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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

Hopezibah Fri 17-Aug-12 20:38:26

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

Ightam mote - it is very local to us and we have enjoyed visits there before.

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

I remember on my first visit - i was amazed at such a beautiful property with it's beautiful surroundings being so close to us and i never knew about it. Now we tend not to visit the actual house but always enjoy the gardens.

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 - but have heard of it online and the kids have just joined the online site for it.

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

They love running around outdoors. We need to keep a close eye on them near the water hazards though.

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

Not really. They have been welcoming of children at this property and although other NT properties are not always so welcoming of children, this one was friendly and buggy accessible (not buggy accessible in the house though).

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

Just love the grounds there - very beautiful as there is a more formal bit of the garden as well as more wildlifey bits.

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?

overall yes. but usually only worth going if you have a special offer or annual membership otherwise it can add up. If you are going to make a few visits then membership is definitely worth it.

babybouncer Sat 18-Aug-12 19:07:09

I visited Calke Abbey several times this summer and Sudbury museum of childhood. Both of these are nearby, but I particularly like visiting them because the kids food is brilliant and both have great playgrounds. Calke abbey has fab grounds with lots of different areas to explore as well as craft activities. Sudbury's museum is good for a variety of ages from 2 up.

We tried to do some of the 50 things - loved the idea - but cant get hold of the stickers (a 'tick' as suggested by one NT worker has no currency with 3yr olds!) so kids lost interest.

I would recommend NT properties to parents - especially if you live near one. I think what my kids enjoy most is spending time with the family. The good thing is that different ages of kids and adults can enjoy it together.

Leo35 Sun 19-Aug-12 09:57:44

Q1: Upton House, near Banbury as it is near to my parent's house, and we arranged to meet them there.
Q2: Property was great. Lots of parking, house and gardens looked well kept, plenty of room for all the visitors.
Q3: Have got the "50 things..." lists for the DSs, but didn't do any activities this time.
Q4: children loved running around the gardens the most and picnic in the orchard.
Q5: may be a children's art trail for the house? I remember that Fellbrigg had a kid's trail which older DS enjoyed last year. With so many paintings at Upton I think that this could be a rich seam to mine!
Q6: Loved the Millionaire's weekend entertainment. We all enjoyed seeing the old cars, and listening to the music on the lawn and terrace.
Q7: weather was mixed - we picnicked under umbrellas, but the summer came up trumps in the end.
Q8: We are members (annual family pass) and often recommend NT sites to friends. We enjoy going to Woolsthorpe Manor and Belton House, as well as taking in sites when we travel to visit friends and family. All of the adults enjoyed the art collection at Upton House and especially the commercial art exhibition.

BiscuitNibbler Sun 19-Aug-12 15:11:27

hk78 - Chatsworth isn't NT, is it??

maples Sun 19-Aug-12 15:16:19

No - Chatsworth is run by a family trust afaik!

smileyhappymummy Sun 19-Aug-12 21:11:58

Q1. Which National Trust property did you visit? Why did you choose this property
Beningborough Hall - relatively close to us, heard good things about it from friends, convenient for going for day out with grandparents
Q2. What was your overall impression of the property? Was it what you expected? Were there any surprises?
Was surprised by the amount of interactive things to do on the third floor in the house - and pleased!
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, really like this idea. DD is 5 and has been quite enthusiastic about it - we did a couple of the things like climbing a tree there but have done more since. It's a shame that parents can't get some stickers to fill things in later as well.
Q4. What did your child(ren) enjoy most about the day? Was there anything they didn't enjoy?
Playground - she loves it. Not generally so keen on looking round stately home bit but that's just being 5!
Q5. Can you think of anything that could have improved your day out? If so, what?
Generally very good.
Q6. Was there anything that made your day particularly special or memorable? If so, what was it?
Making the virtual portrait.
Q7. Did the weather affect your day? If it rained, did you take part in any special rainy day activities? If so which ones?
lovely sunny day which always helps
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, though it does end up expensive unless you get membersgip.

Sams9Goldmedals Sun 19-Aug-12 21:50:12

Q1. Which National Trust property did you visit? Why did you choose this property?
I'm a life member so ahve been to many places especially enjoy Nymans as it's near to where i live, but i'm going to answer about The Vynes, Basingstoke which i went to as it's halfway between me and my mother in law

Q2. What was your overall impression of the property? Was it what you expected? Were there any surprises?
It seemed a fairly unremarkable property, like many i've seen in the collection, although i like the walled garden with chickens and a local therapeutic project working 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? Not this time and i didn't see anything encouraging it or suggesting it.

