This review of Stonor Park has been written during the partial lifting of lockdown. When we visited the house was closed, as was Wonder Woods, the chapel and the restaurant. The gardens and the wider parkland were open and social distancing measures were in place.
Stonor Deer Park
The wider estate at Stonor Park is a massive Deer Park. There is a public footpath that goes through this park and leads up to a spectacular vantage point to see for miles. When we visited Stonor Park to do this review the deer were about to have their babies. We were asked not to go anywhere near them. That’s fair enough, everyone is grumpy in the days before they give birth!!
The estate is massive. I’m sure there are various walks you can take. I have tried to find a map of the park but there’s nothing on the website and, because the visitor centre wasn’t open, we couldn’t get one from there. There’s every possibility we missed some good things.
Stonor Stone Circle
The stone circle at Stonor Park is ancient, but again I only know that from the website. There’s no signage anywhere so people might easily miss it. You could be forgiven for thinking it was just an ornamental part of the garden. Granted, it’s nothing compared to Stonehenge or Avebury stone circle but it’s still pretty cool to have a prehistoric stone circle on your front lawn!!
The formal gardens
The gardens at Stonor Park are much smaller than I was expecting. Not like normal garden size, but also not typical stately home formal garden size. There are three sections There’s the pleasure gardens with tadpole packed ponds and some stunning flowers. Nestled in one of the corners is a little Japanese house which is quite cool.
We really liked the kitchen garden. There’s loads of space to run around between the trees and a great spot for rolling downhill. The Ladies Walk is a pretty little woodland-esque walk. It’s a bit quieter in here and the kids really enjoyed digging around for hazelnuts. There’s not really a lot to see here though. We were in the gardens for 45 minutes, which is a lot less time that I was expecting before we arrived.
I couldn’t do a proper review of Wonder Woods at Stonor Park because they were closed. What I could see from the fence didn’t seem that great but there’s a lot more stuff on the website than I could see. I’m hoping that the best bits are hidden at the back. If you have been I’d really appreciate your thoughts.
Our Stonor Park Review
It’s taken me a few days to write up this review about Stonor Park as I wanted to think on it. There are a couple of negatives to this place. The formal gardens are quite small. Like I say, we only spent 45 minutes in them. Given the Wonder Woods are shut, £24 for a family of four for 45 minutes seems very expensive. The wider park is lovely, but you don’t have to pay for the gardens to look around that.
The other BIG issue I had with this place is signage, and a lack thereof. It’s really crap. There’s a tiny hard-standing car park. Once this is full there’s a sign that says overflow parking straight on, but then there’s nothing. Apparently where we ended up parking was actually the picnic area, but we very much weren’t alone in parking there. I still have no idea where the overflow parking actually is. There’s also only one road in and out of Stonor Park. It’s a narrow road and doesn’t fit two cars. There’s no signs saying that road is the exit though, except for one on the drive thanking you for your visit. They really need to widen that road, or add in proper passing places. It’s not like they don’t have the space.
The other gripe we had was lack of signage in the gardens and stone circle. It would have been nice for there to be some info about the circle and some labels on the plants.
I’d go back to walk around the park, but I’m not sure I’d visit the gardens again. We will have to return to look around the house and Wonder Woods when they re-open, but currently I don’t think a gardens ticket is worth the money. £5 per car to park and explore the deer park sounds like a very good deal though.
Gardens / Wonder Woods – £6.50 Adult / £5.50 Child (2-15 yrs). The Wonder Woods are only open at certain times, but the ticket price remains the same if they’re open or not. Gardener’s World card holders get 2-4-1 adult entry.
House, chapel, gardens and Wonder Woods – £10 Adult / £8.50 Child (2-15 years)
Deer Park only – Free but see note re parking
Parking / How to get there
There is a small car park and overflow parking, but I don’t know where that is. Try to follow the signs!!
Parking is free if you have house or garden tickets. If you’re just parking there to wander around the deer park then it’s only £5 per car. Car parking still needs to be pre-booked.
How to get there – Stonor, Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire RG9 6HF
There is a restaurant on-site and picnics are welcome in the deer park
There are toilets on-site
Social distancing information
All tickets (including car parking for the deer park) must be pre-booked in advance. There are only limited tickets available to limit visitor numbers. The toilets are open and regularly cleaned. Most of the facilities are closed, but will reopen when allowed. Visit their website for more information.
Hi, I’m Vicky. My husband and I live in Aylesbury with our 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