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NOW CLOSED Visited a National Trust property over the summer? Come and tell us all about it - you could win £100 National Trust voucher!

(123 Posts)
KatieBMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 14-Aug-12 15:46:23

National Trust selected 5 Mumsnetters to attend a National Trust Great British Day Out with their family over the summer holidays. This thread is for their feedback, but we'd also like to hear from anyone else who has attended a National Trust property recently - please tell us all about it.

Below are a couple of questions to get you started but please feel free to add any other comments you may have.


Q1. Which National Trust property did you visit? Why did you choose this property?
Q2. What was your overall impression of the property? Was it what you expected? Were there any surprises?
Q3. Did you take part in any of the National Trust's "50 Things to do"? If so, what did you think of it? If you didn't take part, had you heard of it?
Q4. What did your child(ren) enjoy most about the day? Was there anything they didn't enjoy?
Q5. Can you think of anything that could have improved your day out? If so, what?
Q6. Was there anything that made your day particularly special or memorable? If so, what was it?
Q7. Did the weather affect your day? If it rained, did you take part in any special rainy day activities? If so which ones?
Q8. If it came up in conversation, would you recommend a National Trust property as a day out to friends or family? If so, why? If not, why not?

Everyone who adds their comments to this thread will be entered into a prize draw to win £100 National Trust voucher.

Thanks and good luck with the prize draw!

MNHQ

piprabbit Wed 15-Aug-12 20:20:27

Just thought I'd post a link to www.50things.org.uk - it's not really about activities during a visit to NT properties, more of a place for your DCs to keep a record of all the outdoor experiences they've had at home and further afield.

DD has just updated her list after our holiday and has added rockpooling, beachcombing and climbing on a fallen tree.

Beamur Wed 15-Aug-12 23:22:02

Q1. Which National Trust property did you visit? Why did you choose this property?
Three so far this summer. Joined last week on the Farne Islands (fantastic deal for membership) then went to Cragside (nearby too) and today to East Riddlesden Hall which is about 30 mins from where I live.
I will be going to Hardcastle Crags in the next week or two as well.

Q2. What was your overall impression of the property? Was it what you expected? Were there any surprises?
Inner Farne was tiny as pretty much as I expected, but the staff were on hand and very enthusiastic and chatty. The tank of sea animals on the pier was a nice touch too.
Cragside was an interesting place - I knew nothing about it beforehand so had no preconceived ideas and thought it was really lovely. I liked the one-way drive around the estate too. I don't think we really did it justice with a day trip.
East Rids I actually know quite well, but hadn't been for quite a few years and there have been quite a few changes since I was last there. I was quite pleasantly surprised.

Q3. Did you take part in any of the National Trust's "50 Things to do"? If so, what did you think of it? If you didn't take part, had you heard of it?
I had heard of it, and we did a few of the activities that were suggested while we were at East Rids today.

Q4. What did your child(ren) enjoy most about the day? Was there anything they didn't enjoy?
My DD did not like all the stuffed dead animals at Cragside!
East Rids was a hit today, she enjoyed spotting the objects around the house from the sheet, the mud pie kitchen went down well and she had fun in the little adventure playground. There was also a separate exhibition/hands on room all about archaeology that my DD had a go at and was very absorbed by for half an hour. It's a good sized property to take a small child round - not too big to be tiring/boring.

Q5. Can you think of anything that could have improved your day out? If so, what?
The food at Cragside wasn't that good - rather odd choices on offer.
The parking at East Rids is (as ever) a bit grim.

Q6. Was there anything that made your day particularly special or memorable? If so, what was it?
All the places we have visited have been memorable in different ways. The Farne Islands are beautiful and the wildlife was lovely to see.
Cragside is a really interesting house - both grand but also very cosy, a really sophisticated place for it's time with some fab items to see like the William Morris glass windows.
East Rids has become much better at catering for children and families since I last visited there, my DD and I had a lovely time today.

Q7. Did the weather affect your day? If it rained, did you take part in any special rainy day activities? If so which ones?
Not really. I'd been expecting rain today so we planned our day around when it would rain and it panned out well.

Q8. If it came up in conversation, would you recommend a National Trust property as a day out to friends or family? If so, why? If not, why not?
I would recommend all the places we've been to.
East Rids has changed a lot in the last few years and is much more child friendly and has more to do than there used to be there. The food in the cafe was good too.
All the staff and visitors we've met and spoken to at all three properties were excellent ambassadors for the Trust and have been friendly and knowledgeable.
I think having bought membership this year I will be using it to visit lots of places over the year which will make it really good value.