Q4. What did your child(ren) enjoy most about the day? Was there anything they didn't enjoy?
They kind of like the house but it's too stuffy and constrained with this nonsense of only walking in a certain direction and not being able to freely explore, they quite enjoyed looking for the rats in the different rooms, but we've found them before so it would be good if they could be moved around a bit more. The grounds are good and it was nice having some games on the lawn to play among and in the walled garden.

Q5. Can you think of anything that could have improved your day out? If so, what?
It's hard to get a sense of what's really important about the house although the factsheets per room were quite useful for focusing on only a few items. It would be nice if more rooms were open and especially some more of the 'downstairs' or even 'servants bedrooms'. More information about highlights on the walks through the grounds - both in the woods, along the riverbank or in the formal garden.

Q6. Was there anything that made your day particularly special or memorable? If so, what was it?
Not particularly this time other than seeing a cygnet on the swans nest we saw at our last visit. And the lovely wooden wildlife sculptures.

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 this time.

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, often, especially Batemans which has fantastic childrens activities.

acrunchieandacupoftea Mon 20-Aug-12 00:15:25

Q1. Sutton House in Hackney because it's not far from where I live.
Q2. The house was very interesting, like exploring an old castle, but interactive with props and info about local issues, pretend food in the kitchen and a lots to see and read, for adults and children, also interactive activities planned. Better than expected. Surprised because I didn't think there'd be much fun stuff inside the house except the architecture.
Q3. I don't know what the 50 things to do is.
Q4. My 5 year old son got a little bored in the house and could have left after 30 minutes but the garden was having work done on it and i managed to keep him there for 2 hours to try out the painting activities! He likes insects and looked at insects near the front door for a while!
Q5. No it was great.
Q6. I like exploring old buildings, I liked being able to go down into the cellar and opening the panels on the walls to see the linen fold panelling.
Q7. No, the weather was sunny.
Q8. I would recommend it definitely, but I'd say to plan around one of the activities if with young children, so walk around the property for the adults then go to the activity for the children. And take a couple of adults so they can take turns at the children's activity while the other goes round the house alone. Good value for money too even if not a member.

BiscuitNibbler Mon 20-Aug-12 07:18:49

Q1. Which National Trust property did you visit? Why did you choose this property? Sudbury Hall - it is one of the closest to me and we know it has good children's facilities.
Q2. What was your overall impression of the property? Was it what you expected? Were there any surprises? Very well presented and a fantastic play area which was very well maintained. The property was very welcoming.
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, DD is too young.
Q4. What did your child(ren) enjoy most about the day? Was there anything they didn't enjoy? The outside play area. Really fantastic.
Q5. Can you think of anything that could have improved your day out? If so, what? It is a shame that the car park is across the road from the rest of the property, and there was no warning that we were approaching a fairly fast-moving road. I saw a number of people suddenly run to catch up with their children when they realised there was a road. Perhaps there should be signs warning of this and also a crossing would be a good idea.
Q6. Was there anything that made your day particularly special or memorable? If so, what was it? The welcome - everyone working there from the car park to the shop was friendly and enthusiastic, and seemed to welcome children.
Q7. Did the weather affect your day? If it rained, did you take part in any special rainy day activities? If so which ones? We went on a sunny day, fortunately, but I think the fact that the play area is under the trees would mean that the weather would have to be pretty bad to ruin things.
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 and no - it would depend on their finances. NT properties can make for very expensive days out. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend Sudbury to most people though, it really was great.

unquietmind Mon 20-Aug-12 10:30:32

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

We visited Lyme Park as it is near us and we wanted a change from Dunham Massey, our usual haunt.

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

I was surprised at the size of the park, its huge. I really enjoyed it and its better than 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 signed up to it and had the information but our daughter has moderate LD needs so on this day we could not take part in it, but hopefully we can on another occassion

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

My daughter gets a bit bored after a while of houses but she loves gardens, fields and any animals you can spot

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

The cafe near the shop was extremely limited on food - bacon butties and one cheese sandwich - and this was first thing in the morning. Im a veggie and was annoyed that I had to pay over £4 for a small cheese sandwich which was just cheese and tasteless. The staff in the cafe were not very helpful either, and the price put me off using the facilities again.

