benefit more from. 

Throughout the year Tatton Park holds thousands of events and displays so make sure you check the website regularly! 


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