Saturday 28 January 2012

Escot Gardens, Ottery St Mary, Devon

We're currently having a short break at Mazzard Farm in Devon, and having a great time. Today the weather was cold but sunny, and so we went to Escot Gardens, Maze and Forest Adventure which is just down the road.

It was a cold day, but luckily even though it was out of season everything was still open. You can take a trail through the woods, which passes lots of interesting small attractions. The first place that we stopped was the Maze, which we quickly realised was a serious affair. I waited outside with Mia while Ram ventured in with Harry, but he soon found out that bridges were involved, which wasn't going to work with a pushchair. He hadn't got far, but I still had to climb up onto one of the bridges and direct him out. Probably a good job that I did, it wasn't a good place to get stuck for hours with a whingy toddler!

A bit further around we encountered the drop slide, which I was very excited about, having seen some video of it on the website. I must admit that after climbing all the way to the top, when I found myself sitting on a narrow ledge above a steep vertical drop, I very nearly came straight back down again, but I resisted the fact that every fibre of my being was screaming at me not to, and launched myself straight down. Well it was fantastic, and I couldn't wait to go back for another go (and this time I even kept my eyes open!). I probably could have stayed on it all day if I didn't have the family to attend to!

Escot Gardens, Ottery St Mary, Devon

Next we found a big outdoor play area for Harry. Sometimes it surprises me that even though he's quite small and not particularly athletic, he loves climbing on things and can manage pretty well, even on quite high or narrow equipment. Most of the play area was really aimed at older children, but with my help we had a pretty good go at it.

Mia was getting a bit crotchety by this point, so after we'd had a good look around the other outdoor areas we went to the indoor play barn to give her a break from the pushchair. The play barn was a good size, with plenty of equipment for all ages. I know that not all parents are fans, but I've always found soft play areas great for Harry and he loves them. There were a few seats around the edge and vending machines for drinks and snacks. We had brought our own food, and it was a nice warm place to get some lunch inside the little ones.

Escot Gardens, Ottery St Mary, Devon

Mia is growing up so fast, and every day she is interacting with us all, and especially Harry, more and more. They had a great time going down the slide together and he was delighted that she was joining in with something that he was doing.

We had a great time at Escot and would fully recommend it. We spent a morning there, but on a warmer day or with older children you could easily spend longer. I did feel that it was a little pricey for out of season, when there are no special events on and your activities are limited by the weather, but if you live nearby there are season tickets available which would work out to be really good value.

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