Out- Houghton Hall, Norfolk

It’s the summer holidays and you are probably searching around for allsorts of free things to do with the kids. We stumbled across Houghton Hall via Facebook. I noticed it had a sculpture garden and added it to our list. It did not disappoint. We went on the day the festival was opening but wasn’t busy and festival goings-on were separate from the hall and grounds. The music festival may well be on my list for next year as the line up was so interesting, diverse and we could hear sound checking of PA systems.

Prices were:

£10 for adults to visit the grounds and gardens

£18 for adults to visit the grounds, gardens and hall.

For the summer holidays kids are free!

We bought tickets just for the gardens and grounds but the Hall looks stunning so next time we will venture inside.

The ticket included entry to the soldier museum which is a large private collection of military models . T was in awe, we tried to explain the battle of Waterloo. My history knowledge let me down a little bit but there is an information pack you can pick up to help you!

Off the courtyard we found the light installation, Raemar Magenta. Without a doubt a stunning reaction; our two children just started dancing, no music, just light. We joined in! It felt like we were waiting for something to happen. T said it was like a cinema screen.

Through the limes into the Halls grounds. Richard Long is the artist in residence and his “A line in Norfolk” dominates the lawn. The hall is the Lord Great Chamberlain (David Cholmondeley) family seat, these gardens are dedicated to his Grandmother, Sybil Cholmondeley. They are wonderful. Skyspace was so thought provoking, viewing the ever changing sky, framed in white. I loved watching my children’s reactions. T is a real live wire and he was silent and still, just watching the clouds. G just had a lie down and a cuddle.

The next standout was Scholar’s Rock. Could it be based on the Chinese traditional of interesting natural forms being given space and special significance in garden? My son ran back to kiss it as we left. Little people love big things.

The walled gardens are also beautiful and if I lived in the hall I know where I would be found most days, sat reading by the fish pond and enjoying the peace.

We found a fountain that was astonishing. We were walking past and T starts saying “It’s on fire, Mama” over and over. He was right, the water was on fire. We had missed it first time around. Something you really don’t see everyday.

Would we go again:

Yes, on 17th August as they have planned a family fun day. I would definitely take in the hall’s state rooms and explore it’s history. Originally built for the first Prime Minister.

Best moment- watching the children’s reactions to the large scale sculptures.

Worst moment- my 4 year old son not realising that “A line in Norfolk” was an art piece and standing on it.

Top tip: At the end of the lawn there is a Ha-ha, a sudden drop down. Be careful you or small children don’t drop off. Lots of Deer and a small but well equipped play area near the car park.

link to Houghton Hall website

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