We had the children’s cousin come to stay this weekend and we were lucky with some lovely bright winter sun, so we took ourselves off for a day out to our favourite National Trust estate - Anglesey Abbey.
It was the perfect time of year for the ‘snowdrop walk’ and of course we had to reward ourselves with the obligatory scone with clotted cream and jam at the end!
I have lovely warm (well actually quite often rainy and cold!) childhood memories of family days out at National Trust/ National Trust for Scotland properties.
I grew up in Scotland, so our favourites were Culzean Castle in Ayrshire and Brodick Castle on Arran.
We rarely actually ever went into the ‘big hoose’, it was all about spending time exploring the grounds….and my Granny was a champion ‘hider’ for all of us little ones to ‘seek’ out (she was usually to be found amongst the rhododendrons)!
When we moved to East Anglia, when Twinkle was a baby, visiting our local NT properties seemed like such a natural thing to do for a happy family day out.
Twinkle loves the outdoors.
She is very sensory and just loves the outdoor experience in all weathers! The sights, the sounds and smells!
She enjoys the contrast between the woodland areas (with the wind in the leaves and the shadows of branches against the sky) and the ordered formal gardens with their colourful flowers and scents.
Access within the most of the actual houses is not generally ideal (or even always possible at all) as of course they are old buildings restored for historical representation and are often very awkward, often impossible, to adapt (our ancestors were not generally known for their inclusive design!).
However for us the houses don’t really matter, as neither of the children are in the least bit interested!
The main thing is that the grounds have good access and then of course the café! (cake is usually a key feature of our day out!).
We have several estates close to home so we took out a membership and have certainly got our money’s worth out of it!
I have even started planning our holiday journeys around stops at various NT sites!
We quite often have long car trips from East Anglia to central Scotland (the NT and NTS have reciprocal arrangements so membership are valid in both) and rather than stop off at a soulless service station, we now try to stop at one or two NT sites on the way - where we can eat at a nice café, use clean loos and let the kids have some fresh air and a play.
My only criticism is that (so far!?) we have not come across a Changing Place toilet at any of the properties we’ve been to…..if the NT could have a wee look at sorting that out then it would take some beating as a perfect day out (starting with Anglesey Abbey please!)!
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