Grade II listed Rode Hall and Gardens is a beautiful example of an 18th-century country house containing fine furniture and an important porcelain collection. While the Hall itself is probably not of interest to little ones, the gardens are a beautiful setting in which to while away a few hours with toddlers and children. There is a manageable walk (approximately one mile) with plenty to unearth and discover.
The busiest time of the year is February for the Snowdrop Walk. It is a perfect winter’s walk (generally suitable for pushchairs) and you’ll feel justified rewarding yourself in the tearoom afterwards.
The gardens are constantly changing throughout spring and summer. Early daffodils give way to carpets of bluebells in May. Then from mid-June the magnificent walled working kitchen garden really comes into its own. Many types of fruit and vegetables are grown here and much of the produce is used in the kitchens. Buy a jar of Kelvin’s Gooseberry Chutney from the shop next to the tea room. It uses Rode’s own gooseberries grown by its head gardener, world-champion gooseberry grower Kelvin Archer.
The rustic tearoom is situated alongside a cobbled courtyard. In winter a cosy fire is lit in the grate. All the soups and cakes are homemade, usually by Lady Baker Wilbraham herself, and the highlights include the flapjack, cream teas and homemade elderflower cordial. The children’s menu is simple, with sandwiches or beans on toast. The hugely popular farmers’ market is a day out for the whole family. There are children’s activities (previously mine have enjoyed decorating biscuits and pumpkin carving), unbeatable hot sausage sandwiches and live music – plus you can buy great quality local produce while you’re there!Check website for up-to-date information on seasonal dates and opening times. Snowdrop Walks: Feb-mid March Tues-Sun 12-4pm. House and gardens: Adult £7, Children free. Gardens and Snowdrop Walk: Adult £4, Children free. Christmas: House opens for one weekend in December. Note for the diary: Just So Festival at Rode Hall Gardens – a wonderful family festival 15-17 Aug 2014. Rode Hall, Scholar Green, Cheshire ST7 3QP Tel: 01270 873237 rodehall.co.uk