TheOldestCat Thu 16-Aug-12 07:48:29

Q1. Which National Trust property did you visit? Why did you choose this property?
Bodiam Castle. We're not NT members, but my parents are - they're on holiday in the South East and arranged to meet us there for a day out.

Q2. What was your overall impression of the property? Was it what you expected? Were there any surprises?
It was stunning - a fairytale castle with a proper moat. So unspoiled. DD and her friend loved it.

Q3. Did you take part in any of the National Trust's "50 Things to do"? If so, what did you think of it? If you didn't take part, had you heard of it?
We didn't take part in it, but I've heard about it (on the news a couple of months ago?)

Q4. What did your child(ren) enjoy most about the day? Was there anything they didn't enjoy?
DD and best friend (both 5) took part in the 'Knights and Princesses Academy'. They loved it. Top marks to the folk running it.

Q5. Can you think of anything that could have improved your day out? If so, what?
The toilets were a long way away - at the visitor centre on the way in and a good walk for the children (particularly as DD's friend didn't tell me she needed the loo until she was 'bursting'). Saying that, the man driving the buggy thing to help people with mobility issues get around gave us a lift (explaining he'd have to go to someone who needed him if he got a call, more than fair enough).

Q6. Was there anything that made your day particularly special or memorable? If so, what was it?
The Princess thing and the man driving the buggy! We also liked the trebuchet firing (the catapult like thing).

Q7. Did the weather affect your day? If it rained, did you take part in any special rainy day activities? If so which ones?
Nope - the weather was lovely.

Q8. If it came up in conversation, would you recommend a National Trust property as a day out to friends or family? If so, why? If not, why not?
Yes, it was fab. I am going to try to convert DH (who is averse to days out in general) to the cause.

oopsCENSOREDagain Thu 16-Aug-12 12:28:49

Q1. Which National Trust property did you visit? Why did you choose this property?
Oxburgh Hall, it's quite a short drive to get there and we have been there before.
Q2. What was your overall impression of the property? Was it what you expected? Were there any surprises?
We have been several times, so there were no surprises. It was clean and well-kept and welcoming as always!
Q3. Did you take part in any of the National Trust's "50 Things to do"? If so, what did you think of it? If you didn't take part, had you heard of it?
No, sorry, never heard of it, and we didn't see anything in the leaflet rack by the entrance about it either.
Q4. What did your child(ren) enjoy most about the day? Was there anything they didn't enjoy?
DD loved the walk through the woods, especially the fallen-log 'bridge' over a little stream. Walking through the house, I mentioned to one of the guides about the NT buying back some of the original fittings and artwork of the Hall, and she launched into a quite long monologue about the work they are doing to facilitate this and the restoration work on the paintings, DD was obviously bored and distracted but the lady didn't get the hint and kept on and on, there wasn't even a convenient 'pause for breath' where I could jump in and politely stop her! After that DD just wanted to whizz through the house and not catch anyone's eye in case they "talked at us" again, which was a bit of a shame.
Q5. Can you think of anything that could have improved your day out? If so, what?
Cheaper prices in the Cafe. We stopped for a cup of tea, and DD had an ice lolly, but we both fancied a slice of cake; tea and cakes for us both would have set us back £10 and sorry, no slice of cake and cuppa is worth that much. We ate some biscuits from home as we wandered through the woods instead.
Q6. Was there anything that made your day particularly special or memorable? If so, what was it? The glorious weather - it had rained all week but the day we visited was dry and bright and sunny!
Q7. Did the weather affect your day? If it rained, did you take part in any special rainy day activities? If so which ones?
It didn't rain, I'm not aware that there are any rainy day activities at Oxburgh.
Q8. If it came up in conversation, would you recommend a National Trust property as a day out to friends or family? If so, why? If not, why not?
I would definitely recommend NT visits to everybody - almost every property has something to appeal to all ages, and you can be assured of a lovely day out at a fair price. Excluding cafe snacks of course, which are extortionately expensive.

MichelleLT Thu 16-Aug-12 12:44:27

We have NT membership.

This holiday we have visited Knightshayes, Killerton, Southwell Work House and Belton House.

Knightshayes and Killerton we visit often as they are close to home. Southwell and Belton were holiday visits.

