Visiting Trentham Gardens with Kids
I like pretty flowers and well-tended gardens as much as the next person so was really looking forward to our visit to Trentham Gardens in Stoke but would the kids enjoy walking round and smelling the flowers as much as I do?
It seems that private gardens have changed since I was a child. Gone are the signs telling us to keep off the grass, gone are the roped off areas of colour, gone are the stuffy tea shops and name signs you can’t pronounce. It’s all been replaced with wide open spaces. Which are perfect for running, exploring and generally being a kid in the great outdoors.
Here are 12 super reasons why Trentham Gardens is one of the best family days out in Stoke.
1. The Fairy Trail at Trentham
There are 21 of these stunning fairy sculptures, located all around Trentham Gardens. The kids will love taking on the unofficial scavenger hunt to find them all.
Some are pretty obvious like the one who’ll greet you as you cross the first bridge, others are a little more hidden. I won’t spoil the fun and will let you find the rest.
2. The Maze at Trentham Gardens
I love pretty floral displays and landscaped gardens but wild flowers are what makes my heart smile. Although I’m sure they take just as much upkeep! There’s no better place to see them than in the Hide and Speak maze.
Finding the centre point of the maze was a challenge for even the grown ups of our party but we did get there eventually. At the entrance to the maze you’ll find a guide, pencils and some smells for you to decipher on your way around. Not all of them smelt as you would expect but we had heaps of fun trying to guess each one.
Piper loved the talking pipes, designed to help others work out their way through the maze. But she mainly enjoyed using it to speak to her granny!
3. The Barefoot Walk
This is one of the things about Trentham I know Piper will remember for years to come. Completing the barefoot walk with Grandad was a firm favourite. This isn’t just about textures, soft grass, prickly stones (although that does come into it) there’s mud, thick, squelchy and rather deep mud at that! Surely what childhood dreams are made of!
You may want to take an old towel or spare pair of leggings for this as we did. But don’t worry if you forget, Trentham have thought of everything from foot levels taps and soap to air dryers for your feet. Genius!
4. The Play Areas
If we hadn’t had so much to explore I think Piper would have happily stayed in the play area all day. There’s loads of equipment for all ages, things to climb up, jump off, swing on and hang from.
There’s a nautical themed toddler area with a huge sand pit and plenty of equipment for the older kids.
5. The Flowers
Just because Trentham has wholeheartedly dedicated themselves to being family friendly, they haven’t forgotten the flowers. I was visiting with my mum, a huge flower geek and she was in heaven studying all the different varieties and getting ideas for her garden at home. The Italian gardens designed by Tom Stuart-Smith is one of the prettiest things I’ve ever seen.
I know nothing about flowers and am an absolutely rubbish gardener. I can help an 8 year old thrive but have killed every houseplant I’ve ever owned but I was totally blown away by the array of colours on show. The hills covered in blue, the perfect rose walk, the generous coverings of wildflowers, I’m a convert!
6. The many, many surprises
There’s plenty to see around the main areas of the maze, play area and restaurant but you’ll miss so much if that’s the only area you visit. Take the mile walk around the Capability Brown designed lake and keep your eyes open for many surprises along the way.
Trentham is to be applauded here, in a time we’re all trying to get our kids away from screens and embracing more movement, what better way to incentivise the little ones walking a bit further than with the promise of dragons eggs, spotting huge wooden beetle sculptures or bug hunting around the stumpery.
7. The Aerial Adventure at Trentham
Little adrenaline junkies will adore the High Ropes Adventure, it has over 28 treetop challenges from mid air jumps to wobbly rope bridges. The aerial adventure is run by Peak Pursuits, prices start at £21.60 for kids if you book online in advance. Check out the Peak Pursuits website to secure your spot.
8. The Miss Elizabeth Boat
We walked half way around the lake and hopped on the Miss Elizabeth for the 15 minute journey back. The boat is eco friendly and there’s one every hour. Every kid I know loves a boat ride.
The boat costs an extra £2 each way on top of your entry ticket and operates every day from 17th July to 1 September.
9. The food at Trentham
You have plenty of options for eating at the Trentham Estate. There are loads of places for a picnic or several cafes and restaurants you could try on your way round.
We ate at the Italian Garden Tea Rooms, a lovely, large café offering a variety of adult and kid friendly lunches. Piper had the kids pasta and of course, being in Stoke, I had the oatcakes. Yum! Prices were pretty decent – £5.50 for a kids meal and there was plenty of choice. All the food is home made and locally sourced as much as possible. If the sun’s shining there’s loads of outdoor seating, perfect if you are visiting with your dog.
