On a sunny Spring weekend in April we visited Speke Hall in Liverpool. We are regular visitors to Speke Hall as it’s only 40 minutes away from us as a visit last summer was the reason I started up my National Trust membership again.
We haven’t however been to visit since they put in the Giant Childe of Hale Trail and so when I heard there was going to be an Alice in Wonderland weekend on too, I thought we definitely needed to meet some friends there and try both out.
We arrived shortly after 11.15 and as the Alice in Wonderland walk was due to start at 11.30 we did that first.
The rabbit and the hatter were funny and engaging with the kids and of course wandering about the beautiful Speke Hall in the sun is never difficult to do.
The walk around took you through parts of the story of Alice in Wonderland as you meandered through the kitchen gardens, to the stunning view of the front of the house and then back across the croquet lawn.
Pictures with Alice when they eventually found her at the end of the trail was the order of the day. Although it was amusing when we left for the day that the girls spotted ‘Alice’ working on the reception desk and asked me why Alice had to work – wasn’t she a little girl?
It was around 12.30 when the Alice trail finished so we made our way to the surprisingly un busy cafe. I think the nice weather helped as it was pretty busy in the grounds so lots of people must have packed picnics.
I had really nice homemade soup and a roll whilst hubby plumped for the bacon butty and the girls had a snack box filled with their favourite things (albeit the roll www denounced as too floury!).
It was then onto the Giant Childe of Hale trail. The children’s adventure play trek is based on the infamous legend of John Middleton. According to legend Mr Middleton, who stood 9ft 3in tall, slept with his feet sticking out of the windows of his cottage in Church End, Hale, near Speke. Mr Middleton lived from 1578 to 1623 and, because of his size, his landlord Gilbert Ireland, the Sheriff of Lancashire, hired him as a bodyguard.
Along the trail you find things that belonged to the Giant and the kids are encouraged to read the signs and play along. The trail connects the playground near the entrance with the adventure playground in the woods.
My three love the adventure playground in the woods, particularly the zip wire and we must have played in here for a good hour or so, with parents stationed at either end of the zip wire to get them on and off! A trail that links the two playgrounds is a fantastic idea and we will definitely end up back here a number of time over the Summer as the beauty of National Trust membership is that it feels like you’re getting a free day out. A family membership (2 adults and up to 5 children) is only £9.25 a month.
After the adventure playground it was back to the Maze and the first playground before finishing the day with ice creams and a bit of croquet and archery on the lawn with the Queen of Hearts! As you do!
NB: Thanks to the NT for inviting us along to Speke Hall, however we are members of the NT and love our membership. For a chance to win a Family Pass to the NT property of your choice, why not join in with The Ordinary Lovely and Me on Instagram using the hashtag #UKexplore.