If you’re looking for an outdoor day out in Tees Valley, The Gardens at Wynyard Hall are definitely worth a visit. Wynyard Hall has opened the grounds up to the public (for an admission fee) and they’ve done a really fantastic job. Their experience offers something for everyone, regardless of your age or agility.
We decided to visit with our nine-month-old baby, whilst our toddler was at nursery, so we were able to explore from the angle of suitability for visits with a small child and also mindful of access issues due to having a pushchair with us.
The Rose Garden was absolutely beautiful. A mixture of the smell of the roses and the running water from the foundations made this place a sensory sensation and we all felt incredibly calm whilst there. The time and dedication taken to getting this garden right are absolutely commendable, it had a great deal of height, which we weren’t expecting. There are some great information plaques which give you little snippets of the history of the house you can see in the gardens and the bell tower.
There is an edible garden, which grows produce used in the food in the cafe and the restaurant, just as they would have been when the Hall was originally occupied. People must have been taking the name a little bit too literally as there were big signs ‘Do not eat the plants, do not pick the fruit’ all over, which did spoil the aesthetics a little, but needs must, I suppose! There was also a retail space within the edible garden, but it was a little too hot in there on the day we visited, so didn’t go in.
We did visit the Woodland Walk, which was absolutely fantastic for young children. There were various wicker sculptures, animal graves, a train carved from tree trunks and a sandpit in the middle in a lovely tranquil spot. It was a great addition and is definitely best explored with those who can walk, as to get to the walk you must go down some steps and a small gate. If you have a pushchair, it is not impossible if there are two of you to carry it over. There is also a lot of hogweed growing, so you need to ensure your youngsters’ lookout for it.
We did venture into the cafe for our lunch and the menu was good. I got a bacon and brie panini, which unfortunately I found tasteless and Mark got a chilli jacket potato that he enjoyed. However, the coffee I had was one of the best I’ve had in a long time! I found some of the clientele not to be child-friendly. one lady moved a chair to sit in the sun, which in fact blocked my pushchair from leaving the courtyard area. When I politely asked her to move, she didn’t make much effort to do so and actually told me the seat was too heavy to move (but I knew it wasn’t there when I entered the courtyard!) so that put a little dampener on my day, as I feel she looked down on me. But that is no reflection of the staff or owners, simply some of the clientele who use the cafe for long leisurely lunches.
Overall. we really enjoyed the grounds and thought it was worth the admission fees charged. We did purchase an offer through Travelzoo on this occasion. We will be back with our toddler to enjoy the trail, we will. however, avoid the cafe.
Disclaimer: All views in this review are my own and paid for own voucher via Travelzoo.