We visited on a super hot day so couldn’t resist a Snugburys ice-cream, as with everything else, it was totally delicious!
10. The Trentham Gardens train
The Trentham Fern train again costs an extra £2 but it’s a sweet little trip which only takes a few minutes. Toddlers and smaller kids will absolutely love this.
11. The size of Trentham Gardens
When we turned up at the Entrance to Trentham Gardens in the first week of the summer holidays the queue was huge, winding straight out of the building and back to the shops so I presumed inside would feel super cramped with all attractions being full.
Due to it’s massive size, pretty much no part of the gardens felt busy (apart from the queue for icecream) in fact there was no one else in the maze when we did it!
The further you head around the lake, the quieter it will get.
12. The Social Responsibility
The first time I visited Trentham was for the launch of the Butterflies Project. A collaboration with The Donna Louise Hospice for Children & Young People, raising money to care for children with life limiting conditions. Local businesses have worked extremely hard together to achieve this wonderful installation with each blue butterfly being sold off after it is removed and the proceeds going directly to the charity.
It’s not just local charities that Trentham are keen to support, they are clearly passionate about our planet and have made some great efforts to help save it such as using catering packaging made from plants not plastic and offering incentives to use reusable cups for your hot drinks.
I just knew an attraction with such an eco-friendly outlook would be somewhere I wanted to bring Piper and I wasn’t disappointed.
Basically Trentham is the stuff childhood memories are made of, Piper still talks about her visit weeks after our trip and is already begging to return. Hopefully we’ll manage to see it during the other seasons, I’ll be sure to update this post with more pictures if I do.
What else is there to do on a visit to the Trentham Estate
Trentham Gardens holds regular events, concerts over the summer months, Christmas markets and a bonfire night extravaganza in Novermber. Read why I think its the best organised fireworks Staffordshire has to offer
The Gardens are found within a shopping village, home to boutique style shops, organic supermarkets and friendly coffee shops. A quick mooch around the stores makes a perfect end to your visit to Trentham.
If a visit to Trentham Estate gives you some inspiration to spruce up your own garden then you’ll love the massive onsite garden centre with 3 cafes and restaurants, you could spend hours working your way around this place alone.
At the far end of the Lake from the gardens entrance you can head into the Trentham monkey forest, another popular family friendly attraction in Stoke. We had so much fun exploring Trentham Gardens we didn’t get a chance to visit the monkey forest, hopefully we will soon.
How much does it cost to visit Trentham Gardens
Trenthams Woodland Walks and the shopping village are free to enter but ticket prices for the main attraction vary depending on your age and how often you want to visit. You can book Trentham tickets online here.
Children under 3 are FREE!
I highly recommend an annual pass if you are going to be visiting more than once. Kids are only £10 making it great value and you’ll never get bored as the gardens change with the seasons. Obviously we visited in glorious sunshine but just imagine the gardens covered in a crisp layer of frost or carpeted with autumnal leaves, any time is a good time!
Can I take my dog to the Trentham Estate?
We saw loads of dogs during our visit to Trentham, it’s the perfect place for a woodland walk around the lake. Dogs must be kept on a lead at all times (apart from in the off lead area in the North of the Italian Garden – any employee will be happy to point it out). As you would expect, dogs are not allowed in the children’s play area or barefoot walk and must be cleaned up after.
Where to stay near the Trentham Estate
For somewhere easy and local then I recommend the Premier Inn which is located right next to Trentham Gardens. I love Premier Inns as they’re such great value and have rooms plenty big enough for a family.
Trentham Estate Address
Stoke on Trent,
Trentham Estate opening hours
Trentham Estate opening times vary depending on membership and which entrance you use. For general day visitors it’s:
1 August – 1 September
Open 9am until 7pm, exit by 8pm
2 – 29 September
Open 9am until 6pm, exit by 7pm
30 September – 27 October
Open 9am until 5pm, exit by 6pm
28 October – 14 February 2020
Open 10am until 3pm, exit by 4pm
For another fantastic family day out in Stoke then be sure to read my post on visiting the World of Wedgwood with kids or for another fantastically creative family day out then check out the Gladstone Pottery Museum
If you’re looking for family friendly activities in Stoke then make sure you pin for later.
I was invited to Trentham Gardens as part of my role supporting #mystokestory, an initiative to highlight the many amazing cultural activities Stoke has to offer. All opinions are as always my own. I am proud to be an official ambassador of this wonderful campaign, and am really enjoying all the wonderful activities Stoke has to offer. If you visit somewhere fantastic in Stoke, make sure you use the hashtag #mystokestory to join the community. Also to be entered into a monthly prize draw to win ticket to upcoming events.
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