Last Thursday, before the snow came, we decided to have a morning out with our daughter & grandsons 1a & 1b.
Shaun had a hospital appointment at 9am, but once that was done, off we set. We picked the 3 `erberts up & off we went to Quex Park Museum in Birchington. Although we've been many times before, it's been about 5 or 6 years since our last visit & the boys, only being 2 & 4, have never been. Grandson 1a was so excited, he asked if the animals came alive like they did in the film *Night at the Museum* :o) Such a shame I had to disappoint him & say no :o)
Photography isn't allowed in the museum itself, for fear of damaging the exhibits, so all the pics I took are of the outside.
The entrance to the museum.
Quex Park is set in 250 acres of land. The museum was started in a pavilion in the garden, in 1896, to house the collection of *trophies* that Percy Powell-Cotton gathered on his trips to Northern India & Tibet. He also travelled to Africa & brought back many animals that he'd shot & had stuffed. In the galleries are giraffes, zebras, bears, bongoes, elephants, monkeys, gazelle, a lion & many more. Such things are frowned upon now, but it wasn't *way back when . . * There are also collections of guns, knives, spears, pottery, costumes & things *pickled* in jars. Shudder.
Part of the gardens.
The gardens have exotic trees, herbaceous borders, ponds, statues, a croquet lawn, a woodland walk & lots of places to explore. In the summer, they have a Maize Maze, which is really popular with children. Although there wasn't an awful lot to see because it's still winter, there were a few small signs that spring isn't far away :o)
Let me lead you up the garden path, Maude . . :o)
Looking across the lawn to the Dovecote. Doves & peacocks are a permanent fixture at Quex. Grandson 1a said his favourite things there were the monkeys & the peacocks. Grandson 1b liked the zebras & the sound of his voice after he'd *discovered* the galleries echoed :o)
Inside the Victorian walled garden are the greenhouses, which are being prepared for the spring & summer. Dotted around were some small cloches, which tickled grandson 1a - *Look Grandma !! A little greenhouse !! It's so cute !!*
The first signs of life, awakening after a winter underground. The arched brickwork is just lovely, too :o)
A beautiful hellebore. So delicate to look at, but so hardy to keep flowering through the hard winter.
Primroses :o) Spring really MUST be on its way :o)
Now, in this small pond, on the right handside, is a brick. Behind the brick was a pair of frogs, doing what frogs do at this time of year :o) According to grandson 1a, though, one of them was giving the other a piggy back :o)
The gate from the Victorian walled garden into the main garden. I love walls in gardens, but I especially love walls with GATES in them :o) It always brings to mind Frances Hodgson Burnett's book *The Secret Garden*, even though there's usually nothing remotely secret behind a gate in a wall these days :o)
I can't remember what this tree is, but isn't it just fantabulous ? All knotty & gnarled, full of character. I LOVE it :o)
Oh, here we are at the end of the tour :o( Looking across the gardens to Quex House. It has scaffolding on it at the moment because there's work being done.
There has been a house there since the early 1400s & the Quekes family, who made their money from the wool industry, lived there from the 1500s & the house was then called Quex.
King William III (1689-1702) stayed at the original Quex House when he was waiting for a favourable wind to sail from Ramsgate.
An ancestor of Percy Powell-Cotton, John Powell, bought the house & the farm next door, in 1777 & his nephew, John Powell-Powell, demolished the house & built the Regency one now standing.
Although the house is still a family home, some of the rooms are open to visitors in the afternoons from 28 March 2013.
Wheelchair access is good - the only part you can't see is upstairs in the house - & there is also disabled parking close to the museum entrance.
We all had a lovely morning & will definitely be going back later in the year, when there will be more to see in the gardens.