From the days of its first recorded mention as a royal manor in the Domesday Book in 1085, through its many and varied incarnations – including Augustinian priory, prestigious mansion with landscaped gardens, and 1990s golf club – the Trentham Estate has always welcomed visitors.
These days, in the midst of a £100 million redevelopment project, Trentham offers an eclectic package of attractions that confidently promises “something for everyone”. The mansion is long gone (having been demolished in 1911), but the newly revamped gardens are as stunning as ever, especially the superb Italian Garden which marches boldly down to a mile-long lake, designed by Capability Brown. You can walk around the lake, take a boat across it or admire it from a miniature train. Beyond the lake lies the Trentham Monkey Forest, home to 140 Barbary Macaques that roam freely around sixty acres of woodland. Watching the family groups tending to and playing with their young makes for compelling viewing. For those with a head for heights, there’s also a high ropes adventure course called Aerial Extreme and a zip wire. Finally, and slightly incongruously, the estate is also the site of a “shopping village” with over fifty shops and a large garden centre.
There’s plenty of free on-site parking, with designated disabled spaces and level access to the garden centre, shopping village and gardens. The Monkey Forest is quite a distance from the other areas, but you can drive there (it has its own car park) or reach it on the wheelchair-accessible boat across the lake. The paths around the gardens are mostly level, with a compacted gravel surface; scented paths and tactile features add to their accessibility. The path around the lake is suitable for wheelchairs, and there’s a designated accessible route through the Monkey Forest. There are several disabled toilets dotted around the site, all equipped with grab-rails. Assistance dogs are not permitted anywhere in the Monkey Forest site. Wheelchairs with all-terrain wheels are available to borrow (with returnable deposit) for use around the estate.
Food & drink: Trentham offers numerous eating options, including the beautifully located Lakeside Café down towards the Monkey Forest, the delightful Italian Garden Tearoom and a clutch of restaurants in the shopping village and garden centre.