We must have driven past the sign for Trentham Gardens hundreds of times on our way up and down the M6, but had never stopped. Finding ourselves about to pass the door and in need of a break, we thought it was about time we paid a visit. Good decision! We were pleasantly surprised by how much there was there to see and do. We passed on the Monkey Forest and the Aerial Extreme and went straight for the log cabin Shopping Village – I bet it looks great at Christmas.
There is plenty of parking available for the 60 shops, cafes and restaurants. We indulged in a little retail therapy before heading over to the enormous Garden Centre where we were confident that we would find some lunch.
This Garden Centre is indeed vast. There are 3 eatery options: a cafe with comfy sofas, a self service restaurant and a full service Italian restaurant overlooking the Italian Garden. We elected for the self service option and enjoyed an excellent lunch before heading to the gardens themselves. There is a charge to enter the gardens, but there are various ways to save on the cost, including the use of Tesco vouchers. These are all mentioned on the cheap tickets and discount page on the website – well worth investigating beforehand if possible.
As our decision to visit was spur of the moment we hadn’t done any advance research and so knew nothing about the history of the gardens. What a fascinating place! Trentham was first mentioned in the Doomsday Book in 1086 and has a colourful history. It had one of the most celebrated gardens in the country in the mid 19th century, but the house was abandoned in 1905 and is now sadly derelict. There is lots of information about the history on the website.
The revival of the gardens began in 2003 and plans continue to “regenerate and restore the historic Estate and gardens, turning it into a premier tourist and leisure destination of national significance.”
A specially constructed viewing platform gives visitors an excellent view of the Italian Garden.
The restoration of the Italian Garden over time is clearly explained on nearby information boards.
The Trellis Walk and David Austin Rose Garden are particularly stunning
We had a look around the Show Gardens. Then needing a good stretch of the legs before continuing our journey, we elected to follow the 2 mile circular walk around the lake, spotting a few fabulous Trentham Fairies and sculptures as we went.
How many robins can you see?
The far end of the lake is home to The Lakeside Cafe and Boat Jetty, where for a small sum you can catch a boat back up the lake.
Further round the lake there is a little train that runs in peak season.
We spent a very pleasant few hours at Trentham Gardens and suspect that this will not be our last visit. Even if you only have a short time to spare, it’s a highly recommended alternative to a motorway service station!
You can find out more on the Trentham Estate website.