Freya is now nine months old, and is into everything! She is crawling very quickly and is now “sofa surfing,” and loving it. She seems to be interested in all that is around her and taking everything in. It is lovely to see her exploring new things and the excitement that that creates.
Through summer I have noticed that she loves watching birds and butterflies in the garden, so when I heard about Berkeley Castle’s Butterfly House we soon organised a trip. My mum always has Freya on a Monday when I go to work, but I rarely get to spend much time with her, so during the school holidays (she works in a school) it is nice to plan trips out to spend time together.
We planned to go to the Butterfly House during the summer holidays, but luckily it wasn’t too crowded. The postcode on their website takes you to the entrance and there is plenty of parking. You enter in through the gift shop and the gentleman that greeted and served us was very friendly. Pushchairs are not allowed into the Butterfly House so the gentleman showed us a safe, shaded spot to leave the pushchair and our bags if we wanted to. You also cannot take food or drinks into the garden. It is very hot in the garden as it needs to be kept hot for the butterflies, so I would recommend having a drink of water before you go in. Also bear this in mind with the clothing that your child is in, as it gets very hot and sweaty in there!
We paid £4.50 each adult for entry and Freya was free, the garden was open 10-5pm but this does depend on the season. See here for visiting times.
Once in, it was so lovely and calm. The sound of trickling water from the pond and quiet conversations between other visitors. There are little information sheets and booklets in there to explain what species are in the garden and what to look out for, next to two benches to rest on . A lot of the butterflies were curious enough to flutter around and almost land on us.
We walked around the garden twice before leaving, mainly because we felt like we were melting by this point!
There were two (that we saw) of these Atlas Moths – yes they are as big as they look! I am secretly relieved that these didn’t take flight when we were there or that would have taken all I have to remain calm and pretend to Freya that I wasn’t frightened…because…I mean – look at the SIZE OF IT!! Moth or bird…?!!
Freya seemed mesmerised by the butterflies and would be reaching out to touch them. She was so excited as we walked around, each way she turned there was something new and exciting to see. For Freya, this was a brilliant experience, as she does not seem scared by butterflies even when they fluttered right up to her.
When we left the walled garden it took us back to the gift shop, which is filled with lovely trinkets and also homeware including beautiful throws and baskets. We then walked through the garden area to find the ‘Tea Yurt,’ where there was plenty of seating and a cafe style counter. But best of all – an ice-cream counter with the most delicious flavours.
We sat in here and had a drink and an ice-cream and Freya had some snacks that I had brought. There was a small play area, ideal for Freya’s age, which was SUCH a great idea, as we could enjoy our drinks and ice creams and Freya was kept happy and entertained.
There are many picnic benches outside by the garden and when we arrived many families were sat out on picnic blankets; you could really make a day of it.
I would definitely recommend a visit to Berkely Castle’s walled Butterfly Garden. You can pay extra to go into the Castle where there are also tours available, but we did not do this this time. We will be going back as I would like to see it in a different season, especially when its not so hot outside too!