When we go on holiday I always want to do more than sitting on the beach. Our recent camping trip I did relax that a bit and we had 3 full days on the beach. But we also took a couple of days out for a day at Watermouth Castle, a brief trip to Ilfracombe and a visit to Arlington Court.
Arlington Court is another National Trust property. It’s a lovely location for families to visit. When we arrived, the car park was busy but once inside it didn’t feel overcrowded.
On arrival we headed straight to the tea rooms for lunch. It was busy (a busy load of foreign students must have turned up) but there were plenty of tables. N was happy because there were kids lunchboxes…these make him love National Trust and persuade him to come with me.
There was lots to see at Arlington Court. N of course moaned about going in the house, but having a friendly volunteer on the door to tell him about the mice trail soon made him agree to investigate the house. The house was interesting as they so often are, with the history of the building mixed with the more personal Chichester family belongings.
Other than the mice trail, there’s also a games room where children (and adults) can play the old fashioned games, get dressed up and put on a theatre show. I was surprised that N got behind the theatre, even if he did only last about 2 minutes before some other people walked past, looked at him, and made him nervous.
One quirky activity they have at Arlington is the Bat Cam. I quite fancied having a look but N refused point blank. I guess we can just look out on the patio at home because I’ve spotted a few bats flying around there.
There’s also the formal gardens which from a distance looked good but we were short on time so we could get back to meet the others at the beach. Our next stop was the Carriage Museum. I wasn’t sure how N would like it, but he seemed to really be interested.
While a lot of the museum is facts, lots of information boards to read, and then the carriage exhibits, there’s plenty of interactive options around. From buttons to press to set ‘people’ talking, to carriage seats for you to sit on and find out what it’s really like when a carriage moves. There was also a wooden horse you could harness up, and dressing up costumes.
A highlight was seeing the gold parliamentary speaker’s carriage. No photos are allowed to be taken, but it’s a really spectacular sight, and very gold and blingy!
While we were there we also watched staff rolling one of the carriages out into the courtyard for a photoshoot. N was really into watching that, and he had plenty of questions that I had to try and answer. After nearly an hour there, we headed back out and up to the main part of the grounds again to enjoy the beautiful hydrangea.
Around Arlington Court, there’s also a trail. We weren’t following it, but we did spot the knitted 3 little pigs and the wolf. I had to read the ‘alternative’ fairy story which provided a few laughs. N decided that the brick building they were displayed on was definitely where the 3 little pigs lived.
Our only disappointment with Arlington Court was the play areas. I was excited beforehand because there are 2 outdoor play areas. But they’re both some walk away from the main house, and both in different directions to each other. So for young children, it’s quite some walk when you’re trying to encourage them. This is when you wish they sometimes could take scooters to stop them moaning so much. We just didn’t have time to get to them.
If you’re in the area, I’d definitely recommend Arlington Court. It’s a lovely place for a walk, and there are plenty of different areas and activities to explore for any age.
Have you been before, or do you have any National Trust recommendations in the area?
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