Summer time with the family

Spring into summer!

The swallows are swooping through the courtyard, the sun is shining and the gardens are in full bloom. It’s the perfect time for the whole family to enjoy Canons Ashby at its best.

Family fun

There are plenty of ways to keep the family entertained this summer at Canons Ashby.

You'll find lots for the whole family at Canons Ashby
A parent helps a child complete a trail

The Paddock is ideal for summer family picnics with plenty of space for the children to run around and let off steam. Don’t miss the small wild play area in the corner of the Paddock. There is a home made den, things to balance on and plenty of insect habitats to inspect.

We have several family trails available from the Coach House. Pick up a garden spotting trail and try to find all the different things to see in the formal garden. Or earn a sticker in your 50 things to do before you’re 11¾ scrapbook, and enjoy searching for the insects on our Canons Ashby Bug Chart.

We are running family activities related to 50 things to do before you’re 11¾ every Thursday 11-3pm between 27th July to 31st August. Fancy doing some bird watching, kite making or making some wild art? See our What's On page to find out more about what's going on during 50 things Thursdays.

In the house join our new trail: “Stolen!” Lots of objects have gone missing from Canons Ashby, can you help us find them all as you explore the house?

Canons Ashby's wildflower paddock is the perfect place for a picnic
A family having a picnic in the green paddock in front of the priory.

In the gardens

Take a relaxing walk around the garden. See the flower beds are full of vibrant colours and the lower terraces flourishing with fruit and vegetables or have a go at the lawn games.

The front of the house is a riot of dahlias, snapdragons and fuchsias. As you stroll a little further around the top terrace, you'll find heliotropes edged with bright orange marigolds and softer pastel colours on the sundial terrace.

Our planting in 2017 has been inspired by the National Trust’s celebration of LGBTQ history, so you can expect a proud rainbow of colour in the gardens throughout the summer.

As you continue toward the lion gates there's plenty to see in the vegetable garden. This year Yukon sweet potatoes (planted in England as early as the 18th century) will be grown for the first time at Canons Ashby.The fruit and vegetables grown here on site will be used by our restaurant as soon as they're ripe, so make sure you visit the Stable Tea Room to try them for yourself.

Blooming roses with parkland beyond
Blooming roses with parkland beyond

Looking after nature

Here we plant for nature and wildlife, as well as for visitors. We select plants which we know our insects and birds will love. The paddock has been mown more regularly this year to encourage an increasing variety of wildlife species. Enjoy a picnic in the paddock surrounded by wildflowers and butterflies.

Love nature? Try to spot some of our special birds making their homes at Canons Ashby. Look out for swallows and swifts, darting across the pebble court or song thrushes and goldcrests in the garden.

Enjoy the sights and sounds of nature in our gardens and grounds
Wren singing against a blue sky

Go further afield

Want to stretch your legs? Have an explore around the Parkland- there are animals grazing here so please keep a good distance from them. The perfect place to burn off some energy this summer!

Stretch your legs in the parkland
Canons Ashby Parkland tree trunk

An extraordinary house

Canons Ashby grew from a medieval farmhouse into a magnificent Tudor manor house with a Peel Tower and Great Hall. Many changes have happened to it since then, including a lot of “modernisation” in the 18th century, so there are plenty of interesting things to explore.

In the house you can find out about one of the important women in our property’s history: Alice Dryden. In our new presentation “Like father, like daughter” you can discover how Sir Henry Dryden, The Antiquary and his daughter Alice lived here at Canons Ashby in the 19th century.

As well as this new presentation and “Stolen” family trail, we have also brought a breath of fresh air into this ancient building with stunning displays of summer flowers around the house.

Canons Ashby's collection is full of remarkable details
Carved heads on a wooden bedpost

Treat yourself

Whilst you’re here, don’t miss the Stables Tea Room and the Coach House shop.

We make delicious seasonal fare in the Stables Tea Room every day with home-grown produce, so pop in and treat yourself in the Tea Room garden surrounded by flowering bedding plants. After your visit you’ve definitely earned yourself an ice cream.

For the family we have children's packed lunches available, high chairs, facilities to warm baby food and both indoor and outdoor seating in the Stables Tea Room, to help your day go as smoothly as possible.

There are plenty of beautiful gifts and mementoes available in the Coach House shop as well. We have a selection of beautiful nature-inspired art by local artists available for a limited time only, included a lino print of the Canons Ashby swallows, as well as plenty of delicious food, drink and presents.

We also have plenty of children's toys, books and gifts to keep the little ones entertained or allow them to enjoy their pocket money!

A delicious treat in our tea garden.
Tea and cake among the flowers