Easter is nearly upon us, the tradition in Preston is to take your chocolate eggs to Avenham Park on Easter Monday and roll them down the hill. In the past children made their way to the park dressed in Easter bonnets, carrying baskets of painted, boiled eggs. These days most kids prefer to take their chocolate eggs and wrap them in a sandwich bag before rolling, so as not to lose any of the precious chocolate. There isstill a competition for the best Easter bonnet and plenty of entertainment across Avenham and Miller Park. This year there promises to be a giant Victorian Robot, mad scientists, a puppet show and live music. Its popular event attracting families from across the city and beyond.
Avenham and Miller Parks are just a five – ten minute walk from Preston’s mainline station, on the banks of the River Ribble. In the summer we’ve often spent the day here, exploring the grottos and Japanese Garden.
Both parks were designed by renowned landscape architect Edward Milner in the 1860’s, at the time there was a cotton famine and the parks were built as public works to keep the cotton workers employed. Imagine that these days, in times of mass unemployment people are employed to create beautiful public spaces. Today the parks are Grade Two listed on the English Heritage Register of Historic Gardens.
When we visit we like to come onto Avenham Park from Winkley Square, running down the steep gradient into the park. If its windy we might fly a kite in the natural amphitheatre or if the grass is dry roll down the huge hill, then explore the Japanese Garden or head under the railway arches to Miller Park where there is a small grotto that resembles Maka Paka’s cave from In the Night Garden. These days I secretly plant loose change or pirate money for my son to find. We might go to the top walk of Miller Park or down to the fountain and by the river.
Some people like to have lunch at The Continental, which is situated through the railway arch next to Miller Park. If its sunny we take a picnic and sit by the river or get an ice cream from Avenham Park Pavilion.
Then we head on down the riverside walk to the large play area in Frenchwood, with giant climbing frames and swings.If we have any energy left we might feed the gulls and ducks from the Old Tram Bridge or explore Frenchwood Knoll Wildlife Garden, with its little pond, Totem pole and stone carvings.
Then we head up the secret steps on the edge of Avenham Park, sit and admire the River Ribble one last time and head home, tired and happy.
Easter Egg Rolling Event on Avenham Park and Miller Parks. Easter Monday, 1st April 2013 from 10am – 4pm. Free.