It’s not often we ever really see May Day celebrations anymore, but I’d spotted the event at Sulgrave Manor in Northamptonshire, and decided it would probably a good place to take N for the day.
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I didn’t know anything about Sulgrave Manor before going apart from there being links to the US and George Washington. It turned out to be a lovely Tudor and Georgian manor house, built and lived in by ancesters of the first US president George Washington. It’s also on the endangered historic buildings list so worth a visit.
It wasn’t expensive for the entry to the May Day celebrations and gardens (free for under 5s) but it is another £5 for a tour round the house. I’d have liked to have gone round, but a formal tour wouldn’t really be good for a preschooler in my view, so decided against it.
There was plenty else to do for children though. Firstly N insisted on sitting to have a snack. He’d taken his paddlepak grab bag* with him having packed it with snacks of his choosing, and he did manage to carry it round all day which was good. It’s so cute seeing him with his ‘boy-bag’.
Then we started on the children’s trail, to spot and mark off the sheep we spotted on his answer sheet.
The gardens were lovely with the flowers that were in bloom looking quite brilliant in the sunshine. You wouldn’t believe how warm it was with N in his wellies!
There were plenty of nooks and crannies to explore and ask about. This mini hedge had N asking why it was there, and he recognised the lovely little blacksmith’s hut for what it was.
I love tulips, and these one were beautiful with the sun streaming down.
There were a lot of these bell type flowers lining the paths with bees buzzing all around them. It was really too sunny to see what I was photographing so I had to resort to snapping vaguely in the right direction with my phone, in the hope of getting a bee shot. This was the best I managed.
I really like how lots of historic places do trails for children. It keeps them interested and makes me spot a lot more than I might have done. I loved this old water pump and it prompted a discussion on having to pump water for the animals.
For the May day event there was also a tent of tudor games for children to have a go at playing. Of course N refused to take part, even when the ‘tudor’ woman tried to persuade him. Instead he was quite happy to continue looking for sheep and finding all the different routes around the edge of the house.
Although I didn’t get to hear or see the house tour, there were still some displays in this walk way to read and discover a bit more about the history.
The next event at Sulgrave Manor is Independence Day which I quite fancy going to – I’m all for special events because tourist places do put so much effort into them.
There are touches of the Washingtons all over the grounds, this bust of George is quite a surprise to see as you round the corner.
I managed to persuade N to join me at the sundial so we could tell the time using it. Nearly lunch time, so off he marched. N loved the grass pathways through the middle of the flower beds. Anything that’s a bit different or unexpected he does enjoy.
The only downside about Sulgrave Manor is that there isn’t a restaurant. There’s a place selling refreshments and snack type meals. For the event, drinks were being sold in the room used for the craft activities, and there was a room with crafts and gift stalls where you could buy pasties, sausage rolls, sandwiches, cakes and hot drinks. Seating was fairly limited but we managed to grab a picnic table in the courtyard where the music and dancing was happening. Unfortunately the music slot was cut shot from an hour to under 30 minutes due to broken guitar strings and setting up. but we did get to hear the guy play and sing while we ate.
Several of our NCT friends had also gone to the event so some of them joined us to eat lunch. It’s always nice to catch up. Then it was time for the morris dancing. I’m not a huge morris dancing fan, but it’s a lovely English tradition, and N really enjoyed watching it and listening to the musicians.
Any opportunity to watch different styles of dancing and listen to different music genres is what my #MusicExploration monthly link is about, trying to broaden childrens understanding and appreciation of different styles. So we can tick off old english folk music as a success with N.
Before we left we headed over to watch the fun dog show. For quite a small attraction, Sulgrave’s events are obviously popular because it was really busy. N and his friend were intrigued by the number of different types of dogs. Chihuahuas raised his eyebrows (I’m not surprised!), and he seemed quite taken by the basset hounds with their tummies virtually on the ground. He’s used to bigger dogs like labradors, collies, alsations and spaniels so all the smaller dogs were a bit of a mystery to him.
We didn’t stay long, and had to go before the maypole dancing and crowning of the May king and queen. But it was a lovely day out, and there’s more to see for another visit.
Were you involved with, or visit any May day celebrations?
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