On Monday we packed up a picnic, our wellies and said a little pray to the sun gods, and headed off to Pensthorpe nature reserve.
Pensthorpe is a beautiful place, tucked in the Norfolk countryside just outside the town of Fakenham and it’s well worth a visit with the children. It’s so much more than a nature reserve.
We spent the day with some of our friends and their little ones, all aged three, apart from little Charlotte who’s 16 months. Thankfully those pesky sun gods had listened and it stayed dry and sunny all day.The carparking is large and not too far away and there are loos near the entrance, which is always handy with small children.
The children absolutely loved exploring the wonderful gardens, around every corner there were ducks to feed, strange new birds to admire and even some red squirrels – although I think they ran away when they heard a herd of toddlers approaching!
I was particularly taken with the Grey Crowned Cranes, when I say taken I mean, I was literally afraid I would be. Those things were big and I expected one to suddenly appear next to me at any moment.
We walked up to the conservation area to see the flamingoes and feed some more geese – one decided to take a peck or two at Arthur so he was a little less enamoured with them after that!
There’s so much to explore and while we didn’t have time this visit, I remember how lovely the wooded area was and Arthur spent a long time exploring bugs and den building too.
Even the field of daisies looked stunning and there was yet more exploring for the children with a huge wooden spider and net to climb. We also found the most adorable flower topped hut with tiny wooden seats inside. Perfect for small people and anyone who likes to believe in fairies and hobbits.
Next it was time for a picnic lunch and the epic playground that is WildRootz. It’s just the best place for children. With a little stream around the outside, the tunnels and wood carvings it’s just one of my favourite places. It gives children enough yet urges them to use their imaginations and create their own wonderful worlds.
Arthur and his friends spent ages splashing in the water – that would be my number one tip, bring spare clothes! They danced on musical playgrounds and explored the tunnels and sand.
Each piece is so well thought out and even the benches are carved into creatures. The slides are fantastic and huge! There are zip wires, a huge wooden building to climb and even a huge see saw which whole families can stand on and endless things to climb.
We spent most of our time in WildRootz, there are loads of benches and grass around the area for picnics and there is also a stand selling drinks and sandwiches and snacks. Although I would recommend a picnic as the selection wasn’t great.
Pensthorpe is beautiful, both as an adult strolling through the stunningly beautiful grounds and appreciating the effort that has gone into making this reservation. And as a child, running free discovering new birds and animals and enjoying one of the best adventure playgrounds I’ve ever seen.
On a sunny day it’s become one of my favourite places to go and I would definitely recommend it as a great family day out.