Mummy Diaries | A Saturday walk around Claydon Gardens, Bucks

Claydon Estate, Bucks, Middle Claydon,
Saturday 20 July 2019

A month ago now (eek, how quickly has that gone and how far behind am I?!), we had a free weekend. We hadn’t had one for a while and we really don’t have another until the end of September now. Ash decided we should go somewhere for the afternoon – nowhere too far and somewhere we could walk around... remembering our National Trust passes, we chose Claydon Estate in Middle Claydon, which is half an hour from us.

One thing I’ll quickly mention is, while it’s a National Trust property, the gardens are privately owned. So even though we had free entry to the house (no idea what the price is otherwise – sorry!), there’s a fee for the gardens – member or not. We paid £5 each, but the standard price is £6. It is worth it as they are beautiful but it’s just annoying we didn’t know that beforehand. Especially as we didn’t even look around the house as from experience, they aren’t really pushchair or toddler-friendly. Obviously, we didn’t pay for Alfie.

Another thing we didn’t realise that was on the afternoon of our visit, there was the ‘Festival of the Unexceptional’ event, which was all about classic cars (from the 1970s and ‘80s) that were fairly ordinary in their day, but are now quite rare. These completely covered the grounds, so it was difficult to know the best places to walk, or what the grounds would usually be like on a non-event day. Of course, I immediately kicked off, because it was just chaos and we were constantly avoiding parked cars, moving cars and a flurry of people loitering.
Claydon Estate, Claydon Gardens, Pond, Lilies,
Claydon Estate, Claydon Gardens, Flowers,
The actual gardens themselves could be viewed within the hour and the map showed them split into several different areas, but they weren’t massively extensive so the different areas weren’t entirely clear. I’d have quite happily spent more than an hour walking around, sat by the pond or on the lawn – in fact, we saw a family having a picnic and playing games; while one man sat on a bench reading a book. It’s the ideal place to do some sketching, or simply sit and watch the world go by. I would definitely go back when there’s not an event on, but also at a time we are able to walk around the property (either without Alfie or when he’s of an age that he can walk around somewhere without being a menace). It would definitely put our membership to good use.

A particular highlight was the Florence Nightingale centenary garden – and I wasn’t aware of her association with Bucks, particularly Claydon Estate (which was actually her brother-in-law’s family property). This article made for a fab read. Of course, Alfie loved the pond – although we didn’t see any fish or frogs. The gardens in bloom were beautiful and it certainly gave us lots of garden inspiration, but unfortunately, none of the plants or flowers were labelled.

Equally as beautiful as the gardens was the courtyard. Consisting of the Phoenix Kitchen as well as a number of shops and galleries, it was like a little village. We had the loveliest ice cream from a local company (didn’t get the name, but it was so dreamy). I had coffee and Ash had strawberry; while the lady who served us even gave Alfie a flake (and he had the end of my cone, too). The shops were super cute, selling handmade products such as soaps and creams, scarves and socks, lovely little gift bits. The galleries were really cool too – and you could even buy sculptures, pottery, prints and canvases.

It was a good afternoon, not what I was expecting but like I say, we need to return another time. Have you been to Claydon Estate? Or recommend any National Trust properties we should visit next?

Love, Lucy xx

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Love, Lucy xx

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