We had a great time at Burghley recently going around the pumpkin trail. It’s something Burghley does every half term and it has a bit of a Halloweeen theme. I’ve done it every year with Little Miss, but this was the first year that she was actually interested in finding the pumpkins. We went with some friends and the kids were racing each other to find the pumpkins first. It’s a beautiful time to visit Burghley with the leaves changing colour, berries coming out on the viburnums and some late-flowering asters providing bursts of colour.
Little Miss took charge of our map and pencil and, of course, wanted to write down the clues herself. I have to say, Burghley does a good job with the trail each year. The children find letters and then unscramble them to make a Halloween-themed word to get a treat at the end of the trail. There’s also a quiz for adults and if you complete it, you go in the draw to win a prize.
Little Miss loves going to Burghley and now that we’ve been around the gardens a few times this year, she is getting to know her way round. She likes the large topiary rabbit and running through the willow tunnel. But I think her favourite part of the garden is the three bears’ den. This time she loved being there with her friends; they looked for berries and sticks to put in the bowls for the three bears. The young kids really enjoy this role play.
We ended our day with an ice cream (it’s never too cold for ice cream when you are 3-years-old!) and a play on some fallen logs outside the gardens. And then we said goodbye to the Gardens of Surprise until March next year!
All the important bits
The pumpkin trail runs daily 11am – 5pm (last admission 4.30pm) until Sunday 2 November 2014.
Admittance is free of charge with a house and gardens or gardens only ticket and entry is free to Friends of Burghley and Gardens of Surprise season card holders. Tickets for the house and gardens are £14.50 (adult) and £7.20 (child 3-15 years). Tickets for just the gardens (Gardens of Surprise and Sculpture Garden) are £8.50 (adult) and £5.50 (child 3-15 years).
Eating and drinking
The Garden Café is open from March to November and has sandwiches, cakes, scones, ice creams, hot drinks and more. It’s near the entrance to the Gardens of Surprise. The Orangery Restaurant is open year-round and has more substantial meals, although you can still get sandwiches and light bites there as well.
Both have highchairs and will heat up baby food if you ask.
There is a toilet block by the entrance to the Gardens of Surprise and it has a baby changing station. There are also toilets in the courtyard near the house, and they also have a baby changing station.
There are tarmac paths and roads through the parkland, so good for buggies, bikes and scooters. The Sculpture Garden can be a bit harder going with a buggy, as it is mainly mown grass, but I’ve never had an issue with accessibility.