A very early start as we'd organised a day out... and as the weather looked better in the North East than the North West, we didn't do the Settle to Carlisle railway but took the 8.27 to Alnmouth so we could go to Alnwick to go to the amazing garden there. Arrived in Alnmouth (well, the station which is a mile outside the coastal village) and got a bus to Alnwick, and the castle and garden is very close to the town...
We spent the morning around the cascade, a wonderful flight of waterfalls with half-hourly fountains and water jets, and occasional other water jets which went really high and were fun to dodge... or get wetted by! The boys loved playing on the tractor toys at the base of the cascade, and walking up the rills which have cobbles on the base to make it easy to do so in the shallow but fast-flowing water, and enjoyed playing with the water in the ornamental garden at the top of the cascade too.
Then we went for a sit-down on the lawns and had our sandwiches we'd brough with us... and our eldest and I went on the guided tour of the poison garden which had a good variety of narcotic and toxic plants from nettles to rhubarb, giant hogweed to cannabis, opium to henbane, coca to foxglove... absolutely fascinating!
After this we went to check out the treehouse via an ice-cream and Gill was brave and walked the wobbly bridges. I took some delight in making them as wobby as possible.... made me giggle, naughty me! The boys laughed as well though, it was fun seeing Mum holding on as if for dear life!
The bamboo labyrinth wasn't a proper labyrinth, more of a maze. But the best thing we left til last, the interactive water sculptures which the boys absolutely adored... and got completely soaked. After the best part of an hour here, we went to the lawns and wrang their teeshirts out, and after a while headed into Alnwick to try to find a charity shop with dry shorts etc. Gill got two pairs of pants in Woolworths and shorts in a charity shop.... perfect!
Wandered round the town and eventually wound up at the bus station where we got the 4.47 bas to Alnmouth Station where we only had a 5 minute wait before the York train came... and back into York at 6.45.