National Trust Family Friendly feedback thread NOW CLOSED

(49 Posts)
AngelieMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 15-Oct-13 12:49:26

This thread is for the 44 Mumsnetters who visited a National Trust location with their families. As part of the National Trust's MN Family Friendly membership (for more info see: www.mumsnet.com/family-friendly/nt), we asked MN Insight panel members to visit these specific properties to report back on how Family Friendly they were.

Here's what National Trust say: "Were really keen that families visiting our places feel welcomed, and free to enjoy themselves. Thats why we have come up with our family friendly standards. Your feedback will help us to understand how were doing and whether were missing any opportunities. Thank you very much for taking the time to do this for us and we hope you enjoy your visit!"

Below are a few feedback questions for you to answer - if you have any more comments, please feel free to add them to your response.

- Which NT property did you visit? And who was in your group?

- What was the weather like when you visited?

- Were the whole family welcomed into the property?

- Were there age appropriate activities for your DCs?

- If you needed to use the baby changing facilities, was it possible for either a Mum or a Dad to change their child in at least one of the bathrooms/ changing stations on-site?

- Did you notice any breastfeeding friendly signs displayed around the property?

- Are there family friendly things the property could make more of?

- Do you have any suggestions for improvements?

- Overall what is your familys general impression of the NT offer for families?

All selected testers who adds a comment to this thread (and who complete the feedback form which was emailed to you) will be entered into a prize draw where one winner will receive a £100 National Trust gift voucher.

Thanks and good luck with the prize draw!

MNHQ

PS If you're not yet part of our Insight Panel you can sign up here

lottytheladybird Fri 01-Nov-13 15:07:34

- Which NT property did you visit? And who was in your group?
We went to Corfe Castle. I went with my husband and 2 sons, one who's 1 and one who's 3.

- Were the whole family welcomed into the property?
Yes, we were. The ticket lady was very welcoming and informative.

- Were there age appropriate activities for your DCs?
My three year old loved the Teddy zip wire. It was a great way to distract them whilst going up the hill and it was great fun, too!

- If you needed to use the baby changing facilities, was it possible for either a Mum or a Dad to change their child in at least one of the bathrooms/ changing stations on-site?
Yes! I was realy pleased to find that there were changing facilities in both the mens and the ladies. Often, there are only changing facilities in the ladies and I feel like I always have to be the one who does the nappies when we're out!

- Did you notice any breastfeeding friendly signs displayed around the property?
No, not that I noticed, but then it was a Castle, so it was all outdoors!

- Are there family friendly things the property could make more of?
I think it was more family friendly than we could have hoped for really.

- Do you have any suggestions for improvements?
The only thing we would have appreciated would have been a bench to have a snack and a drink on, but with the site being on a hill, I guess it's not easy to do.

- Overall what is your familys general impression of the NT offer for families?
We had a very good impression of the NT as a family friendly place to visit. We all had fun and it made us think that we would like to become members.

MrsKwazii Fri 01-Nov-13 17:23:23

Which NT property did you visit? And who was in your group?

I visited Wimpole Hall in Cambridgeshire with MrK our toddler and newborn

Were the whole family welcomed into the property?

Yes, the staff in the ticket office were very welcoming, talking to our toodler and giving her a sticker to wear which pleased her no end. They also advised us that there was a quiz for children in the house.

Were there age appropriate activities for your DCs?

Wimpole Hall has a working farm which is absolutely fantastic for children and the whole family to visit. There are plenty of animals to see, tractors to play on and guides to chat to. There are often events to go to as well. The cafe is also great, with good food and nice touches like the buckets of farm toys to play with and crayons to draw with.

We've been to the farm a few times - but didn't go on this occasion as it costs extra to visit, even if you are a NT member. The farm is also a good ten to fifteen minutes walk from the entrance, which was a bit much for me given I had a C-Section a few weeks ago. There are golf buggies available to take less-able visitors around, but I wasn't sure I'd be up to trudging round the farm.

Instead, we went to the house and around the gardens. The house is staffed by incredibly friendly volunteers who made us very welcome. They offered us the childrens' quiz but it did turn out to be for older ones - say five or six yo upwards. Something for younger children would be great, perhaps pictures of items in each of the rooms to look for?

On previous visits, small farm animal figures have been hidden in each room for children to look for (under beds, on top of cabinets and so on) and our DD was looking for them, but they weren't there this visit. One guide said that they may have been packed away as the house is closing for the winter soon. I hope they'll be there next time we visit as they're great fun, shown by DD remembering them.

