With the sun making an appearance this week, we scheduled in a picnic to get out and about and take advantage of the treasure chest of places to dine al fresco across the beautiful county of Staffordshire. We gave our Little Lady some choices from the Baggeridge Country Park in the south to Consall Nature Park in the north and after some reviewing of the map, she decided that she wanted to visit Stafford Castle to explore the relics of history and the views from this perfect spot.
We headed over mid morning on Thursday to Staffordshire’s Norman castle which has over 900 years of history. The castle and Visitor’s Centre are located just outside of the town and is well sign posted for anyone visiting. The Visitor’s Centre houses interesting and interactive hands-on displays where young historians can view examples of armoury and costumes of the bygone days. Timelines are also provided to contextualise the castle’s prominence in history. I’m reliably informed that Stafford castle provides an example of a motte and bailey system and as such there is a steep climb to the castle itself so make sure you pack your sturdy shoes – having said that there is a paved walkway all the way to the top.
Once you’ve scaled the hill there is an impressive 360 degree view of the county with plenty of open ground to throw down a blanket or benches on which to enjoy a picnic. We ventured around the grounds of the castle and investigated the ruins of the formerly imposing building. There are information points around the castle that give a chronology of the dwelling’s changing fortunes as well as observation points from which you can see as far a field as Welshpool. The castle is now open for exploring with magic dark passageways and arrow loops to set the imagination alive. We played games of hide and seek and created stories of make believe imagining the fires and feasts that once brought life to the castle.
If you can’t manage the full climb to the top of the hill, there are grounds for you to spread out and enjoy a game or perhaps just relax while you tuck into your picnic. There are clean and well maintained toilets at the Visitor’s Centre. Light refreshments can be purchased from the centre as well as a number of gifts so take your pennies if you are intending to treat yourself. Parking and entry to the castle grounds was free so you can have a day out completely gratis! Check out the website for more information: www.staffordbc.gov.uk/stafford-castle
Where are your favourite places to have a picnic?
For more great places to see in Staffordshire visit www.enjoystaffordshire.com