There are many family activities held at the houses and gardens around Cambridgeshire. Audley End, Wimpole Hall, Wandlebury Park and Ickworth House are just some of the wonderful places to see.
House built in 1600 on the site of a 12th-century priory, with a collection built by Huttleston Broughton, 1st Lord Fairhaven. There is nearly 100 acres of landscape garden and arboretum with over 100 pieces of sculpture.
There is a winter walk and snowdrops in January and February, hyacinths in the spring, herbaceous borders and dahlia gardens in the summer and magnificent autumn foliage. The working watermill regularly mills grain for sale. Hip-carrying infant seats for loan (available in the house), a Children’s quiz/trail, family adventure packs. There is a great tree house to get a birds eye view of the Wildlife Discover Area for kids.
Garden & Lode Mill, Quy Road, Lode, Cambridgeshire CB25 9EJ
Tel: 01223 810080
Open: See website, different times for house, gardens and mill. Gardens generally 10:30-5:30pm in summer.
Admission: Gardens only Adult £7.10 Child £3.75, Family £16.85. Whole Property Adult £11.60, Child £6.00, Family £29.50.
Getting there: Car – 6 miles north east of Cambridge on B1102. Signposted from A14 (jct. 35). By Foot – Harcamlow Way from Cambridge. Cycle – NCN51, 11⁄4 miles. Bus -Stagecoach route 10 from Cambridge Bus Station.
Audley End House & Gardens
An insight into Victorian life. The house has elaborately decorated rooms and an art collection. Stables with horses and a Victorian groom. Also a service Wing including kitchen, scullery, pantry and laundries, gives you an insight into Victorian life below stairs. Originally adapted from a medieval Benedictine monastery, the house and gardens at Audley End were amongst the largest and most opulent in Jacobean England.
Parkland designed by “Capability” Brown. Fine formal Victorian gardens in process of being restored to their former glory. Walled organic kitchen garden stocked to match the 1800’s plants. River Cam dammed to provide artificial lake.
There are two cafes, one with a playground next to it. Extensive grassed areas idea for family activities. Bike stands available by Lion Gates, but please do not ride bikes inside the grounds. Kites are welcome. Sling Loan on request.
Off London Road, Saffron Walden, Essex, CB11 4JF
Tel: 01799 522842
Open: See website as these change. Usually term time Saturday and Sunday 10-4pm, School Holidays open all week.
Admission: Adult £16.00, Child (5-15 yrs) £9.60, Family (2 Adults, 3 children) £41.60
Getting there: Bus – Burton/Four Counties 59, Stansted Transit 301 from Audley End railway station stopping in Saffron Walden. By Car 1 mile W of Saffron Walden on B1383 (M11 exit 8 or 10). By Train, Audley End 1 1⁄4 miles. Note: Footpath is beside busy main road, 1.5 miles from the station.
Bourne Post Mill
One of the oldest surviving windmills in the country. Exterior can be visited any time during daylight, the inside on National Mills weekend (second Sunday in May) and last Sunday of the month in Summer. However do check the website to be sure.
Bourn Post Mill is located off Caxton Road, Bourn CB23 2SU between the villages of Bourn and Caxton.
Getting there: Car – (9 miles) On the A428 from Cambridge take the turn after the blue footbridge signed Caldecote then follow Bourn Airfield and then Bourn, and take a right turn into Caxton Road. Alternatively turn off the A1198 at Caxton village. The mill is signed from the centre of the village.
Brandon Country Park
This was originally an Edwardian country house, and now it is a lovely park with lawns and a lake. There is a walled garden and apple orchard. There are Copper Beech tea rooms and a small shop and visitor centre.
Bury Road, Brandon, Suffolk
Tel: 01842 810185
Open: Brandon Country Park Visitor Centre and Tearooms are open from 10:00. Between April and October it closes at 4:30pm and between November and March it closes at 3.30pm. We open every day except Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day. The Park is open from dawn to dusk.
By Car: Brandon Country Park (IP27 0SU) is located just south of Brandon town centre off the B1106 Bury Road, just 5 minutes from the newly dualled A11. 30 minutes from Bury St Edmunds and under an hour from Ipswich, Cambridge, Kings Lynn and Norwich.
Public Transport: Brandon town centre (1mile/1.6km) and railway station (1.5miles/2.4km) are walking distance from the park.
Clare Castle Country Park
Extensive grounds and parkland around the ruins of 13th century Clare Castle. Several walks around the park, the river Stour, a nature trail, old station house and a visitor centre. It is in the picturesque, historic town of Clare, just two minutes walk from the town centre.
