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Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Trip to the Swiss Garden

We haven't had a particularly good couple of weeks due to the weather. Our week in the cottage in East Sussex was abandoned due to the extreme weather, as recorded in a previous post. We did, however, go to visit Carol's mum and dad last Wednesday in Southampton. We booked rail tickets on-line and drove to Oxford in order to journey down via train. It was a long day, as we left Milton Keynes around 7.30 to get to the park and ride at Water Eaton and then catch a bus into the main station in Oxford. The journey down was straightforward and took around 90 minutes. Carol's parents were on the station platform when we arrived and we spent the day wandering around the city, including having lunch in a Weatherspoons pub, always good value. We came back on the train which left at around 3.45 and got back to Oxford at about 5.15. It seems to be the most convenient way to travel down to see them, avoiding the long car journey down to Bournemouth where they live.

Today we were determined to get out somewhere as the weather had improved. As a result we decided to go to the Swiss Garden at Old Warden in Bedfordshire. We have been before, but that was a few years ago. The car park was virtually empty when we arrived, but as the morning progressed it gradually filled up. The sun shone, but it wasn't too hot. In fact, the right sort of mild weather making it ideal for walking around outside in a garden. The Shuttleworth collection is pat of the place, but we didn't visit that and may return at a later date. Perhaps when some of the planes are flying. I have seen it, but that was years ago. I seem to recall a school visit so you get some idea how long ago it was. There is a restaurant and shop as part of the complex, where you pay to enter.

The Swiss Garden is deceptive because it doesn't occupy a very large space, and the way it's laid out means you turn a corner and discover something new each time, such as a pond with a delightful wrought iron bridge over it, or a folly or other building such as the thatched  Swiss Cottage which is in the centre of the garden or the Indian Kiosk which has seats in it so you can stop and sit and enjoy the view. There is now a woodland walk which include a sculpture trail which wasn't part of things the last time we visited. It has a decent path to walk on.

When we had completed our visit we had coffee and very nice chocolate cake in the restaurant  before leaving. We drove on to Jordan's Mill which is a mile or two up the road at Broom, just off the A1. I'd heard about this and was interested to see it as you get to see the workings of a water mill which has been in operation on the same site for centuries. We didn't pay for the guided tour but walked around the adjacent garden before driving back towards Milton Keynes.

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