TRISH TAKES FIVE: By Trish Burgess
Good Friday was the best day of the Bank Holiday weekend so Dougie and I were determined to make the most of the fine weather. We thought a Norfolk trip might be hampered by traffic so travelled west instead to Burghley House near Stamford.
We couldn’t remember the last time we visited and realised that it must have been well over ten years, which is a shameful admission. To think, we have spent our holidays walking round Alnwick Gardens, Blenheim Palace and Chatsworth House over recent years but our own Lincolnshire gem has been sadly ignored.
Determined to stay outside on such a sunny day, we purchased garden tickets which gave us access to the Garden of Surprises and the Sculpture Gardens. The former was an absolute delight, designed to emulate the first Lord Burghley’s garden in Hertfordshire, with fountains, grottoes and obelisks. In the height of the summer this must be a huge draw for families, as little ones can jump in and out of the water features, but even on a crisp Spring day it was fascinating and fun place to spend some time.
The mirror maze flummoxed me for a while but Dougie’s superior sense of direction led us safely to the middle and out again. I was quite taken with the transforming obelisks; representing fire, earth, water and air, my favourite was the fire one which reacted to the press of a button with smoke and lights as if a sleeping dragon had just been stirred.
Neptune’s grotto, a misty moss house and a beautiful working sundial added to the charm of this secluded garden.
Nearby the Sculpture Garden was a real treat: so many cleverly designed works of art can be found in amongst the trees and near the lake. Woven willow, a turf maze, steel and wooden creations surprise you at every turn. Paths laid with bark wind their way through the garden but there’s no set route so visitors are free to wander at their leisure.
The Garden Cafe was the perfect spot for a coffee and chocolate cake fix and visitors indulged in ice-creams from the very cute turf-decorated Shed nearby.
Later in the afternoon we headed through the park where families were just enjoying the huge open space. It’s worth noting that parking is free at Burghley and so too is the park so it’s ideal for a no-cost day out too.
We headed towards the large herd of deer. We were fortunate to be there just when a tractor full of sugar beet circled the animals and peppered the ground with chopped up beet.
As we were leaving we noticed lots of strange spheres of foliage high up on many of the bare lime trees. Initially we thought they were birds’ nests until a helpful notice indicated it was mistletoe. I had no idea it grew as a parasite on other trees and shrubs.
“Fancy a smooch?” said Dougie, as we sauntered underneath them.
That’s what I call a great end to a perfect day.
You can follow Trish on Twitter @mumsgoneto and read her blog at www.mumsgoneto.blogspot.com