DD is 5 and really enjoys playing the outside games provided (Killerton and Belton) and she also enjoys the I Spy activities provided when looking around the properties.

The outside play area at Belton was fantastic! Wish they had something like that closer to home (although they ave just opened a small play area at Knighthayes)

We enjoy our NT membership and it proves to be good value for us. We have recommended it to family and friends and have also purchased a gift membership for a family member.

Whilst at Southwell they were holding a family day with lots of craft activities to do which DD really enjoyed. It was an extra £3 which was well worth it although it was a bit boring for DH and I as there was nowhere to sit and nothing for us to do whilst she was doing these various things...

neontetra Thu 16-Aug-12 13:07:06

We too are members, so go to nt places quite often. This summer we went to Cannons Ashby for the first time, and loved it! We chose it just because it is local but we've not been before. We had a lovely cheese scone and sausage roll in the tea-room, and delicious tea which I think was their own blend. My husband and I enjoyed playing hoopla and croquet in the grounds (daughter is too small yet). The house itself was fascinating. Also felt very baby-friendly - lots of the staff made nice comments about our daughter, and I had no problems breastfeeding on a bench in the grounds. A great day out - I would definitely recommend!

Q1. Which National Trust property did you visit? Why did you choose this property?
We went to Castle Drogo, Devon

Q2. What was your overall impression of the property? Was it what you expected? Were there any surprises?
Enjoyed it - have been before, so no surprises

Q3. Did you take part in any of the National Trust's "50 Things to do"? If so, what did you think of it? If you didn't take part, had you heard of it?
Yes, have heard of it (NT member) didn't take part

Q4. What did your child(ren) enjoy most about the day? Was there anything they didn't enjoy?
Playing croquet on the lawn, and finding 7 lizards on the walk down to Fingle Bridge!

Q5. Can you think of anything that could have improved your day out? If so,
what?
I wish that the Old school Sports Day Olympics trail had been free rather than charged for - we didn't bother although I liked the idea and execution as I object to paying extra!

Q6. Was there anything that made your day particularly special or memorable? If so, what was it?
Sunshine! As usual, staff were lovely with the kids, and free croquet game was very popular with my 8 year old.

Q7. Did the weather affect your day? If it rained, did you take part in any special rainy day activities? If so which ones?
n/a

Q8. If it came up in conversation, would you recommend a National Trust property as a day out to friends or family? If so, why? If not, why not?
Sure, often do - lots to do, well organised, good info available (recently went to a Nat Heritage site too & was shocked how little info there was available about the site without buying a HUGE guidebook

oh, thought of one mprovement:

We bought the family picnic deal - sarnis + water + crisps + flapjacks for £16 - nice idea, that I hadnt seen before. But, water was in a HUGE glass bottle, with no paper cups available - not idea for picnicing away from the cafe! We had two smaller plastic bottles so decanted the bottle, but worth thinking about if that concept rolls out, which I hope it does.

Hanleyhigh Thu 16-Aug-12 13:45:36

Q1. Which National Trust property did you visit? Why did you choose this property?
Plas Newydd, we were on holiday nearby.

Q2. What was your overall impression of the property? Was it what you expected? Were there any surprises?
I was surprised at how close to the sea it was! There was lots of land to explore too.

Q3. Did you take part in any of the National Trust's "50 Things to do"? If so, what did you think of it? If you didn't take part, had you heard of it?
Yes, dd has heard about it from a friend at school and was given the booklet at Plas Newydd, she enjoyed ticking things off on the beach/rest of the holiday.

Q4. What did your child(ren) enjoy most about the day? Was there anything they didn't enjoy?
They loved the play area and ice creams.

Q5. Can you think of anything that could have improved your day out? If so, what?
Nothing really - we aim for the NT properties with play areas these days as it adds an element to the trip.

Q6. Was there anything that made your day particularly special or memorable? If so, what was it?
Watching the boats come down the Menai Straits.

Q7. Did the weather affect your day? If it rained, did you take part in any special rainy day activities? If so which ones?
It didn't, it was fine.

Q8. If it came up in conversation, would you recommend a National Trust property as a day out to friends or family? If so, why? If not, why not?
Yes, we often meet family members at NT properties as they tend to have lots of space, picnic facilities and good things to do for children of varying ages.

Q1. Which National Trust property did you visit? Why did you choose this property?