The grounds around the house are beautiful and DD had great fun charging around and using up some energy while we watched wink

If you needed to use the baby changing facilities, was it possible for either a Mum or a Dad to change their child in at least one of the bathrooms/ changing stations on-site?

We used the baby changing facilities in the stable block which were in a separate room so anyone could have used it. There was also a chair for breastfeeding which was good. We only had the sling, not the pram, but it would have fitted into the space easily. My only complaint is that the hot water was scaldingly hot as it came out of the tap.

The changing facilities in the Rectory cafe were in the disabled loo which I always think is a bit rubbish, as changing babies can take so long. I always worry that someone who really needs the loo will be held up by be stripping a baby after a poo explosion. A separate space would be good to have if possible.

Did you notice any breastfeeding friendly signs displayed around the property?

I didn't notice any signs but felt comfortable BF in the Rectory cafe and out on the terrace. Glasses and free water was available for all customers, good for BF mums as well.

Are there family friendly things the property could make more of?

The 'Things to do before you're 11 3/4' was very evident, with information in the ticket office and signs elsewhere. A nature trail around the grounds would be fun, based around the plants and planting perhaps? Quiz sheets and/or signs on the trees or around the paths would make the grounds more interesting for children. It could also make the trek over to the farm more interactive.

Do you have any suggestions for improvements?

The Hall doesn't allow prams and pushchairs inside (quite rightly) but you are asked to leave them outside the Hall while you take the tour. We had taken our sling with us as I'd seen the signs on a previous visit, but if you hadn't, and had an older, non-walking baby, it could be an issue. Clear information on the website would be good. Some form of buggy shelter with bike locks would also be welcome, rather than leaving what can be a very expensive piece of kit out in a place where people could just walk off with it.

A buggy park would also be useful at the Rectory cafe. There were a number of customers inside with older toddlers and their buggies which made it difficult to navigate around the tables. A place to leave them outside would be handy.

The childrens' lunchbox is a great idea, but less salty crisps would be welcome and white bread sandwiches would be welcome. The only bread available was granary which my toddler didn't like because of the 'bits'. Mini portions of the hot meals would also be a nice touch.

Overall what is your familys general impression of the NT offer for families?

Wimpole Estate is a great place for a family visit, mainly due to the farm, but it can still be fun to just visit the hall and grounds. There are a few things that could be done to make it more fun for younger children, but it still a great day out. I know that the NT wants to appeal to a wide age range, and that historic houses aren't really first on a toddler's list of interests, but a few tweaks would make it even more inviting than it already is.

We are already NT members as we holiday in the UK and like to be able to visit local historic sites. The family friendliness varies according to the nature of the site, but I often see events advertised that look great for families and which I would definitely consider when our children are older.

Thank you very much to you MN and the NT for our day out smile

SunshinePanda Sat 02-Nov-13 16:20:19

- Which NT property did you visit? And who was in your group?
Belton House with my DH, DS 13 and DD 15.

Were the whole family welcomed into the property?
Yes the staff were very welcoming and explained where things were located on the map and gave information about tours available. Our guided tour guide made sure that he spoke directly to the children and included them in his talk, relating their lives to the lives they would have had as servants in the house.

Were there age appropriate activities?
Yes we all enjoyed our tour of life below stairs in the country house. Excellent adventure playground, plenty of space and indoor soft play for younger children.

- If you needed to use the baby changing facilities, was it possible for either a Mum or a Dad to change their child in at least one of the bathrooms/ changing stations on-site?
Changing facilities in both male and female toilets and a parent and baby room.

- Did you notice any breastfeeding friendly signs displayed around the property?
No.

- Are there family friendly things the property could make more of?
They already do an excellent job. Really pleased that our older children enjoyed it as I know it has lots for younger ones.

- Do you have any suggestions for improvements?
No

- Overall what is your family's general impression of the NT offer for families?
They loved it. We also went to St Michael's Mount in half term, which was another great day out. Thank you!

Bluecarrot Sat 02-Nov-13 19:41:14

We visited castle ward on 1st nov- my DP, dd (10), her friend (8) and myself.

Lady at the shed ticket booth was lovely and welcomed the kids directly as well as the adults. The only other staff we had contact with was an outside company ( clear sky) who operate from the grounds and he was lovely too. The house was closed, as was one of the play areas ( where kids can dress up). This was stated on the website though, but we were tied with the day we could visit. I know from before the house tour is not v family friendly.

