Reviewed by Jan Mellor
The journey to Tatton Hall and Gardens (owned by the National Trust) was made very easy, by the clear brown mileage-indicated signs on both the M56 and the town roads through Knutsford and Altrincham. The entrance to the park is by way of a very polite and helpful attendant who directs you to the car parks. Parking costs £6 per vehicle (there is no exemption for National Trust members). We were given a map of the Park area, an overview of the park’s present ‘theme’ and a list of future attractions. The theme (Easter to Christmas) was – much to my son’s delight – ‘Roald Dahl’s Tremendous Adventures at Tatton Park’ (to mark the 100 years of his books) and this theme was brought to life throughout the park, the mansion and the farm. On our way to the carpark (there are disabled and coach carparks aswell) we passed a herd of 20 red deer (residents since 13th century) – making my son scream in delight and then a model of the upside down house statue – from Dahl’s ‘The Twits – (more screaming!). The day was definitely off to a good start.
We were excited to see the choices of ‘The Fantastic Mr. Fox’ at the farm, ‘Matilda’ at the mansion or the ‘Enormous Crocodile’ at the Parkland and decided to go to the Mansion first. On our way we passed the Stable courtyard where there was an enormous ‘BFG’ and Matilda cut-outs (great photo opportunities) a large Victorian carousel (£2 a ride), a garden shop selling gifts and locally grown plants, a home-keeper’s store selling homemade chutneys and jams, cheeses and local beers and an area with tables and chairs to eat and drink in the lovely warm Spring sunshine. We popped into the busy restaurant where they sold a wide range of hot and cold drinks (including beers), ice-creams, a choice of hot meals and sandwiches (reasonably priced – drinks from £1.60 and meals such as ’full- day breakfasts around £7.95).
At the mansion (open 1pm-5pm) we were welcomed by polite staff and my son was given a ‘Matilda activity’ to work through whilst walking through the many rooms. Each room had detailed information on laminated sheets and helpful staff who were very willing to share their knowledge on the mansion’s history (the last resident – Maurice Egerton 4.8.1874 – 30.1.1958 – who having no heirs – left the estate to the National Trust). You were allowed to take photographs – a lot of people were and it had a lovely ‘relaxed’ feel throughout the building. All areas were well-signed, with disabled access and a Dahl themed activity room for children (aged 3-10).
We next moved to the farm (a small train was available to transport people from the car parks here every 20 minutes (£2.00 adult / £1.50 children) which had numerous activities to do – aimed mainly at children but the grown-ups seemed to be enjoying the activities just as much! The piggery with sows and piglets, the lambing areas with 2 week old lambs, chickens, ducks, chickens and goats. There was a woodland with a children’s play-trail, a den making area and a seasonal maze. We then moved to the gardens which offered rare plants, lakes, Japanese and Italian themes, 45 species of trees and a nice stroll.
In all, we both enjoyed our day – my son’s favourite part was the Dahl theme and the playground – a large outdoor playground for children aged 2-12 with swings, slides, climbing frames and zip wires, located next to the mini-fairground and carparks. I really enjoyed the mansion and having the ‘freedom’ to explore this at leisure. The only concern I would have about this visit is the cost as for the mansion, farm and gardens each had an entrance fee of £6 adult, £4 child and £16 family (2 adults & 2 children) however, you can pre-book a ‘Totally Tatton’ ticket covering the 3 areas at a cost of £11 Adult, £5.50 Child and £27.50 family which would make a great saving and real value for money. Everyone seemed to enjoy their day, the staff were all helpful and polite and the place was well signed and tidy. Wanted to stay longer – 4 hours was not enough!
Of the day I would say that Tatton Park was a 4/5.
For more information, prices and opening times visit www.tattonpark.org.uk.
Tatton Park, Knutsford, Cheshire, WA16 6QN | 01625 374400