Maltings Lane, Clare, Suffolk CO10 8NJ
www.clare-uk.com Admission: Free
Getting there: Car – 50 minutes (26 miles). Bus – 1 hour 10 minutes, X13 to Haverhill, then 236 to Clare.
Denny Abbey and Farmland Museum
The Abbey is a 12th century building lived in by Benedictine monks, Franciscan nuns and Knights Templers. The farmland musem has a programme of events such as basket making, family history and children’s activity days on school holidays. There is a farmworker’s cottage, blacksmith, a dairy, fenman’s hut and more. It has a cafe, picnic area, childrens play area and shop.
Ely Road, Waterbeach, Cambridge CB25 9PQ
Tel: 01223 860988
Open: In the summer, April-October Weekends and bank holiday Mondays 10.30 – 5pm, weekdays 12.00 – 5pm Closed November to March.
Admission: Adults £5.00, Child £3.00, Family £13.00.
Getting there: Car – 20 minutes (8 miles) on A10. Bus – Stagecoach 9 towards Chatteris, get off at Landbeach, Research Park Entrance, bus takes 30 minutes, walk 15 minutes.
On the Northern Shore is an exhibition centre showing how the reservoir was built and a cafe. You can walk around the reservoir and you can also hire bikes from the centre.
Marlow Park, Grafham, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, PE28 0BH
Tel: 01480 812154
Getting there: Car – 40 minutes (25 miles) via A14, then exit at 23 to A1 and B661 to Ridgeway.
Hinchingbrooke Country Park
180 acre Country Park near Huntingdon. Free access to woods, lakes and meadows. Disabled access to visitor centre, toilets, hardened paths. Fishing platforms and wildlife garden. Electric wheelchairs available for use. Watersports available to people of all abilities The house was originally a medieval nunnery converted by Cromwell family in the 16th century, later extended by the Earls of Sandwich.
Brampton Road, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, PE29 6DB
Tel: 01480 451568 www.huntingdonshire.gov.uk
Open: All year. The park and the main car park are open at
all times with pay & display parking every day from 7am until 6pm (season tickets are available). The Visitors’ Centre and café are open every day except Christmas Day.
Admission: Free for park. Pay for house.
Getting there: Bus – 1 hour 27 minutes, Busway A to Histon, then Busway B to Hinchingbrooke Park. Train – 1 hour 19 minutes, to Hitchin then Huntingdon then walk 15 mins. Car – 45 minutes (20 miles), A14 and A1.
he mill itself is situated on the River Cam with inner mill workings intact. It is found in the pretty village of Hinxton, constructed in 17th century.The exterior of the mill can be enjoyed at any time of the year from the riverside footpath. The mill is especially worth visiting on one of the summer open days, which are usually the first Sunday of the month (but check first).
Mill Lane, Hinxton CB10 1RD
Getting there: Car – 25 minutes (15 miles) via M11, then exit 10 to A505. Then take A1301 to Mill Lane. Bus – Citi 7 then Bus 7A
Ickworth House Park and Gardens
A lovely 1800 acre landscape with a Georgian Italianate palace. The Ickworth family and subsequent Lord Hervey’s gave the house an interesting and eccentric history, full of intrigue. There are acres of woodland that can be explored by foot or by bike. It has a cafe and restaurant, gift shop, plant and garden centre. There are living history days, and events such as archery and out door theatre.
The Rotunda, Bury St Edmunds, IP29 5QE
Telephone: 01284 735270
Open: Varies. Gardens 10:00-17:30. Free flow from 12 to 4pm last entry to the House at 3.15pm. * Last entrance to the Italianate Garden is half an hour before close. Park dawn to dusk.
Admission: Whole property: Adult £12.60, child £6.35. Park and gardens: Adult £6.25 Family £15.65 House upgrade Adult £6.35, Child £3.10, Family £12.00.
Getting there: Train – Bury St Edmunds (3 miles from the Station). Car – 43 minutes (30 miles) near Bury St. Edmunds, follow A14 east.
The history of Mildenhall, has holiday activities for kids, and exhibits.You can see the Lakenheath Warrior, his horse and his artefacts from the grave; discover the mystery of the magnificent Mildenhall Treasure; and find out about the key role Mildenhall’s air base played on the Second World War.
King Street, Mildenhall, Suffolk IP28 7EX
Tel: 01638 716970
Open: Closed from Christmas until March. Tues, Wed, Thu & Sat 2.00pm-4.30pm , Fri 10.30am -4.30pm. In July & August the museum is also open from 10.30 – 12.30 on Thursdays. After the clocks change in October we close at 4.00pm.
Milton Country Park
A large park created from old gravel pits. The paths are suitable for bicycles and wheelchairs. Watch kids near the steep sided lakes. There is a Visitor Centre with café, two play-areas, a sensory garden and sunclock. There are also regular events such as the Halloween Twilight Walk and Easter Egg Hunt.