Usually go to Gibside (5 or 6 times so far this year, most recently yesterday) Have also been to Acorn Bank and Washington Old Hall this year) Arranged to go with friends <waves to Indith> so the children could go pond dipping.

Q2. What was your overall impression of the property? Was it what you expected? Were there any surprises?

Gibside is fab, so much space for the children to run about in, the new play area is a great addition.

Q3. Did you take part in any of the National Trust's "50 Things to do"? If so, what did you think of it? If you didn't take part, had you heard of it?

Heard about and done some of them (pond dipping yesterday)

Q4. What did your child(ren) enjoy most about the day? Was there anything they didn't enjoy?

They love Gibside and is their first choice for a day out. Strawberry Castle area is popular- particularly the zip-wire as is milking Daisy the cow and the dressing up area at the stables. (They are 5,3 and 1)

Q5. Can you think of anything that could have improved your day out? If so, what?

It can be a substantial trek to the toilets from the play area. If it is just me then I need to get 3 children out of the play area (with accompanying tantrums up) to the entrance and back again. Not the easiest problem to rectify though.

Q6. Was there anything that made your day particularly special or memorable? If so, what was it?

pond dipping yesterday- the kids loved it. Also special mention to the lovely NT lady on a previous visit who stopped to ask how our visit was. DD told her how she'd picked a blue ice cream and hadn't liked to flavour so her brother got 2. She took DD to the ice cream van and got her a new one.

Q7. Did the weather affect your day? If it rained, did you take part in any special rainy day activities? If so which ones?

No. We usually brave out all but the most torrential rain storms anyway!

Q8. If it came up in conversation, would you recommend a National Trust property as a day out to friends or family? If so, why? If not, why not?

Yes, always something to do and lots of great outdoor space for kids to run about. Staff and volunteers are friendly and helpful. We are members and what I really like is that the family membership covers all the children in the family, not just 2 adults, 2 children. I also like that there is an membership option for single parent families as well.

I find the NT difficult tbh. We do go to some properties fairly regularly (for example Saltram and Buckland Abbey), but mainly to the the grounds - especially Saltram to the free bit. I don't find NT properties very learning disability friendly so although my (severely autistic) son loves NT properties we very rarely go. There's too much queuing for things (he can't queue), and the volunteers are often not very learning disability aware (one older volunteer for example got in a right grump with him when he ignored her telling him to 'look through this window' - he wouldn't have even understood her, let alone realised she was talking to him). That was at Cotehele - he loved that day, and it was very successful for us, but the volunteer getting the hump unnecessarily did put a bit of a downer on it for us tbh. Antony House was a disaster as well as we were given a time to do the house visit (about 2 hours from when we entered - a really long time for him to wait) - but ds1 could see other people going in and wanted to go as well. I couldn't get him to understand that he could go in but needed to wait, so he ended up having a massive meltdown and we had to give up.

I also find the lack of free blue badge parking irritating. For example I would have to pay to park at our local beach (Wembury) if I go with my autistic son, but as he's severely autistic I can never predict how long we'll be able to stay. If we last 10 minutes that's an expensive bit of parking. So I go to Bigbury instead where we get free parking year round.

I might try membership again (especially now it seems easier than it used to be to get a carer's pass), but I'm a little wary. We've tried membership twice now and each time DS1's learning disabilities/autism have been a real issue and barrier to us being able to use the membership.

cosmiccat Thu 16-Aug-12 14:24:49

Q1. Which National Trust property did you visit? Why did you choose this property? Plas Newydd - Anglesey. We were staying fairly close by and have previously visited and enjoyed.
Q2. What was your overall impression of the property? Was it what you expected? Were there any surprises? Overall good - beautiful house and grounds. Addition of Frisbee game good. Good children's play area.
Q3. Did you take part in any of the National Trust's "50 Things to do"? If so, what did you think of it? If you didn't take part, had you heard of it? No not taken part. Vaguley heard of it
Q4. What did your child(ren) enjoy most about the day? Was there anything they didn't enjoy? They enjoyed the play area.
Q5. Can you think of anything that could have improved your day out? If so, what? Although the National Trust has become more child friendly, I still think they have a long way to go to encourage families/children to visit/become involved. I would like to see more organised activities either inside or out designed for kids lead by volunteers/staff. Lots of nature reserves parks etc do Ranger led activities for a small charge. Couldn't the NT use students to run some activities. Most of the activities that are currently child focussed rely on the parents to lead with their children would be good to have some young enthusiatic staff taking a fun and educational role to promote the features/history of a property.
Q8. If it came up in conversation, would you recommend a National Trust property as a day out to friends or family? If so, why? If not, why not? I would recommend especially to become a member.

