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.
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.
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.
Bonus for children has to be the numerous tree trunks around the parks. N had a great time driving ‘trains’
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!
We didn’t make it over to the deer, as N wanted to sit on one of the benches looking out over the park.
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.
N loved the tree stump ‘stepping stones’
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.
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.
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.
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?