Mr PB and I were married at a National Trust venue – The Vyne near Basingstoke. A romantic ceremony in the stone gallery and the party of all parties in a set of Stunning Tents in the walled garden.
So, you would think that we have been avid members of the Trust for years. Well, whilst we had membership post our wedding day, we didn’t visit many of the houses or gardens apart from our wedding anniversary visit back to the gardens at The Vyne.
As a child, visiting a national trust property always felt like a chore. Attractive to the older generation, it felt like an extended history lesson.
But over the years, The National Trust have genuinely upped their family game, offering so much more than dusty, cold rooms in large homes with some gardens to look at but not touch!
Since becoming parents, we have explored, walked, laughed and smiled around so many of the houses and gardens that I’ve come to realise that this organisation is something special.
Where else can you have a slice of delicious cake and pot of tea, a wander through stately country homes and then play chase on the lawns.
Here are some of my favourites:
The Vyne, Basingstoke – of course it holds a special place in my heart but it has grown over the years to be a chosen destination for families for picnic on the lawn. The addition of a small play area for children with bouncing cows, ride on tractors and push along lawn mowers is great as well as the ability to visit to renovation being carried out on the roof.
Mottisfont, Winchester – with expansive lawns surrounding the stately home, there is plenty of room to play and have a picnic. A beautiful river walk and the choice of 2-3 great tea rooms/restaurants makes this a great meeting place for big groups.
Waddesdon Manor, Aylesbury – the formality of the gardens make it less about picnics and more about wandering taking in the gorgeous planting schemes and overwhelming views of this incredible mansion.
Basildon Park, Reading – like Mottisfont, this property is not short of grassy areas to play rounders in! It also benefits from walking routes taking you out into the parkland – varying lengths so you can choose what best suits you and your family.
Cliveden House, nr Windsor – the play area here is by far my favourite of all National Trust properties we have visited. Based around classic children stories, you are surrounded by beautiful wooden sculptures of Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan. The house is also a hotel so not one you can visit without staying but the restaurant is great with lots to offer and the grounds are never ending. A great place to get lost in.
If you don’t have membership, please do so. Whether you are a smal family and expanding family or just a couple, this is the best amount of pennies a year you will spend!
This weekend, most National Trust properties are running Easter Egg Hunts. https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/
x PB x