Trentham Gardens and Great Haywood: A Family Weekend

Last weekend we spent time with part of our family around Stone. Our grandson Hugh, and his  parents Andy & Emily, came north to Stone and we had a weekend visiting local attractions and boating. Hugh has been on Albert before but is now he is of an age (3 years) where he can begin to really appreciate it and we could actually cruise.
Boating with Grandad

 On Saturday afternoon we visited Trentham Gardens. With the fine weather  the gardens and  boutique shops near the entrance were busy. A steady stream of fans carrying chairs and tables were making their way towards the concert area where a Red Hot Chilli Peppers & Foo Fighters tribute bands were due to play. By coincidence the "real" Foo Fighters were appearing on the same night back home in Milton Keynes Bowl.

Carriage Riding at Trentham

We thought the planting in the Italian Garden was very imaginative, particularly the use of grasses and the Fairy statues were stunning. 

Trentham Gardens Fairies

We took a horse carriage around the gardens. It was drawn by Paddy who Hugh found fascinating. He loved it when Paddy suddenly stopped to have a wee halfway along a path. I think little boys can relate to it!
The Slide - it requires a climb up a wall!

Hugh inspecting flowers

Planting with grasses

We finished the day with an early dinner at the Bistro at Aston Marina. Hugh was on his best behaviour so we didn't upset the other diners. The meal was up to their usual high standard. Emily and Andy shared a chateaubriand steak.
Travelling South near Aston

Sunday found us taking our familiar trip south from Aston to Great Haywood. The weather was fine and sunny and we had fun. Hugh, equipped with his life-jacket, joined in helping at the locks and travelled for a while on the cabin slide - a traditional location in the days of commercial carrying.

Negotiating Sandon Lock

There were queues at some of the locks but this gave Hugh the opportunity to explore (under supervision).

Hugh and Victoria

Emily steering near Hoo Mill Lock - waiting for the lock

We moored in the early afternoon just beyond the junction at Great Haywood and took a stroll into Shugborough Estate to have tea in the National Trust tea rooms. The weather was sunny and relatively warm, despite the northerly winds, and Hugh enjoyed scooting around the garden paths investigating the "hidden doors" that lead to secret places - it was the last day of this summer event.

Hugh scooting at Shugborough

Shugborough Hall

River Sow and swans

That night Maggie and I stayed on board Albert and the rest of the family returned home. Monday saw us reversing back to the junction, winding and then returning North to Aston. The weather was warm and sunny and the journey was delightful. A steady stream of boats was coming south but going in our direction we only came across one boat. We moored up for a leisurely lunch at Burston finally reaching Aston in the late afternoon. It was a memorable weekend.

Cattle standing on a bridge waiting for the gate to open