Monday 13 January 2014

Waterperry Gardens, Wheatley, Oxfordshire

Most of Oxfordshire is under water at the moment so finding a good weekend walk wasn't that easy. We have visited the garden centre at Waterperry before but have never been round the gardens as you have to pay. I spotted on twitter that the gardens are free during January so seemed a good time to visit.

We arrived in time for lunch, and headed straight for the tea rooms. There was a nice selection of hot and cold food, we opted for soup and roll and scones between us followed by some cake.

Next to the tea room was an amazing museum of rural life housing a varying arrangement of things. A wide selection of old farming equipment, gardening tools, kitchen implements, biscuit boxes. Charlotte loved the old school desk and chalk boards. It was like a little time warp and the man running it was happy to explain things.

Museum of Rural Life
 We then headed for the gardens, on the left as you enter is an amphitheatre, the footpath goes to the right along what they call virgin walk as the young ladies studying horticulture used to socialise along this shaded area. Waterperry is quite famous for their snowdrops which are just coming out. In a few weeks it will look fantastic.

Amphitheatre and Virgin Walk
 The grounds are quite extensive and divided up into areas, we couldn't do the woodland walk as the ground was too wet as it's close to the river Thame. There are wide areas children can run around in, a beautiful rose garden, rows upon rows of apple trees, we loved reading the names of some of the apples. There is a pond, statues to look out for, we found an old potato planter, and an alpine garden. There are plenty of seats around to just sit and reflect for a moment and enjoy the surroundings.

Rows of apples and the school veg patch
There are "did you know" boxes dotted in various locations that Charlotte loved to find, inside were leaflets with interesting facts about the plants in the borders, things to look out for at certain times of the year, and some history about Waterperry. The house used to be a School of Horticulture for Ladies so some of the history and photos were interesting. Sadly though there was nothing on these sheets for children, it would have been good for them to have things to find or look out for. Waterperry is very popular with the older generation, they do have special family events but it just felt to us that these sheets were missing that something extra.

did you know sheets and lady of the light
As well as a garden centre on site there is an arts and crafts gallery and a gift barn.

the house down to the river
We really enjoyed our few hours here and the weather was wonderful, it's made us want to go back for one of the family events or in the summer to see the borders in full bloom.

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

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