There was plenty of info on the " things to do before you are 11 3/4" and had we been able to locate the info before we did our trail, we would have used the kits. I know from past experience that these are great to do though but you need to allow a few hours. We spent about 1.5 hours on one of the reasonably well marked trails ( two girls on bikes, adults walking) and then the girls went off to enjoy the two great parks. Quick nosey in the barn but it is aimed at younger kids, with colouring, small world play and dress up upstairs and an indoor/outdoor play area downstairs with tractors etc for toddlers.

I didn't see the baby changing area but the toilets were a bit rough and ready, and very cold. Reasonably clean. Could do with some investment I think. I'd have probably preferred to change a baby in the car if changing facilities were similar.

One tearoom was closed and we didn't make it up as far as the second tearoom ( not sure if it was open) so unsure about breastfeeding posters.

The map was a bit rubbish tbh, and could have done with some improvement. And where you exit onto the public road its a bit confusing where we were supposed to go.

As for family friendly, if you have a young family or an older outdoorsy family this place is perfect, ESP with clearsky outdoor adventure Center located in it for older ones.

I'd like to have seen more info as we went round the trails - info board on wildlife we would likely see as we walked along the shore, info on trees etc. maybe even info on conservation projects, wildlife management etc. or ideas from the things to do leaflets at appropriate places.

We enjoyed the trail and the park very much and plan to return again in the summer, perhaps even staying a night or two in the pods. If the weather was bad there wouldn't be enough to do at Castle ward, but on a nice day its a great haven to explore nature and get some great walks/bike rides in.

incogKNEEto Sat 02-Nov-13 19:55:49

- Which NT property did you visit? And who was in your group?

Anglesey Abbey, Lode Mill and Gardens in Cambridgeshire, we went in a family group of two adults and four children (aged 4-13).

- Were the whole family welcomed into the property?

Yes, right from when we first arrived the staff were friendly, and welcoming to all of us and included the children in any conversations etc.

- Were there age appropriate activities for your DCs?

Yes, lots of lovely wide open spaces for them to run free in, together with woodland and wildlife activity areas and an impressive tree house!

- If you needed to use the baby changing facilities, was it possible for either a Mum or a Dad to change their child in at least one of the bathrooms/ changing stations on-site?

I didn't use these facilities.

- Did you notice any breastfeeding friendly signs displayed around the property?

No, I am no longer breastfeeding and didn't notice any signs, but if I was still breastfeeding I would have been happy to feed here, it just felt like it would be completely acceptable and the whole place had a family friendly feeling.

- Are there family friendly things the property could make more of?

I would have liked to have been able to make some willow pieces with the children, but we had missed the one day it was available in the holidays sadly. There were lots of staff around to help and advise throughout the estate though, maybe someone could have been stationed in the wildlife exploring area with a bunch of willow and some instructions?

- Do you have any suggestions for improvements?

See above. Also, a nature trail or stamp trail would have been very popular with our children, there may have been something like this but we didn't see it if so.

- Overall what is your family's general impression of the NT offer for families?

We thought it was good overall, the children enjoyed the freedom to run and play in the fresh air, but would have liked some structured activities for the children.

cosysocks Sat 02-Nov-13 23:48:12

- Which NT property did you visit? And who was in your group?

Gibside two adults and two 7 year old boys

- Were the whole family welcomed into the property?
No just myself.

- Were there age appropriate activities for your DCs?
Yes there was a potion collecting hunt going on.

- If you needed to use the baby changing facilities, was it ppossible for either a Mum or a Dad to change their child in at least one of the bathrooms/ changing stations on-site?

Main entrance had baby change in ladies and gents.

- Did you notice any breastfeeding friendly signs displayed around the property?
No

- Are there family friendly things the property could make more of?

- Do you have any suggestions for improvements?
Walks could be better signposted, more volunteers around and maybe a trail for the kids to do.

- Overall what is your familys general impression of the NT offer for families?
Positive. Had a lovely day playing in the playground and on the low ropes. Not sure though if there is enough to draw us back again in the short term. On a longer term basis we will be back.
Oh and the cow had run out of water which disappointed the boys and there was nobody around to ask for some assistance.

- Which NT property did you visit? And who was in your group?
Hardwick Hall.
Me, DH and DS aged 7

- Were the whole family welcomed into the property?
Yes

- Were there age appropriate activities for your DCs?
Yes, great quizes

- If you needed to use the baby changing facilities, was it possible for either a Mum or a Dad to change their child in at least one of the bathrooms/ changing stations on-site? yes, unisex in stable block but not in main house

- Did you notice any breastfeeding friendly signs displayed around the property?
Did not see signs but did not feel it would have been a problem

- Are there family friendly things the property could make more of?
Extra handrails for children. Menu for children was very good but not very clear at the til - only at the tables...