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

Not particularly. Weather was good, it was just a nice day with the family.

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 rain, no rainy day activities.

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 it but I would tell people to do their research on facilities, when things are open etc. There isnt a universal open/closed days on the houses so sometimes you can make a long trip and find half of its shut if you havent got a national trust guide book or been to the website, and just went from your own volition. Also take a picnic!

Silverlace Mon 20-Aug-12 17:41:29

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

We visited Clumber Park specifically to do a cycle ride. We took the boys' bikes in the car and hired one each for my husband and me.

The boys had a good play in the playground and we had a picnic lunch.
We looked at the map and decided the 8 mile circular route would be a good challenge so collected the bikes and set off on an adventure.

We had a brilliant time, riding through the woods. My 6 year old was haring down the hills at top speed enjoying every minute whilst I was trying my hardest to keep up with him in case he fell off!

When we finished we asked the boys how long they thought they had ridden. They said 1 mile. They were amazed they had ridden for 8.

We finished the day off with a cream tea in the tea room, perfect!

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

The property was excellent with very good facilities. The cycle paths were well laid out and very well organised with easy to follow route posts.

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 it and have the scrapbooks. We didn't plan to do anything specific but the boys did climb a small tree.

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

They enjoyed the freedom of riding thier bikes off road and mostly away from traffic.

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

Nothing, it was excellent.

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

A well organised set up, easy to hire bikes, very good quality bikes and a well signposted route, carefully organised so that there were a few steep hills but we got payback by having long rides down the other side.

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 relatively cool dry day, just perfect for cycling.

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, I have already told several people about our great day out.

ApolloSmintheus Mon 20-Aug-12 19:05:48

We went to Scotney Castle at the weekend.

It was what we expected. Lovely grounds and interesting house.

DS is 14 months so mainly just enjoyed roaming around. It was nice to be able to let him charge around a bit without worrying about dog-poo etc!

Didn't do any of the 50 things, but I noticed there was a chalkboard up listing all the things you could tick off at the property, which I liked.

As always, the tea room was lovely and the staff were extremely friendly and nice to DS.

It rained a bit and we took advantage of the gazebos erected for picnickers while we ate our lunch. Great idea. A member of staff also pointed out a lovely big puddle for DS to jump in!

The house had run out of info sheets, which was a little annoying but the staff were more than happy to chat to us through each of the rooms so it didn't really matter.

Yes, I would recommend it as a day out for people with children.

MoonHare Mon 20-Aug-12 21:18:14

I'm a life member, which admits two people for free (wonderful 21st birthday present from my parents 17 years ago, we have recouped the cost over and over!).

Q1. Which National Trust property did you visit? Why did you choose this property? Trerice, Trelissik, St Michael's Mount, Glendurgan, Castle Drogo (all while on holiday) Wimpole Hall (about 40 mins from us and we like the parkland for picnics and the farm for the children).

Will write about Castle Drogo:
Q2. What was your overall impression of the property? Was it what you expected? Were there any surprises? Very interesting, lots of objects to see and handle, more child friendly than 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? Heard of it and we were given a leaflet at Trerice but our eldest is only 3 so a bit young for lots of the suggestions yet.
Q4. What did your child(ren) enjoy most about the day? Was there anything they didn't enjoy? The secret cupboards upstairs with the plastic spider inside! But also the kitchens where DD1 loved the jelly moulds and the sink with 3 taps.
Q5. Can you think of anything that could have improved your day out? If so, what? Better pushchair access to the gardens, a bigger children's playground.
Q6. Was there anything that made your day particularly special or memorable? If so, what was it? The upstairs guide who enchanted our daughter by taking her to see the secret cupboards. She was a wonderful guide and went out of her way to find things that would engage our 3 yr old. Also very helpful volunteers in the hall who pointed out an easier way for us to visit the cellars and allowed us through non public access areas to get back to the pushchair which we had to leave by the front door.
Q7. Did the weather affect your day? If it rained, did you take part in any special rainy day activities? If so which ones? Weather did not affect 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? I would certainly recommend NT properties to friends and family but would have to caution non members on the cost. However visiting just the grounds is often much cheaper and a good picnic/ball games option.

