Croome Park National Trust

Croome park is centred around the Palladian style house which is in the middle of the park. There are still many features which date back to the 16th Century and because they used the old foundations, unlike many other Palladian mansions, Croome Court does not occupy a commanding position up on high ground, such as where the Church now stands.  

Review: 

So on the first proper hot day (after weeks of rain) we decided to go and visit Croome Park.  We had heard some wonderful things about a project called “Potter and Ponder” which is a sensory trail for individuals with additional needs and disabilities, so wanted to try it out.

It was quite busy but the scanning card system was great at the entrance so quick to get through.  At the main entrance there are toilets, the main café, lots of places to sit and picnic, and a great enclosed play area.  So naturally our autistic son who seems to have a sick sense for play areas ran straight there.  It is fully gated and within the play area there are a couple of benches, and just outside a nice shaded seating area (great place to start and picnic).

Once we had consumed a few cheese wraps, mountain of crisps, navigated the toilets (these are pretty small so maybe use the disabled toilet if your individual struggles with crowds and noise), we ventured in the main park.  Once in if you turn RIGHT there is a lovely nature based play area which includes den building, tree and log climbing, and was lovely and quiet. We ended up spending about 20 minutes which was lovely, and it gave us time to work out the best way to navigate the park.

The kids loved exploring the grounds and really enjoyed the Ice House and the church at the top of the park (beautiful views of the estate).  It was very peaceful and quiet whilst wandering which was great (in comparison to the visitor section which was rammed).  Definitely a good picnic in the park day out in the summer option, or nice winter walk. 

Once we ventured (or should I say dragged the kids) to the main house area, everyone was pretty knackered.  It is a lot of walking and we had run out of bribe based snacks (note to self to pack more!).  Nevertheless, down at the bottom there is a lovely river and bridge which they enjoyed exploring.  The main house itself we avoided but they do have a fantastic exhibition called ‘What is home’.  The project takes its inspiration from the history of the boys school and will be told through the voices and reminiscences of former pupils and children currently living in care.  Artist Kashif Nadim Chaudry has worked with ex-pupils and young people in the care system, to explore the question, what is home? Each participant has answered that question with a personal object that means home to them, loaned to Croome as part of the exhibition. It is definitely one to go and visit whilst exploring the property.

One thing that might be worth exploring is the “potter and ponder” sensory trail. These are the details:

This map/trail was devised with the support of local special schools for children with wide-ranging special needs and learning disabilities collaborated with the National Trust to create a new sensory map which takes you on a journey of different sensations such as sound, touch and smell to unlock ‘Capability’ Brown’s landscape in a very different way.

We did collect a map, however, no one sign posted us so please ask if you think this would be useful.  Visually the map is fantastic and it gives a variety of opportunities for individuals to explore their senses whilst at the venue.  Personally, our son was particularly interested and we found it hard to decide whether we should or should not follow a set route. 

 

So things to be aware of…

Distance: Croome Court is in the middle of the valley within the grounds and to get there is quite a distance to walk.  There are paths which are suitable I would say more for buggies than wheelchairs.  Also, if you have younger children it might be too far to walk.  They do however have these shuttle golf style buggies at the main entrance and at the house which just require a donation.

Facilities: Once you are in the main park there were no toilets or café facilities.  Apparently, inside the house you could buy drinks and a few snacks but we didn’t go inside. 

Highlights:  For us the play area, sensory park ad ice house were all winners.  Also, the golf buggy was a life saver with a load of hot and tired toddlers.

Café:  The café serves hot and cold food.  It was pretty busy and there was a massive ice cream queue, so bear this I mind.  Apparently in the summer they do create an outside stall where they sell cold drinks and ice creams.

Overall, a great day out and the kids were exhausted at the end (winner winner)