- Do you have any suggestions for improvements?
As above, there would have been potentially a fair bit of carrying on the stairs - might have been a problem for buggys/children using wheelchairs.

- Overall what is your familys general impression of the NT offer for families?
very good, we don't really use NT properties for days out, but based on this experience we would do so again.

russetbella1000 Sun 03-Nov-13 18:53:05

- Which NT property did you visit? And who was in your group? We visited Claremont Gardens. Just me and my dd.

- Were the whole family welcomed into the property?Yes very friendly.

- Were there age appropriate activities for your DCs?Not really. My daughter is one and because it was raining the play area wasn't really available but nevertheless I don't think it would be suitable for LOs of her age.

- If you needed to use the baby changing facilities, was it possible for either a Mum or a Dad to change their child in at least one of the bathrooms/ changing stations on-site? Yes. The room just had a baby change sign on the door...

- Did you notice any breastfeeding friendly signs displayed around the property? No i didn't see any.

- Are there family friendly things the property could make more of?As others have suggested the prices of the food I found quite expensive and actually quite limited. So perhaps there could be more offers along the lines of tea/cake combos etc or attractive 'meal deals'.

- Do you have any suggestions for improvements?Personally, I think there should be some kind of agreement with train/bus companies since the fares were £10 overall and the service (bus every hour!!) not very convenient. Furthermore at the station, to go home, I had to climb a bazilllion stairs with a pushchair so it didn't really give me a positive experience overall. I do feel therefore that the access to these gardens was limited which is a shame

- Overall what is your familys general impression of the NT offer for families?The gardens themselves were attractive but, perhaps the rain didn't help, I have seen better in parks in Kent for example so I'm not sure this is one of the National Trust's best locations...
Thanks

Arion Sun 03-Nov-13 22:51:22

Which NT property did you visit? And who was in your group?

Belton House. Me, DH, DD 5 and DS 2

Were the whole family welcomed into the property?

Yes, we were all made to feel welcome, even my 2 year old DS who has been nicknamed 'the destroyer' by DD!

Were there age appropriate activities for your DCs?

Yes, there were activities in the hall (games in the games room) and a centre dedicated to activities for children, including backpacks to take around the grounds for outdoor activities.

If you needed to use the baby changing facilities, was it possible for either a Mum or a Dad to change their child in at least one of the bathrooms/changing stations on-site.

Yes, were pull-down change tables in both the ladies and gents toilets and also a separate parent room in the cafe with the indoor play-area.

Did you notice any breastfeeding friendly signs displayed around the property?

No.

Are there family friendly things the property could make more of?

Not that I can think of.

Do you have any suggestions for improvements?

No, we were impressed by the facilities available, and the attitude of the staff.

Overall what is your family's general impression of the NT offer for families.

Although the halls are hard to make interesting for children, the NT seems to be achieving a child friendly balance with the other activities available, eg outdoor play areas and holiday activities.

kaza1033 Tue 05-Nov-13 13:54:00

Which NT property did you visit? And who was in your group?
Lanhydrock, Bodmin. DP and DS (and Ddoggie!)

- Were the whole family welcomed into the property?
It was half term and was extremely busy, lots of people with dogs and it was soo nice to be able to take our pooch with us (although not in the house). There is a vast area for dog walking and a cafe with outside seating (and covered areas) where they are welcome. You can't take dogs in the house so only DS and myself went in but we felt very 'welcomed' by all the volunteers/crew of the house. They were very happy to answer questions.

- Were there age appropriate activities for your DCs?

There was a pumpkin hunt going on around the house, several young children clasping clipboards to their chests.

My son is a teenager so was quite happy to just have a perusal around.

- If you needed to use the baby changing facilities, was it possible for either a Mum or a Dad to change their child in at least one of the bathrooms/ changing stations on-site?

I only noticed outside loos - which I didn't use; so don't know.

- Did you notice any breastfeeding friendly signs displayed around the property?

Didn't notice any signs around for that, we didn't make it into the inside Restaurant area though which is maybe where they would be - it was super busy in the Restaurant I did have a peek in the door.

- Are there family friendly things the property could make more of?
Maybe an adventure playground area??
Such a lot of land, I'm sure they could squeeze one in.

- Do you have any suggestions for improvements?

The main parking area was quite a hike from the house, I would imagine a bit of a pain for parents with a pram and a toddler - there was a few disabled spaces closer to the house - maybe incorporate some Parent Parking?? (there was also a little golf type buggy running between the house and main parking area, for a little donation, incase you couldn't face the walk either way)

- Overall what is your familys general impression of the NT offer for families?

