bluebells at charlecote

Park life and exploring Charlecote Park, National Trust

Until recently I thought there weren’t many National Trust places near us.  It turns out there are many more than I thought, so I decided that it was about time to get myself National Trust membership.  With N being free, it ends up being really good value, so now I’m on a mission to make the most of my membership.  First stop was Charlecote Park in Warwickshire.

weather vane at Charlecote

We didn’t have any particular plans, just aimed to wander round, see the deer and check out the working kitchen area of the house.  It turned out to be a beautiful day, so was perfect for a relaxing walk.  I always aim to get to place as they open, so we can finish by having lunch and avoid too much of the crowds.  The timings worked really well, so we could get home and have the afternoon free.

I can never believe how far N walks when we go to places like this.  Walking round town he doesn’t walk anywhere near as far, but going on my Fitbit, he walked around 7 kilometres before the day was out.

Anywhere with lots of green space attracts N.  I wanted to head to see the deer first but we didn’t actually reach their field.  First N had to investigate the ‘moat’ area in front of the gate house and gardens.  I was a bit concerned at how steep it was, but he’s really got his confidence in his physical ability, and had no problem, walking down to the bottom, then climbing back up and wandering along half way up the sides.

balancing in th emoat
climbing up from the moat

This photo above made me laugh as I told him to put his arms out to steady himself as he was walking down, so he then walked along the flat bottom with his arms out.

The lake and weir was lovely to watch, so we had a good investigation of what was happening there, and where the water was going to.

standing by a log in the sunlight

Bonus for children has to be the numerous tree trunks around the parks.  N had a great time driving ‘trains’

driving a tree trunk train

and pretending to be like Peter Rabbit running from Mr Todd, sitting safely inside the end of a tree trunk.  He was a little disappointed that he couldn’t walk all the way through to the other end like on the tv show!

inside a tree trunk

We didn’t make it over to the deer, as N wanted to sit on one of the benches looking out over the park.

bluebells by the mulberry bush

Spot the boy!  The bluebells were gorgeous. We’d stopped at our local woods on the way in the hope that I’d get some good bluebell photos, but there were only a few by the entrance.  The few at Charlecote we saw were more plentiful than those in our woods!

We explored the woodland garden on the way through.  I loved this ornamental display.

garden ornaments at Charlecote

N loved the tree stump ‘stepping stones’

stepping stumps

The children’s play area was woven willow, adorned with colourful strips which caught the light.  Really beautiful and N was entranced.  He didn’t stay long enough to play, just to walk through past the older girls who were playing there.  But it did seem like a really magical place.

bluebells at charlecote
children play area at Charlecote

After a spot of lunch in the Orangery – where there was a good choice of children’s sandwiches made freshly as you ordered, to put in the children’s food bag – there was time for a spot of giant connect four…or N’s version of it.

giant connect four

The house doesn’t really hold much interest for young children of N’s age, although they do  hand out stickers for those children who spot the cuddly fawns around the house. N was interested in the beds – obviously deciding which type (4 poster or sleigh bed) looked more comfortable!

We were more interested in the servants quarters which were also open up and set up as they would have been years ago.  In the kitchen N helped get the logs for the open fire, looked at the food in the cupboards, and had a chat with the cook dressed in clothes of the time.

There’s also the brewery although less to see there, and the laundry.  N was intrigued by the water pumping system, the scourers and the old clothes hanging up.  We had to have a discussion about what the pole was and then how the water came out.

After a few hours, we headed back to the car.  By this stage N was a tad tired, wanting to be carried and being a bit whiny.  I suggested that maybe he should roll down the hill.  Cue my hysterics at his version of rolling…one roll at a time!  The picture suggests that rolling is an extremely difficult activity, although I suppose it was only a slight slope rather than a large one that encouraged rolling.

rolling down hills

I think we left at just the right time as the car park was full, and there were still people streaming in.  We had a lovely day out, and will be looking forward to checking out more National Trust properties over the Summer.

On the way home we also stopped off at a park near home so N could get his bike out and have a ride.  He just seemed to keep going on and on like the Duracell bunny.

Do your children surprise you with how far they can go before collapsing exhausted?

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  1. Ah – looks like a really lovely day – and I love the tree trunk!

    We have NT membership and it’s been great for the odd afternoon trip and for all the special trails that they run.

    1. That’s what’s handy about the membership – if you see somewhere you fancy when you’re out and about, then you can just pop in.

  2. That looks like a lovely day, well done N for walking so far. I love the pic of him driving a train tree.

    1. Whenever he sits on any type of tree or equipment it’s always a train he pretends to drive…not a tractor as I’d have thought. Thanks for commenting

  3. Wow, it looks like there was so much to do, such beautiful pictures and the childrens play area sounds lovely. We got membership when my son was a baby and I barely used it but I think he would really love to adventure through all the lovely woodland now he’s older.

    1. I couldn’t believe it either. I’d love to get him a little pedometer to put in his pocket to see how far he walks on a normal day or at nursery. Compared to my normal fairly sedentary day, I bet it’s massive.
      Thanks for stopping by

  4. You certainly had a very busy and eventful day and N looks like he had a whale of a time. We’ve had NT membership for almost 17 years now and every year we definitely get our money’s worth many times over. It’s so nice to be able to pop in somewhere just for an hour or so, especially as they normally have lovely cakes on offer.

    1. Yes, it’s a good opportunity for tea and cakes and a chance to get out of the house for a bit if needed (we don’t really need that as have the latter outdoors). there always seems to be something going on at different times of the year.

    1. That’s it exactly. If it’s outside and there’s food at the end of it, there’s hope. In town (where there’s a chance of food) he ‘s still not keen, but usually quite good about walking, but in an open space he’ll walk for ages.

    1. Thanks Mary. It was a lovely place, so I’m definitely looking forward to the next NT place on my list. There’s so many to choose from, but I want to make sure there’s enough to keep N interested.

    1. Thanks. We do like to get out and about – although N would be just as happy pottering on the farm, but I like to get out and see things together.

    1. I agree. They’re places that as children you get dragged round and bored, but then you don’t think to reassess as you get older until you hear others talking about them. It’s great having the membership to be able to go national though. No excuses not to go .

  5. A beautiful NT place to visit! What a wonderful day out and love the shot of N with his arms out.

    1. It was really lovely. The house was beautiful too, although my shots of that didn’t do it justice. Nice to have some really open parkland to play and walk in

  6. Gorgeous photos from what looks like a lovely day, that woven willow looks fascinating, I bet lots of children stopped to admire the colours. I love what the NAtional Trust properties offer, your post makes me want to take out membership too. Thankyou for sharing on Country Kids.

    1. I’ve been debating a few years about joining, thinking that we didn’t really go anywhere else and nothing was available near us, but having had a look there’s loads – including places I wouldn’t place as NT as they’re not ‘houses’. Definitely a lot more than just looking round a house nowadays, they’re such a nice easy day out.

    1. So nice to return to places with children when you’ve been before. Nice to reminisce and show new things for the children.

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