Easter Weekend 2021 – making the most of lockdown lifting

Little boy with Easter trail mapNow that places are actually opening up again, doesn’t Easter feel so long gone? That said, I’ve not been to a pub, to get my haircut, or hit the shops. We certainly made the most of the long weekend though, with two walks – which meant two Easter trails for Alfie, with the promise of a chocolate egg at the end.

We made the most of our National Trust passes again, because we finally could and visited two properties. First, we went to Stowe, which is somewhere I’d never been to before, but isn’t too far, in Buckingham. And then we went to one of my favourite local places – Ascott. It’s literally 8 minutes from our house, on the way to Leighton Buzzard and has the most beautiful gardens. Of course, we had to pre-book both afternoons. As we are members, admission and car parking are free. Alfie was also free, but the Easter trail was £3 a pop.

My friend said she hadn’t seen them as heavily advertised this year – and I’m not sure if that’s because things are slowly opening up again and of course, admission numbers are restricted. Or because the Easter trails are no longer being sponsored/in collaboration with Cadbury’s.

Little boy at Stowe

Good Friday at Stowe

For our walk, we simply followed the map and there were 10 points where we needed to stop and complete a small activity. The lady who we met on arrival mentioned the whole route might be too much for Alfie, and there was a small cut-through we could take, which would miss out some of the numbers. We did the full route, and it wasn’t really that far – although we did keep stopping. I think Alfie was buzzed with the promise of a chocolate egg, as well as keeping an eye out for the numbers.

We definitely got our steps in. And when we stopped for refreshments – Ash jumped into the café to get us some coffees because it was so cold – Alfie saw some kids running up and down some steps and wanted to join in. Eventually, I was roped into this game too – although after the third attempt, I think it was enough!

I wish I had taken more photos, or actually knew what monuments and things we saw, because it was really beautiful. But I was definitely too engrossed in the Easter trail, in charge of pencil and map, and forever trying to round Alfie up to get to the next stopping point. We will definitely have to go back, as I’m sure there’s loads that we missed.

I believe there are the Eastern Gardens, with a Chinese-style pagoda house, that sounds wonderful. But at every turn, there was something new. Little out-buildings; stone pillars, statues and monuments; beautiful lakes; and plenty of greenery. It was just so nice to be out in the open air, and it wasn’t too busy.

When the weather gets warmer, perhaps we will take a picnic.

Blossom tree at Ascott

Easter Monday at Ascott

Initially, I did wonder whether the questions on the Easter trail would be the same, as from the outside, the map looked the same. But thankfully they were different – although the route at Ascott was much the same as previous years. In fact, every time we visit, we go around the same way and often see the same things – yet it never gets boring or like we’ve done it before.

Our slot was booked for 12:30pm and so, we took a picnic. Well Alfie had an early lunch at home, and then I think was rather jealous when we sat at the bench, facing the sheep and lambs and basking in the sunshine… I say sunshine, it was still quite cold when the wind blew, but it’s typical that as soon as we left, it got warmer!

We also saw the horses in the field along the far-side of the fences. There’s always so much to see – the horses, sheep, birds, and of course, all the wonderful nature. Spring/summer is always such a good time to go, with the gardens in bloom – and oh my, the daffodils! There must have literally been thousands of them, the swarms of gorgeous bright yellow making the perfect backdrop for photos. This one mum got of Alfie and I as we were walking to one of the trail check points is just beautiful and like art – it would make a great postcard, that’s for sure!

Mum and son walking through daffodil fields
The daffodils have made me realise how much I need to visit a bluebell wood… I don’t think I’ve ever been to one – certainly not with Alfie anyway. I can’t imagine he would be as enthused as me.

And as the café at Ascott has an outdoor seating area, we grabbed coffee and cake (or in Alfie’s case, a Calippo) after we finished the trail. There was so much choice, with some Easter-inspired treats included too. I chose mum a slice of the lemon drizzle cake, and I went for the GF lemon, blueberry and almond cake, which was divine – and gave off all the spring vibes.

A lovely long weekend, with plenty of fresh air, laughs and memories made. We must do it again soon.

Love, Lucy xx

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Love, Lucy xx

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