Don’t miss Stonor’s magical festival of fun
Frazzled parents, listen up! Read the Muddy verdict on Stonor's Sparkle Bright Flower Festival of Fun at Tumblestone Hollow – it's fun, free range and affordable! If this doesn't tire out your kids, nothing will.
Staring down the barrel of weeks and weeks and weeks of the summer school holidays is no mean feat – especially when you have younger children. Many working parents run the gambit of organised fun and digital neglect. But praise be for Stonor Park’s Tumblestone Hollow – a magical adventure playground, set in the woodland of this magnificent 210-acre estate near Henley. Fresh air, free range kids and, if you’re lucky, the chance watch your wholesome brood having fun while enjoying a hot cup of coffee. Book for that reason alone.
SPARKLE BRIGHT FESTIVAL
Throughout August, Tumblestone Hollow is celebrating summer with its Sparkle Bright Flower Festival of Fun – bringing to life The Legend of Tumblestone Hollow. The Hollow’s guardians, who protect the stone circle in the grounds of the stately home, have hung out the bunting for a woodland party.
Not only will your little ones be able to run round like loonies as they navigate the vast maze of treetop towers and walkways with sliding poles, climbing walls, ladders, balance beams, rope bridges, cargo nets and more, they also get to meet the impish residents.
Obsidian and his pals Jem, Pebble, Grit and Flint are on hand to welcome your little people into their world where they can plaster themselves in fairy body art, peak into their houses and take breather in the stone circle in a cloud of bubbles, as they read magical stories. Well known children’s author Amy Sparkes has written a collection of stories especially for the attraction The Legend Of Tumblestone Hollow – so grab a copy in the visitors centre and keep the magic alive long after you leave.
The minute we found a picnic table (all thoughtfully positioned under trees and shady spots), my seven year old charged off and didn’t look back. Sam ran the gauntlet of wobbly bridges and uneven walkways to the big, bendy slides. His little face lighting up to tell me he had met the owners and proudly showing off an arm covered in (tasteful) woodland transfers. Honestly, he didn’t stop. He flew down the zip wire, crawled through tunnels, slid, ran and climbed on repeat for over an hour. Sam’s too much of a Duracell bunny to sit still for the story, but he loved dancing around in the bubbles.
SCOFF & QUAFF
What was I doing? First, I grabbed a cuppa from the Rumble Hut. This is a new takeaway outlet, conveniently close to the playground. Italian chef Salvatore cooks fresh wood-oven pizzas to order, offering a crowd-pleasing menu including Pepperoni, Napoli and Caprino pizzas, with gluten-free and vegan options too. They also offer very good coffee, a selection of teas, soft drinks and, if you’re not the designated driver, local beers and a G&T. This place is talking my language. It’s like Stonor’s owners William and Lady Ailsa, have read every parents’ mind. With three children of their own, it is safe to say, they know the drill when it comes to parents and kids.
I did get taken for a tour with Sam leading the way so was treated to my own arm transfer and squeezed into some pretty tight spots to get down the slide. Much to his amusement.
In terms of location you couldn’t wish for more. Nestled in the Chilterns, this is a beautiful part of the world. Tumblestone Hollow is draped in festoons of lights, the floral pillars are beautifully theatrical and the tipi tent for rainy day dining has spectacular views across the valley.
But don’t take my word for it. In the words of Sam, aged 7: “It was the best day ever. I loved the body art, the web of logs and the whizzy slides. I made a new friend called Archie and would have happily shared my pizza with him.” High praise indeed.
It’s easy to haemorrhage money in the holidays, but you can easily spend the day at Stonor playing, walking and picnicking without making your bank manager cry. Adults and children over 105cm, £9.50; 92cm-105cm, £7.50, under 92cm, free. It’s a lovely screen-free, family day out. We’ll definitely be back.
For tickets to Sparkle Bright Flower Festival of Fun at Tumblestone Hollow, Stonor Park, Henley, click here.