I was delighted to discover Towneley Hall in Burnley. The 500-year-old hall and extensive parkland serves as a walking destination, a museum, a place to play sport, children’s play space and simply somewhere to come and lunch.
On arrival, you are taken aback by the large vistas and dramatic avenues that span out from the beautiful house. The children were drawn to the large duck pond, with its jet fountain at the front. Their groans when we mentioned our intention to look round the house soon subsided as they discovered the treasure hunt for kids; the hunt for ‘mice’ took us through the kitchens, bedrooms and dining rooms. Also of interest was Towneley’s art gallery and museum rooms complete with mummies! For lunch, try the café in the old stable. There is a full menu and plenty for kids, all at reasonable prices. Outdoor seating under parasols overlooks the hall and grounds.
We then began our exploration of the estate. After a ten minute walk towards the river down one of the avenues, we came to the children’s play area, conveniently placed by the Rotunda which houses toilets, baby changing and, at busy times, a refreshment counter. We stopped here but could have continued along Deer Park Road to another pond. There is also a woodland trail, pitch and putt, football pitches, bowling green and a war memorial to explore. The highlight for us was the walled permaculture site, which contains a magical collection of eco-friendly buildings, wood carvings and allotments. With smoke emitting from the grass-covered rooftops we felt as though we’d walked into a scene from The Hobbit.Hall: Sat-Wed 12-5pm, Thurs 12.30-5pm. Adult £4, Children free. Car park 70p. Towneley Hall, Towneley Park, Burnley BB11 3RQ Tel: 01282 477130 towneley.org.uk