When spring suddenly arrived, last weekend, a visit to Cambridge University Botanic Garden was a must. It provides a very reliable dry-weather, day-out option, whether you’re entertaining small children, adults, or anyone in between.
For young ones, the fountain, the (rather small once you’re 40) mountain and the maze always appeal. And then there are the stepping stones…
The maze – a low-level grass affair – is being re-grown at the moment, but staff have marked out a chalk version in the interim.
It’s worth bearing in mind though, that tree climbers are in for a disappointment (or a severe telling off). The garden is a prized scientific collection and rough treatment from visitors is definitely not tolerated. This can be a hard message to convey to your average, energetic four-year-old. Running round and round the low wall that circles the fountain is a possible alternative though, and there’s plenty of open grass, where tearing about can take place.
For adults in need of solace, beauty, and a good supply of tea and cake, there’s the new cafe which now also offers a weekend brunch with a selection of newspapers to browse through.
I don’t want to seem as though I have some kind of obsession, but the loos are OK and reasonably plentiful. (If there are queues at the cafe you can find more near the entrance to the glass houses.)
Ah, the glass houses… Almost too toasty now the sun is out, but during winter it’s tempting to slip in and spend the whole day in the Tropical Rainforest section, possibly occasionally slipping into Arid Lands. If you’re ever moved to do this, you can check admission prices and opening times here.
Obviously, when enjoying somewhere as beautiful as the garden, shopping is the last thing on anyone’s mind (a’hem). However, if your children want to drag you (kicking and screaming, naturally) in to buy souvenirs, the shop does have a range of nice things for adults as well as a good selection of pocket-money toys.
You can find a full overview of the garden itself here. It really is one of my favourite places in Cambridge.