I would like the NT to look into offering some kind of additional child discount to life members, at the moment we would have to pay hundreds of pounds for our children to be members into their teens, speaking to customer services there doesn't seem to be any way of simply adding the children to our existing life membership at a discounted rate.

senua Tue 21-Aug-12 10:45:20

Like a lot of other respondents, we tend to visit local properties the most with the odd holiday foray. I do get a bit miffed that it is a post-code lottery - some areas have loads of properties, some areas are poorly served. We don't have that many properties near us and you get a bit fed up with doing the same few, time and again.
I also get miffed when you try to pop into a 'big name' property and find that you can't get in because they are too popular. Having said that, I have been organised enough on occaion to pre-book us to some of the smaller properties (eg John & Paul's in Liverpool) and the personalised tours are fantastic.
I really appreciate the parklands and other open spaces. Some of our favourite walks are over NT land.
I love that all properties are organic i.e. that they have roots and history and a meaning. They are not, as someone said above, a disneyfied confection.

And what surprises and delights me the most? That it isn't just about stately homes eg we have a teeny little woodland near to us that is probably only about an acre, but it has been preserved by the NT because it is special to the area. And the other delight is using the card abroad: we have seen the Tivoli Gardens in Italy courtesy of NT! thanks

Helium123 Tue 21-Aug-12 11:33:07

Q1. Which National Trust property did you visit? Why did you choose this property?
Attingham park. It's near friends.
Q2. What was your overall impression of the property? Was it what you expected? Were there any surprises?
Beautiful, nice surroundings. Lots of staff answering questions on history.
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, have heard of it.
Q4. What did your child(ren) enjoy most about the day? Was there anything they didn't enjoy?
They enjoyed the outside space, the little tractor ride ons they had available, the children's play park.
Q5. Can you think of anything that could have improved your day out? If so, what?
Not really
Q6. Was there anything that made your day particularly special or memorable? If so, what was it?
Nice outside space, 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?
Was nice sunny weather, so extra 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, lots of things for kids to do

tubsywubsy Tue 21-Aug-12 11:35:38

We are NT members but, unfortunately, are not able to visit many NT properties while on holiday, because they do not admit dogs. Obviously we would not expect dogs to be admitted to buildings and houses but it's a pity that they are not allowed, on leads, into the gardens and grounds of many larger properties. I expect it's because of the minority of dog owners who just will not clean up after their pets, or who won't keep them under control, so I guess we shouldn't be blaming the NT itself for this policy. However, I would be interested to hear if anyone else feels the same. We are considering cancelling our membership because it's just not worth shelling out every year for something we can't often use.

FreelanceMama Tue 21-Aug-12 13:05:54

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

Powis Castle. We were staying on holiday near by and I had often seen the gardens on TV and wanted to visit them.

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

The gardens were much more extensive than I expected them to be. I normally just visit the gardens but we really enjoyed the Clive Museum and the rooms in the castle.

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 got a copy through the Guardian. Our son is too young to do them though yet.

Q4. What did your child(ren) enjoy most about the day? Was there anything they didn't enjoy?
He enjoyed looking at the shiny exhibits in the museum and picnicing under a tree with ducks coming to visit.

Q5. Can you think of anything that could have improved your day out? If so, what? It would have helped to have some shaded places to sit in the gardens - they're pretty extensive and I needed to feed my baby at one point but waited until we got back to the picnic area near the entrance.

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

The staff were really interested in our baby and very helpful with suggestions of how we could explore with our pushchair.

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

As above, it was really hot and sunny so somewhere shady to sit and feed my baby would have been helpful.

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, absolutely. I'd recommend they join so they can visit again and again during the year with their children as the gardens look different from season to season and are lovely for picnics and exploring.

honoraglossop Tue 21-Aug-12 14:44:09

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

Ickworth... because it is just down the road

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

The grounds were more extensive/ gardens more interesting than I thought they would be

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 got a leaflet. its the sort of things we'd do any way. I would love to go somewhere with some decent "climbing trees" though...... many pines round here.

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

they liked the picture treasure hunt. more fun than quizzes you normally get and really got them looking round the house

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

Q6. Was there anything that made your day particularly special or memorable? If so, what was it?
playing in the "grotto" part of the gardens

Q7. Did the weather affect your day? If it rained, did you take part in any special rainy day activities? If so which ones?
showers were a pain. ?rainy day activities. I wasnt aware of any

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?

yep. bought the inlaws membership for christmas.

