As much as I love paying a fortune for a manky burger and chips, squatting over toilets to avoid other people’s p*ss and fighting for a table with other tired, grumpy travellers, on our long journey home from the hospital at the weekend, we decided to find an alternative to stopping at motorway services.
10 minutes from junction 44 of the A1 (M) near Leeds is Lotherton Hall, an Edwardian house and country estate.
The grounds are lovely. There are formal gardens, wildflower meadows and a deer park. It was so nice for T to have the freedom and space to run around after being cooped up in the car for hours.
There were various games set up in the grounds: croquet, giant chess, draughts, jenga. We played with some hula hoops and had a game of giant connect 4.
T spotted a load of ants running around and was fascinated by them… until one crawled on his hand. He didn’t like that at all and couldn’t shake it off quick enough!
Another highlight was the bird garden. There were all sorts of exotic birds from around the world, but T’s favourite were the geese! There are also two playgrounds, one for under-8’s and one for older children.
We were planning on having a nosy round the house but we were lucky with the weather the day we visited so spent our whole time outside in the gorgeous sunshine.
However, there are lots of activities for children inside the house too. There are costumes for the whole family to play dressing up as either ‘upstairs’ or ‘downstairs’ and discovery chests for under-5’s filled with safe and interesting objects to play with.
We didn’t try the food as we’d brought our own. There are lots of nice spots in the grounds for having a picnic.
The cafe serves hot and cold snacks and light meals.
I found the toilets disappointing. I went in at 5pm on a sunny Sunday in August so perhaps I was never going to find them at their best, but I got the impression they hadn’t been checked/cleaned for hours. The baby changing table was small and didn’t have any straps on so I changed T on the grass instead.
S and I paid £5 each and little T was free as an under 5. Check out their website for complete information on prices and opening hours.
Lotherton Hall is a lovely place to break up a long journey on the incredibly dull M1 motorway. The beautiful grounds are perfect for running around and letting off steam and it is very child-friendly with plenty of activities for all ages. We would definitely stop here again instead of at a motorway services.