A snowdrop walk at Rode Hall

Flo in snowdrops

Flo in snowdrops

One day last week we set off on an adventure with my friend Karen and some of her Mini Travellers and spent the day at Rode Hall and Gardens in Cheshire.

The gardens are home to a beautiful snowdrop walk, which is perfect at this time of year to see the cute little white flowers peeping through in a sign that spring is on its way.

The centrepiece of the private estate is a rather grand red brick Georgian house which is still used as a home by the Wilbraham family, whose ancestors have been in residence since 1669.

When I was little, we often visited a gorgeous place in my hometown of Ilkley called Bluebell Woods, and walking through the snowdrops with Florence and her companions for the day, Karen’s twins Isobel and Eve, felt like a bit of a flashback to those moments.

The snowdrop walk can be done until the first week of March, but after that there is actually a bluebell walk which I’ll definitely be taking my children back to.

Rode Hall

Girls on snowdrop walk

The house is in a place called Scholar Green near Congleton, which is a good hour away from where we live in Wirral but well worth making the trip. The site hosts the Just So festival in summer, a weekend-long camping festival for families, which I’d love to go to. With art, music, literature and theatre it was described as The Guardian as ‘the most family-friendly of the lot’.

The walk around the gardens was made into a treasure hunt for the children as we looked for the willow animals which have been made specially for the grounds. We were lucky enough to be shown around by Rode resident Amanda Wilbraham, who helped guide us in the right direction to find the willow stag, owl, hares, birds, fish, fox and heron.

The girls loved finding them and we found it hard to keep up with them as they ran up and down the woodland paths. The garden is full of little nooks and crannies, the walkways that look like tunnels as they’re covered over with trees; the stone paths which wind through the woods. One even takes you down to see a little cave complete with a witch’s broomstick and candles, an enchanting but slightly scary prospect for our two and four year olds!

The promise of lunch in the tearoom afterwards was more than enough to keep them going, and it didn’t disappoint. The cafe is housed in a barn to the side of the main house, heated with a wood burner and decorated with fairy lights, it was just what we needed to warm up after our walk.

The girls had sausage sandwiches while we had jacket potatoes with cheese and very welcome cups of tea, before we moved on (of course) to the cake.

I need to mention the homemade cakes as they all looked absolutely amazing. The one I went for, chocolate and beetroot, I am still dreaming about nearly a week later! So if you do visit, make sure to fit in a visit to the cafe too.

I know we’ll be heading back in a few months’ time for the bluebells, but if you would like to visit before then, the snowdrop walk is open Tuesday to Sunday from 11-4, and runs until 6 March.

x Julia

Snowdrops at Rode Hall

Eve and Flo

Snowdrop walk rabbits

Flo and Eve walking at Rode Hall

Rode Hall snowdrop stand

Chocolate and Beetroot cake

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  • Reply
    Mackenzie Glanville
    February 7, 2016 at 8:33 am

    oh that looks magical, and that cake yum who could resist! Sounds like a lovely thing to do
    Mackenzie Glanville recently posted…Having been loved by youMy Profile

  • Reply
    February 7, 2016 at 8:41 am

    I love snowdrops, first sign of spring (aside from the daffodils which are everywhere this mild winter!). I’m planning on a snowdrop walk this afternoon too, assuming the rain holds off long enough. #sundaystars

  • Reply
    February 7, 2016 at 9:27 am

    What a lovely walk. I love snowbells. Also your hometown is Ilkley! Yaay to Ilkley, I love Ilkley and Bluebell Woods and going for Sunday walks down the river. We used to live in Ilkley. Such a lovely little town with the nicest people 🙂 #sundaystars
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    • Reply
      February 7, 2016 at 8:10 pm

      Oh wow you lived in Ilkley too! I wonder if we have met? 🙂 xx

      • Reply
        February 7, 2016 at 8:23 pm

        Ooh maybe! That would make it a small world. 🙂 When we had our family we moved to the other side of the moor but we were in the process of moving back to Ilkley when we ended up in Jersey instead! x

  • Reply
    Mini Travellers/Mini Ventures
    February 7, 2016 at 6:17 pm

    Such a fun day, we definitely have to go back and do the Bluebells and maybe Just So too! I really need to check the dates and see if it clashed with V! Thanks for linking up to #sundaystars
    Mini Travellers/Mini Ventures recently posted…Sunday StarsMy Profile

  • Reply
    February 7, 2016 at 7:34 pm

    Stunning photographs! I too love snowdrops so much. It looks like a fab place 🙂 Jess x

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  • Reply
    Rachel @ The Ordinary Lovely
    February 7, 2016 at 9:46 pm

    I read Karen’s post, too. What a gorgeous place. I saw it in The Simple Things and was looking at how far away it was. I think it’s the cold weather that puts me off more than the distance though 🙂 Such gorgeous photos of the girls xx
    Rachel @ The Ordinary Lovely recently posted…Styling the seasons – FebruaryMy Profile

  • Reply
    February 8, 2016 at 7:34 pm

    Looks gorgeous! Our local snowdrop walks started this weekend but the weather was too wet and windy to brave taking BookBairn out in the baby carrier. But you’ve made me jealous so we will need to go soon! #sundaystars
    BookBairn recently posted…The Wonderful World of Oliver JeffersMy Profile

  • Reply
    Hayley (@hayleyfromhome)
    February 9, 2016 at 1:02 pm

    Oh I saw this advertised recently and wondered if it was worth making the trip…I would love to take the boys but I am quite concerned about how nicely they will treat the bluebells! Love your photos Julia, looks like you had a lovely time. I didn’t know the Just So festival was there, I might look into that too xx
    Hayley (@hayleyfromhome) recently posted…Five Under £5 FebruaryMy Profile

  • Reply
    Karen (@karenjwhitlock)
    February 9, 2016 at 10:13 pm

    I loved reading Karen’s post on this, so it’s good to see your too. It looks such a beautiful place. Snowdrops are such a wonderful reminder of new life at this time of year, must have been an amazing sight. Love your photos x

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