Last year we had lots of family adventures using our Annual Merlin Passes. This year we decided we wanted to do something different. Therefore, we asked Nanny and Grandad to kindly buy us a family membership with the National Trust for the year for Christmas.
We have previously been members around 3 years ago and had enjoyed getting out and about in the fresh air. We were looking forward to exploring new properties and revisiting favourite ones now that Mini is a little older to get more involved with what’s on offer.
Hanbury Hall, Worcestershire
For our first visit, and to sign up our membership, we visited Hanbury Hall in Worcestershire. This is probably the nearest of the properties to us so I’m sure we will be back again over the year. The family membership is £114.60 for the year and includes 2 adults and up to 10 children, not sure where we’d find that many from but a good idea if we wanted to bring one of Mini’s friends with us.
We were joined on our trip by Mini’s friend, C and her lovely Mummy, S. We started our visit with a guided tour of Hanbury Hall, which took approx. 40 minutes. Normally the house is open to freely walk around however due to renovation work it was only accessible through the tours. The girls were well behaved but were getting a little bored so I’d probably just go with a free walk around the properties in the future for now.
After the tour we headed to the play ground, there was a normal play area with swings, climbing frames etc and also a natural play area where you are invited to build a den. The girl had lots of fun climbing up onto a den that had previously been made and had a competition as to who could climb the highest.
For lunch we had taken a picnic however ate inside the café with a hot drink that we had bought to warm us up as it was a chilly day. From experience the food on offer is always a good selection at National Trust places although can be on the slightly pricey side. I think we will probably try to take picnics and save our money for a treat of tea and cake, or ice-cream in the summer.
With full bellies, we headed off to explore the grounds and gardens, kitted in wellies and waterproofs. The girls found the ice house and enjoyed listening to their echoes as they shouted. We also walked through the orchard, round the orangery and into the mushroom house, which oddly had apples and pears inside. There were also a few chickens in the allotment area to visit.
We also explored the formal garden areas and the girls enjoyed pointing out all the different shapes they’d found. By this time we were all starting to get a little chilly so decided to head home to warm up with a hot chocolate after a really enjoyable few hours.
Our year of National Trust Adventures
We are really looking forward to exploring new properties using our membership and having adventures. Mini loves being in the outdoors, running in the open space and finding out about nature, along with getting pretty muddy, so I’m sure she will love our days out to come. National Trust has a list of 50 things to do before you are 11 3/4 such as finding frog spawn, go bird watching and making mud pies, which we plan on trying to tick off as many as we can over our year of exploring.
We have a holiday booked in Somerset for Easter and North Yorkshire in May and are intrigued to find out what properties there are to visit in those areas. We will also use the National Trust app to look for nearby properties when we are travelling long journeys as a way to break up the travelling and allow Mini to get out and stretch her legs.
As individual days out I think some of the National Trust properties can be quite expensive, each property has it’s own pricing structure. However, if you make the most of the membership it can make each trip a lot cheaper. It also means we may sometimes visit just for an hour or so as a quick trip, which we wouldn’t have done if we had to pay the full property price.
Properties also host seasonal special events such as Easter egg hunts, May Day celebrations and Pumpkin trails so it will be good to get involved in those too.
We will share our adventures throughout the year with you. We’d also love to hear from you about your favourite National Trust properties that we should definitely include on our itineraries.