Belton House and its grounds have been a destination for fun filled family days out for many years, we began visiting when our now grown-up children were tiny tots, we would always pack a picnic and the kids always enjoyed themselves on the adventure playground, in fact all 4 of our kids have had fun there as little ones, many precious memories have been created on these days out and it has
The National Trust’s largest adventure playground. Belton house was built for Sir John Brownlow in the 1680s and has stunning gardens, 1300 acres of parkland with a herd of around 300 fallow deer.
In our more recent visits as our family has grown up, we tend to visit the gardens and parkland more, and one of our favourite places has been the maze, we always have fun there, we like to time each other to see how fast we make it into the centre or to get back out. Lots of laughs indeed.
The maze was replanted from a 1902 drawing, the original one was removed after becoming completely overgrown, because the garden staff had to leave to fight in the war. If the maze has been recreated from original drawings, I feel they must have been amazing gardeners indeed, the maze gives a big lift to all who discover it.
I love the gardens and parkland in springtime especially, the bluebells are abundant, primroses and daffodils too. We were lucky to spot a beautiful young rabbit near one of the winding garden paths on one visit, we named him Peter, of course. I think he seemed rather tame, not fazed by us watching at all, just carried on munching his lunch.
In the grounds look out for the lover’s temple and canal. There are a varied mix of gardens to be explored and enjoyed, the Italian garden is inspired by the 1st Earl’s grand tour of Italy, Sir Jeffry Whyatville was commissioned to create the sunken garden with a fountain centerpiece. The orangery overlooks the Italian garden and is another place well worth a visit. The Dutch garden with its gravel paths and topiaries was commissioned by the 3rd Earl in the 19th century. Belton’s sundial was another piece that I think you might like and was created by Caius Cibber, see if you can discover this piece of art in the gardens.
If it’s a walk you’re after then I’d recommend a walk on down to the Swiss fishing lodge on Belton’s lake, again another idyllic location and plenty of spots to sit and contemplate or even bring a sandwich for a little mini picnic perhaps. Mostly easily accessible paths around the lake, a couple of muddy patches but easy walking, probably wheelchair accessible too. The river Witham runs through Belton’s grounds too, so there are plenty of natural beauty to be found.
Belton House has some very grand rooms and remarkable collections to view on a tour of the house, I personally enjoyed seeing the impressive library, what a stunning collection of books and a grand place to sit and read, with views from the window over the delightful gardens.
I also enjoyed seeing the kitchens and imagining what life would have been like cooking in such a grand place and for so many people, oh to be a fly on the wall and see life back in the day! The National Trust offer a below stairs tour too, which I think would be fascinating.
Now last but not least my absolute favourite part of Belton house grounds, Belmount tower on the hill. A lovely brisk walk uphill to stunning views and a woodland walk. It is situated outside the Belton House grounds and as such can’t be accessed while inside the Belton grounds, but is still part of its parkland and there is a free carpark to use on the roadside. Belmount Tower is a grade ll listed building, the viewing tower was built mid eighteen hundred and after being remodeled in 1780, fire damage in 1841 and finally restored in 1989, by Samuel Smith and the Mason William Grey, the arch as it stands today is still a remarkable sight. The tower originally had two wings either side which Lord Brownlow was advised to have removed by his brother-in-law, Phillip Yorke.
Lord Brownlow would have his servants bring meals to the folly and have them served there when he was entertaining in the room at the top which must have some most amazing views across to Belton House and for miles around. It would be worth all the effort required to have dinner served here, up high on the hill, climb the spiral staircase and to dine with a view like that, Lord Brownlow obviously knew how to entertain in style! Access inside is not possible accept on a few occasions when the National Trust have special viewing tours. Aside from this romantic folly and the views from the hill, it is always lovely to walk the woodlands here and it will always be one of my favourite places.
Belton house in Lincolnshire has so much variety, and of course I have my favourite parts after my family and I have been visiting for so many years now, there’s the draw of its many gardens, the vast and beautiful parkland, the lakes and folly’s but not forgetting the nature that surrounds it. But when the kids were young we always made a bee line for the adventure playground, it always had to be the first place to go and as soon as we approached Belton House the walled estate was in view and the adventure playground could be spotted through the trees, they would always get excited and decide where they would go first, the tall slides and zip wires were usually favored.
The little narrow-gauge railway was another favourite attraction for them back in the day, and we always started with ice-cream! There’s plenty of activities for everyone here including a restaurant and café. Just writing about Belton Estate brings back so many treasured memories and now that we have a grandson, maybe we have an excuse to rediscover the adventure playground and let our grandson make new memories too. 😊