Oh I should add one of my neurotypical sons did have a forest school birthday party on NT grounds (at Saltram). And that was absolutely brilliant (but we didn't bring our autistic son - which is perhaps telling smile )

MegBusset Thu 16-Aug-12 18:02:37

Can I just add that we visited Horsey Mill today and it was fabulous. Only £2.50 for non-members, FREE (albeit very short!) kids' quiz AND they each got a Penguin at the end which went down very well smile Beautiful surroundings and a brilliant walk to the beach where we saw the seal colony. Fabulous day and recommended to any Norfolkers!

lorisparkle Thu 16-Aug-12 18:13:24

Q1. Which National Trust property did you visit? Why did you choose this property?

Dyrham park near Bristol because of all the local(ish) properties we have visited already (at least once!)

Q2. What was your overall impression of the property? Was it what you expected? Were there any surprises?

Had not researched it myself as it was an extended family outing. It was as I expected

Q3. Did you take part in any of the National Trust's "50 Things to do"? If so, what did you think of it? If you didn't take part, had you heard of it?

We have heard of the 50 things to do but did not specifically aim to do any this time

Q4. What did your child(ren) enjoy most about the day? Was there anything they didn't enjoy?

They enjoyed the tractor to climb on. They found the walking quite difficult as it was very hot

Q5. Can you think of anything that could have improved your day out? If so, what?

A better play area for the children

Q6. Was there anything that made your day particularly special or memorable? If so, what was it?

Being so close to the deer was exciting and memorable

Q7. Did the weather affect your day? If it rained, did you take part in any special rainy day activities? If so which ones?

It was particularly hot so the walk to the house was quite challenging and even more so on the way back!

Q8. If it came up in conversation, would you recommend a National Trust property as a day out to friends or family? If so, why? If not, why not?

Have already recommended it to a friend! We are always recommending properties and even convinced some friends to take up membership

We get National Trust Membership as our family Christmas present every year. It is a present that just keeps on giving!!!!!!

combinearvester Thu 16-Aug-12 19:55:54

Q1. Which National Trust property did you visit? Why did you choose this property?

Barrington Court, it was on our way home from holidays so a good place to take a break
Q2. What was your overall impression of the property? Was it what you expected? Were there any surprises?
Yes it was lovely, amazing grounds, a nice surprise in the form of anthony gormley exhibition.
Q3. Did you take part in any of the National Trust's "50 Things to do"? If so, what did you think of it? If you didn't take part, had you heard of it?
Is that the thing where you have to do a certain number of things before you are 11? Mine are quite little but there was definitely some tree climbing involved.
Q4. What did your child(ren) enjoy most about the day? Was there anything they didn't enjoy?
They very much enjoyed running around in the gardens. They liked all of it really.
Q5. Can you think of anything that could have improved your day out? If so, what?
Cheaper food definitely.
Q6. Was there anything that made your day particularly special or memorable? If so, what was it?
The anthony gormley figures.
Q7. Did the weather affect your day? If it rained, did you take part in any special rainy day activities? If so which ones?
There was a bit of rain but we explored the second hand bookshop whilst it was raining.
Q8. If it came up in conversation, would you recommend a National Trust property as a day out to friends or family? If so, why? If not, why not?
Yes they are really good for families. I wouldn't have gone as a young person <lowbrow> but now with the children there's always something for us to look at and something for them to do. And they do not get frowned upon when being loud as they have been in some places.

GreyCloudsSilverLining Thu 16-Aug-12 21:50:10

Q1. Which National Trust property did you visit? Why did you choose this property?

knole House - it's local to us and we decided to go out late afternoon.

Q2. What was your overall impression of the property? Was it what you expected? Were there any surprises?

We loved it, the staff were friendly and made the visit fun for our children.

Q3. Did you take part in any of the National Trust's "50 Things to do"? If so, what did you think of it? If you didn't take part, had you heard of it?

No, we hadn't heard of it.

Q4. What did your child(ren) enjoy most about the day? Was there anything they didn't enjoy?

