Cricket was called off on Sunday (Mini Fist pump to me!!) 🙋🏼 So we had an unexpected family day. I was a little bit gutted for Stu because we had actually agreed to go and watch, but it was the weekend and it was sunny and we NEVER get to see him on sunny weekends so I got over it pretty quickly!
As with the majority of our plans when cricket gets rained off , I had about 20 seconds to come up with an alternative plan which would keep the whole family entertained (including my Mum who was down for the week), before we opted for our usual Sunday fail safe of having a wander along the seafront before grabbing some food. Not that there’s anything wrong with this plan, it’s just nice to mix it up a bit.
Without really having time to think, I blurted out Wakehurst as it was a place I’d heard other families visit – you know the ones on Facebook who seem to have all the fun at weekends. Plus we’d been to a light show event there at Christmas so I knew the general gist of the place and that we weren’t in for any awkward surprises. So off we popped, packed up the car, poor Daddy in the drivers seat and we set off on our way!
We arrived after the 20 minute journey and Ettie was deep into her morning nap which usually lasts a couple of hours! Great! 😳
Not wanting to wake a sleeping baby, we sat in the car for a while, watching everyone arrive and change into their walking boots in the car park! ‘Bugger!’ I thought as I remembered we were all in sandles. My last words to Mam as we left the house had been, ‘We’ll be fine, it’s sunny‘ as she tried to pack her walking boots and raincoat! I hate being wrong!! But we were safe, inside it was mainly the gravel tracks & paths I remembered. Perhaps people just wanted to look the part, being National Trust members and all.
Entry was £12.50 per adult with no concessions for Grannys – sorry Mam! So its not a cheap day out, but you can buy a ‘Friends of Wakehurst’ pass which gives you unlimited visits for for £25 a year. I think once Ettie is a little older this is something we’ll invest in.
You arrive into the cafe and giftshop area, which im sure has emptied many parents wallets in the past. There are a few cute books and stuffed toys & lots of lovely house plants, but it is a little pricey! 😬 Apparently there is a discount with the Friends of Wakehurst card if you buy one, but I don’t think it’s the kind of place you’ll grab a bargain.
Living on the Edge
We lived dangerously & took the Trike instead of the pushchair- even though we knew she was sleepy – as it’s so much easier to wheel about and unpack from the car. Plus she loves it! She rides about in it like the Queen sitting back and giving everyone a little wave & ‘Hello‘ as she passes. I know she my daughter, but it’s bloody cute ☺️
It might have been a risky option, but the trike paid off because she was in and out of it every couple of hundred yards to explore & that would have been a nightmare faffing with the straps in a buggy! It also meant she was able to interact with us more and tell us if there was something she wanted to see.
Wakehurst Mansion is really beautiful and would make an amazing setting for a wedding. I love visiting old buildings and imagining what life would have been like there in years gone by. The gardens were great for Ettie to run around in as there were no cars, so she could race around and fall over till her little heart was content. She’s been walking about a month now, but still looks like a little drunk on two Bambi like legs ☺️
Of course sometimes she decided walking was for losers & that she couldn’t possibly walk another step …
There are actually loads of family friendly activities at Wakehurst which are great for children including tree climbing, an outdoor theatre and a mud kitchen. Ettie was a bit young for these on this visit but we’ll definitely take her back in the future. Growing up in the Lake District I was fortunate enough to have spent a lot of time in forests and remember being amazed by them as a child. This love for nature and the great outdoors is definitely something I want Ettie to experience.
The trike worked well on the gravel paths (besides it developing a squeaky wheel which sounded a bit like a haunted old swing in a horror movie which was quite annoying!!). But we got round that by giving her a wheelie the whole way round which she thought was great fun. We took a little detour to have wander through the forest and I had to carry it then, but again its not too heavy so was less hassle than the pushchair. The forest was brilliant, Ettie kept picking up the leaves and studying each one closely before moving on to the next. I love watching her developing curiosity and I can’t wait to take her home to the Lakes and show her all the forests we have there.
After that we went to see the ducks at the pond which Ettie loved because she could get quite close and talk to (
torment) them (poor ducks!), then we wandered around the mansion house and walled garden.
We finished off having a Pub lunch at the Gardeners Arms down the road, which I’d recommend to anyone looking for a good Sunday Roast in West Sussex. Set in a beautiful old English country house with low ceilings and incredible cast iron fire places. The food and service were lovely and it’s vegetarian friendly. There’s also a pretty alfresco dining area outside if you fancied sipping on some Pinot while the sun goes down.
If you’re interested in the Trike by the way it was £45 from Argos and it’s the best £45 quid I, or should I say my brother, has ever spent!! It was a present off Ettie’s Uncle for her 1st birthday & I was dubious about him buying it at first thinking it would just be more ‘stuff’ we’d have to find a place to store! But she absolutely loves it & we use it pretty much every day! It’s by far her favourite present to date – (I mean she’s only 1!)
If you really want to push the boat out there’s a deluxe option with a sun shade and canopy available on amazon & it comes in blue, pink, purple or red! Use the links in the text or search for SmarTrike.