Newsletter wot we writ

Been a bit busy ironing our 3-legged race ties, but finally found time to scribble a newsletter for our subscribers, and thought you might like to see it too. To be added to the mailing list, please email

HahahopscotchlogoFBFreckly, dishevelled and forgivably nostalgic newsletter, June 2016

Hey! Here we are in Summer 2016, and Hahahopscotchers are bouncing up and down with excitement at the season ahead!

New friends

MartinEmFirst things first, let’s introduce our two shiny new helpers – Em and Martin. Londoner Em has 106 children of her own and a background in nursery work, and Hastings-man Martin does great things setting up Pocket Parks for local communities. We are super-excited to have the both on board to help run our games.

Happy 300th birthday, Capability Brown

This year is also especially exciting for us as it marks the 300th birthday of our gardening hero, Capability Brown. This canny 18th century landscape designer managed to persuade half of England to replace their old formal gardens with his carefully designed pastoral idyll with undulating slopes of grass, serpentine lakes, and clusters of oh-so-natural trees. As a result, there are over 150 Capability Brown parks and gardens still ornamenting our fine country today – and most of what we picture to be English countryside is actually designed by Brown. You can learn more about this superstar in a fun film via

In 2016 the world of garden history has decided to make a big fuss of celebrating Brown’s 300th birthday, with the Capability Brown Festival, which is without doubt the most family-friendly I have ever seen the world of garden history.

Time to celebrate Capability Brown, our hero!

Time to celebrate Capability Brown, our hero!

We have put together a Brown-tinted version of our Garden Galavant session, in which we use uniquely silly games to introduce children to the history of gardens. Moving trees, harassing aristocrats, battling Shakespeare… say no more! This will be run, alongside our Traditional Garden Games, at two very special events this summer – at Gatton Park in Surrey on 2nd August when The Gardens Trust ( will be hosting Capability Brown’s Birthday Picnic (, and at Thoresby Park in Nottinghamshire on 23rd September ( when Nottinghamshire Gardens Trust will be holding a free Family Day to celebrate their relaunch.
We would simply love to see you at either of these days.

Come and play with us!
We are touched that lots of you have chosen us to entertain nippers at your children’s parties, but there are also lots of events this year to which the general public are welcome, and we would love to see you there.

18th-19th June 2016, Bloom & Grow Festival,
Canary Wharf, London E14 5AB
Join us for Giggly & Greenfingered children’s gardening throughout the day at this Festival, where we will be making Canary Wharf-inspired gardens to take home. This event is free of charge.

23rd July 2016, Alexandra Palace Summer Festival,
Alexandra Palace, Alexandra Palace Way, London N22 7AY
We will be leading our favourite Traditional Garden Games from 12-4pm at this fabulous all day festival. See you there!

2nd August 2016, Capability Brown’s Birthday Picnic (with The Gardens Trust for the Capability Brown Festival), 11am-3pm
Gatton Park, Reigate, Surrey RH2 0TW
Children and grown-ups from Gardens Trusts and beyond are invited to come with a picnic and enjoy Traditional Garden Games, a child-friendly explore-tour of Gatton Park, and special Garden Galavant activities to see just how much fun garden history really can be.
Tickets are £8 grown-up, £8 child, £20 family (1 adult, 2 children).
Booking recommended at:

28th August 2016, Vauxhall Gardens Summer Festival Sports Day,
Vauxhall Gardens, London SE11 5HL
Traditional Sports Day games, with commentary from the brilliant Freddie Rushton. Entry is free, so join us for sack races, British Bulldog, egg and spoon, tug of war and more!

11th September 2016, Bohemia Walled Garden Heritage Open Day,
Bohemia Walled Garden, Hastings, East Sussex TN34 1ET
Sack races, 3-legged, egg and spoon, hoops… we’ll be playing all the favourite Traditional Garden Games in this fabulous historic kitchen garden!

25th September 2016, Nottinghamshire Gardens Trust Family Day for the Capability Brown Festival, Thoresby Park
Thoresby Courtyard, Thoresby Park, Nr. Ollerton, Newark, Notts NG22 9EP
Traditional Garden Games and the Garden Galavant to share the fun of very very very old gardens!

1-2nd October 2016, Fenton House Apple Weekend,
Hampstead Grove, Hampstead, London, NW3 6SP

£4 per child, drop in
We will be running Giggly & Greenfingered children’s gardening activities at this lovely autumnal event, growing something special to take home.

If you can’t manage any of these dates but would like to enjoy a Hahahopscotch playtime, do please bear us in mind for any summer fairs, corporate events (you’d be surprised at how well our games work for adults!), or private parties that you may be having. We love being outside on a generous grassy lawn but can squeeze into a teeny tiny yard or living room if needed.

Fame at last

Hahahopscotch was started by me, Linden, as a way of sharing my landscape historian’s love of gardens with the next generation. When not mucking around with eggs and spoons, I do have some quite sensible things to say, and was delighted to find a platform in The Telegraph ( this Spring, commenting on Hampton Court’s mind-boggling new Magic Garden for children. The article talks about the princGHSChildren'sPlayLeafletcoveriples of providing for children’s play in historic gardens without resorting to better-in-a-shopping-centre play equipment, and allows me to make the point that opportunities for play can be weaved through a garden visit, rather than being stuck in the playground. If you’d like a copy of Beyond the Playground, the booklet I wrote on the subject for The Gardens Trust, do please email



Something to make you smile…

Before we say ta-ra, allow me to share this fabulous painting with you, from which so much Hahahopscotch inspiration comes! (Pieter Bruegel the Elder, painted in 1560.)










We hope to see you soon!

Linden x



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