We love National Trust Sites and as members, (we have a family card) we often spend hours exploring the different National Trust Sites around the UK with our kids learning about nature and its history as we do. One of our favourite National Trust site is the Biddulph Grange Gardens, as it never fails to disappoint us, no matter the season. We have been there in Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter and often find the place enchanting … especially with the variety of plants that are grown there in the themed gardens. So if you are planning to head to Stoke-on-Trent in Staffordshire, do stop by Biddulph Grange Garden to marvel at the vision of James Bateman who spent more than 20 years of his life, collecting plants from all over the world. One of the best wonderment of the place is not just its Victorian building but that each themed garden is hidden from each other, you will find themed garden such as the Egyptian Gardens, the Chinese Gardens, Italian Garden and other beautifully landscaped areas such as the Dahlia Walk, Cherry Orchard, Bowling Green and Terrace areas. Do read on to see our photos, its a great place to head to if you have a young family, garden enthusiast, photographer or artist. Its a great place to spend the day admiring the wonderment of nature, well-kept garden with mosaic patterns which brings you back to the Victorian times.
As parent bloggers with young kids, we find that Biddulph Grange Gardens is a great place to head to especially during the Spring / Summer months. Head to their website or read the quarterly newsletter so you are aware of the year-round kids friendly activities that take place there. We have attended face painting, story telling, Easter Egg Hunt, Halloween themed night walks, summer fun day, dinosour / trail walks, woodland walk as well as Christmas themed events. Our kids enjoy walking around the gardens, looking at the flowers as well as the lovely Koi fish and ducks in the pond.
There is a second-hand bookshop at the Garden with an honesty box which our kids love to stop off to see what books are new. Its a fab place to head to, come rain or shine, winter or summer. But be warned, if the weather is predicted to be lovely, the Gardens can be really busy, they do have plenty of parking spaces as well as an overflow carpark, but this can be get full as well.
More recently the Gardens have been refurbished and have added new things to do for adults and little ones which include a trail / play / climbing area at the Woodland Walk. Our kids totally love it there. Remember to wear wellies as this area can get quite muddy if it is a wet day. The Geological Gallery is lovely too as there are lots of information, fossil, stones that are housed her and available for you to look at.
There is a lovely tearoom at the Gardens that serves up hot / cold lunches such as sandwiches, baked potatoes and soups as well as a good cup of tea, cakes, scones and ice-cream. Prices can be a little expensive but the food is yummy and if you are seated outside, the view is amazing! You can bring a picnic if you like and sit down by the lake with a mat or the benches along the walking paths.
We totally love stopping by the souvenir / gift shop whenever we visit the Biddulph Grange Gardens. There are plenty of gift options to choose from for little ones or older people as well. There are books, jams, games, toys and garden items amongst other. The outdoor garden shop also sells a range of plants and herbs, the perfect gift to take home to remember your lovely trip to the gardens.
Little points to take note of:
- Speak to the staff at the registration desk, they usually have a trail for little ones to do as they partake in the walk around the gardens, this is always fun to do, Trails usually cost £2 extra to the entrance fee and kids often get a small prize when they hand in their sheets in the end.
- Take the Dahlia Walk, its so lovely there and always has a range of lovely flowers to look at and photograph
- Be mystified by the Egyptian Gardens and its monkey god and sphinxes. Its so mystical there.
- Woodland Walk, which is totally fun to do, even if its wet and muddy. Wear suitable clothes and footwear ie if its wet, wellies are recommended as the woodland walk can be muddy and have a coat in hand as it can be cold when its wet.
- Stop by the Geological Gallery, as there is something always interesting to look at here
- There are over 400 steps in the garden with pebbled paths, hence it is not suitable for prams or wheelchairs but for more information on accessibility call the Gardens directly at 01782 517999.
Where is Biddulph Grange Gardens?
What are their opening hours?
Open Daily from 10am to 5.30 pm (Do check the website for winter opening hours)
How much is the entrance fee?
The Gardens and car parking is free for National Trust Members, for non-members tickets are priced at £9.05 for adults and £4.50 for kids (below 5). Family tickets cost £25.
History of Biddulph Grange Gardens
Biddulph lies in a valley on the edge of North Staffordshire. James Bateman lived at the southern end of this valley with his family at Knypersley Hall. In 1842 he married Maria and moved to what is now Biddulph Grange Gardens. Up until the Bateman’s arrival, the Grange had been a farm, hence the name ‘Grange’, probably since the 1400s. Some of the stonework from the farm buildings can still be seen in the walls of the bookshop. James Bateman was here for 30 years from 1842, and built the house as an Italianate villa and the garden, with the help of his friend, the famous marine artist, Edward Cooke.In 1869 Bateman left the Grange and moved to London where he lived in a house rented from Edward Cooke close to Hyde Park. Bateman left his son John to sell the property, which by the time he left in 1872, had a mortgage of £30,000 which in today’s money is close to £2 million. Robert Heath then bought the property and the Heath family lived here for close to 50 years. During their residency, the original house burnt down destroying the central part of the house and the surrounding glass houses and orangery. The middle section of the house is therefore an 1897 rebuild and bears no resemblance to the original house.The Heath family left in 1922 selling the house to the North Staffordshire Cripples Aid Society to use as a hospital. Within 3 years the Society could no longer afford it so it went to Lancashire County Council as a hospital. They built wooden wards on the cherry orchard and later in the 1930s, knocked down the remaining glass houses and part of the geological gallery to build new wards and a ‘modern’ hospital complex during which time the house was used as nurses quarters. In the mid-1970s, the estate was saved when a campaign to have the area put under a conservation order was successful. The hospital (which had been children’s, orthopaedic and geriatric) closed by 1991 and the garden was opened in May that same year. The house remained derelict until a developer bought it and converted it into 9 apartments. The 78 acres of woodland that was part of the Grange estate was taken up by Staffordshire Moorlands District Council and is now the Biddulph Country Park.
About National Trust
They are a charity founded in 1895 by three people who saw the importance of the nation’s heritage and open spaces and wanted to preserve them for everyone to enjoy. More than 120 years later, these values are still at the heart of everything they do. They look after special places throughout England, Wales and Northern Ireland for everyone. They also take care of coastline, forests, woods, fens, beaches, farmland, moorland, islands, archaeological remains, nature reserves, villages, historic houses, gardens, mills and pubs and one of the world’s largest art collections. They have restored and protected these places and share them to the public for everyone. For the Trust, conservation has always gone hand-in-hand with public access. They have todate:
- 775 miles of coastline
- Over 248,000 hectares of land
- Over 500 historic houses, castles, ancient monuments gardens and parks and nature reserves.
- Close to one million objects and works of art
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