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Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Wrest Park - Bedfordshire

Wanting a family day out with our young children and two dogs, we set about Google as you do. Not too far away we found Wrest Park an English Heritage site. We had also had personal recommendations to visit this from friends.
Wrest Park Play Area
Driving there could not have been easier, simple directions ending in a lovely village with local pubs near the entrance. As we entered the grounds we noticed vast amounts of open space for sporting activities as well as exercising the dogs off the lead as we had read that inside they would have to be on them (as one would expect).
We were greeted by a friendly lady as we drove in who kindly directed us to the parking area. Once out, we walked through an iron gateway to a great lawn with a fantastic play area and cafe/restaurant which proved to be good value (2 x Coffees / 2 x Juice 2 x Scones - Less than £8.50). 
If you wish to go through to the house and gardens, then payment is required unless you are English Heritage Members. a family of 4 was £22.50. However we decided to become English Heritage Members as we've lots of camping booked this year, so should get our moneys worth out of it.
The gardens are vast with fountains and lakes, lots of wooded areas for the children to explore and run themselves tired. The lawns are perfect for a picturesque picnic with stunning views of the house. Our children liked finding the Pet Cemetery as well and having the space for adventure. 
Unfortunately we ran out of time to venture into the house, but as we are now members, a return visit without the dogs is necessary. 
Here's what English Heritage have to say about it.
After decades behind virtually closed doors, its treasures overgrown and largely unknown, English Heritage is reviving one of Britain's largest and most important 'secret gardens' - Wrest Park in Bedfordshire.This is a wonderful 90-acre historic landscape and French-style mansion which will take its rightful place amongst the country's great garden attractions - and give locals and visitors to Bedfordshire a superb new day out.Stroll in the recently restored Italian and Rose Gardens. Enjoy miles of reinstated historic pathways as you discover the garden buildings, pavilion and statues. Find out more about the garden and the people that shaped it, in our new exhibitions in the house and garden buildings.