Barnsdale Gardens | Kidadl

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  • Visit Barnsdale Gardens to experience the late Geoff Hamilton's trademark style among the 38 exquisite gardens, from Japanese and French to traditional English cottage gardens. 
  • Be amazed by Barnsdale, an inspiring place to experience and at any time of the year.
  • Don't miss out on events and courses where you can learn to do some watercolour, photography and more.
  • The inspiring range of garden styles, plus the planting schemes have been referred to as 'a theme park for gardeners'.

Visit Barnsdale Garden Centre, a great family day out and voted the UK’s Best Garden to Visit 2018/19. This is well known as the home of the BBC Gardeners’ World TV programme, often cited as ‘a theme park for gardeners’ for its uniquely designed collection of 38 realistic and individual gardens that are delightful to experience as they guide you round this eight-acre site. Home to an astonishing variety of garden areas that range from pretty Japanese gardens to traditional French gardens, along with English cottage gardens, to wildlife, too. There are even spaces for growing vegetables and fruit! You can revel in the late Geoff Hamilton's Garden, in Oakham, Rutland, where all the family can enjoy this relaxing day out at these famous gardens.

The focus of Barnsdale Gardens is on ecological and environmental gardening, by making use of organic and peat-free principles. Learn as you wander through the gardens as there are a variety of courses and events that run all throughout the year - this is particularly special during July and August at the Summer Sundays that take place. Don't miss out on the riveting Chelsea Flower Show, and the Gold Medal-winning plant nursery which has a rich and diverse range of plants for you to experience. During these events, the Tea Room will tempt you further serving some locally sourced and freshly prepared produce and food, there to feed, revitalise and relax you.

Take a self-led tour of the many 38 gardens where the little ones will love the Children’s Garden, which was built to create a fun, educational experience that focuses on the environment. It's home to a delightful willow den for play and discovery and a mud hut for bird and wildlife watching. They might even want to catch up on homework on the hotter days in there as there is a seating area to chill, relaxing to the sounds of the water feature. After, finish up your family day out and treat yourself to some snacks and drinks in the tea rooms.

Don't miss out on the courses held at Barnsdale Gardens, where you can learn the basics of vegetable growing or pruning or watercolour painting, photography and more. It's no wonder this is a family favourite weekend as many of the events come free with Garden entry. For more Rutland experiences, why not check out some history of the county? Take a trip to Rutland County Museum to uncover the county's history through collections of objects that concern the local rural and agricultural life, plus the social history and archaeological history of Rutland itself.

Barnsdale Gardens were built in Geoff Hamilton's trademark style of open gardens, so there's plenty of inspiring landscapes to take in, a delightful gardeners world of wonder is just waiting to be explored. There are plenty of magical hidden corners to uncover, ponds brimming with tadpoles and newts, and an allotment home to chickens and giant organically grown vegetables. The little ones love watching the flocks of birds on feeders that are scattered throughout the site, just as the sounds of buzzing bees and butterflies echo throughout the site. If you're looking for more natural soundscapes and wildlife landscapes in the county, check out Rutland Water Nature Reserve, one of the best places to enjoy birds and wildlife with lagoons and wetland areas to discover.

What to know before you go

  • When you're feeling peckish, there is a tea room serving the freshest seasonal meals, freshly produced and ready to order and, plus, much of it is locally sourced. Pre-book for afternoon tea.
  • There are toilets, accessible toilets by the entrance and baby changing facilities at Barnsdale Gardens.
  • Assistance dogs are welcome, but no other dogs or pets are allowed into the Gardens.
  • Most areas are on flat land, and they are easily accessible by wheelchair and pushchair users. There are, however, a few areas that cannot be accessed by wheelchair and harder to navigate, and there is plenty of seating for visitors’ assistants, visitors with limited mobility, or for those who want to sit back and take it the sights. There is ramp access to parts of the garden where necessary.
  • You can pre-book wheelchairs and a mobility scooter.

Getting there

  • Barnsdale Gardens are located at Barnsdale Ave, Exton, Oakham.
  • If travelling by car, there are different routes depending on where you come from. If approaching from Oakham, take A606 from Melton Mowbray, continue through Oakham, remain on the A606, and turn left at the roundabout to Stamford and Barnsdale. Continue along this road for around two miles and turn left at Barnsdale Lodge Hotel towards Exton and the entrance is one mile to the left. If coming from Oakham on A606 from Stamford, be sure to pass through Empingham and Whitwell. Turn right at Barnsdale Lodge and follow previous instructions. If coming from Oakham on A6003 from Uppingham, turn right onto A606 at the first roundabout, continue along this road for around two miles and turn left at Barnsdale Lodge Hotel towards Exton and follow previous instructions.
  • There is a car park on site.
  • If travelling via public transport, Barnsdale Gardens is reachable from Oakham, which is about four miles away or Stamford, which is around eight miles away, they can be reached by bus or taxi. There are regular services via cross-country trains which go to Oakham, from Stansted to Birmingham (going via Cambridge, Peterborough, Stamford, Leicester and the towns and villages in between). When you reach the station, take The Rutland Flyer 2 (RF2) bus service which leaves Oakham by the marketplace for Barnsdale Gardens. Please note that you have to request to the driver to stop at Barnsdale Gardens as it is a request stop.
  • For cyclists, there is an easily accessible bike rack.

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