A quick visit to the Met Office site yesterday showed that the weather was set to be okay today, providing of course that they had got it right, and so Mud and I made plans to take the Mudlets out for part of the day. The Mudlets had absolutely no idea where we were taking them and so it was with barely suppressed excitement that they climbed into Thomas at 9am this morning and we set off.
First order of the day was to find somewhere that did breakfast and Mud immediately thought of the cafe in a supermarket in a town, en route and not too far away. We had stopped off for a coffee on the way home from another day out just last year and so we knew it would be a handy stop for breakfast this time ……. except when we actually got there, the cafe area had become the DVD/CD area! Oops.
With the Mudlets hungry and Mud set on a nice cooked breakfast, we headed off in the general direction of our destination, confident of finding some cafe or other, at some point, along the way. As it turned out we actually found the ideal place just half a mile from our goal, a lovely little cafe called the ‘Corn Dolly’ in Wragby which served Mud and I a very tasty traditional cooked breakfast and the Mudlets had some delicious and fluffy scrambled eggs on toast. With a mug of tea for me, a cappuccino for Mud and a glass of squash each for the girls, it came to £18.50 which included extra black pudding for both of us and extra mushrooms for Mud. We felt that the service was excellent and the food well worth the money charged and will definitely call in there again.
The Mudlets were still none the wiser as to our destination and were delighted to discover, just minutes after leaving the cafe, that we were going to Wragby Maze which has been on their wish list for places to visit for a couple of years.
We spent a total of 3 hours at Wragby Maze and I have to say that we will be going back, in the Summer with a picnic. While the Maze itself, didn’t take too long to solve, it provided much merriment as we tried to find our way to the center, at which point we were able to climb onto the viewing bridge to get a birds eye view of the whole place. It had cost us £4.95 each to get in plus an additional £5 refundable deposit, to cover the use of a variety of garden games equipment.
In my opinion, although the maze itself is fun, there is much more to this attraction and the emphasis is squarely on family enjoyment. Mud and I played a variety of games with the Mudlets which in a world where quality time for parents and children is hard to come by, makes the whole experience great value for money. This is not an attraction for just letting the kids go off and do their own thing, although you could do so if you wish I guess, no, to get true value for money you need to embrace the games and have fun as a family.
Mud played giant chess in the gazebo with the Little Mudlet, whilst just to one side Middle Mudlet and I played giant Connect 4;
Then Middle Mudlet took over the chess game from her younger sister and eventually held Mud to a stalemate with just both Kings remaining;
While they played their chess match, Little Mudlet and I had a go on one of the three nine hole putting greens which was just beside the gazebo;
Once the chess match was finished we all played a round on the putting green, with giggles and frustration in equal measure;
Next on the agenda was croquet , so after collecting a croquet set from the shop, we headed over to one of the Croquet pitches but by this time both Little Mudlet and I were flagging and so we acted as spectators and heckled Mud but encouraged Middle Mudlet. She won the first game but the ever competitive Mud demanded a rematch and he won that one … but only just;
Then it was back to the shop to swap croquet for giant, fabric frisbees which we took over to the large ‘lawned’ area and Mud and the Mudlets spent an enjoyable and squealy (the latter refers to the Mudlets not Mud) 20 minutes throwing the frisbees. The idea was that Mud would throw one and the Mudlets would try to capture it. I had the most important job which was to capture the entire shenanigans on film and photo, whilst resting on one of the benches, of which there were plenty all over the grounds.
By this time we had spent the best part of 3 hours playing games and solving the maze. The heat of the sun was beginning to take its’ toll and even the Mudlets were running out of steam. After returning the frisbees, we decided to do the maze one more time but from the other side before heading back to the shop to see if the Mudlets could spend their saved pocket money and heading for home.
And here is another huge plus point for the Wragby Maze: it doesn’t have a gift shop filled to the rafters with over priced momentos. Instead it has a selection of cheap toys, some sweets and sets of some of the garden games we had been playing during the morning. The Mudlets spent the grand total of £1 each on the ‘4 for a £1’ toy range and each got a magic wand, little aeroplane, magic slate, and then Middle Mudlet chose Dinosaur stickers for her fourth item, whilst her sister decided on a stretchy man. These aren’t going to last forever but then they haven’t cost a small fortune either and both girls were happy with their purchases.
In addition to the main maze, there was also a turf maze which is definitely aimed at the children, being only about 5 inches in height (the grass not the kids :)) but trying to find the way to the center by looking at the mowed sections still provided a small challenge and there was some cheating as Little Mudlet decided to take a shortcut by hopping over the ‘long’ grass but delighted giggles were the order of the day. There was also a ‘hide’ near to the pond area and we spent a few moments watching the Blue Tits flying in and out of one of the many nest boxes but with a fidgety Little Mudlet wanting to be out and about, we weren’t able to spend too long there.
The thing to realise about Wragby Maze is that this is, to all intents and purposes the owners back garden but it is a very large back garden with ample space for the sort of games most people couldn’t play in their gardens. The pond, for example, is situated in the private part of the garden and there is no direct access to it but then you can sit in the hide and watch the ponds’ wildlife without worrying about your child falling in. The site is also a garden center, specialising in conifers but without all the trappings of many modern day garden centers, that is to say you don’t have to walk past jewellery, ornaments or candles to get to the plants which, in my opinion, makes a refreshing change.
Unfortunately, some of the plantings suffered badly in the 2010/2011 winter when we had all that snow and then weeks of sub-zero temperatures but, that said, the owners have made a good job of working with the damage the prolonged bad weather caused and this rabbit was carved from a Eucalyptus tree which died as a result of that dreadful winter.
All in all we thoroughly enjoyed our visit and found the owner and his assistant very friendly and humorous, taking the time to explain the rules of the various games and interacting brilliantly with our girls. This is definitely a family friendly, good value for money place to visit and we are looking forward to a repeat visit in the summer and this time, we will be taking a picnic with us.