This post has been a long time coming, given that it's about some of the adventures from my birthday weekend, for which the celebrations have well and truly finished. Now I'm just old. Tom and I spent the Friday at Groombridge Place, after Tom cooked up a breakfast storm to keep us going for most of the day.
The house is stunning, although I was sad to discover visitors aren't allowed any closer than the outside of the moat. Still, I guess that's the whole point of having a moat! The house is surrounded by beautiful themed gardens, including a Drunken Garden, Oriental Garden, and Secret Garden.
|Gorgeous blossom in the Oriental Garden|
|I'm not quite sure how secret a Secret Garden is when it's signposted...|
The formal gardens also host a tiny museum about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who was a frequent visitor to the house, a giant chess set, free-range peacocks, and some of the most unusual plants I've ever seen.
|It even has tulips which look like Bart Simpson!|
And that's just the tip of the magical iceberg.... The house and formal gardens are nestled inside a vast, wooded estate (aka the Enchanted Forest) which is crammed with incredible, fantastical things to discover. I don't want to ruin all the surprises, but the thoughtful additions include eerily realistic human skeletons, gypsy caravans, giant swings, and a Pterodactyl.
|Innocently enjoying the regular-sized swings. Little did I know they'd |
soon be ruined for me FOREVER.
|Giant swing!! EEEEPPPPP! (Apparently, giant swings make |
me do Chipmunk Face too.)
|I told you it was giant(!)|
We also witnessed a raptor show, which I got slightly too excited about because I tend to think "OHMYGOD Jurassic Park!!" whenever I hear the word raptor. As I know now, raptor also means a bird of prey. The display was pretty cool, despite the lack of dinosaurs, and the birds got incredibly close; I was one of the majority who were clipped by a wing when we didn't duck low enough. Although I suspect the owl hit me on purpose after overhearing me muttering about the disappointing lack of Jeff Goldblum...
I honestly can't recommend Groombridge Place enough, and can't wait to take our gorgeous niece there the minute she's old enough to tackle a full-sized replica Robinson Crusoe TV show treehouse.
Have you found any brilliant places for adventures recently?