We visited Batsord Arboretum for the first time at the weekend and had such a fantastic time, I thought it deserved a little write-up! It’s definitely something lovely to do at this time of year when the leaves are turning fiery red, and our visit got the thumbs up in terms of being family-friendly and feeling Coronavirus-safe.
The arboretum is a 56-acre garden area filled with plants and trees from around the world – “there are over 2,850 labelled specimens including about 1,300 different trees, shrubs and bamboo,” says Batsford. Just outside of Moreton-in-Marsh it took us 25 minutes to drive from our home just South of Stratford-upon-Avon.
During this time when entry to many attractions are limiting their visitors numbers, you must book your ticket online before turning up. Weekend slots especially appear to be selling out that week so it’s worth planning a couple of weeks in advance. It cost us £8.95 per adult and kids under 4 are free.
Getting there for the first slot at 10am was a good shout. Being the first person at a visitor destination is my favourite thing to do at the moment – not just because we’re an ‘up early’ family anyway but because every time I do this I find the queues to be shorter and the local traffic to be lighter.
As I’d presumed, entering at 10am was seamless and quick. We wore masks briefly to walk through an outdoor area where we gave our booking reference to staff, were handed a sticker to wear and we were in, all in about a minute. When we left to go home at 11.30am there did appear to be a longer queue at the entry point… maybe we just strike lucky with these things!
The pathways between the grassy areas are spacious so social distancing was not a problem at all, and it didn’t feel too busy. I actually forgot to bring our pram and our only-recently-walking 18 month-year-old still managed fine, being carried briefly but also loving toddling along the paths himself. I didn’t record the distance but we walked to the end of the furthest path and back again in about an hour, stopping to spot exotic plants, collect dead leaves from the floor and take a few photos. It was good to know that for future visits that, whilst there are more ‘dirt’ paths to explore, there is always a pram-friendly option to follow.
Sadly the kids’ play area remained closed but an outdoor cafe serving coffee, cakes and pastries was open (with lots of outdoor seating), and the shop and garden centre was open too. After a hot chocolate and a piece of lemon cake we retreated home to paint pictures with our leaf collections and reflect on what was the perfect, Autumnal Saturday morning. And for just under £18 (plus the cake, of course!).
We can’t wait to return.
Buy tickets and find out more at batsarb.co.uk.