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Road Trip

A refelctive visit to the National Arboretum

You’ll definitely know that you’re in the right place.

Our motorhome trip to Staffordshire took us to the National Arboretum in Staffordshire for a day long visit.

The Arboretum welcomes over 300,000 visitors each year, including over 20,000 young people for formal and informal learning visits. Visitors can enjoy discovering almost 400 memorials nestled amongst some 25,000 trees, experience riverside walks and participate in a wide variety of daily activities: guided walks, land train tours, memorial talks, exhibitions and buggy tours.

Each year around 250 events take place on site, from small intimate services of Remembrance to set piece events like Armistice Day, Remembrance Sunday, a summer proms and Armed Forces Day.


There is plenty of managed parking available at the National Arboretum. As we approached the main parking entrance point, we were greeted by a helpful staff member who directed us to the alternative car park for coaches just across the road. Parking is plentiful and payment for parking is made at the main reception desk as you enter the National Arboretum.

What’s There?

At the National Arboretum there’s plenty to see. Imagine a large park (150 acres) with woodland walks and memorials all around then you’ll get the idea of what it’s like.  As well as the memorials and woodland walks you will also find the millenium chapel, contemorary events facilities, a shop and a restaurant. 

What we did

Entering the modern and welcoming main entrance we spoke with the helpful members of staff on reception for guidance. Armed with a map of the arboretum we set off to explore the site. The National Arboretum tell us that its purpose is to ensure the unique contribution of those who have served and sacrificed is never forgotten, the baton of Remembrance is passed on through the generations and there is a year-round space to celebrate lives lived and commemorate lives lost.

The site, based in Alrewas Staffordshire between Burton upon Trent and Lichfield, was developed on reclaimed gravel workings, bordered by the Rivers Trent and Tame, gifted to the charity by Redland Aggregates, now Tarmac.  

Royal Artillery Garden

The first port of call was the Royal Artillery garden, this was of personal significance as I’d served in the Royal Artillery for 10 years so I thought it was appropriate that it was first on our list to visit.

The Beat

There are a vast number of memorials, somewhere around 400 in total (I didn’t count them personally). Each one with a story or significance. You will find pleasant gardens, woodlands, trees and of course memorials of all designs, shapes and sizes set within 150 acres of land. Lots of the trees have been dedicated to individuals and some of the woodlands remember specific groups of people. 

The Beat

The Beat is a living, growing memorial with a tree planted for every police force in the United Kingdom. The trees used are a mix of Horse chestnut, chosen because the first policemen carried truncheons made from this wood, and London Plane.

Just some of the other memorials at the National Arboretum.

This great location and focus of remembrance is somewhere ever one should visit at least once. Indeed you may need to visit more than once just to see it all.

Motorhome Monkey
Motorhome Monkey Thoughts

The National Arboretum was a really great place to visit. Interesting, informative and reflective. This is a place where everybody should visit at least once. We spent a whole day there and still didn’t see it all. We had a nice lunch followed by a coffee and cake. This is a place where I’ll definitely revisit.

Where we stayed

Check out the places we stayed whilst visiting the National Arboretum ; Kings Orchard Marina Camp Site

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