Most people enjoy visiting gardens and attractions in the Summer when the weather is nice and you can really enjoy the scenery and being outdoors…however we don’t tend to do what most people do and so picked a cold, wet October morning for a trip to the beautiful Alnwick Gardens.

There was method to our madness as when the weather is good most places get too busy for Toby to cope with. The weather definitely put most people off as I could probably count on two hands the number of other tourists we bumped in to yesterday.

Joel and I had visited the garden last year on a rare child-free day out and we loved it but both agreed that we wouldn’t be able to take Toby there. However yesterday we were feeling brave (or stupid) and decided to hop in the car and go for an explore.

Thanks to our amazing Max Card the four of us got in for £12 – both boys were free and it was £6 each for Joel and I. I did a quick calculation at the ticket desk and realised that it would have cost about £35 if we had had to pay the on the door prices. Seriously I don’t think we would have visited if we didn’t have the card mainly because Toby only usually manages to cope for about an hour in new places like this and £35 is a lot to pay for just an hour…so thank you Max Card!

One of the most famous features at Alnwick Gardens are the AMAZING fountains. It’s seriously like watching a theatre production as you just don’t  know where to look next as water shoots from all different directions.

However Toby and water isn’t always a good combination….he does love it however his behaviour can be very unpredictable and he did try and dive in a couple of times!! His Peso the penguin from the Octonauts had a few near misses too.

Here’s Toby enjoying the water …he doesn’t speak and so reactions like this a priceless for us!

We soon realised that waterproofs were far more practical and thankfully we had them in the bag so we did a quick change. I would say that if you a planning on visiting with little ones, wellies, waterproofs and spare clothes are essential as there is just so much water to play and interact with.

Both Toby and Teddy enjoyed exploring and the calm atmosphere and enclosed walkways helped Toby to feel less anxious. He did prefer to be in his buggy and although there are quite a few steps around the garden but there are pushchair/wheelchair friendly routes too.

The boys loved the water, here’s Teddy exploring…

30 seconds later this happened…we did laugh!​

​Toby managed an hour and a half in the garden before he had had enough and needed to leave but all in all we had a great morning and will certainly be back soon. 

Here’s a couple of practicalities if you are planning on visiting with a child with additional needs –

  • Disabled parking is free and is on the opposite side of the road to the main carpark (main car park is £3)
  • There are quite a few steps around the gardens and so if you are using a pushchair or a wheelchair make sure that you check out the accessibility map to avoid the steps.
  • Wellies and waterproofs are essential .
  • If you have a child with sensory needs or an obsession with water I would suggest that they need 1-to-1 support during a visit as although some features are suitable to play in, others are for display only and there are ponds and water features all around the gardens.
  • The disabled toilets in the entrance/gift shop have good changing facilities which is great if like us you have older children in nappies.

Ps – sorry we’ve been so quiet recently, life’s been a bit crazy here and my head just hasn’t been in the place to write about it! We’re ok though 🙂 xx