The week before Easter saw us heading back to the UK to catch up with family and friends having been living abroad for 6 months now. On one of these lovely sunny spring days, we met some friends at Sir Harold Hillier Gardens, near Romsey in Hampshire. One of the things that was so striking is how much more advanced into spring the UK is than where we live in Sweden. The trees have leaves on, and the blossom is out in abundance looking so pretty. Sir Harold Hillier Gardens did not disappoint in its beauty and tranquillity.
Sir Harold Hillier Gardens can seem full to bursting point when you arrive in the car park, but once into the gardens, it can seem really quite empty. It is large enough to seem like you have a lot of space, peace, and calm away from other people. The huge place is divided up into many differing types of gardens, and that in itself is one big adventure to explore. There are also many other features there for children, not to mention the labelling of the trees and plants so us grown ups learn a thing or two as well. There is a fantastic tree house play area (which also has the most amazing trees for climbing nearby – more on that later in the post), the flying carpet, and the super snake swing to play on. There are fish to watch in ponds, wobbly bridges to run over, pathways hidden amongst bamboo tunnels, and boardwalks. You can also sneak in a little geocaching too whilst you are there. We were there for 5 hours and didn’t do half of what is there!
We met our friends and headed off to pay £1.50 for each child to do an Easter egg hunt. The children had to use a map to hunt for rabbits that had a question on them. The answer was used to fill out a crossword, and then the shaded letters on the crossword formed an anagram to solve. The bunnies were well sited throughout a lot of the gardens, taking us on a lovely route and making sure we got to see a lot of the place. We passed through an education garden with chimes to play, and a well to operate, we walked through truly beautiful blooming magnolia trees, and we ate a picnic half way round while the children raced around an open lawn playing tag. It was so laid back, unhurried, and calming.
We returned back to the visitors’ centre to claim their prizes, and once those had been gobbled and ice creams consumed, we headed over to the tree house play area. This is such a lovely idea. A wooden house wraps itself around a tree and is built on stilts on a slope. It has walkways, slides, and a climbing wall. Plus there are the most fantastic pine trees, perfect for children climbing. There are full of horizontal branches that start at the bottom and go all the way up the trees, very very high! Our little lady was at least 25 feet up in the air, and was closely followed by her friend and one of our mini men.
Yesterday was such a lovely day, out enjoying yet more warm spring sunshine, surrounded by beautiful blooms, and with 5 very happy children, doing what they do best, playing in nature….happily!! I really recommend a visit (or 2 or 3) to this lovely and very special place tucked away in Hampshire 🙂