We’re back in London after a fabulous week in Pembrokeshire with our friend Katharine and her daughter Emilia. I’ve got literally hundreds of photographs to sort through so I’m afraid you’re going to have to endure several holiday posts so I can get through them all – and tell you about all our adventures!
I’ll start with my surprise highlight of the holiday – a day at Picton Castle. A trip to Wales isn’t complete without a visit to one of its 400 castles, and following a recommendation from the owners of the cottage we rented, we headed to Picton – tempted by descriptions of an adventure playground and jungle walk!
And what a gorgeous little castle it is! We managed to easily spend over four hours there, without actually stepping inside.
I love the petite but perfect medieval castle entrance – so pretty!
Here’s Sophie, Alex and Emilia ready to explore:
They loved sitting on the low Palace walls looking out over the grounds.
As with most visitor attractions this time of year, they’d arranged an Easter egg hunt – and this one was ideal as it took us all over the stunning grounds, showing us the full variety of habitats and gardens. It took us hours to find everything as we kept being diverted, but the incentive of a small prize kept Alex and Sophie keen!
Our first diversion was the den building area in the bluebell walk (sadly we were a bit too early to see the bluebells in bloom but judging by how many we saw growing, it’ll be absolutely incredible when they flower).
Our favourite area was the jungle garden! Not something I expected to find in a Welsh castle estate, it turns out it was quite common for Edwardian gardens to include large, jungle-style plants in wealthy gardens! At Picton, there’s a long, raised wooden boardwalk so you can get up close with the unusual plants. We spent ages balancing along the path – the children were delighted by it!
Even Emilia was able to walk along the boardwalk on her own – and she did it several times she enjoyed it so much!
Sophie and Alex ran along it a little bit faster!
At the end of the jungle walk was a little adventure playground – so we easily lost 20 minutes climbing, sliding and jumping (and getting very muddy!)
The next clues on the egg hunt were hidden in the maze, so we soon got nice and lost in there. Even though the bushes were quite bare, it still took us a while to get to the centre! It was so muddy in there, Sophie got covered!
All that playing made us all hungry, so we headed back to the castle courtyard for lunch in Maria’s restaurant – and what a treat that was! Expecting the usual stately home fare of expensive sandwiches and soups, we were pleasantly surprised to find an incredible spread of Spanish tapas, stews, salads as well as some truly delicious Welsh cawl and bread. We ate so much – I’d highly recommend it to anyone visiting. We were sorry we couldn’t make their weekly tapas evening!
Full of energy after lunch, we headed over to the other half of the grounds to complete the egg hunt. We took a long walk around the woodland areas which were packed full of so many different trees and beautiful vistas over the surrounding fields. Alex and Sophie mostly ran, making the most of the fact the paths were practically deserted.
There were so many colours throughout the gardens, even though it’s early Spring there was no shortage of flowers to enjoy.
I loved how there were benches everywhere so you could stop and enjoy the space and really take your time. And they were all different designs – you could do a photographic essay just on the bench designs if you had the time! Sophie took it upon herself to try them all out – exclaiming with glee “oh look there’s another sofa” every time she saw another one!
Here’s Katharine and Emilia resting on a different one and looking beautiful in front of the blossoms!
Here’s Sophie trying to sleep on one!
She really was in her element – still a very feisty, physical girl despite the dress! Love her!
We ended our visit in the walled gardens where Alex spent a while pretending he was a spy, and kept trying to evade our capture – hiding behind the bushes and walls and sneaking up on us!
The girls preferred to investigate the water features, looking for fish together!
But they did their fair share of running as well! They had so much fun together.
Silly photos of the two of them messing around in front of the camera! Love those toothy grins!
After finding all of the egg clues, and exploring as much of the grounds as their little legs could manage, we headed back to the castle to pick up our prize (some lovely owl notebooks!) and massive ice creams!
As I said, it really was a holiday highlight. It was the perfect size for our small children – and had enough to keep them occupied that us grown ups got to truly enjoy the gorgeous grounds and castle views. We’ll definitely be back when we’re next in Pembrokeshire – hopefully in a different season so we can see a new side to the gardens.