We came across Finlaystone Country Estate in our recent adventures. I was looking for somewhere new to get some fresh air, where we could bring the pup, and somewhere not too far away because it was totally freezing outside.

A friend had mentioned Finlaystone a while back, and when I googled it I realised it was only a 15 minute drive from our front door.

Despite that, it’s somewhere that has never been on my radar at all. But I’m so glad we ventured in that day – what a lovely place for a run around outside!

The Walks

There are a few marked walks/trails you can take around Finlaystone. We have been twice and done the same trail each time: the adventure trail.

It’s not a long walk by any means, but as the name suggests it is full of adventure! When you cross the little bridge and head up the path you first come to the balance beam maze.

(That’s not what it’s actually called but you’ll know what it is when you see it. That’s what the little lady named it whilst she was ‘teaching’ her daddy how to properly do the balance beam. She’s been going to gymnastics classes for a few months and is obviously now an expert.)

You’ll come across the train next, and the pirate ship is just across the next path.

As you walk round the loop you’ll find swings and a zip slide and some climbing frames and a big bus with a fast twisty slide and a castle fort. There are slides dotted around the place off the path – you could get to the different bits off the path via slides which I really liked.

The kids and I (and daddy when he came second time round) had an absolute blast on the pirate ship and the train and the castle fort and the bus with it’s fast twisty slide (Note: if your kids have slidey waterproofs on, the bus slide is even faster). Really fabulous fun!

Most of the play equipment, including the pirate ship and bus, is wooden. The whole thing feels beautifully rustic, but it’s all in good working order.

There were older kids who were playing Jedi pirates, and the little lady was the ships captain and the train driver and a fairy queen amongst other things when we were there. There is endless opportunity for physical and imaginative play here.

The Walled Garden

The walled garden is pretty big. There are quite a few different sections to wander around and lots of things to see. And to smell, actually.

Much of the walled garden didn’t really interest the kids too much. Most of the time they just want to run and play and chase each other and have very little interest in looking at plants.

But they did really like the little smelly garden – both of them. There are lots of herbs and plants to have a good sniff at in there.

The Cafe

We didn’t go into the cafe (I’d packed a picnic on one of the coldest days of 2017 so I made them eat it on a bench in the freezing cold – excellent parenting right there) but it looked exceptionally welcoming on that cold and frosty November afternoon.

The Extra Bits

It is located on the road towards Greenock, just before you reach Port Glasgow. Car parking is available. Even in December it was reasonably busy in the car park though!

I think the little lady found a bird of prey centre. She barged through this gate near the fort, and as it turned out there were quite a few owls and falcons on the other side. (Not what I expected on the other side of that gate.) The closing time had passed though, and she was entirely unimpressed that we couldn’t go inside to see the birds.

Finlaystone have ranger sessions and various seasonal events on throughout the year. Check out their website to see what’s on.

The visitor centre has a little doll museum inside. We found it on our second visit. Dolls kinda freak me out a bit if I’m honest. I’ve never been a fan. But the little lady loved them.

The Cost

The cost for entry is £5 for adults and £3.50 for children. It was £8.50 for me and the 2 kids as under 3’s are free.

The birds of prey are £2 extra for adults and £1 extra for kids.

Annual memberships are available.

The Verdict

Finlaystone is one of my favourite finds from last year. The adventure trail is excellent. There is so much to entertain kids in Finlaystone and they can let their legs and their imaginations run wild. It’s a great place to bring the dog along too.

It is rustic and lovely and just a tiny bit magical. I can see us being back here quite a few times in the future. Old as it makes me sound, I’m also quite looking forward to seeing the gardens come spring/summertime!

Finlaystone Country Estate is located in Port Glasgow, PA14 6TJ.