We really enjoyed our visit there was such a lot to see, lots of artefacts -you could really get a feel for life Upstairs and Down. If you have the chance go, you won't be disappointed!

TheTempest Wed 06-Nov-13 22:45:10

- Which NT property did you visit? And who was in your group?

Bodiam. It was me DP, DMum, DD aged 4 and DSD aged 15.

- Were the whole family welcomed into the property?
Yes, we were given a very warm welcome. DSD is a sulky teen and they engaged with her and DD very well.

- Were there age appropriate activities for your DCs?

Yes for DD aged 4, not for DSD but I'm not surprised really.
-
If you needed to use the baby changing facilities, was it
possible for either a Mum or a Dad to change their child in at least one of the bathrooms/ changing stations on-site?

We didn't need them as DDs are trained (funnily enough!) but I did notice that there was definitely one in the ladies and disabled.

- Did you notice any breastfeeding friendly signs displayed around the property?

Yes, in reception the cafe and on the toilet doors.

- Are there family friendly things the property could make more of?

I can't think if any.

- Do you have any suggestions for improvements?

Better parking with wider spaces, a colouring corner with Znational Trust colouring/ activity sheets.

- Overall what is your familys general impression of the NT
offer for families?

Very good, quite Middle Class traditionally but very accessible to everyone.

Thanks for the opportunity, we will definitely return!

PatriciaHolm Thu 07-Nov-13 14:05:04

Which NT property did you visit? And who was in your group?
Polesdon Lacey. Me, DH, kids 7 & 9

- Were the whole family welcomed into the property?
yes, guy on the desk was very welcoming

- Were there age appropriate activities for your DCs?
playground and outdoor games as well as loads of space for running around in!

- If you needed to use the baby changing facilities, was it possible for either a Mum or a Dad to change their child in at least one of the bathrooms/ changing stations on-site?
NA

- Did you notice any breastfeeding friendly signs displayed around the property?

didn't notice

- Are there family friendly things the property could make more of?
The outdoor games are great but very worn and run down, they could be upgraded and added to as they went down well with all.

- Do you have any suggestions for improvements?
We would have liked a bit more information about the outdoor features - the theatre, the statues - some sort of kids trail would be great

- Overall what is your familys general impression of the NT offer for families?

Good, for this age group at least

MissSusanStoHelit Thu 07-Nov-13 14:38:56

Which NT property did you visit? And who was in your group?

Polesden Lacey in Surrey - it was DD (4yo), DP and myself

- Were the whole family welcomed into the property?

Yes we were - the greeter was especially friendly to DD

- Were there age appropriate activities for your DCs?

Not really - the weather was really miserable so it was the house or nothing.

- If you needed to use the baby changing facilities, was it possible for either a Mum or a Dad to change their child in at least one of the bathrooms/ changing stations on-site?

DD is potty trained so we didn't need the baby changing, but I don't recall seeing it in a dad-friendly place. I wasn't really looking though...

- Did you notice any breastfeeding friendly signs displayed around the property?

None that I noticed.

- Are there family friendly things the property could make more of?

Yes - the grounds are spectacular for picnics but on rainy days children are limited to the house, which is too full of precious things to afford a really fun time!

- Do you have any suggestions for improvements?

More indoorsy fun things for rainy days

- Overall what is your familys general impression of the NT offer for families?
We are life members and love going to NT properties... we've always felt welcomed as a family here.

Happy to go again!

Carrotcakeisace Sat 09-Nov-13 16:38:24

- Which NT property did you visit? And who was in your group?
Arlington Court, me, dh and girls (8&6), dog

- Were the whole family welcomed into the property?
Yes, we had a very friendly welcome from everyone we met. The dog was welcome in the grounds too

- Were there age appropriate activities for your DCs?
Yes a trail in the house plus extra Halloween activities

- If you needed to use the baby changing facilities, was it possible for either a Mum or a Dad to change their child in at least one of the bathrooms/ changing stations on-site?- If you needed to use the baby changing facilities, was it possible for either a Mum or a Dad to change their child in at least one of the bathrooms/ changing stations on-site?
I forgot to check

- Did you notice any breastfeeding friendly signs displayed around the property?
No but I did see a lady breast feeding in the cafe

- Are there family friendly things the property could make more of?
We had to do the house in shifts because of the dog, kennels or somewhere safe for dogs to wait near the house would be perfect

- Do you have any suggestions for improvements?
See above, plus the cafe is too expensive for families so some sort of meal deal would be great

- Overall what is your familys general impression of the NT offer for families?
We always find visits interesting and they are much more child friendly than they used to be

nancerama Sun 10-Nov-13 22:44:59

- Which NT property did you visit? And who was in your group?
I visited Cliveden with 2 year old DS. A friend (NT member) with her 2 year old DS and newborn DD met us there. The plan was initially to visit with DH for a family day out, but our plans were ruined by dreadful weekend weather the whole time we were in possession of the pass.

