I have a mixed history with the Trentham Estate. Before our more recent visit, my last memory is of taking a very unwell Eli to meet my parents for the afternoon, right before Christmas. He’d had a bit of a sniffle and kept complaining that he wanted to go to bed, but I hustled him along and said we’d have a nice time etc etc, offering platitudes and promises of sweets and treats.
I should have known on the way down that it was going to be a disaster. The infamous ’50’ speed limit on the M6, between junctions 19 and 16 where the roadworks have been since forever (if you know, you know…) was somehow even worse and we basically ground to a halt. What should have taken us an hour and a half took almost double that time. We arrived, harassed and exhausted, stayed for an hour and then made our sorry way home. A couple of days later was Christmas Day itself but I don’t remember much. Me and Eli were both laid up in bed, delirious with fever and really quite poorly. Probably not the type of experience Trentham would want us to associate with a visit there!
This is all a preamble, of course, to a much better trip we had there recently. It’s handily situated halfway between where my parents and my sister live, and where we live, so it makes the ideal meeting spot. And a few weeks ago we did just that, meeting my sister and her husband for a hazy afternoon exploring the gardens.
There’s quite a bit to see at the Trentham Estate; there are the gardens (which is the part I’m going to talk about), a shopping village with restaurants, shops and cafes, a monkey forest and a treetop high-ropes course as well. As I mentioned, we only really explored the gardens on this visit but there was plenty to keep us all occupied for the entire afternoon.
We decided to just wander and see where our feet took us. We initially walked around Trentham Lake which is about a mile long. After this we headed for a drink at the lakeside cafe before getting lost in the maze and letting the kids burn their energy off in the adventure playground.
The fairy trail was also a big draw for Meg; we had picked up a leaflet at the reception and she was (as you might imagine) desperate to try and find them all. This was quite a good way of ensuring that we saw most of what the gardens had to offer as the fairies are literally dotted all over the place. The fairy trail is included in your admission price, but you can pay an additional £1 for the leaflet and a pencil. You also get a fairy sticker on your way out if you’ve managed to spot them all.
We finished our visit off with a spot of tree climbing for Eli before heading briefly into the shopping village for an ice cream. Literally wherever we go, he has to try and find something to climb and Trentham was no exception. I’ve had to learn to just smile and look the other way when it’s happening (and hope that he doesn’t need anyone to rescue him!)
It wasn’t too busy during our visit as the weather was slightly changeable. I imagine on a busier day you’d definitely notice, although the gardens are large enough that I’m sure you’d be able to find a quiet spot to set up for a picnic and some peace and quiet; that is certainly going to be my plan one day during the summer holidays.