Tgey liked the activity sheet the ladies at reception gave them. The people within the house made my children imagine what it would be like to sleep in A four Poster, how dark it would have been, where they kept their gold

Q5. Can you think of anything that could have improved your day out? If so, what?

No

Q6. Was there anything that made your day particularly special or memorable? If so, what was it?

See Q 4 lovely friendly staff

Q7. Did the weather affect your day? If it rained, did you take part in any special rainy day activities? If so which ones?

It was lovely and sunny

T
Q8. If it came up in conversation, would you recommend a National Trust property as a day out to friends or family? If so, why? If not, why not?

yes, lots of fun

PavlovtheCat Fri 17-Aug-12 08:10:37

Q1. Cotehele house and gardens. It is quite local to us, only half hour drive. It is in a beautiful location.

Q2. On first visit (been several times now!) loved the orchard sculptures, the lilly pond. Loved the hidden doors and 'secret' paths. When you think there is no more we kept finding more gardens. New things to do each visit. House wad not open on the days we went, which I was not actually that disappointed about as I went for the gardens really. There is also the mill which we have not been to, due to running out of time, and the river is fabulous!

Q3. Climb a tree ( done lots before but there are some fab trees to climb there!) pond dipping, there are probably others but we did not write it all down.

Q4. The secret gardens.

Q5. I was disappointed that there were no activities on the day we went, as we went hoping to do guided pond dipping or kite making, sword making that kind of thing.

Q6. Dd had chicken pox on the first occasion. Was no longer contagious, but having the final day off to recover, we marvelled at the apple sculpture and then had fabulous ice cream!

Q7. It was glorious weather.

Q8. Yes, and I do. There are around 6 properties in easy reach near us, all different all fab, it makes a great day, or afternoon out for families, lots of space to run and explore, nature, trails, history, it is never overcrowded as there is so much space in all the places I have been to. I have family membership and it has paid for itself already (along with free parking at wembury !). All the places I have been are family friendly, some are dog friendly.

Q1. Which National Trust property did you visit? Why did you choose this property?
We went to Powis Castle as it was close to the holiday cottage we were renting.
Q2. What was your overall impression of the property? Was it what you expected? Were there any surprises?
We have visited Powis Castle several times in the past and always enjoy our visit. We follow them on facebook too, to keep up with events, so there were no surprises but it was great to see the gardens in their full glory (and Alan the peacock)
Q3. Did you take part in any of the National Trust's "50 Things to do"? If so, what did you think of it? If you didn't take part, had you heard of it?
We didn't take part in it, but were made aware of it during our visit. Our DD is only 18m and most of the activities were beyond her or not feasible at this location.
Q4. What did your child(ren) enjoy most about the day? Was there anything they didn't enjoy?
There was an activity event taking place in the Orangery, so she enjoyed listening to stories, making a crown and colouring in. She also enjoyed running around by the maze.
Q5. Can you think of anything that could have improved your day out? If so, what?
Only better weather! It rained quite a lot (although not entirely unexpected for Wales) which limited the amount of time we dedicated to exploring walks around the grounds. More baby food/toddler-friendly food would be helpful on the cafe menus, although we tend to bring our own anyway.
Q6. Was there anything that made your day particularly special or memorable? If so, what was it? The amount of attention given to children by the staff running the activity. Staff were in period costume and encouraged creative play.
Q7. Did the weather affect your day? If it rained, did you take part in any special rainy day activities? If so which ones?
The activities were not specific to rainy days - but had the weather been better, would have taken place outdoors.
Q8. If it came up in conversation, would you recommend a National Trust property as a day out to friends or family? If so, why? If not, why not?
Yes, if they live near to one. Annual membership is a better investment than paying an entrance fee, but for us, not viable as we are not in close enough proximity to NT properties to visit regularly.

ShatnersBassoon Fri 17-Aug-12 10:22:51

Q1. Which National Trust property did you visit? Why did you choose this property?

Attingham Park. We'd never been, and it's close to a relative we visited.

Q2. What was your overall impression of the property? Was it what you expected? Were there any surprises?

We enjoyed our afternoon there. It was what we expected.

Q3. Did you take part in any of the National Trust's "50 Things to do"? If so, what did you think of it? If you didn't take part, had you heard of it?

Not purposefully. We have seen the list a number of times.

Q4. What did your child(ren) enjoy most about the day? Was there anything they didn't enjoy?

The never, ever enjoy going around houses. They enjoyed the grounds far more, especially the play area.

