(Pictured above: Beach at Whitehall Garden Centre, Lacock, Wiltshire)
We were completely spoiled with the weather during our visit this summer to England, not to mention blown away by the quality of parks and free things for children to do. I lived in Bristol and Wiltshire for a few years in the 90’s, so I’m pretty familiar with this area.
John Cole’s Park, Chippenham
A brilliant park tucked behind the A4 in Chippenham. There is free parking, lots of green space for running around and a children’s park area. There is also a newly-opened water park that’s open in the summer. Just bring along your swimmers and run around.
Tractors and Beaches at Whitehall Gardens
One incredible find was Whitehall Garden Centre near Lacock to check out the brilliant children’s area and pretend beach. There’s a children’s play area, tractors for driving around, sand pits. The garden centre also has a toy shop, food shop and restaurant that caters for children.
We had a lovely afternoon.
Afternoon Tea In Lacock, Wiltshire
Lacock is a beautiful village in Wiltshire that is overrun with tourists in the summer. It’s fantastic for a lovely walk, afternoon tea and a visit to the Lacock Abbey. I would not put Lacock down as the most child-friendly of places. It’s the kind of place where children should be seen and not heard. Very Midsummer Murders, if you know what I mean.
That being said, we had a lovely afternoon, walk around the village and a dip in the car fjord. We had an afternoon tea at King John’s Hunting Lodge Tea Room and Garden but there are plenty other tea rooms and pubs to choose from.
We sat in the beautiful gardens and admired all the incredible flowers. We gave Finley my iphone to happily walk about the garden and snap as many different flowers as she could find. Here’s the result of her digital collage. I think she did a great job. We almost forgot just how beautiful Britain is in the summer.
The afternoon tea wasn’t bad either, although the scones were a little on the small side, we were happy that they were easy to share and not to indulgent.
More of Finley’s photos of the garden at King John’s Hunting Lodge above. We were limited by time, due to lots of family visits, but other places of interest further north in the Wiltshire and Gloucestershire Cotswolds area include the Arboretum and Cotswolds Water Park. There are also incredible villages where you can stop for a wander around the shops, have a cream tea and with the little ones, have a picnic by the river and feed the ducks. We didn’t have time to do that this year, but here are some photos of when we did this the last time. Bourton-On-The-Water and Stow-On-The-Wold are two of our favourite spots. There is some parking and facilities in both of these villages, but they do get incredibly busy in the summer, so be prepared to wrestle with the large coach/bus tours of tourists.
One of the best spots to visit in this area is Bath. There are great trains and buses into Bath, because the traffic is really bad getting into Bath. Parking is tricky in Bath too, but there are great tourist spots in Bath and it is definitely worth a visit.
Further south in Wiltshire you have Stonehenge, The White Horse, Devizes Canals and Salisbury, all which we visited numerous times and I hope to post more information soon. I love this part of the country.