Greenbank Gardens

My lovely friend wrote this review of her recent visit to Greenbank Gardens with her toddler and baby.

It was a lovely day and I had no playdates planned so rather than spend all day at home with my 7 month old and 2 year old (which would no doubt have involved way too much television) I decided to go on a day trip just the three of us. As we had recently joined the National Trust for Scotland, I thought we’d take a visit to Greenbank Gardens, as it’s quite close to where we live.

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The House

There is a stately home in the grounds, which last time we were there was free to visit. There are also volunteers who know a lot about the history of the building if you have any questions. We didn’t go into the house this visit although I have been in the past. It is not pram, or toddler, friendly. It is definitely worth a visit if you have older children, but I would avoid if you have young children who might cause havoc. There are far too many antiques that they could potentially destroy for my liking!

The Walled Garden

This was the first time that we had been to this part. I absolutely loved it. There is an expansive lawn, which would be fantastic for picnics if the weather is nice. They have also put out some toys for the children – my daughter particularly loved the giant Connect 4. At the other side, you walk through to the main part of the garden. The only way I can think to describe it is exciting, and perhaps a little bit magical. There are loads of little paths going here, there and everywhere, which were great for getting ‘lost’ in and going on adventures. And it is filled with really beautiful flowers (seasonally dependent of course! We went in summer).

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There is also a greenhouse where they grow some vegetables. I had the feeling that these are probably used in the café, which might explain why the soup was so delicious. Whilst my wee one had fun with me, I think she would have had an absolute ball running around with a friend. There were also older children going around the garden and they seemed to be enjoying it too.

The only con was the benches, which are dotted around the garden, as most of them are quite chipped and worn and I worried about splinters if they were sat on.

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Outside the Walls

There is a wooded walk around the gardens. It is a lovely walk, with a small stream running through it, and pram friendly. There were lots of people out walking their dogs through it. We went searching for the Gruffalo and found a few ‘footprints’. Sadly we didn’t see the Gruffalo himself.

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Café

There are sandwiches, soup, cakes and ice creams sold in the café. There weren’t a lot of options for children though (the sandwich fillings were quite ‘grown up’). I ended up ordering some of the homemade tomato and pepper soup for my 2 year old. It was delicious and she ate it all up. The promise of a treat after if she did probably helped. But I imagine if you have a fussy eater then they might not be keen, as it had quite a strong flavour. It also isn’t the biggest bowl of soup, so might not be enough for an adult, especially as it doesn’t come with bread. But I asked for a slice which they happily gave me. I think you can also purchase a roll to go with it at an extra cost.

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The food was good and the staff were nice and helpful. There are also a couple of highchairs for smaller children. There is a small gift shop attached to the café.

The Logistics

It is off Flenders Road, in Clarkston, about 6 miles south of Glasgow City Centre. If driving, you come off M77 junction 4, follow signs for East Kilbride to Clarkston Toll (signposted Greenbank Garden). There is a good sized car park there, and I got parked no problem. However it got much busier later on in the day and the car park was full as we were leaving. This might have had something to do with the rare day of sun that we had that day!

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The gardens and the wooded walk are pram friendly. It is open all year from 9.30 until sunset. Only guide dogs are allowed in the gardens themselves, although all dogs are allowed in the wooded walk surrounding the gardens.

The Cost

As we are National Trust Scotland members, we got in for free. Otherwise, adult tickets cost £6.50, concessions are £5, family ticket (2 adults and up to 4 children) is £16.50 and one parent family ticket (1 adult, up to 4 children) is £11.50.

I spent between £12-£15 (I can’t remember exactly) on lunch and snacks for my daughter and I: soup for her, a roll for me, a carton of juice, a teacake and 2 ice creams.

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The Verdict

I really enjoyed going here and I’m looking forward to going again, hopefully with some friends so that the kids can let their imaginations run wild. We spent around 3 and a half hours there, but could easily have spent longer. The only thing I would say is that we went on a particularly sunny day, which made the gardens look even more amazing.

Whilst I don’t think it needs to be sunny to have a good time, I think it needs to be dry. There isn’t really anywhere other than the café to get shelter. You could end up pretty soaked if you went on a rainy day! But I would really recommend it as a lovely day out.

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Greenbank Gardens is located near Clarkston on Flenders Road, Glasgow, G76 8RB. It is open all year from 9.30 until sunset.

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