Coton Manor Gardens is a bit of a gem to be honest. It has a bit of an upper hand in comparison to other gardens in Northamptonshire, largely due to the resident flamingos. Yes, really!
As with many of the pretty manor gardens in Northampton, you’ll find well-kept lawns and beautiful flowers, but the flamingos, wild meadow and woods really make this an extra lovely day out. My two children absolutely love it and despite my youngest falling in one of the streams (again, yes, really!) I love it too.
Everything You Want to Know About Coton Gardens With Kids
So let’s perhaps start with the water, because if your kids are anything like mine, it’s a magnet. My two hear the trickle of water and they’re straight there, ready to strip off and jump in. It’s almost comical that they expect me to let them dive in to any puddle of water.
At Coton Manor Gardens you’ll find shallow streams, ponds, fountains and a water garden. They’re all beautifully designed, with pretty flowers dancing alongside them. And of course, there are ducks and flamingos to watch too. As the garden isn’t particularly aimed at children these areas are not fenced in, so you’ll need to be on your toes.
Thankfully my little girl only fell in the shallow stream (when she tried to do a runner!), so although her bottom half was absolutely soaked, she wasn’t hurt and I dragged her out straight away and we laughed about it…eventually!
Don’t let this put you off because the water parts really do look lovely and make the gardens what they are. Just you know, keep hold of lively littles and pack some spare clothes just in case!
The flamingos are the real highlight of the gardens, but you will find a variety of chickens and ducks too.
The flamboyance of seven flamingos – yep, that’s the real term for a group of these pink-feathered friends – live near the bottom of the garden. They’re pretty chilled and don’t seem to be bothered by their adoring fans – both kids and adults alike.
Pigs and Cows
You’ll also find pigs and piglets at Coton Manor Garden, though we had trouble seeing them during our visit as they were snoozing.
The cows – English Longhorns – can be found in the field and are another highlight for little ones.
Once you get to the flamingos head to the gate and out into the wild meadow. It’s beautiful and a great opportunity to wear little ones out. Our lot loved racing round the loop track and crouching down to hide from us.
Coton Manor Bluebells and Snowdrops
From the meadow you can then head into the woodland and depending on when you visit, see bluebells and/or snowdrops. We didn’t see either, but it was still another lovely loop walk. The kids raced ahead, collecting sticks and jumping on trunks.
Coton Manor Garden makes social distancing easy. When you arrive there are barriers to indicate acceptable distances when queuing to get in. Despite the car park being quite busy during our mid-week visit we didn’t have to wait.
You simply then follow the one way signs round the gardens and once you get near the bottom, in the wider space it’s easy to keep away from others. It all felt pretty safe to me.
Coton Manors Garden Cafe
In the courtyard, near the end, you’ll find take away food. At the moment that’s the only option, though that may change as rules ease.There are screens to protect the sellers (and you, of course!).
There’s quite a lot on offer, including hot and cold food, and delicious mini tubs of ice-cream. You can pay cash or card.
As much as most of the gardens is accessible on wheels I’d suggest leaving the buggy at home if you can and opt for a carrier if you need something.
Some sections of the gardens follow narrow, rocky paths and whilst there are alternative paths you can follow, I feel like you miss out a little.
Additionally, from the car park you need to head down a steep set of stairs. The alternative is walking out of the car park and then briefly along the road before heading into the gardens.
It’s totally doable with a buggy, but just something to consider.
Coton Manor Opening Times
It’s currently open Tuesday to Sunday from 12noon to 5.30pm. I visited with a 2, 4 and 5 year old and we spent about three hours there.
The gardens are closed on Mondays, except Bank Holiday weekends when they open Saturday, Sunday and Monday.
Coton Manor Gardens Prices
Adult entry is £8 and a child entry is £3. It’s free for under 5s. You can pay with card or cash. Parking is free.
All in all, a lovely little activity for a bit of family fun in Northamptonshire. You can find their website here. The address is Coton Manor, Nr, Guilsborough, Northampton, NN6 8RQ.
Have you been?
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