It’s becoming a bit of a running joke at the office, this has been the second time this year that I’ve book time off which has happened to fall on the first three days of a national lockdown. Which meant that the planned activities went out of the window.
This time however we were determined to do something different and a quick google to check the rules, and we discovered that many outdoor places were still open for exploring.
Here I’ve got three weekend activities for lockdown near Tysoe!
Three weekend activities for lockdown near Tysoe
Of course, this is with the proviso, that the lockdown rules should be consulted and adhered to at all times.
Number 1: Batsford Arboretum
Batsford Arboretum is my first suggestion – about 30 minutes from Tysoe, it offers an amazing display of Autumn colour. And at the beginning of November there’s still lots to see with plenty of species still exhibiting their golden, red and orange hues. It took us about 2 – 3 hours to walk round the entire site.
The cafe is currently serving takeaway hot drinks, sandwiches and cake. There’s only a few picnic tables by the car park and picnics are not allowed in the arboretum itself. Toilets are available by the entrance.
In 1886, the Batsford Estate was inherited by Algernon Bertram Freeman-Mitford, !st Lord Redesdale. In the 1860s he worked for the Foreign Office in Russia, Japan and China and he swiftly fell in love with the landscape of his travels and this influenced his designs for Batsford. The Georgian mansion was demolished and in its place the neo-Tudor house seen today.
Mitford created gardens with naturalistic planting, including a vast bamboo collection, some of which still remains today as well as a 600 metre artificial water course. He was also responsible for building the hermit’s cave, thatched cottage, the Japanese rest house as well as installing bronze Buddha, deer and foo dog. By WWI, the gardens had passed to David Mitford who sold the estate due to high running costs, to the Hamilton family.
Frederick Anthony Hamilton Willis, 2nd Lord Dulverton, was also influential in creating the Batsford we recognise today. With a passion for forestry, Willis introduced many rare tree species which form much of today’s collection.
Number 2: Standing with Giants, Blenheim Palace
Another weekend activitie for lockdown near Tysoe. Two hundred life-size Armistice Day soldier silhouette figures and 75 poppy wreaths are currently on display by Column of Victory within the grounds of Blenheim Palace. The installation is the work of Witney artist, Dan Barton, and they are made from recycled building materials. The installation commemorates the Unknown Soldier for the Royal British Legion and fallen heroes from conflicts past and present.
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We are delighted to welcome @standing.with.giants to Blenheim Palace this November… On the parkland surrounding our Column of Victory, 200 life-size Armistice Day soldier silhouette figures and 75 poppy wreaths are on display in memory of The Unknown Soldier for The Royal British Legion, paying respects to our fallen heroes this #RemembranceDay. #standingwithgiants #poppiesofhope #blenheimpalace
The installation is free to view with a Parks & Gardens ticket or with an annual pass, but pre-booked slots are essential. The Palace and Cafe is shut, but it is still possible to do the Park & Garden Tour which was launched earlier this year – check out my review here.
Number 3: Evenley Wood Garden, Evenley
At just over 30 minutes away, Evenley Wood Garden offers 60 acres of privately owned woodland in the heart of Northamptonshire. Gardens are still open to the public to enjoy the autumn colours and number of seasonal bulb plants are beginning to flower.
The team has in place a number of covid-19 measures, but pre-booking is not needed. Gardens are open from 10am – 4pm and adult tickets are £6.00, children £1 each! Picnics encouraged.