Monkey Forest & Trentham Gardens
A few Weeks ago we went to the monkey forest on the Trentham estate, the gardens and shopping village, Trentham gardens is just outside of Stoke-on-Trent town centre, it is easy to find just off the A34. I went a few years ago and has changed a bit since I went, so here is a breakdown of the different areas on the site.
We started off at the monkey forest, I had found some bogof tickets online, though prices are not too expensive, adults £6.50 children £4.50 (prices correct at time of visit) I had got the vouchers off visitstoke.co.uk, but dont think the offer is on through that site at the moment. The monkey forest is set is 60 acres of woodland and meadows, there are 140 Barbary macaques monkeys that roam free around this area. You follow the path which is approx 3/4 of a mile long. they have a talk and feeding session approx every hour, this is pretty informative and let you know about the monkeys.
The monkeys are very tame and walk across the paths as you are walking, it is a very nice sight to see the monkeys in this relaxed environment, we spend just over an hour walking around. Now this may not seem that long, but we did get to see the monkeys and other wildlife within that time. I don’t think you could make this attraction last a full day as even if you have young children, they may get a bit bored as too be honest once you seen one monkey eating fruit you you seen them all if you know what I’m saying 🙂
Even though with what I have said the monkey forest is well worth a visit, especially if you can get some offer tickets, there is a cafe there with seating and a smallish adventure playground for the children. Click the video below to see some footage of the monkey forest.
We then drove to the other side of the lake to the shopping village and the gardens entrance. The shopping Village is made up of approx 60 retail outlets, most the higher end retailers and independent shops, you have a good mix of shops. The shops are all log cabin style units, which reminded us of the style of either a Austrian or Switzerland village. There are a few café’s, coffee shops and bars with seating outside.
In the shopping village is the entrance to the gardens and lakeside walk and adventure play, price for entrance to this are adult £7.25 children £5.70 (prices correct on visit) again I had a buy one get one free voucher than came with a leaflet I had. Now this is where is differs from the last time I went a few years ago, as before the price was just for the Italian gardens and you could walk around the lake and other parts of the grounds for free. The entrance price is now for both the Italian gardens and lakeside walk.
The gardens and estate has undergone a approx £120 million redevelopment and restoration. On entrance to the gardens you go over the river on a beautiful bridge, in front is the Italian gardens, at time of our visit there were some strange sculptures around the garden, it is very well kept and some beautiful shrubs and flowers. There are a few fountain pools. There are also great views of the lake, the last time I went we walked around the whole lake and this was a great walk. See some of my photos of the day out by clicking on the link below or through my photos albums link at the top of the page.
Also there is the barfuss park this is a barefoot walk, you take your shoes and socks off and walk around a path, there are all different surfaces to walk on from different type of stones and slabs, also sand, softsufaces and also some mud and water parts, be warned you or your children will get a bit wet and muddy feet, don’t worry they have taps and dryers at the start /end of the walk to wash you feet. You would find this great fun and children will love it.
You also have the Trentham garden centre, this is a very large garden centre that sells everything you would expect from a garden centre and more, you could spend hours and probably alot of money in the garden centre alone.
We did thoroughly enjoy the day out at the Trentham Estate and gardens, I would recommend that you visit especially if you can get ticket offers, with the tickets is brought individually you can come in and out of the attractions through out that day.