The children have taken part in a number of nature trails over the past few years, with varying degrees of interest, and I think this is the best one so far (and there isn’t even a chocolate egg at the end of it as an incentive). Borde Hill Gardens aren’t so big that the children lose interest between activities and the settings are really beautiful, so grown-ups can enjoy having a sit down to admire the view, whilst the children hunt for the next ribbon along the trail, or try to find a designated tree or plant, or make a decorative item out of natural materials. There is something to take home and grow from seed in the Nature Themed Goodie Bag and also a competition to enter to win a 2018 Family Day Ticket to Borde Hill.
If your children are too young to take part in the themed Nature Trail event, the gardens still offer plenty to keep little ones interested, and the paths, slopes and steps take you through lots of very different areas where you can hide, explore and make up your own stories. There’s a spooky derelict potting shed (which is only spooky if you are six), a huge snake on the sloping sides of the Round Dell (it’s a fixed hose) and there must definitely be giant pandas living somewhere in the bamboo forests (big clumps) near the giant rhubarb.
The newly opened Gardeners’ Retreat Café has plenty of indoor and outdoor seating close to the South Lawn and offers a good selection of snacks and lunches, including children’s sandwiches, juice boxes, homemade cakes and mini ice cream tubs (including Jude’s gin and tonic flavour ice cream if it’s been a long day).
To round off the visit to Borde Hill there is also a children’s playground with a view over the woods and Robertsmere Lake, and a separate zip wire. If your children are not yet old enough to use the zip wire without you having to haul them back every time, leave the zip wire until you are almost ready to go home, so that the children are already worn out from walking around the gardens…otherwise you will never be able to get them to leave.