Review: Bodenham Arboretum

Bodenham Arboretum is a hidden treasure which I had heard about but never got around to visiting. However when they announced their recent Fairy Trail, I knew my eldest would love to hunt down the fairies so we made sure we visited before the trail ended.

We visited accompanied by a friend, one sunny but chilly Thursday and being silly I forgot to double check the opening times and arrived too early. Bodenham Arboretum opens at 11am, however luckily we were able to access the outdoor area by the pond to say hello to the ducks.

Tickets for entry into the Arboretum are purchased inside the visitor centre where we were also provided with a map of the Fairy Trail and a letter gathering game to play as we followed the trail. Tickets came with a free return ticket to use during low season. Handily duck food was available to purchase in the Visitor’s Centre so we were able to feed the ducks as we walked around.

The trail featured miniature fairy houses, each with their own stories. Unfortunately the fairies themselves were shy and either were sleeping or out for the day when we visited their houses. But that didn’t matter as their houses were very pretty. The houses were evenly spaced out as you followed the main path around the pond so there was always something to find. Aside from the fairies the Arboretum has lots of off road paths, flowers and is beautiful to look around. There is also a small farm area where you can say hello to the sheep and goats. We were accompanied by the resident dogs who followed us for most of our walk who were in the main friendly but it was a little frustrating when they scared away the ducks we were trying to feed.

Having two toddlers with us we did have two pushchairs as well as our two pre-schoolers. The visitor’s centre is pebbled which made pushing the pushchair a little more difficult. There are some areas that are also off track or require stairs to access so if I was to visit again I would probably bring my more hardy travel system or carrier.

Being a colder day we decided to eat in the restaurant but there are plenty picnic areas about. Located in the Visitor’s Centre, this is definitely more of a restaurant than a cafe. Serving mainly carvery food from 12pm, the vegetarian options seemed to be a bit more limited to jacket potatoes with cheese. I enjoyed my turkey baguette loaded with stuffing and the girls had a children’s picnic box each. The picnic box at £5.95 was a little on the pricey side but contained a drink, sandwich, fruit pot, cake and crisps. The one negative I would say is the restaurant gets very busy from midday and there are large queues. There was only one person serving the carvery and no way to bypass the queue if you just wanted cake or drinks (meaning we had to miss out on the yummy looking cakes after we finished our food). We were also the only group with children there but I imagine as the weather improves this will change. There were plenty of highchairs available and the staff were friendly to all (despite my little monsters wanting to reek havoc).

There was just time to quickly feed the ducks before it was time to drive home for Sienna’s nap.

This is a place I would love to re-visit in the summer months as I think we would get a lot more out of the off road paths and lovely picnic areas.

Useful information:

Address: Bodenham Arboretum, Wolverley, Kidderminster, Worcestershire. DY11 5TB

Opening Times: 11am – 5pm

Cost: £6.50 adults; £3.50 children; Under 5s free

For more see Bodenham Arboretum’s website

Family Life Worcestershire have received no incentive or payment for this review.

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