Sunday 25 August 2019

A Family Day Out at Mapperton House, Dorset

It's always nice to visit new places and this week we spent a lovely sunny day at Mapperton House, Dorset. Home to the Earl and Countess of Sandwich, Mapperton is a beautiful manor house with 15 acres of stunning gardens.

I wondered how suitable it would be for a young family but actually, my kids had a really fun time and the gardens are perfect for a game of hide and seek! Mapperton also put on children's events throughout the holidays such as the Creepy Crawly Show which we were lucky enough to see.

House tours can also be booked and I believe these are very popular however we decided to keep our rabble outside - old houses and expensive things mixed with excitable children makes me a little nervous ;)

On arrival, and after a quick hello to Percy the tortoise, we picked up our tickets from the shop. We immediately spotted the creepy crawly tent so we headed there first. Wow, so many creatures to look at! It was great to meet the World Life team and they are very passionate about their work and the exotic animals that they have.

Elliot was very very keen to get stuck in and wanted to hold as many animals as possible including a millipede and a bearded dragon named Elliot!

Elliot really enjoyed their Creepy Crawly show and he had lots of questions for the team afterwards! It was really interesting and the perfect event for an animal mad little boy. World Life are actually going to be at Mapperton until the 29th August and I'd highly recommend catching one of their shows if you can.

It was soon time for lunch so we headed over to the Coach House - we had a picnic packed but we couldn't resist the cheese scones and delicious cakes! All the menu items use locally sourced ingredients and they offer a delicious selection of light meals, sandwiches and drinks.

The Mapperton Estate is tucked away in a steep north-south combe, surrounded by the lush green Dorset countryside. The gardens feature lots of interesting features such as fountains, grottoes, fish ponds, a croquet lawn, an orangery, topiary and lead down to the arboretum.

I confess that I am pretty clueless when it comes to flowers and plants but even a novice like myself could appreciate the beauty of the gardens!

We walked down towards the arboretum and found ourselves on the woodland walk. This is a pleasant stroll around the outskirts of the grounds and although steep in places, wasn't a problem for our toddler.

If you're planning on visiting Mapperton with children it's worth noting that the gardens are not buggy friendly as some areas are very steep in places due to the natural topography. Leave the buggy in the car and let your kids explore...although you will have to keep an eye on them around the ponds. Elliot said he fancied a swim as it was so hot so I had to keep a beady eye on him especially!

We really enjoyed our day at Mapperton and it was lovely to find a new place to explore. It's great that they are encouraging families to visit with the addition of events such as the creepy crawly show and I will definitely be recommending to our friends. I've just spotted on the website that they have a Halloween event on over the half term so I'll definitely be popping that on the calender - I bet the Autumn colours are stunning!

For more detailed information about the gardens and their history, take a look at the website . The gardens are open until 31st October 2019 from 10am to 5pm, Sunday to Thursday - tickets can be booked online

*Disclaimer - We received a free entry in exchange for an honest review

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