As members of the NTS, we regularly visit Falkland Palace & Gardens. We don’t have our own garden, so its good to pop over for a wander around the garden. On Sunday we managed to pop across the road as the sun had made a rare appearance and I’d briefly seen that there was something on…however I hadn’t paid full attention to detail! I was expecting to see a new feature of a sculpture, but it was actually people creating the “Lady of the Wood” sculpture. Hopefully we can go back again in near future to see the completed item.
The Palace itself is a magnificent building, built in the 1500’s. It was a favoured hunting retreat for the Stuart Monarchs, including Mary Queen of Scots. It also hosts a Chapel Royal, which is still used as a place of worship today. It also has Britain’s oldest remaining real Tennis court.
We have only visited the Palace building inside once; my 6 year old favoured running about, so we’ll maybe hold off doing that again until he’s a bit older. However, they do offer Eye Spy activity sheets for kids to do.
The gardens are huge, and have a number of things on offer. There is the orchard with numerous varieties of apple trees (I would have been tempted to pick a couple if any of us ate them!) and plenty space for kids to run about. There are a few picnic tables, so definitely worth going prepared to spend the day with lunch. There is a maze made out of willow, with a lovely seating area in the centre with wind chimes. There used to be a willow tunnel for the kids to play in until it was vandalised…how tragic is that? There is also a woodland stepping stone feature, however when we were there it was fenced off as the undergrowth was overgrown so guess its closed for health & safety reasons.
The extensive gardens, designed by Percy Cane are just stunning; I always come away with a list of plants and flowers I want to get for our Beer Garden! Up near the Tennis Court is a walled garden with a small shed with some croquet items that Matthew likes to get out and whack about the place! Near the end of the gardens, next to the shop is a large chequer board and pieces you can play with.
I baby-wore Nathan, however have taken the pram in the past, so the gardens are accessible. One word of warning, the toilets are located at the far side of the grounds, next to the shop – so if you have children in tow, make sure you have enough time to make the dash 😉
The Palace regularly holds events throughout the year – we’re looking forward to the upcoming Sealed Knot Re-enactment and the Children’s Halloween trails. All information can be found on their popular facebook page.