Wimpole: Spend a day on 2,000 acres of pastoral pleasures or step into Wimpole’s stately home
June 4, 2008
WIMPOLE — Say what you will about Britain’s perpetual wetness, it does wonders for the foliage.
No brownish, unsightly patches on the lawn in these parts. And on days when the sun actually shines, the plant life seems to take on an added vibrancy.
When the flora isn’t being watered from above, the Wimpole Estate near Cambridge is a nice way to enjoy the verdant world around us.
Situated on more than 2,000 acres, Wimpole has something for everyone in the family.
The garden areas alone cover 60 acres for those who like to stop and smell the flowers, while the home farm is a late 18th century-model farm where kids can brush donkeys and help collect hen eggs.
Throughout the estate’s dappled and winding paths, visitors catch glimpses of pastures full of grazing goats and cattle.
Wimpole Hall itself is a grand old affair, donated to Britain’s National Trust in 1976, according to Catharine Hayburn, an estate official.
"It’s got something for everybody," Hayburn says of this day out. "Mum and dad can go into the house and look at the stately home and gardens, and the kids can groom donkeys and collect eggs."
As if all the winding paths and the accompanying nooks and crannies weren’t enough to keep a family busy for an afternoon, the estate also has free picnic areas and picnic lunches for sale in case you forget to pack your own.
Near the gift shop are numerous eateries and even a used book corner.
Part of the estate was used as a military hospital during World War II, Hayburn said. Any architectural remnants of that time are gone, but a plaque commemorates the estate’s part in the fight.
While the grounds are a pleasurable and not-too-distant walk, horse-drawn buggies are on hand for those who want to take it all in from a sitting position.
The estate is also full of scenic vistas, Hayburn said.
"In flat Cambridgeshire, you can actually walk up a hill and get a bit of a view," she said. "It’s quite nice."
Getting thereWhat: A 2,000-plus acre estate featuring a stately manor, working farm and a variety of winding paths full of greenery.
Where: About eight miles southwest of Cambridge, off the A603 and near junction 12 of the M11. For planning purpose, key Wimpole Estate, Arrington, Royston, Cambridgeshire SG8 0BW into your favorite map Web site.
Hours: Hours vary throughout the year; the hall, gardens and farm sometimes have different hours.
Cost: A ticket covering everything costs 12.60 pounds for adults and 6.80 pounds for kids. Visitors can pay admission to select parts of the estate as well.
Details:www.wimpole.org or call 01223-20-6000.