We’ve been to Baddesley Clinton in Warwickshire several times but we’d not been for a few years so it was well overdue for an updated review. It’s worth mentioning that this place goes hand-in-hand with Packwood House as they’re just a few minutes drive apart. Click here to read the review of Packwood House. Baddesley Clinton in a National Trust owned moated manor house and estate. It’s not big but it is lovely.
Baddesley Clinton is about 1 hour 15 minutes from Aylesbury. It pretty much straight up the M40 so it’s an easy journey. One of my absolute favourite photos of the boys was taken at Baddesley Clinton. They both look so calm, and young, just sitting there watching the ducks.
There are several main areas; the manor house, the front lawn, the lake & woodland, the kitchen gardens and the wider estate.
The manor house at Baddesley Clinton
The house itself is based inside a moat and it’s got a reasonable number of rooms open but most of the rooms are closed. I do always wonder what’s inside those closed rooms!! Every time we’ve visited there has been some work going on in at least one area of the house which has affected the rooms that are open. The house itself is full of intrigue and stories; there was a murder committed here apparently and they also have priest holes that you can have a look at. It even has a (small) connection to the gunpowder plot!
Most of the staff that we spoke to were quite nice and happy to have a chat with the children about various things in the room. On our latest visit there was one woman who seemed to be terrified that any child in the room would break everything so we moved through there very quickly!!
A couple of notes re access. There’s no pushchair entry, but there are hip carriers you can borrow. There’s only wheelchair access to the ground floor I believe. Upstairs there’s lots of little staircases between the various different sections of the house and the floors are quite uneven. Obviously, that’s not an issue for most people but it’s worth being aware of.
The front lawn at Baddesley Clinton
There are games on the lawn sometimes and there is an amazing climbing tree that has clearly been used a lot. It has low branches that are easy for even the smallest people to climb on. When we visited they also had buckets and those leaf hand thing-ys so the children could collect the fallen leaves. Genius idea! There are a few picnic benches dotted around as well. They have a LOT of ducks in the moat. After we’d fed them bird seed I read that they don’t want you to feed the ducks at Baddesley Clinton. Oops. My bad. You can easily spend ages here just letting the kids climb the trees and watching the ducks.
The moat is next to the lawn. There’s quite a steep slope down to the moat in places, but then there’s a footpath right next to the moat on the other side. There’s a great for getting up close to the ducks, but you’ll obviously need to keep an eye on smaller kids.
The lake and woodland
One thing I had forgotten about since I originally wrote a review of Baddesley Clinton is the water. Obviously I’d remembered about the moat but there’s one kind of water or another everywhere you turn. In many places the footpaths are very close to the edge. The first few times we went it wasn’t an issue because I had children old enough to know not to fling themselves into. It didn’t really enter my mind that it might be a bit dodgy. This time I had an overly curious, not very good at listening, toddler with me. I was on edge the whole time, mainly because she was so near the edge!
There’s a lake with a little woodland walk that goes around it. It’s not massive but it is pretty. There’s little streams and bridges along the way as well. Both times we have visited the children’s trail went around this path. The first trail we did involved collecting items for a potion. It was a lovely idea and something a bit different from the typical trails where you are going from sign to sign. When we went back to Baddesley Clinton to update this review they also had a trail going on. This time it was just following the path from sign to sign, with about 8 stops along the way. It cost £2.50 per person and you got a small sweet (ie a small lolly), a sticker and a printed out activity sheet. TBH it was one of the worst “rewards” for a trail we’ve done in a long time. I was disappointed as the previous one had been so good. We decided to just buy one trail to share and then pretend there wasn’t a reward for anyone. I really didn’t fancy paying £7.50 for a couple of mini rolls of Love Hearts!!
The kitchen gardens
Baddesley Clinton is well-known for their Dahlia beds and they really are spectacular. September and October are apparently the best times to see them and even though we went at the end of the season they will still looking absolutely beautiful. Who knew that there was such a wide variety with dahlias out there and they inspired me to try and grow my own! Which I completely failed at.
As well as all this they have a big vegetable and kitchen garden. It always seems to be autumn, and post harvest, when we visit so obviously it wasn’t as full as it would normally be. I imagine in the summer it’s really nice to have a look around. There are a couple of little summer houses dotted around where you can have lunch if it’s a bit soggy. They actually had a load of Shakespeare themed scarecrows one year which were really funny, sadly they didn’t have them again this year.
The estate at Baddesley Clinton
There is now a natural play area in the woods but it’s quite a walk away from the house. We wanted to visit Packwood House as well and I don’t think little legs could have coped with it all so we didn’t go and explore that. I’ll just have to go back again!! Have a look on the website to see what it’s all about.
The wider estate has got lots of sheep and there are various walks that you can do around the estate and beyond. The canal is near-by and there are walks you can do along there, plus the “Heart of England Way” and there’s even a walk through to Packwood House if you didn’t want to drive. All of the walks, including the routes, are on their website
Entry – free for National Trust members family ticket £33.40
Parking / How to get there
Parking – free, on-site
Address – Rising Lane, Baddesley Clinton, Warwickshire, B93 0DQ
Food – cafe on-site but picnics also welcome. They have a cafe in the courtyard and, whilst busy, it was good. I cannot remember the scones well enough to give them a score out of 10, but I know that I had one and I know that I finished it! There was plenty of seating outside for picnics.
On-site, including baby change. They are really shabby, but they know this and they’re hoping to do something about it in the future.
Our Baddesley Clinton review
Rating 4 / 5. I’m not sure you’d fill an entire day here, particularly if it’s less than sunny weather. However, you could very easily spend 3 – 4 hours here without even having to do any of the walks.
We usually visit Packwood House on the same day as visiting Baddesley Clinton, read my review by clicking here.
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Hi, I’m Vicky. My husband and I live in Aylesbury with out three children; a 10 year old son, an 8 year old son and a 3 year old daughter. I (mostly) love spending time together as a family. We visit all kinds of places and we’re quite happy to drive a fair distance for a decent day out. A few years ago I decided to set up Free Time with the Kids as a way to share our experiences of these family days out. You know, the essential information you need to know before your visit that can be surprisingly hard to find out. Where do I park? How much will it cost me to get in? Are there any discounts available? Are there loos? Can I take a picnic or get food? My aim is to be your go-to guide for all your free and cheap family days out across Bucks, Beds, Oxon, Herts & slightly beyond. I really hope you find the reviews helpful. If there’s anywhere that you’d recommend please get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org or get in touch via Facebook