Q5. Can you think of anything that could have improved your day out? If so, what?

No, it was what we expected in every respect.

Q6. Was there anything that made your day particularly special or memorable? If so, what was it?

No, it was a regular afternoon at an NT property.

Q7. Did the weather affect your day? If it rained, did you take part in any special rainy day activities? If so which ones?

It was sunny, so we made the most of the outside space and spent less time in the house, much to the kids' relief!

Q8. If it came up in conversation, would you recommend a National Trust property as a day out to friends or family? If so, why? If not, why not?

Yes, there's usually something to interest everyone, although it can be expensive if you don't have membership.

Bramblesinafield Fri 17-Aug-12 10:26:20

Q1. Which National Trust property did you visit? Why did you choose this property?

Birling Gap - we wanted an unspoilt beach with the convenience of close parking, loos/ cafe as one of our children has a medical disability.

Q2. What was your overall impression of the property? Was it what you expected? Were there any surprises?

Lovely. Surprises? Being buzzed by a vulcan bomber at speed - tremendouse! (Eastbourne air show round the headland)

Q3. Did you take part in any of the National Trust's "50 Things to do"? If so, what did you think of it? If you didn't take part, had you heard of it?

We wondered but my youngest is 12 and didn;t want to do 'under 11 stuff'. Since we were camping we had covered quite a few!

Q4. What did your child(ren) enjoy most about the day? Was there anything they didn't enjoy?
Floating in the sea, clean water, clean beach, great countryside unspoilt by development. Loved everything.

Q5. Can you think of anything that could have improved your day out? If so, what?
No, it was great.

Q6. Was there anything that made your day particularly special or memorable? If so, what was it?
Watching my modern teen children play like old fashioned kids.

Q7. Did the weather affect your day? If it rained, did you take part in any special rainy day activities? If so which ones?
sun sun sun all day.

Q8. If it came up in conversation, would you recommend a National Trust property as a day out to friends or family? If so, why? If not, why not?
Yes, definitely. It's a guaranteed good experience with great catering. We have a responsibility as a nation to preserve our heritage for future generations. This is why we are family members.

ohforfoxsake Fri 17-Aug-12 11:48:00

Q1. Which National Trust property did you visit? Why did you choose this property?
Benningbrough Hall and Gardens in Yorkshire. It was on the way back from Scarborough where we'd been on holiday so thought we'd spend the last day there.

Q2. What was your overall impression of the property? Was it what you expected? Were there any surprises?
It was lovely - great gardens, really well maintained but also children were encouraged to play. No problems with my boys playing footy, there were games out. I usually avoid going into the houses (four children 10 and under) but they enjoyed it. We made virtual portraits which was good fun, dressed up and did all the hands on activities. The staff were great - didn't 'shush' the children. Had lunch there, the food was good quality and not over-priced in comparison. They loved the playground and wooded area. Easy to spend the whole day there.

Q3. Did you take part in any of the National Trust's "50 Things to do"? If so, what did you think of it? If you didn't take part, had you heard of it?
I have heard of it, but didn't have a list with me.

Q4. What did your child(ren) enjoy most about the day? Was there anything they didn't enjoy?
The portrait making - and it was great to be able to email the pictures to myself. They don't really enjoy the whole stately home thing, but I don't think children do (I didn't) but were happy to explore it as it was only one small part of the day.

Q5. Can you think of anything that could have improved your day out? If so, what?
I would have loved to have seen the house and its characters brought to life, but that only happens on the last Saturday of every month.

Q6. Was there anything that made your day particularly special or memorable? If so, what was it? It was very simply a good day out, enjoyed by all. Special in its own right.

Q7. Did the weather affect your day? If it rained, did you take part in any special rainy day activities? If so which ones?
It was a lovely sunny day, so we could really make the most of it.

Q8. If it came up in conversation, would you recommend a National Trust property as a day out to friends or family? If so, why? If not, why not?
I do, and am always banging on about what good value it is. We use ours heaps and it has paid for itself time and time again. With a large family like ours, when days out can cost a fortune, we take a picnic and head to a NT property at the drop of a hat.

mad4 Fri 17-Aug-12 14:47:51

Q1. Which National Trust property did you visit? Why did you choose this property?
Kynance cove on the Lizard, Cornwall.
we live in north cornwall and have been "meaning to" visit for ages, finally decided to take the kids.

