In a Nutshell
A private estate in the Leicestershire countryside that offers scenic walks and riverside views. The Estate incorporates sections of the National Forest and the church is owned by the National Trust. There is also a garden centre and craft centre, so a good place to visit when the more popular attractions are crowded during the holidays.
Parking and Pooping
The Staunton Harold Estate lies just north of Ashby de la Zouch. You'll most likely approach it using the A42 that runs between Birmingham and the M1 junction just below Nottingham. The Estate has two main entrances, both from the B587 and are well signposted - be aware though that the Staunton Reservoir is also signposted here and is separate with its own parking etc, so don't get confused.
Having turned into the Estate, you'll follow the private roads through the estate, following the signs until you reach the house and estate buildings. There are two car parks, one for the garden centre (which is free) and one for the Estate, which makes a small charge on weekends and bank holidays. You'll see numerous signs up in the garden centre car park warning of charges for improper use but we saw lots of people milling between the garden centre and the craft centre on the Estate so how they manage this is a mystery.
Being at the centre of the Estate, both car parks are surrounded by fields so there is plenty of grass for pup and the craft centre and garden centre both have toilets.
You have plenty of choice for walks here. Opposite the rear car park you'll see the National Forest signs and walks that set off across the fields.
Walking through to the Estate's buildings, you can walk easily along the private road passed the rear of the house and down between the house and the old stables, which are now the Ferrers Craft Centre. This leads you down towards the river where you will find benches set out by the river bank, in front of the house and church.
Crossing the bridge, there are signposted walks up the hillside towards the wooded areas and this is clearly a popular place for locals to walk their dogs. All the time you have great views of the river and house and it is rarely busy, so a great relaxing place to walk or just sit by the river.
Keeping the Humans Amused
The house is lived in and not open to the public, however it is often hired for weddings etc, that use the lawn area in front of the house for receptions. When this happens, they still allow the public along the riverside so if you're lucky you'll get a riverside seat and music laid on too!
Staunton Harold Church is owned by the National Trust and therefore open to visitors. The old stables have now been converted to a craft centre, selling a range of quality crafts, from specialist breads to jewellery and pottery and is well worth a look.
Opposite the craft centre is the garden centre, which also has an aquatic centre and covers the usual range of garden buldings and equipment and plants.
The Staunton Stables Tea Room is situated within the craft centre and offers the usual range of light bites, cakes and drinks. We haven't tested it for dog friendliness inside, but there are always plenty of tables outside and dog bowls too and the sheltered courtyard can be quite a sun trap. There are benches around the perimeter if you want to find some shade.
The garden centre also has a restaurant, with an outside seating area. We haven't tried it yet, so will add more info on our next visit.