…and October is the perfect time to visit.
Aside from the picturesque grounds and orchards (where it is currently apple harvesting season), it is also full of fiendish fun during the spookiest time of the year and is ideal for a little half-term Halloween fun.
The popular Apple Days are taking place on Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd October this year, and with more than 70 varieties of apples growing in the grounds – there is plenty of choice for picking, including heritage varieties from ancient established orchards. However many more were planted by Ian Lyle back in the 1940’s. The orchards hold a mix of eating and cider apples, with some truly unusual names, e.g. Slack-Ma-Girdle, Brown Snout, Beauty of Bath, Crimson King, Somerset Redstreak, Tom Putt, and Kingsdon Black to name a few! Some of the cider apples also produce award-winning apple juices and ciders.
Children can get in on the fun picking up Windfall apples (which are perfect for cider making) using the specially designed mini wheelbarrows parked in the Goose Orchard, and you can experience the whole cider-making process as the skilled volunteer team put the huge old apple press into action. There are apple games and crafts and interesting walks through the orchards, as well as some song and dance going on too. Experts are available to identify mystery apples and – even better – you get to taste some of the heritage varieties that still grow. Apple Days run from 11.00am to 16.30pm.
For everyone’s favourite October time treats there is plenty of Halloween fun to be had at Barrington Court. From the 22nd to the 30th October, between 10.30am and 16:30pm, you can paint a wooden pumpkin decoration at Jozef the woodcarver’s studio (which is included in with admission). You don’t need to reserve a spot, just show up! But be sure to pack a warm layer because it can get chilly during the autumn months. Oh yes, one more thing – wear clothes that you don’t mind getting a little bit of paint on.
On the same days, from 11.00am to 16:30pm, are the Halloween Creepy Creatures and Scary Faces Trail. Choose your trail and find the foul faces and gruesome ghouls on your way.
The following week, on Monday 24th and Wednesday 26th October, don’t miss the Creepy Creatures Shadow Play, where experienced puppeteers Ken and Jill, from the Armchair Puppet Theatre, will show you the how to create a scary monster or creepy creature as a shadow puppet – don’t worry if you’re stuck for inspiration, there are lots of carvings and details around the court and grounds to use as examples. Once you have perfected your shadow puppets, Ken and Jill will help you show your puppets on their theatre screen. You don’t have to be a child to participant – it’s great fun for all the family – and it’s been known to get quite competitive (especially with the dads!). The Creepy Creatures Shadow Play days run from 11.30am to 16.00pm, with an admission fee of £4.00
For the more hands on amongst you (again – all ages are welcome), there are Den Building activity days on Tuesday 25th and Wednesday 27th October, between 11.00am and 15.00pm. Come down to the woods with us and build a den to play in, this is especially fun in Autumn as the weather is so lovely and you get to heap up piles of leaves and run around. Den Building is included in admission (although a donation of £1 per child is encouraged).
On Sunday 30th October from 11.00am to 16.30pm is the annual Barrington Court Spooks Parade. Get dressed up, join in the fun and let your spooky side run wild as you wander through the house and gardens on the lookout for fiendish frights and ghastly horrors. Don’t worry if you don’t have a costume (or even if you do) there is Face Painting available to get you ready for the day ahead.
So that’s October covered – what about the rest of the year? Aside from the breathtaking gardens and orchards, the Barrington Court shop offers a wide range of gifts, including award winning apple juices and ciders, and at The Book Barn at Woolsthorpe Manor, there is a huge lot of quality second hand books covering all topics and tastes. If you are visiting with your dog, there is a map showing the trails around the estate where dog walking is permitted.
Barrington Pottery has five independent local artisan workshops located in the old farm buildings on the avenue, and once you have spent some time exploring, you can get a snack in the Strode House dining and tearooms. Have coffee and homemade cake, a light snack, or hot meal made with fresh and delicious produce from the kitchen garden.
Until 31st October, the admission fees are: Adults – £11.10 and Children £5.50 (or £12.30 / £6.10 with Gift Aid). Family entry is £27.70 (£30.60) and for group bookings with a minimum of 15 people Adults are £9.00 and Children £4.50).