I can’t help but smile when I see a newly-wed couple. The bride, who always looks radiant in her beautiful dress, with her bridegroom looking like he’s won the lottery now that she is by his side. So yesterday I smiled a lot as we spotted almost a dozen bridal parties having their photos taken while we were at Arkhangelskoye estate.
Arkhangelskoye, which is only just outside Moscow, used to belong to one of the country’s aristocratic families but is now state owned and open to the public to wander round its grounds (you can pay extra to look round the house too). Up by the main house are formal tree-lined avenues and a considerable collection of classical sculptures. Although there is a strict keep-off-the-grass policy in that part of the estate – enforced by two security guards with loud-hailers – there are also lots of wooded areas where children can play freely. Our son had been inspired by one of the cannons at the side of the house and, after sitting on it for some time, decided that the best game was to collect pine cones from nearby and “fire” them at the trees – he had a great time! Little children are also free to bring scooters and bikes and we saw many of them having fun zooming up and down – with such extensive ground to cover it is a good way for little legs to get about.
One of the loveliest parts of the garden is the long arched walkway. Not only is the shade particularly nice on a hot day but we discovered that within it was an exhibition of photographs of the house in the 1890s. There were some great prints showing how the house and gardens looked like at the time, as well as some photos of the people who lived and worked there. My favourite was the picture of the kitchen with eight members of staff, rows of sharp knives and dozens of gleaming saucepans.
It is a wonderful place to spend a sunny day, great for a walk with the kids, and if you are getting married soon do consider it for your reception – the photos will be stunning!
Useful info: We took a picnic but there is a restaurant as well as several kiosks selling snacks and ice-creams. Arkhangelskoye is off the A106 just 3km or so from the junction with the E22 (the MKAD). It is also possible to get there by public transport taking the 541 or 549 bus from Tushinskaya metro.