Q2. What was your overall impression of the property? Was it what you expected? Were there any surprises?
it was stunning! a perfect family beach, i had checked it out on the NT website beforehand to make sure i could take the buggy, everything was as decribed perfectly, nice cafe, clean toilets and the bech was ideal due to its layout for a mum of her own with 2 DC who want to do different things.

Q3. Did you take part in any of the National Trust's "50 Things to do"? If so, what did you think of it? If you didn't take part, had you heard of it?
I have heard of it, but being a countrydwelling family, my DC have almost completed the list by the nature of where we live and that we are an outdoorsy family

Q4. What did your child(ren) enjoy most about the day? Was there anything they didn't enjoy?
only the walk back to the car because they were sooo tired! but it was a peaceful drive home - they were both asleep before we left the carpark!

Q5. Can you think of anything that could have improved your day out? If so, what?
We went early morning and by lunchtime the beach was so busy it was no longer fun, so having it to ourselves would have been perfect - but this was cornwall in august! of course it was going to get busy.

Q6. Was there anything that made your day particularly special or memorable? If so, what was it?
it was such a different beach from the north cornish coast, the closeness of the toilets and cafe made everything easier, the kids loved playing while mum took photos of them and the coastal rockforms.

Q7. Did the weather affect your day? If it rained, did you take part in any special rainy day activities? If so which ones?
it rained a little, we went for a milkshake and the sun was shining one again by the time we got back to the beach, and out picnic blanket was still where we left it!

Q8. If it came up in conversation, would you recommend a National Trust property as a day out to friends or family? If so, why? If not, why not?
absolutely! it was beautiful, and as its now owned by the NT it will stay that way. being able to suss it all out on the NT website before visiting was a real help and made me much more confident to take the DC on my own.

turkeyboots Fri 17-Aug-12 16:05:05

Q1 - have just been to Basildon park near Reading. Ended up there after very disapointing visit to the Living Rainforest nearby.
Q2 - it was surpisingly good. My local NT places are rather bare bones opperations, but this was great!
Q3 - didn't see anything promoting that activity, so no.
Q4 - they loved the deckchairs scattered round, we had a travelling picnic! Didn't go into the house as DS is 2 and there were loads of older people glaring at him for interputing their audio tour. Also loved the hazel hide and games scattered round the grounds.
Q5 - child's lunch box was poor quality in terms of the food and value for money. When the tea room heavily promotes their home made cake, its a shame to give kids a catering 2 pack of biscuits.
Q6- the outside space and paths. Also the shop staff were very lovely.
Q7 - no got lucky with the weather!
Q8 - yes membership is worthwhile, but all depends how close you are to a site which offers what you need. Use ours when traveling lots, will stop for lunch and a play.

hk78 Fri 17-Aug-12 16:17:40

Q1. Which National Trust property did you visit? Why did you choose this property?

We have visited Chatsworth House (and gardens). We chose this because we were out for the day with other relatives whose choice it was.

Q2. What was your overall impression of the property? Was it what you expected? Were there any surprises?

Stunning views from up on a hill, well-tended house and gardens, ample National Trust staff around to answer any questions.

Q3. Did you take part in any of the National Trust's "50 Things to do"? If so, what did you think of it? If you didn't take part, had you heard of it?

No, I don't think we did, I wasn't aware of this - although to be fair, the National Trust do send out a quarterly magazine which probably did tell us about it, I just haven 't had time to read it this time.

Q4. What did your child(ren) enjoy most about the day? Was there anything they didn't enjoy?

There was a brass band playing outside which we all enjoyed.

Q5. Can you think of anything that could have improved your day out? If so, what?

No, not really.

Q6. Was there anything that made your day particularly special or memorable? If so, what was it?

Asking the gift shop assistant for the price of the cute little wall hanging.....and getting the reply "£115 I'm afraid" with an apologetic smile.

Q7. Did the weather affect your day? If it rained, did you take part in any special rainy day activities? If so which ones?

No, we managed to pick on of the rare sunny days this summer.

Q8. If it came up in conversation, would you recommend a National Trust property as a day out to friends or family? If so, why? If not, why not?

I always recommend National Trust, although it depends on the person of course: when I was younger and without children, it would have been my idea of hell. Now, I see annual membership as an investment which pays for itself and means always somewhere to go for walks, picnics, whatever, which won't be overcrowded or spoilt.

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