Bodenham Arboretum is such a lovely day out! We were incredibly lucky with the weather when we visited for a look around and our very first family photo shoot with the lovely John, from John the Photographer, award winning no less! It was a warm and sunny day, you couldn’t ask for better in October. Getting near Bodenham arboretum, we weren’t sure if we had the directions correctly, as we were right in an industrial estate and the sat nag said we were mere minutes away, luckily, it was right!! We followed the signs and then found the drive and climbed up a steep, tree lined drive which takes you up to the car park, with space for 200 cars. The visitor’s centre is the first thing you come to, right next to a gorgeous pond with bridges over, ducks and weeping willows reaching down to kiss the water. Beautifully photogenic and perfect for capturing some lovely family moments. Even more excitingly for the children, it wasn’t only the ducks that came to say hi, but all the fish too! They were huge! Along with the restaurant and toilets, also situated in the visitor centre there is a gift shop and quiet room. There are also plants for sale outside. With regards to the photo shoot, it’s our first one for a reason, mainly because my hubby and I are both pretty uncomfortable in front of the lens, luckily, John was absolutely lovely and put us both at ease, taking a selection of natural, unaware shots and also directing us into some beautiful group photo poses. We even got pictures of our beautiful dog Monty, I’m so pleased as he is 12 now, and such an important part of our family that it wouldn’t be right not to have him with us.
It’s brilliant that dogs are welcome on leads and there is also plenty of seating outside the café so you can sit and have a cup of tea or lunch with your pooch too. They will love having a walk around with you, if they are anything like mine though, they might be desperate to get into the Big Pool! 😀 He got to be in all our posed family photos and we got some gorgeous ones just of him too. We were thrilled to discover that there was a farm at the arboretum, with sheep, chickens, geese and the friendliest
donkeys, a personal love of mine. You can walk around the farm and they came right to the fence of their large paddock to see us. We probably spent the most time here, laughing at them dust bathing themselves and braying. There were even foals for sale, seriously, if our garden was any bigger……!! The tree lined avenue running alongside the animals was perfect for photos of the children racing up and down. By this point, my son was starting to get tired and very much in need of a nap. Read; uncompliant and slightly wild! So we thought we would wrap it up and head back to the restaurant to sample what we had been assured was a very delicious Sunday lunch! On the way back, we spotted one final perfect location, a rustic wooden five bar gate with the back drop of another large pond with yet more weeping willow draping artistically down to the water!
We managed to get some lovely shots and ended the photo shoot on a massive high. Even if I did have to hold the stick my son was waving around wildly down. We then made our way back to the visitor centre to have lunch in the restaurant, it was very busy, and it’s recommended to book a table on their website, which I would second. It was a carvery lunch, but much nicer then most of the other carveries we’ve been to, with really fresh, delicious veg, children’s portions and two vegetarian options! Reasonable prices too, £8.90 for an adult carvery and £6.30 a child, with an option for a smaller adult portion available as well. We were very well fed and absolutely stuffed. We didn’t even have pudding. Rare for me! 😉 Soups and sandwiches were also available for a lighter option, and they even do afternoon tea if you feel like being fancy! (I’m a huge fan of an afternoon tea! Tea, cake, tea!)
There is a forest school at Bodenham arboretum, and family friendly activities all year round. The full list of activities is also on their website, along with a sample menu for the restaurant and lots and lots more information, including the gorgeous art courses that they run there too. I’d definitely like to do one, watercolour there in the Summer would be amazing. Entrance Bodenham arboretum prices vary slightly throughout the season, so check their website for details. One thing that really impressed me was that the family ticket includes two adults and up to four children, which is fantastic value, as the maximum price in £18.00 and days out for larger families can really add up. I’m not sure when we’ll get a chance to go back to Bodenham arboretum but I just read that there is a Christmas trail with live nativity stable with the possibility of a foal! Plus they are doing Christmas lunches. Sounds right up my street! We received free entry to Bodenham Arboretum and the photos from the photo shoot in exchange for this review, as always though, all words and thoughts are mine, all mine! 😉