Always on the go

Cheshire based mum of 3 sharing our favourite family adventures

Walton Hall Gardens

I’ve been bringing my kids to Walton Hall Gardens for years now and it’s without doubt one of their favourites. Whenever we travel over Warrington way, be it for a trip to IKEA or a netball match, we nearly always make a stop here. Set on an old 19th century estate, it is now owned and managed by Warrington Borough Council.

It’s situated to the South of Warrington with easy access off the M56. There’s a pay car park (charges can be found here) which although large, on peak days in the summer it can be difficult to find a space to park, which although is a massive pain at least it shows it’s worth going to!

The entrance to the park is over a wooden footbridge (next to the car park) which crosses the Bridgewater Canal (more on that later).

I’m going to presume your first spot will be the playground if your kids are anything like mine (no patience!). In which case take the path to the left after crossing the bridge then left again a few metres on, which will bring you round to the playground (it’s signposted).

Here, you’ll find a really large playground split into 2 gated areas. The largest is aimed at under 8s and has pretty much everything you could ask for - swings and climbing frames for both toddlers and children, teletubby like mounds to run over, musical chimes, slide, climbing nets, roundabout, yes it’s got it all!

The other area is for children aged 8-13, although mine have played in here younger. There’s a snake swing, zip wire, climbing frame and birds nest swing. Much to my thrill seeking kids disappointment they’ve taken away the spinning seesaw, it was one of those heart in your mouth play equipment for us parents though, so I’m slightly less disappointed to see it’s demise!

Next door to the playground is the park’s other fantastic attraction, a zoo! It’s completely free, but there’s a little wishing well as you walk in if you wish to give a donation. Check the opening times here as it does close a little earlier than the park. They’ve got all sorts of animals here from Alpaca’s to squirrels, from sheep to birds! It’s only small but the kids will love walking around, it’s such a lovely addition to do after the fun of the playground.

There are some paid for attractions within the park, but again, do check opening days and times as they aren’t always open. Firstly is the 18 hole Adventure Golf which is good fun for all the family. There’s also the Pitch ’n’ Putt green (par 3) aimed at beginners. Prices for both golfing games can be found here.

Jungle Parc is a high ropes course (think GoApe but on a smaller scale). It’s suitable for children from 3+ (minimum height 1.05m) and adults are allowed on the course to climb with younger children, prices can be found here.

Outside of all these brilliant attractions are acres of parkland, with formal gardens, a pond and lots of trees to climb so take the time to have a walk around the grounds.

The old estate house, Walton Hall is the obvious landmark as you walk around. It was built in 1836–38 for the wealthy Greenall family, with the whole estate being purchased by Warrington Corporation in 1941. Today it can be hired for weddings and events.

The beautifully restored Glasshouse, built between 1899 & 1910, is a welcome respite from the cold on a winter’s day. I try to drag it out as long as I can but there’s only so long I can talk about succulents and hold their interest. But, if like me, you like your plants then do pop in and behold the tropical plants enjoying life under the Warrington sunshine!

For food, there is the Heritage Cafe, housed in the estate’s old stables, which serves hot and cold food, with both indoor and outdoor seating.

For any Thomas The Tank Engine Fans there’s a little Thomas train which does a circuit around the grounds on weekends and bank holidays. Sometimes you’ll also find the odd fairground ride there and of course the ubiquitous ice cream van is nearly always stationed next to the playground!

If you still want more to do then a walk along the Bridgewater Canal is lovely, the steps can be found on the car park side of the wooden footbridge you entered the park on.


January 2022
Pay & Display