A beautiful Arts and Crafts mansion, a rose garden that makes you close your eyes, inhale and then go “mmmmm”, grapes growing around an arbour. These are not images which would usually spring to mind in relation to Wolverhampton. And yet, the idyllic location of Bantock Park is just one mile from the centre of Wolverhampton. Better still, despite looking like the kind of spot you’d see in your “National Trust” handbook, Bantock is owned by the council and entirely free to visit. Not even a charge to park your car.
The sun was shining when we arrived at Bantock and we let CJ have a run around on the large playground. There’s a sports pavillion next to this, along with one of those rather quirky outdoor gyms. Whilst waiting around next to the very popular pedal roundabout, I had a lovely view of the pitch and putt course, which looks immaculate.
We moved on to the formal gardens. Not particularly suitable for a three year old you might think. However, CJ loves them, and we spent ages playing hide and seek around the roses and hedges, followed by some very successful butterfly spotting. There’s also a sculpture of a highland cow just outside the formal gardens, which children love to sit on. There’s a nature trail which you can follow, but we were happy playing house under the frames where pears and grapes are growing in the sun. After we’d stopped for a drink, it was the gardens that CJ wanted to go back to, rather than the playground. Gardens can be magical places for children, with so much to stimulate all the senses.
Anyway, about that drink that we stopped for. If for some reason I have not already won you over with my description of the outdoor beauty at Bantock, then you may be interested to know that there’s a brilliant cafe with fabulous cake. Interested now? Yes, I thought so. No chewing your way through oily prepacked muffins, or attempting to digest a floppy panini filled with tasteless and unidentifiable cheese product. No, this place has proper food (pitta filled with dhal or chickpeas and spinach anyone?) proper cake (e.g. apple and Wensleydale cake from the butcher in Tettenhall) and proper, strong, leaf tea. Luckily for me, both times I’ve visited, it’s been warm enough to sit outside in the charming courtyard, but it’s pleasant inside too.
I’ve not been inside Bantock House, as I’m saving that for a rainy day visit, but I’m reliably informed by Grandma and Grandad Parklover, that it’s both stunning and packed with activities to keep kids happy, if you have them with you. Furthermore, there are frequent workshops held here as well as events such as outdoor theatre performances.
I can’t believe that when I lived in the Black Country, I had no idea that this lovely place was here. Don’t make the same mistake as me, if you are anywhere near Wolverhampton, this is a place that “you simply MUST visit.“