Solo parenting at Wisley - why it works
We moved to Reigate mid-Summer 2016. We visited RHS Wisley Gardens a couple of times that summer and loved it. The next time we visited we signed up for a family membership despite somewhat edging towards feeling middle-aged with the flick of a pen!
Since then we have visited Wisley multiple times each season as a family and with friends. Not only do the gardens look beautiful whatever the weather but they change throughout the year so every visit is different. Not only is it a great day out for families but I have found that it's the perfect place if you find yourself needing to entertain your kids as a solo parent. With my wife working the odd night shift I often find myself needing the get the kids out for the day so she can recover.
WHY WISLEY IS MY VENUE OF CHOICE FOR ENTERTAINING THE KIDS
Firstly, it's the space. The site is so large that there is always somewhere away from others which is great if your children arrive in a less than favourable mood. It also means that just getting around is enough to wear them out.
Secondly, it's the variation. There are so many different areas that there is bound to be something that your children find interesting. For ours, it's the natural playground, the huge greenhouse and the vegetable patch.
Finally, it's safe and caters well for families. Unlike lots of day trips, there are very few areas where I have to keep hold of the kids or make our 4-year-old hold on to the buggy. Mostly they can run free, explore, find colourful flowers, spot squirrels and just be kids. It's lovely to watch them get excited about nature and play in among the trees and flower beds. Changing facilities are good with multiple toilet blocks located across the gardens. There are also lots of cafes and restaurants meaning an emergency ice cream (for the kids) and coffee (for the outnumbered adult) is usually just around the corner.
TIPS FOR A SUCCESSFUL FAMILY DAY OUT
Take note of where you parked the car! On busy days you might end up having to park a long way away from the entrance and it all looks the same! There is clear signage though. Take a photo of the one where you left the car because, if you are anything like me, your brain will be scrambled after a full day answering a 4-year old's random questions and trying to preempt toddler tantrums.
Wear comfortable shoes. Last time I went I walked almost 11,000 steps which was over 5 miles and a lot of those steps were with one of my children on my shoulders!
Plan some nature-based activities. Hopefully, your children will love it and have a great day but it's always worth having some ideas up your sleeve just in case they need a little more leading. Have a read of this blog for some of our tried and tested nature-based activities.
These photos are from a successful Autumn day of solo parenting
Recent Rambles is a new feature where we will share recent family focused days out in Reigate and beyond. Follow us on social media for ideas and tips for great days out in Surrey and let us know if you try out any of the places we cover.