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Tatton Country Park
Tatton Park (England)
Member Name: HelenW
Tatton Park (England)
Advantages: Lovely grounds, amazing history, gorgeous gardens
Tatton Country Park is very easy to find. My dad told me that it would be easy to find; however, I had my map close at hand, just in case! However, if you are approaching Tatton from the M6, it really is easy to find! If you get off the M6 at junction 19, it's signposted from the exit! The signs are easy to follow and will get you there entirely, even down to the 'Tatton Park - concealed entrance' signs! When you arrive, you are directed to the car park through the toll booth! It costs £5 to park, which I hadn't expected and I thought was quite steep! Anyway, when you've parked, you head towards the entrance (via the mega adventure playground if any children are in your party!)
Tatton Hall is the stately home of the park which originally was built for the Egerton family in 1716 although as with most places, it has been added to over the years. The house is absolutely stunning and has lots of art for you to admire if that's your thing. Personally, I was more amazed by the 2 first editions of Jane Austen books in the library of the house. You could easily spend much of your day here!
The Old Hall is a listed building, which was originally the manor house of the estate before Tatton Hall was built. We were informed that it was originally timber framed but was replaced by brick. It is an absolutely beautiful building and the incredibly informative staff will take you on a tour explaining the history of the building. If you are pushed for time, this is one aspect of the Country Park which is completely worth the time!
The Park has a farm attached to it, which contains a variety of different shire horses, cows, pigs, chickens and goats. My niece absolutely loved this farm, if you have children in your group, it's a must do. The staff were great here, they show you how to feed the goats (50p at the till!), do stories in the school room with the actions and entertain them in the play barn. It was worth the visit, but only because we had a 2 and a half year old in our group! If you're over 10, maybe give it a miss! Oh, and avoid the loos. I felt ill just walking in. If there are any little legs around, there is a land train that runs between the car park and the farm, for £1.50 per person.
The gardens of the park are absolutely incredible. I know absolutely nothing about gardening, I can't tell a flower from a weed, but even I could appreciate how stunning these gardens are. There is a Japanese garden with a Shinto shrine and a tea house, which I thought was pretty cool! The pleasure garden was originally for the family's enjoyment rather than usefulness. It was lovely to have a wander around, it felt so tranquil which was pretty amazing for a bank holiday weekend!
Tatton is set in thousands of acres of land. I was amazed by how big it is! I realised as I was driving for quite a while before reaching the car park and on the way back out again, that if I lived closer, I would absolutely love to take my bike and just to be able to take off and have some time on my own. There were a lot of people around on bikes, but with so much open space, it doesn't feel over run. An amazing setting.
There is a rather large adventure playground in the park which is a must do for kids! Even as an adult I could appreciate how much work goes in by the council for maintenance. The whole place was lovely and clean, has that soft tarmac flooring stuff and is so well maintained! Even better, it has a toddler sized version of the bigger one! Also, there is an assault course just outside of the farm, which is enjoyable for kids but more suited to the slightly younger child.
As mentioned above, it costs £5 per car regardless of whether you are a national trust member as you can normally park for free. If you have a blue badge in which case you can park for £2.50. Whilst I originally thought it was quite steep, you really can see where it goes. The Council maintain the park as they are not maintained by national trust and its done incredibly well. The price of a single attraction is £6 for an adult or £4 for a child, whereas a family ticket costs £16 (2 adults and 3 children). This relates to the hall, gardens, old hall and farm if you are not a national trust member. If you are a national trust member, you get discounted farm entry (50%) and the hall and gardens are free entry. However, for those who are a non member, you can purchase a ticket which covers the mansion, gardens and farm for £11 for an adult, £5.50 for a child or £27.50 for a family.
The park is currently in the "High Season" which means that the opening times are 10am-7pm although the last entry is at 6pm. However, it's worth checking out the opening times prior to your visit as it will tell you whether any parts of the park are currently out of use.
Overall, Tatton is a lovely place for either a family day out or just to head off on your own for some peace and exploration! If I lived closer, I would definitely be there on a regular basis, even if just for the serenity of the grounds! Plan your visit in advance, as there's so much to do, you will easily fill your day.
Summary: Brilliant day out.