Warm welcome for all the family at Half Term

 Children collecting conkers in the garden at Mottisfont, Hampshire, in autumn.It’s a perennial problem…what to do with the kids at autumn Half Term? Well, we’ve got lots to keep the whole family inspired (even the four-legged members.)

  For those who simply want to come and appreciate the garden, autumn colour is providing a spectacular display – late blooming flowers are accompanied now by stunning foliage, berries and fruit and our garden’s mountain backdrop provides some breathtaking panoramas.

  But for that little extra family fun, we’re running children’s events for two weeks from Saturday, October 19, to Sunday, November 3.

  Kids can hunt for dragons, goblins and fairies hidden around the garden on our Mystical Creatures Trail every day. There will also be Autumn Crafts running weekdays under gazebo in The Dell from 11am to 1pm and not forgetting story telling in the Pin Mill every Saturday from 2pm to 2.30pm. All these events are free.

poem

Inside The Poem

  On Tuesday, October 29, the Poem mausoleum is open; it’s a rare chance to go inside and see the impressive interior with its marble columns, family busts, stained glass windows and star-covered ceiling, from 10am to 4pm (again, no extra charge.)

  On Thursday, October 31, explore the garden by torchlight with scary stories ending in marshmallows around the fire in The Dell, from 6pm-8pm. This costs £6 for adults and £2 for children. Also  on the Halloween theme, from Tuesday, October 29, to Thursday, October 31, there will be pumpkin carving, puzzles and story telling in Bodnant Garden Centre, from 10am to 5pm, costing £2.50. 

 dogg

   The highlight of the holiday will be the launch of our new Dogs Welcome season on November 1 and 2. There will be displays from dog rescue and agility groups, dog competitions and the Dogs Trust will be at the garden offering free microchipping on both days. From now on visitors will be able to bring their dogs to the garden every Thursday, Friday and Saturday from Novemer to the end of February. More on the launch event to follow so watch this space…

   All Half Term there will be special menus at the Pavilion tearoom and also al fresco refreshments in The Dell – warm your hands with hot drinks and soup by a brazier, perfect for that autumn walk.

Chapel Park in all its autumn glory low res

See our website www.nationaltrust.org.uk/bodnant-garden or Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/BodnantGardenNT for more about Bodnant Garden.

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From little acorns…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere was a real energy about Bodnant Garden last week as families flocked to enjoy our Half Term children’s events.

We want to offer more to families as part of a National Trust campaign called 50 Things To Do Before You Are 11 3/4 – which aims to reconnect today’s high-tech youngsters with the great outdoors.

Gardener Katie Croft is leading the effort for us at Bodnant Garden and has been organising a programme of school holiday activities which will help children and their parents get the most out of their visit…and hopefully inspire a new generation of nature-lovers.

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Katie…talented gardener and also just the right person to be leading our kids’ activities!

Katie says: “We had a really fun Half Term at Bodnant. Lots of families enjoyed exploring the garden and helping the gardeners – we got lots of weeding done which was a bonus!

“More than 500 mud pies were made and they were stunning too, really creative. This activity seemed as popular with the grown-ups as the children, as did the croquet on the lawn.

“Lots of people hunted for bugs and bees and made flower kebabs and played Pooh Sticks in The Dell. The whole week went down really well with families and everyone had a great time.”

And if you don’t believe it, here are some of the pictures to prove it!

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More fun than you can shake a Pooh Stick at…bug hunting, mud pie making, lawn games, pond dipping, helping the gardeners and plant hunting were just some of the things to do this Half Term. One activity that didn’t feature highly was puddle jumping – after a wet start, the sun shone on our events.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOur next family event is a Teddy Bear’s Picnic on Saturday and Sunday, June 15 and 16, to celebrate National Picnic Week – bring your picnics and teddies and enjoy lunch on the front lawn from 12.30 – 1.30pm.

The following weekend, June 22 and 23, Midsummer Madness abounds with a host of nature inspired activities for youngsters around the garden and at Bodnant Garden Centre, from crafts and storytelling to seed planting and pond dipping.

Then it’s the big one! In July we launch our first ever, summer-long events programme for families called Grow Wild. There will be gardening and nature activities going on around the garden everyday throughout the school holidays, late night wildlife trails on Wednesdays and special events at the weekends including a machinery festival, when kids (ok, and grown-ups too) can try sitting on a tractor or using the leaf blowers, and tree climbing days with specialist instructors.

For more information about future events see our website www.nationaltrust.org.uk/bodnantgarden Facebook pages https://www.facebook.com/BodnantGardenNT and follow updates on this blog.

Garden fun for half-pints this Half Term

Child in the Kitchen Garden at Tintinhull Garden, Somerset.

  Remember the things you loved doing as a child? They probably included climbing trees, making mud pies, splashing in puddles and building dens (whether for playing house or playing army camp…and there’s no gender reference implied there). I bet your best memories are of the outdoors and I bet they don’t involve screens of any kind, whether phones, laptops or televisions.

  There is widespread concern that youngsters today are losing out on the simple pleasures of outdoor play. The National Trust is trying to turn this around with a campaign called 50 Things to Do Before You Are 11 and 3/4 and at Bodnant Garden we’re doing our bit too.

  We’re looking hard at ways to make the garden more family friendly – both in the facilities we offer and the experiences we can give to our visitors. As part of this we’re running a host of activities for kids over the spring and summer and it starts this Bank Holiday and Half Term.

  Throughout the week why don’t you try out our Top Things To Do at Bodnant Garden?

Child taking part in the Full Bloom Festival at Acorn Bank, near Penrith, Cumbria

– Explore inside a tree on the Top Rose Terrace
– Play croquet on the Croquet Terrace
– Make a flower kebab
– Make a paper boat
– Lend a gardener a hand
– Make a mud pie in the Glades
– Look for a birds nest
– Play pooh sticks on the Mill Bridge
– Hunt for butterflies
– Take a photo of the coolest thing you see. Upload it onto our facebook site and share it.

– And if it’s raining, just bring your wellies and add to the list …run around in the rain and jump in a puddle!

  There will be quizzes and trails to do and we will be giving out checklists to children so they can tick off how many Top Things they get through during the week.

little boy and dog

  But that’s not all! Events planned this week for all visitors include:

– Storytelling in the Pinmill both Saturdays, 2pm-2.30pm (free event).

– Music in the Pinmill on Sunday May 26, from 2pm-4pm (free event).

– Open day at The Poem mausoleum on Tuesday May 28 (free event).

– Late night opening on Wednesday May 29, 5pm-8pm, when families can bring the dog too (normal admission applies).

– Walk and Wine evening on Thursday May 30 when the garden is open 5pm-8pm for a stroll, drinks and nibbles at the Pinmill (£6 entry).

Face-painting at the Full Bloom Festival at Acorn Bank, near Penrith, Cumbria

  There are plenty more events planned at Bodnant Garden for the summer and these are some of the highlights to put in your diary:

Teddy Bears’ Picnic 15 & 16 June – To launch National Picnic Week, with garden games and a best dressed teddy contest.

Midsummer Madness, 22 & 23 June – Events at Bodnant Garden Centre and around the garden including planting, colouring, pond dipping and garden games. We’re also going to open a secret area of the garden for a special sneak preview before it opens in 2014.

Grow Wild! 22 July- 6 September – Summer holiday fun for the family including mud pie making, evening nature walks, a machinery weekend, tree climbing and chance to be a garden apprentice.

may trail poster

For all these events and more keep an eye on our website http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/bodnant-garden  Facebook page www.facebook.com/BodnantGardenNT and this blog.

Photos supplied by National Trust and Bodnant Garden