Easter at Eaton Hall, Cheshire
Beatrix Potter trail & Easter egg hunt
Despite the clocks having changed the previous evening we arrived early enough to be the only car driving up the long drive towards Eaton Hall in Cheshire. Although it doesn’t look far from the Old Wrexham Road it must be nearly a mile in length. This gave us enough time to imagine being driven as princesses in a horse-drawn carriage to a grand ball at the big house.
Our daydream was suddenly interrupted as we arrived, parked the car and set about walking to the garden gates, our hair whipped about by the winds of Storm Katie. Clouds scudded across the sky and we could see cloudbursts of rain in the distance heading our way.
We were greeted by the Easter Bunny who was busy distributing chocolate eggs to children and adults alike. Eggs of every colour hung from trees and shrubs, creating a magical Easter wonderland for the children whose task was to find and count them.
Hiding in the Kitchen Garden amongst the vegetables and in the orchard were Beatrix Potter characters. If you looked hard enough you could just glimpse Peter Rabbit cheekily hopping behind the cabbages much to the frustration of Mr. McGregor.
We stepped out of a blustery early spring day into the wonderful Camellia Walk, a myriad of different Camellia varieties towering over us adorning the walls: some with raspberry ripple petals, some with frilly underskirts and some with little golden stamen crowns.
Towards the end of the glasshouse a tiny teddy bear with the message ‘Me to You’ which gained extra points for super observant children.
Lady Arabella Lennox-Boyd’s geometric garden design of clipped yew hedges at the back of the house appears stark at this time of year but entices the children in with the promise of mystery, a maze with secrets around every corner. Inside, the plants are just beginning to rise from their dormancy; rose buds are forming which, in a couple of months’ time, will transform this garden into a floriferous scented display.
The sense of security the formal structure of the Rose Garden provides is swept away by the dangerous, yet dynamically beautiful sculpture Lioness and a Lesser Kudu by Jonathan Kenworthy at the gateway to the wilder areas of the garden.
Our walk back to the garden gates lead us past yew cones mimicking the spires of the buildings behind and via the Spring Walk, where we paused to take in the heady scent of Daphnes and admire the nodding crinolines of hellebores.
Windswept and rosy cheeked, it was time for hot chocolate.
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