- Were the whole family welcomed into the property?
Yes, the man who met us at the gate, and all the volunteers working at Cliveden made us feel very welcome.

- Were there age appropriate activities for your DCs?
A lovely lady gave us a paper bag for collecting autumn leaves, conkers and acorns (which DS promptly lost). The playground was lovely. We were quite disappointed that we visited on 31st October, but all the halloween activities had already taken place earlier in the week.

- If you needed to use the baby changing facilities, was it possible for either a Mum or a Dad to change their child in at least one of the bathrooms/ changing stations on-site?
Yes - there were unisex baby change facilities right by the playground and cafe.

- Did you notice any breastfeeding friendly signs displayed around the property?
None, but if DS was young enough to still need daytime feeds, I would have felt comfortable feeding anywhere.

- Are there family friendly things the property could make more of?
It seems odd that there were no Halloween activities actually taking place on Halloween. The rooftop slide looked like lots of fun, but was out of action because of the weather. We will be back to try it another time.

It's a pity that the lovely playground is so near a noisy busy road. Whilst there is no danger posed by the traffic, the constant noise is intrusive.

- Do you have any suggestions for improvements?
Perhaps more family friendly events every day during school holidays, but there is plenty on offer without additional activities.

- Overall what is your familys general impression of the NT offer for families?
We were really pleasantly surprised. Cliveden had loads to offer and we really enjoyed ourselves. The cafe was much better value for money than we expected too (although the service was really, really slow, which is frustrating when you have a wriggly 2 year old to control).

I managed to use the pass for a day out at Basildon Park too, which we really enjoyed. It's such a pity that the weather has been so awful this month - I would have loved to visit more NT properties while I had the chance. Thank you so much for the opportunity - best product test I've been picked for yet.

DevaDiva Wed 13-Nov-13 20:48:20

- Which NT property did you visit? And who was in your group?
Speke Hall, Me, DH and DS 9.

- Were the whole family welcomed into the property?
Yes, most enthusiastic welcome we've ever had from the guides at an NT property.

- Were there age appropriate activities for your DCs? Yes, he loved the maze and the playground. Plus being allowed to actually touch things in the house and have a go on the billiards table went down really well. He also enjoyed foraging (scrumping) an apple from one of the numerous trees smile

- If you needed to use the baby changing facilities, was it possible for either a Mum or a Dad to change their child in at least one of the bathrooms/ changing stations on-site? didn't go in but saw signs for facilities.

- Did you notice any breastfeeding friendly signs displayed around the property? None

- Are there family friendly things the property could make more of? I think they're doing a good job of it, family section of the restaurant is a bit pokey though.

- Do you have any suggestions for improvements? See above smile

- Overall what is your familys general impression of the NT offer for families? We've been to several properties and whilst the DCs can get a bit bored sometimes there's always lots to do to break off from what they see as the dull bits.

Sorry this is a bit delayed, did the survey but forgot about the thread.

perfectstorm Sun 17-Nov-13 13:46:49

Just as an aside, DS managed to leave his brand new winter coat in the cafe at Attingham, and we didn't notice because he'd been so poorly we'd not been taking him out more than a few minutes at a time (they have a ferry service between car park and house). I'd put my mobile number and his name in the label, for school's use, and someone from Attingham had taken the time to search the labels and then call me to say they had it safely and ask what we wanted them to do.

That's pretty family friendly IMO!

maggiemou Sun 24-Nov-13 19:16:06

Which NT property did you visit? And who was in your group?

We visited Corfe Castle - myself and my husband and our 4 children (aged 4, 6, 7, and 9)

- Were the whole family welcomed into the property?

We had a really good welcome from the ticket office staff, they were incredibly helpful without being asked for information, they talked to the children about doing a "quest" round the castle (finding answers to questions)

- Were there age appropriate activities for your DCs?

All of the children were able to take part in the quest - 4 year old loved running around finding the pumpkins and ghosts boards where the questions were.

- If you needed to use the baby changing facilities, was it possible for either a Mum or a Dad to change their child in at least one of the bathrooms/ changing stations on-site?

Didn't use the baby changing facilities, but did note that they were available in both male and female toilets, and the toilets were very child friendly with sinks that were low enough for the children to reach easily - the handdryers however only blew out really cold air!

