With Lockdown gradually easing, we took a trip out with Joshua today to Longstock Park Water Gardens, which is located down in Stockbridge. It was originally created by the Beddington famiy in the 1930s, but developed further by John Lewis in the 1940s as a place to relax and reflect. It is currently owned and managed by Waitrose and is open to the public during the Summer season on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays in 2 hour slots – 10am to midday and 1 to 3pm.
Tickets must be pre-booked at £10 per head, with under 3s entering for free – this includes onsite parking, with the car park being just a few metres from the entrance to the gardens. This gives you access to the water gardens and woodland walks, spanning around 6 acres in total. The fact that there are limited tickets available means that the site never feels crowded, which is ideal during these times when social distancing is so important. It is currently set out with one way signage, which again helps with keeping people sensibly spread out across the site. People were generally respecting the signage, and we never felt like we were too close to any other visitors.
Most importantly though, the place is really, really lovely to walk around. Pretty much whichever direction you look in you will find something photo-worthy that catches your eye. Personally I love water gardens, so this was right up my street, with large clear ponds as far as the eye can see, covered in water lillies, and surrounded by beautiful plants in every possible colour. We took a load of photos, and hopefully a few of these will do the place justice…
As you can see, it’s a beautiful place and we could easily have spent a few peaceful hours just sitting on one of the many benches and watching the world go by. Even Joshua, who tends to get bored fairly quickly on walks, really enjoyed himself, and was quite happy running between the ponds, trees and flowers and talking about all his favourite bits. It’s really well laid out, so you can follow various paths across the ponds via small bridges, which makes the site feel a lot larger than it actually is.
I could have happily just walked around the ponds, but there is a large area at the back where you can take a peaceful stroll through the woodland areas, so we wandered through the trees and contemplated which ones we would like to have in our own back garden! Unfortuantely we don’t quite have the six acres required to do them justice in our garden, but it’s a nice idea in theory…
Planning Your Visit to Longstock Park Water Gardens
As mentioned above you do need to book in advance, so head long to their website for details of how to do this, along with opening times and dates etc.
There is a toilet on site at Longstock Park Water Gardens, which is handy, but no food and drink facilities, so we arrived a few minutes before our 1pm slot time, and had a nice picnic under a tree next to our car in the grass car park before heading inside. Quite a few other visitors had the same idea and the car park is pretty big (considering the limited number of visitors) and features a few nice trees, so it’s something I’d definitely recommend.
Gates close sharply at the end of each 2 hour time slot, but we managed to cover a couple of full laps of the main site within our allotted time, so although we could have happily stayed longer two hours felt about right, especially with a six year-old with us.
All in all, a beautiful location, made all the more wonderful today by the lovely weather, so if you’re looking for somewhere a bit different to spend a really enjoyable couple of hours I would very much recommend taking a look at Longstock Park Water Gardens.
For more about some of our favourite days out click here.