FOR many people in Warrington, a trip to Walton Gardens will be on the agenda during what is left of the school holidays.

This week in Looking Back, we have gone back in our archives to look at some interesting facts.

The Walton Hall estate was first bought by the Greenall family in 1814, following the success of the family brewing business which was set up in Wilderspool in the mid 1700s.

By the 1830s, Edward Greenall had built by Walton Hall.

He died not long after it was completed in 1835 and his son, Gilbert, made it into the family home and country estate.

Gilbert Greenall was not just a business owner, he was also a politician and was MP for Warrington for more than 30 years, also being knighted.

He was in charge of the building work to create the extension to the hall in the 1870s – the period which saw the iconic clock tower built.

Sir Gilbert’s son, also called Gilbert, transformed the estate. He was known as Lord Daresbury.

And so it was almost a century later when Lord and Lady Daresbury opened it up to the public for the first time.

The gardens would attract up to 45,000 people during open days and in particular for The Walton Show.

Now they attract more than 300,000 people a year.

At its height in Victorian times, more than 26 gardeners were employed to help care for the spectacular gardens.

And there was even a pony-drawn lawnmower to keep the grass looking sharp.

At the height of Lord Daresbury’s wealth, he had bought up to 7,000 acres of land around Walton Hall. And he paid for buildings such as St John the Evangelist Church in Walton.

It was the 1940s before Warrington Borough Council bought the land and made it a public park.

The hall was used by officers and troops from 1941 and just days after VE Day, it opened to the public.

Its history continues today and also includes many nods to popular culture.

The pond contains a number of terrapins, believed to have been dumped by residents in the 1990 who were inspired to buy them when Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was a hit TV show.

More recently it was used to film BBC drama Our Zoo.

And Luminate brought many families to the beauty spot in the run up to Christmas