Grey’s Court is a relatively small National Trust property in Oxfordshire. From Aylesbury it takes about an hour to get there. As with so many places, ignore Sat Nav as soon as you see the brown signs; it wants to take you to one of the houses rather than the visitor entrance.
The house has timed tours for the first part of the day and then opens up for free flow later. The tours are in fairly small groups and really interesting. One thing I would say is that they’re not particularly child friendly – there’s a lot of just standing in each room just listening to the volunteers. If you are child free then I’d recommend it.
As long as your kids are happy to explore historic houses without touching, then there are quite a few interesting things for the kids to look at. The room guides are really good as well. There isn’t a ton of space in the house so you’re not allowed to take pushchairs into the house.
For me the highlight is the gardens. There’s the ruins of the old house (which is fenced off so you cannot explore), there’s an Ice house, parkland (Including the odd sheep and cow) and the more informal gardens. The formal gardens are awesome. There’s lots of little “rooms” each with their own style. We visited in May and it’s a great time to see the Wisteria. It’s 100+ years old and vast. It’s all propped up on frames so you can walk underneath it. The scent is phenomenal. Smallest child had a lovely time sniffing them (carefully of course).
There’s an orchard, kitchen garden and other gardens too. Sometimes you can buy apples etc. There is also a little labyrynth the kids can try to find their way though. There are a couple of estate walks you can do. They’re easy to follow but they do go cross country. We did the shorter of the two walks with a pushchair. It was easy enough to get across the field BUT my mother did manage to get the tyres covered in sheep poo! Thanks Mum!!!
After we’d scraped the crap off the wheels we were rewarded with a lovely walk through bluebell filled woods. Sadly we’d missed the best of the season but I imagine it’s amazing in-season.
They used to have an INCREDIBLE play fort with a massive sand pit. It was in an area of Yew trees that the kids could run in and out of – they spent hours there. Very sadly this has gone now and the children’s play area has been moved nearer to the cafe. They now have a den building area and a play frame but, TBH it’s nowhere near as good. I’m sure they moved it for a reason but I miss the old area.
If you’ve read some of my posts you’ll know that I’m partial to a good scone and the National Trust is famous for good scones. I’ve eaten ones from here before and they were OK, but this time they looked a bit dodgy. I couldn’t even tell you what type of scone they were supposed to be! I ended up getting a brownie instead. Sad times!!!!!!!!!
Of all the local NT places I actually think this is one of the least interesting. The kids area is a bit pants now. The house is not as interesting as most of the others (for kids at least, I thought it was fascinating for adults) and it’s quite small. The formal gardens are nice but, again, they’re not that big. All in, it’s nice to visit once or for a specific event/activity but it’s not the kind of place I think you’d visit again and again.
FREE for NT members. Family ticket £31.25 (2 adults and “their children/grandchildren”)
Parking / How to get Here
Rotherfield Greys, Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, RG9 4PG
There is a car park on-site. It’s not a huge car park but there is an overflow
Cafe on-site. Picnics welcome – There is a little picnic area near the car park.
There are toilets and a baby change near the cafe area
3/5 – It’s good to visit once but I’m not sure it’s somewhere you’d visit again and again.