Elsham Hall, Gardens & Country Park, North Lincolnshire

THEY SAY:  One of the most imaginative gardens in England. There is a sensory garden, great drifts of bulbs and wild flowers.

WE SAY: Plenty of open space to run about. Perfect for a few hours of outdoor fun.

IT was meant to be summer when we visited Elsham Hall but despite being August it threw it down! We had to keep stopping for cover, and even ate lunch under a parasol to shelter from the rain – but it didn’t spoil the fun.

I like days out at places like Elsham Hall because it reminds me that great family days out don’t always have to include hours travelling in the car and big theme parks.

Sometimes all kids need is to pull on their wellies and splash in muddy puddles and that’s exactly what we did when we visited.

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We packed up a picnic and took my niece and nephew, aged five and seven, and my two children, aged three and 18 months, and we had a great time.

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Never too cold for a cocktail sausage!

There’s an adventure playground, animal farm, woodland trail and a walled garden, not to mention the wild butterfly garden and the carp and trout lakes where you can feed the fish.

Located about 20 minutes from the Humber Bridge it’s easy to find and parking is free.

The attraction opens in March and always hosts a lambing Sunday and closes in September.

I’ve noticed a lot of the reviews of Elsham Hall online are negative, noting there isn’t that much to do, and while I agree it may not be a full “day out”, and it is one that should be enjoyed at a slower pace, there was certainly enough to keep us occupied for a few hours, even on a rainy day.

I think days at places like this are what you make of them, but if you like to be entertained, choose to visit at a time when there is something going on because throughout the year there is all sorts, from Easter egg hunts to bank holiday fun days.

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The park dates from 1790 and today is well known for the peacocks that freely roam the grounds.

Having bought fish food in the shop at the entrance, my nephew Lewis was keen to find the fish to feed first.

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And we didn’t have to look very hard, from the viewing platform dozens of carp immediately swam to the surface to take the food.

We spent quite a while feeding them on the first viewing platform we reached, but just around the corner there is also another bridge platform.

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Mummy trying not to fall in!

We enjoyed walking through the butterfly garden and the animal farm area was also another favourite for us.

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Main courtyard at Elsham Hall

There is a guinea pig house and we also met Eddie the turkey, who struts his stuff freely, but he did scare my youngest.

The staff are really friendly and helpful and allowed my niece Emily and my son Oliver into the area where the rabbits are kept so they could stroke them.

They were asking all sorts of inane questions, as kids do, but she was very patient in answering them.

There’s also a small farming museum, and an indoor old school where my kids enjoyed sitting at the desks and drawing.

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If you visit on a Sunday you will also be able to see the working blacksmith.

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  • Reviewed August 2014

Need to know…

LOCATION: Brigg, N.E. Lincolnshire, DN20 0QZ

OPEN: March until September and bank holidays.

PRICES: Adults: £5.75. Children: £4.75, children under 2 are free. Family ticket – £21. Family season ticket £45.

CALL: 01652 688698.

E-MAILenquiries@elshamhall.co.uk

VISIT: www.elshamhall.co.uk

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