Not to be confused with the similarly-named but entirely different Barrington Court, Berrington Hall is a favourite of the Badger family. It’s in rural Herefordshire, and while it’s not quite got the grandeur of Dyrham Park, it’s still a pretty decent place to indulge Jane Austen fantasies (yes, I’m still on that Austen kick. I make no apologies.)
But where Berrington excels is in its grounds – they’re large, and they’re rolling, and there’s a lovely lake. All you need to do to get out into the grounds is navigate your way across the HaHa, which any sensible person would do by following the gate and footpath. Non-sensible people, like certain husbands, may decide the best way to do this is through an almighty leap.
Thankfully this was in pre-Billy days.
On the day when Billy himself graced Berrington with his presence, the grounds were all he saw. It was a nice, sunny May day, and we were still in the depths of the four month sleep regression and so were all totally exhausted. And for that reason, we sought shade under a tree, where my husband went to sleep and Billy lay on the ground babbling away at the leaves while I stayed on dog watch. Partly to admire them, and partly to make sure they weren’t going to eat my son.
Berrington is also famous in the annals of sleep-deprivation as the place where I tried to introduce Billy to a tree by having him feel all the different parts while I told them about them. It was all going brilliantly until I couldn’t remember what a tree trunk was called, and had to google it to find out. That remains to this day a particular low-point.
Berrington has a most excellent cafe, where I have enjoyed many a brownie – and my husband has had many an all day breakfast. Unfortunately, in order to get into said cafe you need to go down a set of stairs which are basically impassable with a buggy as big as the Uppababy. Sure, there are tables set up in the courtyard at the top of the stairs, but on rainy days this isn’t much good. Or, as we discovered, on super-sunny days. We found ourselves shade-chasing while my anxiety levels about an overheating baby soared.
That said, there’s not really very much they can do about it short of a massive ugly awning, so I suppose I’ll have to let them off and time future visits for more atmospherically sensible days. Or just leave the buggy at home.
Apart from the previously-mentioned issues with the cafe, Berrington is a pretty buggy-friendly place. You can stroll up to and all around the main house with a buggy accompanying you, and although we didn’t try it, I’m fairly sure that you can get round a lot of the more formal gardens as well. Getting into the house itself involves going up a number of steps, so I imagine there must be buggy parking elsewhere, but again, we didn’t check this out.
It’s a bit poor form on our part, really.
Good. Excellent. In fact, Berrington was the first Trust we went to where Billy’s love of dogs became apparent. As we lay under the tree, there were umpteen dogs lying under other nearby trees for us to admire. My only complaint is that they distracted Billy from my attempts to familiarise him with the concept of a tree, but given that I was in true idiot mode that day, I can’t really complain too much.
A strong, if not entirely buggyable trust. But if you’re happy to sling it, then Berrington has much to offer. Including that excellent breakfast.