We awoke to a very frosty -5°C this weekend, but undeterred we layered up and headed off for a day out at The Vyne, a National Trust property in Hampshire.
The property itself, a building with a varied and interesting history dating back to earlier than 1500, is currently undergoing renovations to its roof and is shrouded in scaffolding. The house is still available to visit, but as we had Buddy with us we visited purely to explore the grounds and walk in the adjoining Morgaston Woods.
Our walk started at the carpark and we headed off through some pretty walled gardens, which were dotted with fun sculptures that the kids enjoyed spotting. Although the gardens were looking very wintery, I could see from the labels that it is home to many fruit and vegetable plants, and I later learned that the tea rooms on site use the seasonal produce grown here. I can just imagine how beautiful this garden is when it is in full bloom.
The kids were delighted to find a little enclosure with ride on tractors, push along lawn mower toys and bouncy cows. They had a great time riding around and pushing each other along, they didn’t want to leave!
We continued on to discover another garden area, with a beautiful summer house. This was originally part of a pair of summerhouses built around 1635 and it is thought to be one of the first ever garden buildings built with a dome. We had a peek inside, and although it didn’t offer us any escape from the cold, I can imagine it to be beautifully cool on a hot summer’s day.
After a quick bite to eat in the tea-rooms we headed into the Hidden Realm play area. This fab little area is like something out of The Hobbit! It is made up of wooden tunnels, walk ways, grassy slopes and a slide. It also looks like it may have a water feature element to it in the summer, which would be amazing!
After we finally persuaded the kids to say goodbye to the Hidden Realm, we headed down towards the lake. It was almost completely frozen over with such thick ice – it was a fantastic sight! Kids all around, including ours, were trying everything to break the ice – mostly unsuccessfully!
The Vyne is also home to a large wetland area, which used to be a water meadow. We headed off into the bird watching hyde and took a look out over the wetlands. There are lots of pictures and information on the walls of the hyde, so you know what to look out for.
Just behind the hyde is the start of the woodland walks. We took advantage of the ground being frozen solid, meaning the buggy was much easier to push on the muddy paths, and chose the longer circuit. Luckily for us the boys love walking and are in their element when they are out and about. There were stepping stone logs, fallen logs to climb, ice puddles to crack, and even den building areas. There was also a trail of little woodland animal brass rubbing posts but unfortunately we didn’t know about it in advance so had no paper or crayons.
So after a a stroll through the gardens, fun in the play areas, a bit of bird watching and a lovely circuit through the woodlands, we were all tired but happy! We all agreed that we’d have to return without Buddy one day so that we could also explore the house as well.
Have you visited the gardens at the Vyne? What fun things did we miss?