GRAND DAYS OUT
Enjoy a day out at Pensthorpe
T his,” announced threeyear-old Topsy, as she hurried towards WildRootz adventure play at Pensthorpe, “is my favourite thing in the whole world.”
When your daughter says something like that, and you know that your mum is equally happy – having seen so much wildlife, walked around such a stunning setting and had a lovely lunch - you know you’ve chosen the right place to visit.
Pensthorpe Natural Park is proud to offer a “naturally inspiring” family day out and it’s not difficult to see why it won Best Large Attraction Norfolk in the EDP Tourism Awards 2014 and 2015. Set in the Wensum Valley, Pensthorpe has more than 700 acres of wildlife, gardens, adventure and indoor play. There is so much to see and do – whatever your age.
We loved watching the cranes from the purpose-built hides and marvelled at the beauty and colour of the flamingos.
Then there were the red squirrels – how many other places can you get within a few feet of these endearing but endangered creatures, and know that a percentage of your admission fee will go to help them in the future?
We enjoyed walking around the Millennium Garden, designed by world renowned plantsman Piet Oudolf, and strolling out on to the Monet-style bridge.
What makes Pensthorpe so special is that it isn’t just a delight to visit for grandparents and parents – a huge amount of thought has been put into how best to inspire children as well. There’s a stamp activity trail that enables youngsters to find out fun wildlife facts (and collect a badge from the gift shop once they have collected all the stamps), a bug trail with questions and answers, and a mirror trail too.
And of course there’s WildRootz, a delightful natural play area that we all enjoyed and didn’t want to leave.
Meanwhile, Hootz House has rope bridges, tree towers and winding slides for older children and a special soft play area for the under-fives. The latter was closed for maintenance on the day we visited, but Topsy has thoroughly enjoyed it on previous visits and it just meant we spent more time on the outdoor play area this time.
With such a diverse range of habitats, Pensthorpe Natural Park is now nationally recognised as a breeding site for many species, as well as becoming a haven for numerous types of bird, insect and mammal.
We were also pleased to learn that by visiting, we were supporting the work of Pensthorpe Conservation Trust – 15 per cent of the entry fee supports the work of the trust, helping it to manage its priority habitats and work with conservation species on a local and national level.
A special mention must be given to the staff too. Everyone – from those on the admissions desk to the Courtyard Cafe to Hootz House - was friendly, approachable and quite clearly happy to be there. We arrived when the reserve opened and soon lost track of the time. We would still like to return to take the Pensthorpe Explorer wardenled tour, we would have liked to have spent more time walking, Mum would happily have enjoyed another meal in the café and Topsy didn’t want to leave the play area.
Pensthorpe was undoubtedly a
There is so much to see and do – whatever your age.
hit with us. But the last words, as those first words, should surely belong to Topsy. So, what was her favourite part of the day?
“All of it,” she said, simply. We agreed – and we’ll definitely be back.
Head to Pensthorpe Natural Park for a lovely day with the grandchildren.
Grandmother Maureen Banham loved her ‘Grand Day Out’ at Pensthorpe almost as much as her granddaughter Topsy did.
Visiting the red squirrels.
Taking a tour of the park.