Milton, Cambridge CB4 6AZ
Open: All year. The car park, visitor centre and toilets are open from: 8am. Closing times are November – January: 4.30pm; February – March: 5.30pm; April – August: 7pm; September – October: 5.30pm. Exact dates may vary to align with school holidays, and clocks changing to/from summer time.
Getting there: Car – Junction of the A10 and A14 to Milton Village.
Oliver Cromwell’s House
Domestic life in the 17th Century in a variety of re-created period rooms as well an exhibition detailing the Civil War. See Mrs Cromwell’s kitchen, try dressing-up or playing with the toys of the time or venture into the Haunted Bedroom.
29 St Mary’s Street, Ely CB7 4HF
Tel: 01353 662062
St. Mary’s Church – Buckdon
Buckden Towers is famous as a residence of the Bishops of Lincoln from the middle of the 13th century to the 19th century. The first Vicar of the Church was William de Bugden in 1217. It has carvings of animals around the porch. Open every day.
Buckden, Cambridgeshire firstname.lastname@example.org
Getting there: Car – 30 minutes (22 miles) via A14.
Built in the 1130s the Manor is one of the oldest continuously inhabited houses in Britain and much of the original house remains virtually intact over 900 years. It was used during World War II by Lucy Boston to give gramophone record recitals twice a week to the RAF. The house is open by appointment only.
Hemingford Grey, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, PE28 9BN
Open: The garden is open daily from 11am to 5pm (dusk in winter). No appointment is needed. The House is open throughout the year but strictly by appointment (except throughout May when there are guided tours at 2pm. Booking for these is still advisable as the size of the tours has to be limited.)
Getting there: Hemingford Grey is 4 miles sout-east of Huntingdon just off the A14. Car – 25 minutes (14 miles) via A14 westwards.
Wandlebury Country Park
Attractive parkland with woodland walks & a nature trail located within 5 miles of the city centre. 110 acres of woods and chalk grassland in the gentle Gog Magog Hills. A great place to wander with children. The grasslands are grazed by Texel sheep and Highland Cattle. Site of Iron Age hill fort. In the 17th century a racing stable was built inside the old hillfort for King James II.
There are many myths about the gods Gog and Magog. Some say they were buried nearby, and that on Fleam Dyke lies a golden chariot. Gervase of Tilbusy wrote a ghostly tale in 1219 that Wandlebury was ruled by a dark night-rider that no mortal could defeat. One day a brave Normal knight called Osbert took up the challenge and won.
There is a picnic site, marked walks and nature trail through woods. There is also a Banyard bird hide on the northern edge of Varley’s Field, for watching wildlife. Some hardened paths are buggy and wheelchair friendly. In autumn it is a great place to kick about in the leaves.
Wandlebury Ring, Gog Magog Hills, Babraham, Cambs CB22 3AE
Tel: 01223 243830
Open: from dawn until dusk every day.
Getting there: Bus – Citiplus X13 towards Haverhill. Car – off the A1307 (£2.50 parking charge) 3 miles from Cambridge.
Wimpole Hall Estate
Built by Sir John Soane in 1794 for the 3rd Earl of Hardwicke, who was passionately interested in farming and agricultural improvement. The Home Farm and gardens have been producing vegetables, meat and eggs throughout the estates history and still do today. Best seen in summer. The gardens are Victorian, but much has now been modified.
The park, landscaped by Bridgeman, Brown and Repton, has lovely views, a Gothic folly and serpentine lakes. The garden has thousands of daffodils in April and colourful parterres in July and August. Note that buggies can’t be taken into the main house. There are hip-carrying infant seats for loan, a children’s guide and quiz/trail. It has a picnic area, cafe and children’s play area.
Wimpole Hall, Arrington, Royston, Cambridgeshire SG8 OBW
Tel: 01223 206000
Open: Feb – Nov – Daily 10:30 – 5pm. Hall: Park: Everyday dawn to dusk. Nov– mid Feb 11 – 4pm.
Admission: Whole Property: Adult: £16.25 Child: £8, Family: £40.75; Home Farm & Gardens £10.45, Child £5.25.
Getting there: Cycle – National Trust-permitted cycle path to entrance from Orwell (A603). Car – 8 miles SW of Cambridge off A603, Junc 12 of M11. By Foot – Wimpole Way from Cambridge. Bus – Citi 2 towards Addenbrooks Hospital, get off on Cherry Hinton Road. 15 minutes from Cambridge Centre. Train – Arrington (1 mile)/Orwell (2 miles) Shepreth 5 miles. Taxi service from Royston 8 miles.