- Did you notice any breastfeeding friendly signs displayed around the property?

Did not notice any breastfeeding friendly signs (but did not go into tea room)

- Are there family friendly things the property could make more of?

More seating areas would be good, there was no where to sit that I noticed in the actual castle ruins or the grounds - would be nice to be able to sit down to talk to the children about what there was around them

- Do you have any suggestions for improvements?

As above

- Overall what is your familys general impression of the NT offer for families?

Very good, will def go back again in the Summer with children

snowballinafryingpan Tue 26-Nov-13 15:51:08

-Which NT property did you visit? And who was in your group?
Lanhydrock, Bodmin. Dh, ds12yrs and me.

- Were the whole family welcomed into the property?

The house is now closed for the winter and the ticket office was shut, so no welcome, just a very friendly open gate and free access to the grounds, cafe and NT shop.

- Were there age appropriate activities for your DCs?

I am sure that in the house there are lots of things for the kids to do and get involved in. Around the grounds there are some interactive things for kids, you could make an ornamental Victorian garden out of shapes for example... this did not really rock ds12 world but he did go through the motions all the same!

- If you needed to use the baby changing facilities, was it possible for either a Mum or a Dad to change their child in at least one of the bathrooms/ changing stations on-site?

Right next to the toilet block there was a well designed baby changing block that looked to be unisex. Toilets were fine, low urinal in the gents and all the sinks were low and child friendly.

- Did you notice any breastfeeding friendly signs displayed around the property?

We didn't spot any breastfeeding signs, there may be in the house. The cafe was quiet, did a nice line in soups, pasties etc. There was a microwave especially for parents to heat up bottles and food. It was clean and well positioned and high chairs were readily available.

- Are there family friendly things the property could make more of?

I loved it because it was very simple, we have gone past the stage of playgrounds etc but there were lots of much younger kids there happily running around, no signs telling them to get off grass, mind this that or whatever. It was lovely, a really nice relaxed atmosphere. Ds spent ages finding conkers and enjoyed the space. All the paths are well laid and suitable for prams or wheelchair access.
There are picnic tables dotted around and benches here and there, we only explored a very small section.

- Do you have any suggestions for improvements?

Not really, I think it is a formula that works pretty well.

- Overall what is your familys general impression of the NT offer for families?

We left a very happy family. The gift shop was fab of course where ds turned back into a small boy and bought pocket money stuff. It is usually if I am honest the lure of the shop that gets him round stately homes and gardens. I listened into the conversation while he bought his goodies and the lady was absolutely lovely with him, talked to him about his afternoon and went the extra few steps to make him feel special.

Next door to Lanhydrock they are building a cycle hub which I think is going to be focused on offering easy bike routes - think I have that right. It looks really promising and worth keeping an eye out for.

Tweasels Sun 08-Dec-13 18:14:28

- Which NT property did you visit? And who was in your group?

Myself, DH, DS(8) and DD(2) visited Cragside

- What was the weather like when you visited?

It was a damp, cloudy day but surprisingly mild for December

- Were the whole family welcomed into the property?

Yes, we were greeted by a member of staff before we'd even got out of the car. They told me all about the property and how some of it was out of bounds due to the recent high winds. She asked how old the DC were and recommended a route for us to walk that would go past the adventure playground and return us to the visitor centre. The route was very hilly and DH even struggled to get the buggy up the biggest hill. To be fair though, there may have normally been a better buggy friendly route that was closed due to fallen trees.

- Were there age appropriate activities for your DCs?

There was a huge adventure playground with more than enough equipment to keep DD and DS happy which is rare due to their age difference. The size of the tantrum DD had when we tried to get her out of the park indicates how good it was! DS loved all the big rocks he could climb on and secret paths.

- If you needed to use the baby changing facilities, was it possible for either a Mum or a Dad to change their child in at least one of the bathrooms/ changing stations on-site?

There weren't any in the tea room but I found one across the courtyard next to the visitor centre. It was a separate room so mum or dad could use it but there was no sink in it to wash hands afterwards.

- Did you notice any breastfeeding friendly signs displayed around the property?

Sadly not. I looked everywhere in the tea rooms. What I found rather disappointing is they had a poster titled 'babies' of which the opening paragraph was "We understand how challenging it can be to feed your baby whilst you're out." It then went on to list how they provide a microwave and a bottle warmer but no mention of supporting, encouraging or enabling breastfeeding. This is something they need to look at.

Are there family friendly things the property could make more of?

Not particularly, I felt they hade made a great deal of effort towards family friendliness.

Do you have any suggestions for improvements?

