So I am just going to come out with it, we love Ness. So first a little bit about Ness and how it began. It was first created in 1898 by Arthur Kilpin Bulley, he sponsored expeditions to the Far East in order to bring back plant samples and seeds, which he then used to establish the gardens. He opened certain areas to the public, however a significant area was kept private. When he died in 1948, his daughter gifted the gardens to Liverpool University. The university was then left with the daunting task of restoring the gardens to their former glory as they had fallen into disrepair during the Second World War when labour was short. Since coming under the care of Liverpool Uni Ness Botanical Gardens have grown in size and diversity and there is now an emphasis on research, education and conservation.
We have been to Ness Gardens several times, and we have always had a great day. It is just a beautiful, tranquil space with variety and interest. It works well for a family with younger kids but I think there will be an age where it doesn’t work so well, but I guess that would be dependent on the child. Cost of entry in summer Adult £8.25, Child £3.85, free for under 5’s. Prices are reduced in winter, there are also special discounts for groups and sometimes special offers such as free for dads on Father’s Day, so it is worth checking their website for events and offers.
There are a variety of gardens, vegetable, woodland, ponds, rock, lawns, herbaceous borders, an azalea walk, a wildflower meadow. There are good paths, for prams and most areas have easy access, although there are some slopes and steps. For kids there is a little corner with a raised wooden walk way/assault course, which is low, so it is good for toddlers and younger children. There is also a playground, willow tunnel, willow house and a few tractors for kids to pedal around. I usually grab a coffee on the way down and prepare to sit for an hour whilst Erynn plays. For me I love the rock garden, it is just beautiful and we love to wander around it. The other thing we both love is the cart in the vegetable garden where they put any vegetables or fruit that they have picked that day, there is an honesty box and we have picked up some lovely fruit for crumble this summer.
There is a visitors centre which hosts events, a restaurant with good food, and a shop, where you pay entry. There are toilets both at the entrance in the Visitors Centre and down in the gardens as well.
Like: Rock garden and children’s play area, that you can change up where you walk each time to make each visit different.
Dislike: Unless your kids are into flowers and bugs there is potentially a life time on this as a day out as they get older.