Thursday, 23 May 2013
I must admit in many respects I am still a child at heart. Therefore, in the lead up to us going to Forbidden Corner, I was very excited. I can safely say it did not disappoint. If you have children, or are like me and filled with childlike wonder, I urge you to go.
Forbidden Corner really is a unique experience. It was conceived as a private folly-filled garden, which has now been opened to the public. As you walk through the gates, you feel as though you have walked into a fairytale, There are mazes, chambers, tunnels, secret gardens and water features. Some of the pieces have a real ethereal beauty, whilst others have an eerie quality. For your money you get all of this, with breathtaking vistas of the Yorkshire Dales as well.
I do not want to give too much away, as part of the beauty of Forbidden Corner is the surprises. There are a few things, however, that you should know. The first is that you are unable to just turn up to Forbidden Corner, you must book in advance. You book the time that you would like to arrive. This is an attempt to reduce congestion. The second is that due to the small spaces, many stairs and nooks and crannies, this is not suitable for wheelchairs, pushchairs and those with mobility issues. There is a lot of walking, as you explore, so bear this in mind. The third is there are some dark tunnels that could be considered scary by some small children. Having said that, I suppose that this is dependent on the child's temperament. We went with a 3 year old who was not fazed and loved every moment. The fourth is that you should be prepared to get wet to some degree. We wore our rain macs.
There is lots to see. You are not given a map of the garden, but a checklist. We stayed for 3 hours, but did not see everything. We managed to get lost several times. This might say more about my navigational skills than anything. (I never achieved my orienteering badge in girl guides) You keep meeting up with the same people as you wander round. This provides a jolly, sociable atmosphere, with children sharing experiences and surprises.
My highlight of the day was my husband keenly trundling down a tunnel to discover that he could not fit through. Although he is still a child at heart, unfortunately he is considerably larger than one. My 3 year old niece was pushing him from one side, whilst a group of small children tried to get through the tunnel from the other side. I could not shake the image of Winnie the Pooh getting stuck in a hole, as the debacle took place.
I cannot comment on the cafe, as we opted to take a picnic. There is a pretty woodland area with picnic benches adjacent to the entrance. We did however take a look around the shop, which had a lot of reasonable priced items. The entrance fee itself is £11 for adults and £9 for children (4-15). I felt it was well worth the money to experience something that could be enjoyed by all ages and was so different.
As a family, we have always judged somewhere by the toilets, and I was very impressed with the standard of these. The sinks reminded me of Harry Potter, although I was disappointed that they were not equipped with a Moaning Myrtle.
I think this would be wonderful for a child's birthday. I can just imagine a little group of children dressed up as wizards, witches, and fairies exploring this magical site. I cannot wait until my son is older, so we can take him and let our imaginations run wild!