With it’s fab play area, menagerie and stunning gardens, Castle Ashby gardens are a brilliant place to visit. The play area consists of a castle, caterpillar, wooden climbing frame, balance beams and wooden train. My boys who are 3 and 1 – at the time of writing – especially loved the castle and the train. Once I dragged them away, we went for a walk around the gardens. Castle Ashby is the home of the 7th Marquess of Northampton. You can’t get very close to the house but you can see it in the distance. It’s set in 35 acres of gardens which are a combination of several styles including the romantic Italian Gardens, the unique Orangery and impressive Arboretum. Do watch the video below and then scroll down for more information.
Admittedly the gardens are best seen in the summer, but on a beautiful day in October they still looked beautiful. We especially like the orangery which dates back to 1872. It houses a large central pond, home to over one hundred fish and an abundance of water lilies. The majority of planted beds are made up of hardy varieties including Eucalyptus, Ficus, Camellia and different varieties of Fuchsia so there was lots of beautiful brightly coloured flowers to see. We also loved walking down to the bridge over the stream where my 3 year old liked to pretend to fish. There is a menagerie which is fab – there are meerkats, budgies, marmosets and ducks. The website says it’s only open until the end of September but it was still open when we went in October – just bear in mind it may be shut at the time you go so don’t build your hopes up.
The gardens aren’t too far from Olney so roughly 30 mins to get there depending on where you live in MK. The price varies depending on when you go. In the summer (April to end of October) it’s £7 an adult and £1 for a child, under 5s are free. In the winter entrance is free but it’s £4 to park so make sure you take the correct money for the parking machine. Once you’ve paid to park that’s all you need to pay, entrance is free October to March but there are reduced facilities so think of it more as a park than a day out. Best postcode is NN7 1LQ. We took loads of pictures, have a look through the gallery below.
I'm Laura, mum of two boys - aged six and four. I started this website at the end of Sept 2015 whilst on maternity leave. I now work four days a week and do this blog late at night once the little boys are sleeping. It's won several awards over the last four years and I continue to run it for free and mostly focus on free, cheap, and good value days out. Do drop me an email firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to contact me. Don't forget to follow all of our latest adventures on facebook, instagram and twitter and have a look at all of the videos of the places we visit on the Milton Keynes Kids YouTube Channel - subscribe to it for notifications every time I add a new place. And remember... you may been reading this post months after we visited, do check with the destination you're visiting for up to date opening times and prices. If you find this blog useful then please do comment on my posts and leave me a Facebook review - it makes doing this all the more worthwhile.