Change the poster about babies to add in that breastfeeding is welcomed anywhere on the property and give pointers to comfortable places where mum's might want to go. Some comfortable chairs with arms for feeding in too.

Overall what is your familys general impression of the NT offer for families?

Really impressed actually. The nature of the site means it is very appealing to older children; lots of secret paths and caves etc. however, they have tried to introduce things for toddlers too. The playground was fab and the little play area in the tea rooms was great. I really felt that they wanted us as a family to feel welcome.

Lent1l Mon 09-Dec-13 10:09:24

Which NT property did you visit? And who was in your group?
Speke Hall in Merseyside. Went with husband, 21 month old daughter and my Mum (an NT member) joined us.

What was the weather like when you visited?
It was a gorgeous day, a little windy but dry.

Were the whole family welcomed into the property?
I didn't fell overly welcomed into the property. It was their last day of opening this year and they did seem very busy and seemed as though they were jsut trying to get through everyone.

Were there age appropriate activities for your DCs?
It is not a place I would really take a toddler. She's not that interested in history yet and I was dragged by her reins around the house - she would ahve got us through even quicker if she could have done. I did notice there were things within the family room in the restaurant to entertain little ones but it was also quite busy and not easy to get past others to see what they all were.

If you needed to use the baby changing facilities, was it possible for either a Mum or a Dad to change their child in at least one of the bathrooms/ changing stations on-site?
I ddi have a quick look in, although not use, the facilities. They were in a disabled toilet so either of us could have used them without issue.

Did you notice any breastfeeding friendly signs displayed around the property?
I didn't see any. As mentioned there is a family room off the restaurant and I would have happily fed in there if I was still breastfeeding - but I was not shy about where I fed my daughter.

Are there family friendly things the property could make more of?
To be honest the hosue itself is not really for children as young as my daughter, and those with buggies found they had to leave them and carry their children (it is an old tudor house so hardly surprising). Older children seemed to be enjoying the maze and the playground and I did see a story session going on as well as hearing Mr Punch so I think they do try to cater for many ages.

Do you have any suggestions for improvements?
The Stable Coffee Shop was not suitable for those with buggies or toddlers as no high chairs and very small space. Perhaps this could be mentioned as you are entering the property. The restaurant also had tables quite packed in, but would ahve made it awkward to navigate with a buggy. Not sure how this could be tackled though.

Overall what is your familys general impression of the NT offer for families?
I do think with the other activities that they were putting on they are definitely trying to make them more family friendly than I remember from when I was little. Some properties will jsut never be overly suitable for certain ages and think my little girl was one of those.

AngelieMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 17-Jan-14 16:29:39

ballstoit was having some trouble posting in the thread, so their feedback is below:

- Which NT property did you visit? And who was in your group?
Went to Clumber Park with my DC aged 8,6 & 4 and DSis and bil.

- What was the weather like when you visited?
Weather was cold but dry.

- Were the whole family welcomed into the property?
Yes, we all felt welcomed into the property. Clear signs and all staff/volunteers we spoke to were lovely

- Were there age appropriate activities for your DCs?
There were age appropriate activities for DC, they loved the play area especially.

- If you needed to use the baby changing facilities, was it possible for either a Mum or a Dad to change their child in at least one of the bathrooms/ changing stations on-site?
My DC no longer need changing facilities (yay!)

- Did you notice any breastfeeding friendly signs displayed around the property?
I didn't notice any breastfeeding signs, but did see a breastfeeding mum in the cafe who looked quite comfortable.

- Are there family friendly things the property could make more of?
I felt the property was very family friendly, although the cafe food and drinks were on the expensive side for children.

- Do you have any suggestions for improvements?
It would be great to have unisex or family toilet cubicles. We had my bill with us on this visit, but we have found having male and female toilets some distance apart has been difficult at other places when I'm on my own with the DC. This is a general problem, rather than being solely a National Trust thing though.

- Overall what is your familys general impression of the NT offer for families?
My impression on how welcome families were was very positive...much more so than on visits to other properties (particularly Calke Abbey where I was made to feel distinctly unwelcome when visiting when 3 toddlers a couple of years ago!)

AngelieMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 24-Jan-14 10:59:12

Thanks for all your feedback! The winner of the prize draw is welshmum80 - congratulations smile I'll be in touch shortly to confirm your details.

elsaresearch Mon 19-May-14 12:29:28

Please feel free to comment on here if you want to help me about for my dissertation research!

www.mumsnet.com/Talk/family_friendly_programme/2083786-Help-needed-with-MA-dissertation-research-country-houses-and-families

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