A visit to Hilliers & The Aladdin Great Bauble Hunt!
We are very lucky living where we do that there is so much to do – we are close to the New Forest, Beaches & Marwell Zoo amongst other things. One of our favourites is the Sir Harold Hillier Gardens near Romsey, its absolutely stunning and no matter what time of year you go there is always something different to see. Its about £9 for an adult ticket and children under 17 go for free so a very reasonable day out, alternatively like we have you can buy membership its around £50 for a family (joint adult membership) for unlimited access throughout the year, and you can visit other gardens including Kew for free. The water lillies & fish in the big pond are really lovely in the summer! Plus there is always something for the family to do including trails, family bushcraft days & pond dipping in the school holidays and not forgetting the ‘Art in the Garden’ exhibition over the summer. Every Christmas the Mayflower Theatre & Sir Harold Hillier Gardens organise a ‘Great Bauble Hunt’. This is a self guided trail around the gardens themed to whatever the Panto happens to be, this year it is Aladdin and as usual the Peachicks had loads of fun running around the gardens with their carrier bags filling them up with pretty, sparkly fir cones!
The trail took just over an hour and was a perfect length for Elodie who marched the whole way round carrying her bag! Every new part of the story we got to she couldn’t wait to see what colour the fir cones were in the box… at one point we had to drag her out of one of the boxes as she nearly fell in it! Although being Gardens, everything is outside this is one of our favourite rainy day places to go as there are enough tarmac & gravel paths to walk on and save the grass. (There is usually a few puddles to jump in too!!)
Each part of the story was designed by a different local school and was interactive in some way… the final one was a wordsearch on a wooden sculpture of the palace but as it was so muddy the girls decided not to go and play it!
The Peachicks’ then took their bags of sparkly cones back to the admissions desk and were very excited to be given their prize – a gold sparkly Aladdin’s lamp biscuit! The biscuits were gluten free too which is great but they contained butter & the royal icing had egg white in. Considering how easy it would have been to swap the butter for dairy free margarine we were a bit disappointed the biscuits weren’t dairy free and/or there wasn’t a non food alternative like previous years. To be honest the girls had so much fun doing the trail that it was pretty insignificant to them that they couldn’t eat their prize and we were going to the cafe for lunch anyway.
After lunch the Peachicks’ wanted to visit the various play equipment around the other side of
the Gardens so we stayed for another hour or so while they ran, jumped, climbed and swung! Even Daddy & I had a go on the ‘Super Snake Swing’ with them which was great fun although Elodie and Daddy are definitely more dare devils than the rest of us and wanted to go REALLY high!
And here are some pictures of all the very pretty flowers that were already out – sadly I didn’t have my camera, so these are not great as my phone doesn’t take the best photos!
Finally I am going to send this over to the Country Kids link up over at Coombe Mill, its full of great ideas for days out and activities other people have done in the great outdoors!