A place full of secrets and secrets, where the trees have faces and someone’s eyes look at us from under the pebbles.
We went there one morning, hungry for adventure and shade from the hot sun. The weather was great.
Groombridge Place is a former manor house, converted into a paradise for children’s imagination. The stone house is impressive, surrounded by a moat and gardens, unfortunately closed to visitors. However, certainly many of you saw its interior, because it was there that several historical dramas were filmed, e.g. “Pride and Prejudice” (the manor served as the home of the Bennet family). The appearance of the manor has not changed for 350 years, when it was designed by the then owner of the estate, Philip Pader, in cooperation with his friend, the great architect Christopher Wren. It’s no wonder that filmmakers consider it the perfect place to shoot historical films there. Peter Greenaway did not resist the charm, and created here his famous “Cartoonist’s Contract”.
Groombridge Place is a paradise for children. Right at the entrance there are cafes where you can get delicious ice cream produced here. Immediately behind the ice cream parlor is a mysterious maze cut out of a hedge. It’s not that simple at all. Once you find the exit, you can take a boat ride through the fairytale channel created by weeping willows and various climbing plants. The boat will take us to the meadow, where raptor bird shows take place every few hours. We managed to see the eagle, hawk and falcon. A charming married couple with vigor told anecdotes about their pets, and the birds flew disturbingly close over our heads.
From the meadow, the road leads to the secluded world of Robinson Crusoe. Here kids can go crazy for good. Two giant treehouses and an observation tower are connected by hanging bridges, after which you can run freely, climb ropes, etc. The construction was inspired by a children’s television series about the famous prisoner of a desert island. However, this is just the beginning of the adventure. Going up, we visit dinosaurs in the forest, mysterious tunnels, an Indian village, hidden lakes, fern forest from Jurassic times, pagan mounds and places of rituals, and even gypsy rolling stock.
The biggest attraction, however, is the Boardwalk Challenge, a raised platform that you can walk on, connected in some places with ropes where you can move further on ropes like Tarzan. Imported in the nineteenth century, giant sequoias became the basis for creating high swings flying on them. I confess to you quietly that my imagination goes crazy in such places and at least for a moment I would like to be a child again.
Adults will also like it there, especially lovers of gardens and detective stories, because a frequent guest of this place was Artur Conan Doyle, author of the series about the famous detective Sherlock. I am not surprised that the writer’s imagination created such amazing stories, a walk in the woods and gardens certainly contributed to stimulation of his mind.
Right at the entrance to the garden is a small house where the office of the great writer was recreated. Old leather-bound books and oak furniture take us into a completely different world of mysteries. Conan Doyle, here in Groombridge, placed the setting for the action of his latest novel, Valley of Fear. The property is renamed Birlstone Manor.
Arthur fell in love with the gardens the most, and his favorite was Drunken Garden.
There is a lot going on in Groombridge Place, it’s worth checking out their website, because there are a lot of special shows, theater performances (e.g. about Piotr Pan), art classes for children, costume balls, and archery lessons. You can have lunch at the café, or simply have a picnic in the woods or in the meadow, or among the wonderful climbing vines, because in Groombridge Place is the truest vineyard.
Eating in a cafe is normal, typical for such places, but I recommend you to try ice cream, or drink cola and lemonade, but not those that can be found in stores today, only original ones based on old Victorian recipes. My children did not want to try at first, and when I convinced them they did not want to give me back because they liked it so much.
This is a link for their webside : Groombridge Place Webside