Lyme Park: 10 insider tips for the perfect day out
There's so much to explore at Lyme Park; from rolling woodlands and the stunning house to the Crow Wood adventure playground, there's plenty to keep the kids entertained. Having been with my kids several times, we wanted to share our top 10 tips for getting the most of your day. Ready?
- Do consider National Trust membership
If you are quite close by and think you'll go fairly regularly to a this or any other NT property then it may be prudent to invest in a membership. I have an individual one as you only need one per car for free parking, and young kids go free into many houses and gardens with an adult member.
- Go early if possible to avoid queues
I always try to get there before 10am, especially in the holidays. The queue of cars coming in can get quite long on busy days from 11ish onwards.
- Split the day in two
Why not take in the house and gardens in the morning, then have a play / picnic by the stream and finally Crow Wood play area in the afternoon? Or vice versa? Either way there is enough to do for a whole day. If you only have half a day then chose house/garden or Crow Wood.
- Maybe leave your dog at home (unless someone can stay with him/her)
Lyme Park is welcoming to dogs (and has fabulous walking opportunities if that's what you fancy) however they will just be tied up for much of it if you are planning to play in Crow Wood or explore the house. I tend to leave our dog at home.
- Do bother with the house
Even if they don't have a specific exhibition or event on, the house is worth a look around with kids, especially older ones. The staff are very kid-welcoming, there is often a paper activity to keep their attention whilst walking round, and if it isn't going to plan you can take the quickest route out at several points.
- The gardens are well worth a look
If the house doesn't hold their attention, the gardens definitely will. There are sensory areas for little ones, outdoor games on the lawn, an indoor botanical garden, trees to climb, hills to roll down and much more to keep them entertained for an hour or two.
- Take a packed lunch
There is a café, but I always take a packed lunch to save money. Then the kids can concentrate on playing and exploring rather than trying to sit still and behave in the café, which does get busy. Take a flask of coffee or tea too if you want to be very smug as the queues can get long at busy times.
- Pack swimsuits or a change of clothes
On warm days the kids always spend most time down by the stream by the car park, next to the picnic benches. The water is really clean and shallow, so do prepare ahead and let them get wet and mucky by taking wetsuits/swimsuits with crocs/wellies or simply a change of clothes.
- Beware of losing kids in Crow Wood
Crow Wood is probably the biggest draw to Lyme Park. It’s a large wooden play area with sandpit, slides, tunnels, swings, hiding places and so much more. Kids of all ages love it, and it's surrounded by woods and den building places with a stream nearby too. Do beware of kids wandering off – this has happened to me! I now stake out a 'base' right at the start of our visit to the play area and then make sure the kids know where we will be sat to come back to, as well as check on where they are every few minutes. Again, there is plenty of opportunities here to get muddy, so a change of clothes (and wellies) are a good idea.
- Leave before traffic hits
The estate is situated on the A6 road from Manchester to the Peak District, so as such it is busy busy busy! I always aim to get on the road in between rush hours (after 9-30am and before 5pm) to miss the commuter traffic.
Do you have any tips for a perfect day out at Lyme Park? Let us know in a comment below!