Trentham Gardens: Kid-friendly & full of life

Italian Garden Trentham Gardens on Jenography

A view up the walk in the Italian Garden

Daffodils at Trentham Garden on Jenography

 

I don’t know if Trentham Gardens has a slogan, but it should, and that slogan should be, “Keep ON the grass”. These gorgeous extensive gardens in Stoke-on-Trent in Staffordshire fairly thrum with life from the visitors enjoying the grounds. You don’t simply wander round admiring the plants — although I always find this restorative and relaxing.

But here you find children tearing around in high spirits, rambunctiously kicking footballs, clambering up the slide and around the Adventure Playground. Couples and families eat at the cafe overlooking the mile-long, Capability Brown-designed lake. You can take out rowboats or enjoy an outing on the electric 42-seat catamaran or a ride on the miniature train. You can seek out all the fairies that are dotted around.

Alan Titchmarsh has called it “one of UK’s must-see gardens” and we have to agree. The formal Italian gardens set in English parkland have won a host of awards. The revival of the Italian Gardens was led by multi-Chelsea gold-medal winner Tom Stuart-Smith (“I worship him,” says my sister-in-law, a head gardener on an English estate). It can get busy and bustling, yet still not feel overrun.

 

jumping for joy at Trentham Gardens on jenography

With the statue of Perseus and Medusa, a sound funnel in the Maze and a view over the lake

 

embankment work on Jenography

A refreshing attitude toward the urge to roll down a grassy slope

From pleasure park to derelict estate and back

The Gardens are part of the Trentham Estate, which dates back to 1068 when it was recorded in the Domesday Book. It was owned for more than 400 years until 1979 by the Dukes of Sunderland and was a successful pleasure park and gardens. In the 1970s and ’80s it fell into decline, but in 2003 St. Modwen Properties PLC bought it in derelict condition and began regenation of the entire estate, including a Bicester Village-style shopping and dining area just outside the garden entrance.

What kids will love about Trentham Gardens

There are fascinating small show gardens — a potager, a sound garden, an allotment garden, a Jurassic garden full of plants that have been around for millions of year, and more. We got lost in the Maze even though, at Easter, there was no foliage on the branches. The two 12-year-olds in attendance were fascinated by the Barefoot Walk, where you actually remove your shoes and experience the texture of mud, bark, water, grass and pebbles. (Prepare to get messy — we saw kids with mud up to the knees afterward, rinsing off the provided foot showers.)

And through it all, the attitude pervades that this is a park that should be enjoyed in a dynamic, even occasionally boisterous way. Couples touch heads, posing for romantic selfies. A girl demonstrates cartwheels to her rapt brother. Dogs (yes, they are welcome) scamper. Rather than the kids needling you about when it’s time for ice cream, they’ll be making those “awwww” sounds when you tell them it’s time to go home.

Our top 5 things to do in the gardens:

  1. Get lost in the Maze, where you can really get lost
  2. Get your feet muddy on the Barefoot Walk (Easter-October)
  3. Spot the fairy sculptures, dotted around the garden
  4. Admire the Italian Garden
  5. Race around the Adventure Playground (especially great for younger kids)

 

Footballers in Trentham Gardens on Jenography

Footballers play next to the show gardens

 

Get lost in Trentham Gardens on Jenography

An inviting sign

 

Do several activities at a discounted price

Enjoy Staffordshire’s Family Fun Packages provide up to 62% discounts on hotels and attractions, including Trentham Gardens, Trentham Monkey Forest, the Snowdome and more. From £160 a family of four can take part in any 3 of 10 adventure activities and get overnight accommodation in a family room plus breakfast at a choice of family-friendly hotels and inns. These breaks are valid for children under the age of 12 years old. Find out more about Enjoy Staffordshire’s Family Fun Packages here.

Trentham Gardens

Stone Road, Trentham

Stoke-on-Trent ST4 8AX

01782 646646


Jenography received complimentary tickets to visit Trentham Gardens via a Family Fun Package. All opinions are my own.

 

 

I’m a journalist and blogger. Previously I was The Times’s online lifestyle editor and Alpha Mummy blogger. Now I’m co-founder of BritMums and BritMums Live! – our annual blogging conference that draws hundreds. Follow me on Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter and Google Profile+
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8 Comments

  1. March 28, 2016 / 7:58 pm

    Looks wonderful Jen! We recently got lost in a maze at Stockeld Park and had to be saved! Only us!

    • March 29, 2016 / 9:13 am

      Love it! Mazes are fantastically fun. I’ve always wanted to visit the one featured in The Shining, if it really exists. Will have to check out Stockeld Park.

  2. April 2, 2016 / 10:08 am

    I grew up minutes away from Trentham Gardens – my grandfather used to tell me stories about its history but they’ve only really transformed it since I left. I’ve been back a few times and the gardens are wonderful, although I love the lake and fairy statues. Last time we went was possibly the coldest August day I can remember so had to ditch my plans for the barefoot walk! Another time I hope.

    • April 3, 2016 / 9:29 am

      Ha ha. Yes it was too cold for me for the Barefoot Walk even thought it was sunny. Although that’s definitely something to look forward to on our next visit.

  3. April 19, 2016 / 11:52 am

    Love the sound of these gardens! Would be great to visit with my girls and get lost in the maze, sounds like so much fun!

    • April 19, 2016 / 2:37 pm

      Mirka, I highly recommend it. They would love the Barefoot Walk too!

  4. May 6, 2016 / 12:58 pm

    Nice Article…

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