Winter and cold weather’s all very well, but when you’ve got annual membership for places like National Trust, you don’t want them closed down over the winter months. Ok, so we could go just for the outdoor bits, but usually we have to travel a reasonable way for them, and I can get outdoors at home if needed.
But now Spring’s here (meteorologically, not astrologically, which was the agreement after a discussion argument at work the other day), there’s more places open that we can visit. This weekend, N did his usual ‘I want to stay at home’ moan, but I offered him the chance to take out my scooter and said we could go to Blenheim Palace. The lure of a trip on the train there is always a winner too.
N didn’t want to take his bike, so we just took the scooter – we always park at the Pleasure Gardens, and I knew that N wouldn’t make both directions walking without moaning, so he scooted and I walked keeping him away from the oncoming cars, up to the palace.
The last time we went, we went briefly round the State Rooms and the Churchill exhibition, checking out the modern art installation, so this time I thought it was time to visit the Untold Story.
I’ve been meaning to go for years. It’s the story behind the scenes of the different families who lived at Blenheim from the time it was built, told by one of the maids.
Of course I didn’t really think about suitability for N, forgetting that he’s not keen on moving people models. It’s all timed and the doors open automatically when it’s time to move on, so not really easy to escape if you’ve got a scared child. Oops. We were walking round with 2 other visitors. N wasn’t keen (predictably) on the models – real life people with animatronics. You could even see their bodies as they ‘breathed’. After a few rooms, he got used to it, and would sit nicely and listen to the story.
With N I never really get to read the detail as we whizz through stately homes, something really has to catch my attention to notice it and take it in. So the Untold Story was a great way of doing it while keeping children interested as well. N was probably a little too young, although maybe when he’s older and he knows about his dad’s family tree, he’ll be a bit more interested. The OH’s family can trace their descendants back until the trail stops at a servant girl who worked at Blenheim Palace years ago.
By the time we were finished, N had had enough and wanted to head home.
He did like looking over the park from the Palace grounds though, so I’ve suggested next time we come, maybe at Easter, we take some friends along and do the pleasure gardens with the activities taking place, and then head for a picnic and walk in the parklands. Maybe up to the Victory Monolith.
A quick scoot up to catch the train back to the car – it’s always an exciting treat, and we just caught it in time as it was pulling into the station.
Are your children ok with moving displays? Any tips on getting rid of the fear?