Review: the Easter trail at Hatchlands Park
Looking for something to entertain the kids this Easter? The good old National Trust have come up trumps with cracking nature trails. And quicker than you can say Easter bunny, Muddy nipped along to review the opening weekend.
There’s something edifying about getting back to nature and if you’re desperate to get your rabble off their screens during the Easter holidays, a good old nature trail is always a winner. And when there’s a chocolate egg at the end of it all – it’s even better.
The gardens and grounds at Hatchlands Park at East Clandon are lovely all year round, but at Easter the team go the extra mile and invite visitors to discover the grounds in a new way.
Hatchlands Park stretches out over 430 acres and in the springtime it comes alive with colour. There’s one of the best bluebell woods around, blossom lined paths and daffodils underplanted beneath beautiful stately plane trees.
I visited this popular National Trust park on the first weekend in April – and despite a distinctly chilly day, it was still busy with families, couples and plenty of four-legged furries. I was catching up with a close family friend and we thought her girls, aged 5 and 8, would love the Easter adventure trail, while we had a good old natter on the way round.
We collected our activity pack at the kiosk by the main carpark and set off following the arrows along the trail. There is a guide to the 10 nature inspired trail points to spot around the park, and also a bunch of Easter eggs to spot and count along the way, as well as a golden bunny.
The first egg was easy to spot, and with that the girls were hooked, running ahead to see which of them could find the next egg first, and keeping a tally on their activity packs.
We found the bunny and counted 33 Easter eggs. Apparently though, there are 41 eggs in total – 11 big ones and 30 small ones – so less nattering and more eagle-eyed spotting if you want to find them all.
It’s an easy walk, with no strenuous hills, and well-maintained pathways that make it easy to get a pushchair or buggy around. Kids are also allowed to bring scooters and bikes (as long as they’re smaller than 75cm from the ground to the handlebar).
The activity packs come with an Easter egg, and despite our attempts to convince the girls they had to finish the trail before they could scoff the egg, they were one step ahead of us. And so just before the end of the trail we plonked ourselves on a bench and cracked open the goodies. Behind us cows were grazing in the field.
THE MUDDY VERDICT
It was pretty chilly the day we visited, but it’s a pleasant day out if you’re wrapped up warm. On sunnier days you can pack a picnic and spend longer exploring the estate. Wizard Wix’s Willow Warren, the children’s natural adventure area, is open.
Good for: The nature trail is ideal for kids up to about 11 or 12, I’d say. Toddlers will enjoy spotting the eggs.
Not for: It’s probably a bit young for teenagers, although I’m yet to meet a teen who doesn’t like chocolate, so maybe they could be convinced!
Need to know: The Easter adventures trail is on at Hatchlands Park until 18 April, from 10am-5pm (last entry 4pm). The cost is £3 per child which includes a trail map, pencil and a chocolate egg. Usual admission charges also apply. And it’s worth noting that the Bank Holiday weekend is bound to be busy, so our tip is to get there before or after.
For more National Trust treasures see our Best Places to spot Blossom in Surrey.