A Picnic At And Visit To Castle Ashby Gardens

Last week saw us return to Castle Ashby Gardens in Northamptonshire, for our third visit. It's become somewhere we absolutely love to go as a family for a day out particularly in the summer when the gardens look even more beautiful and the flowers are in full bloom. 

I said last week in my socially distanced day out to Stowe blog post, just how amazing it feels to be able to do things like days out this year after months in lockdown due to coronavirus. It's made being able to do things like this feel even better than they did before. 

Castle Ashby is home to the 7th Marquess of Northampton and whilst the stunning stately home isn't open to members of the public, for what is quite an inexpensive fee you are able to wander around and enjoy the incredible landscaped gardens. 

We booked online a few days before we went (booking in advance is a must due to the coronavirus social measures that are currently in place) and we paid just £20.50 for the four of us. Logan was free as you only pay for children 6 and above. Which actually is quite generous as Castle Ashby is a wonderful place to take children young or older. There's a fantastic play park just as you go in and my boys always enjoy it. 

There are currently social distancing rules in place in the play area (and all over Castle Ashby Gardens) as you'd expect and I think people were generally very good at following the rules. I will say, however, that on our way out we did say no to the boys using the play area as it was very busy and we worried it would be hard to socially distance. This was during the week but I suppose it may have been a popular time for people to be heading home and to let their children have a little bit of time in the play area before they left. 

Fortunately, we had let the boys go in the play area before we went and explored the rest of the gardens and so it wasn't such a big deal for us. We went and bought an ice cream and sat eating that on one of the benches dotted around instead and so the boys were happy. 

We took a small picnic with us and it worked perfectly for us as there are so many spaces to sit on the grass at a good distance from others. It's a lovely place for a picnic as you're surrounded by the most lovely surroundings and it feels really tranquil. 

The cafe for ordering food at the entrance near the play park was open, so you could purchase hot and cold food there. But we're personally most comfortable with taking picnics to places at the moment. 

There are so many lovely places to see at Castle Ashby Gardens, it's really nice to just take your time and soak it all in. 

The lavender and other beautiful flowers over by the water fountain is so pretty.

Another great aspect to Castle Ashby Gardens is that they have some animals there too such as a family of Meerkats, chipmunks, marmosets, pigs, budgies, tortoises and more. My boys always really enjoy looking at the animals and Logan who loves rabbits, was so pleased to see some there. 

These meerkats soaking in some sun rays were making everyone laugh.

There's also a really lovely nature trail you can follow, we have done this before and it's a really nice way to spend some time. 

Spotting faces in the trees!

I always love seeing the beautiful church in the grounds of Castle Ashby.

The views from the back of the house are incredible.

The back of Castle Ashby house - I love the engraved motto on the back of the house.

One of the most beautiful parts to Castle Ashby Gardens has to be the orangery, it is absolutely stunning and I was so happy to find that we could still get inside.

 If I ever become rich, I am definitely getting one of these!

This was actually taken by Ethan - he's getting so good at using my camera! He even made sure to step right back to get the whole of us in, without me even asking. 

One of my favourite photos!

We had such a lovely time at Castle Ashby Gardens, I highly recommend a visit if you're local!

Thank you for reading. 
  Alex xo

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