Children are amazing. However shy you think your children are, they often surprise us by happily getting involved and chatty with new people really easily. Obviously it helps when they have similar interests, but it’s still lovely to see. We’re lucky enough to live close enough to Mary and Monkey from Over 40 and a mum to one, and before Christmas, met up for an outdoor morning at National Trust’s Charlecote Park.
We met at ours first as we’re on the way to Charlecote. It’s nice to be able to get the children warmed up in the car, as well as starting to chat. N wasn’t too keen on all the chatting. It disturbed his listening to Christmas music.
That close to Christmas, Charlecote was very quiet. A bonus – although all the Christmas activities of earlier in the season were finished. It’s good going at that point though, because you don’t need to have tickets for the house.
First stop was the deer park. I was surprised how close you could get to the deer. Last time we visited we didn’t roam far. The trips we do at National Trust are much shorter and closer to the house than Mary and Monkey go, so it’s good to get the mix between the 2 of us. The boys enjoyed seeing the deer with both taking photos or videos – a little unsuccessfully in N’s case.
Charlecote is really good for exploring outside. There’s a small garden area for children where the boys spend some time with logs and sticks. Oh, and making a jail for us. The imagination of an 8 and 6 year old!
Then there’s the garden, and around the edges of the house. It was a little dreary and misty but the rain did hold off. It was unbelievable spotting snowdrops this early in winter.
We were rapidly approaching lunch time but there was just enough time to see the house. The boys weren’t keen but I always suggest that N does something he doesn’t want to do ahead of something better. Otherwise I get more moans doing the ‘boring’ activity afterwards.
There wasn’t a kids trail which was a shame. But the house theme was the 12 days of Christmas so there was plenty for the boys to look out for.
I love National Trust properties at Christmas. They always decorate them so well. The dining set up was the most stunning with a beautiful cake decorated with all 12 lines from the song.
We had lunch in the cafe. As usual with National Trust the service was slow. The serving area is quite small but they were only serving soup or stew in a bowl. So nothing too complicated for the hot food, but the queue just wasn’t moving. Eventually it did but a person took over on the till who was putting things through incorrectly and caused more hold up. Then once we’d finally paid, N had to wait ages to get his lunchbox sandwich made and brought over. I understand they don’t want waste, but we could have put in our sandwich order at the front of the queue – it would have been made by the time we were at the front ready to pay.
Food eaten, the boys wanted another brief play before we headed back to introduce Monkey to the farm.
Tips for visiting Charlecote Park
- Arrive for opening to explore the park, before the house opens
- Check out the second hand books to buy
- Take walking boots or wellies – there’s great spaces for off path walks
- In the summer look out for games on the lawn
- Take a picnic if you want to avoid queueing for ages in the cafe
Have you ever been to Charlecote Park? Where’s your favourite National Trust venue?
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