Hylands Park – A great place to play and eat

13 Jul
For us lunch in the park is always a picnic, my wicker hamper is my pride and joy and I’ve lost count of the number of picnic blankets I have bought up over the years.  I just feel that there is something so quintessentially English about a ‘proper’ picnic. Ripping off a piece of bread, covering it in Brie, picking a few cherry tomatoes out the pot, pouring a glass of red wine and chatting for hours under the trees while the children run around needing only mother nature for enjoyment is quite honestly my idea of heaven.   All that could make it better would be travelling there in the vintage split screen VW camper I have had my eye on – maybe next year!
Today however there was no picnic for Scarlett and me – The wonderful English summer weather put pay to that.
So off we went to Hylands Park in Chelmsford to dodge the rain, try out their playground and grab a bite to eat in the cafe.  The Adventure Castle Play Area is the best play park we have been to in the local area, catering for toddlers right through to teenagers, with equipment that can be used by all ages at the same time which I think is great for families with multi aged children.  It was nice and quite today (midweek, term-time) so Scarlett got lots of time to run around and play on everything. The cradle swing and giant wooden fort were her two favourite attractions. Hearing my little lady squeal with delight as she ran off on her own over the drawbridge into the fort showed me just what a grown up little lady she is becoming – where has my baby gone??
Once the little lady had burn off steam it was time to fill our bellies.  A short walk across the fields led us to Hylands House, an 18th century country house open to the public with a visitor centre, gift/craft shop and Huttons Courtyard Cafe.  Instantly I was pleasantly surprised with how child friendly the place was.  There were many highchairs available along with booster seats for older children and we quickly found a box of goodies; toys, colouring books and crayons to keep us amused while we waited for our food.  The menu was quite standard however I must say that the options for children were very good.  They were served promptly, hot and with child sized cutlery for Scarlett (which I always appreciate) so that was wonderful. 
We left the cafe two full, happy and worn out individuals and headed back the car – I hadn’t even left the car park before Scarlett was snoring her head off and she went to bed for a further hour when we got home – so that was a nice bonus for me too.
I would thoroughly recommend a day out at Hylands Park, there is so much to do and the best bit it is most of it is totally free.  I  will be heading back there in a couple of weeks with the whole family, this time packing a picnic as I think my hamper is feeling left out, so as always….fingers crossed for sunshine!
Telephone: 01245 605 500
Parking – Writtle Road Car park (Free)
Park opening time – 7.30am
Park closing time – January 5pm, February and March 6pm, April 8pm, May 9pm, June and July 10pm, August 9pm, September 8pm, October 7pm, November and December 5pm

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