Now N is older it’s a lot harder to persuade him to come for a day out. He would just rather stay at home and watch YouTube. Boring. But I was determined that that we would be going out as much as possible on the first week of holidays given that I was also on leave. I don’t want to be sat at home for a week although the heat was telling me that was probably the best thing to do.
He turned his nose up at Blists Hill again. I think I’m going to have to go there on my own because he’s definitely not agreeing and hasn’t agreed to come with me for as long as I’ve been trying to get in there. Instead I suggested Stratford because he could play in the park, ride his bike around, enjoy the paddling pool, go on the gym equipment, and then I could get my way for some culture and education, and drag him round a Shakespeare property. A little bit of culture and history never did any harm.
He agreed and we packed up the car. I definitely need a bike rack for his bike because it’s so heavy and clumsy to get it into the back of the car. Plus I need to put the car seats down which means he has to sit in the front seat. Which he loves, but I’d rather he still sits in the back for safety.
We always get to Stratford early because the traffic is horrendous and parking gets even more ridiculous. So we got a decent space right by the recreation ground.
First on the agenda was the gym equipment. N loves this and always has done since he was a little boy. But now he can actually do most of the bits and reach them. I generally have a bit of a bit of a go as well. I thought it was a bit of a cheek that one woman with a dog who wondered past and made a comment about me me being made to go on the equipment. Cheeky mare.
There’s a great recreation ground to ride around and I can amble along which N cycles off where he wants. Then it was back to the playground before it got busy.
It’s lovely to see over the years, how N’s grown in using the different pieces of equipment. Zipwires are now no problem, he’ll go on all sorts of swings, and can dig right down to the bottom with the diggers.
I wanted to get to Halls Croft before it was too busy and too hot. N had been promised that he could go in the paddling pool after lunch. It’s always good to give something for them to look forward to after one of my choices for days out!
Hall’s Croft is one of the Shakespeare properties in and around Stratford. It was the house where Shakespeare’s daughter Susanna and her husband Dr John Hall lived. They were fairly well off, and you get to see how they lived. And best of all for children, find out about the type of medicine of the time, and the more alternative methods that Hall himself used.
We found the lady on the desk really friendly, and she told us lots about things to watch out for, and some of the history of moving with windows and large flagstones.
In addition, for younger children there’s a trail, and they can look out for the 12 mice hidden around, all named after Shakespeare characters. We somehow missed 2 but managed to get the 2 hardest ones.
There were bottles of different coloured ‘urine’ to guess what’s wrong with the patient. And various surgeons tools to pick up and imagine using.
Hall’s Croft has a lovely garden to sit and relax in. A few of the flower beds were still being worked on, but at other times of the year I’m sure there’s more to see.
If you need lunch, there’s also a cafe, and there are toilets available to use. Of all the Shakespeare properties, Hall’s Croft is pretty good value. A single ticket will let you return within a year. But if you’re visiting a few properties, it’s worth paying for the all properties ticket.
Paddling pool fun
After lunch, it was back to the playground to get in the paddling pool. It’s one of the best things about the playground, although it’s good in itself. In this hot weather, it’s great for kids to be able to cool off. As usual lots were in their underwear, with a few in swimwear.
N wasn’t that excited about it this time which I was surprised about. I think he prefers it when it’s quieter. He’s not the type of child to go and join in with other children’s games, and sometimes things are more fun when you’re not an only child / have a friend with you. He didn’t stay in the paddling pool for long, before we stopped for a (very expensive) ice cream.
The few hours out satisfied both of our needs to get out and about on the first day of the holidays. Hopefully we’ll get in a few more over this week I’m off with N.
Have you been to any Shakespeare properties? Which would you recommend?
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