PaulineFossil Tue 21-Aug-12 22:41:42

Q1. Which National Trust property did you visit? Why did you choose this property?
Lacock Abbey and Avebury. Because they are nearby. Lacock is well-served by buses which as I don't drive is important.

Q2. What was your overall impression of the property? Was it what you expected? Were there any surprises?
Lacock is fabulous - the house has a very relaxed 'family' feel and the grounds are great for running around. Avebury is nice and the stones are of course very special.

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?
Have heard of it, but DD is only 18 months so has plenty of time

Q4. What did your child(ren) enjoy most about the day? Was there anything they didn't enjoy?
We've been to Lacock many times over the year. DD loves the rocking horse, the dressing up room, the harp music and dancing in the hall. The pangolin is also a favourite. At Avebury it was the tractors and the druid Lamas ceremony. we don't often visit the cafes but at both they are cramped and very noisy so difficult with buggies and the noise is too much. Find the pubs in the villages far more baby-friendly and accomodating.

Q5. Can you think of anything that could have improved your day out? If so, what?
At Lacock all the volunteers are incredibly friendly and all we've encountered have been very good with children. However, we are constantly reminded that we are not following the visitor route. As we go so often we just go to the bits that DD likes and some rooms just aren't interesting if you're not very tall! nevertheless on a couple of occasions we have gone into rooms purely to pacify the room guide as they have been so insistent. I'm sure we're not the only regular visitors? Not really a complaint though - they're all great and I'm sure just want to make sure we dno't miss anything. At Avebury, we've found the volunteers less friendly in general, just the general impression that DD is being watched for the damage she might do rather than the enjoyment she might get.

Q6. Was there anything that made your day particularly special or memorable? If so, what was it?
Loved the teddy bear's picnic at Lacock. Ingeneral at Lacock that DD is always made so welcome.

Q7. Did the weather affect your day? If it rained, did you take part in any special rainy day activities? If so which ones?
Sunny at Avebury. Lacock is good rain or shine as the cloisters provide good covered space for running in the rain.

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, but as others have said only really with membership as they're expensive otherwise. Pre-children I visited lots and found that their attitude to children varies a lot - it would be lovely if i could feel confident that every one was as child-friendly as Lacock - so I would only recommend a property I knew to friends with children.

We bought National Trust membership but only after some serious thought. In the end the decision was made purely on financial grounds as the places near us are great for DD and we are limited on options, and budget. However, I still have mixed feelings about whether we should support the National Trust on staff welfare grounds. DH worked for the NT for years in roles requiring us to live on site. In the end we were forced to move due to the standard of accomodation. The house we lived in was very small and damp (I had to factor in extra time each morning before work for some serious coughing and lung clearing!). Maintenance of staff houses was also very low priority - 3 months without a properly functioning bathroom and a year without drinking water to name just a couple of instances. We therefore had to move before we could even think about starting a family and I know others were in the same situation. I fully realise the limitations of old properties and also that space is at a premium at some properties. This was not the case at ours. Other larger accomodation was available (by this I mean small 2 bed, not mansions!) but was rented out for profit. It just seems a shame that the NT's family friendly policies are not extended to staff.

legoballoon Tue 21-Aug-12 23:14:24

Q1. Which National Trust property did you visit? Why did you choose this property?
Corfe Castle - was in the area and with young boys it fitted the bill.
Studland Beach - ditto.

Q2. What was your overall impression of the property? Was it what you expected? Were there any surprises?
Pleasantly surprised to see lots of 'activities' going on at the castle - as an earlier poster has said there was a scribe with a quill, explaining how inks were made and inviting the kids to have a go; dressing up as knights; medieval cookery demo etc. Plus the castle itself, which was impressive. The archery was a bit hit, but this was £3 for 6 arrows, which was a bit pricey - although I suppose that kept the queues down.

Studland was stunning - I can see why half of Bournemouth turned out for 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?
Yes

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

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?
Kids don't care if wearing suitable clothes.

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?

Great value for money, especially if you have membership - works out very cheap over the whole year, even if you only visit one place per month. Irritating how they charge members on a direct debit £90, but if you rejoin as a new member, it's only £70. Why not charge everyone the same. Why do long term members get punitive rates?

BlameThePixies Wed 22-Aug-12 14:52:05

Q1: Scotney Castle and Sissinghurst
Q2: Both fab, we only went for the gardens, they were near our holiday let. Sissinghurst was amazing, much bigger than I expected. We go to Scotney often.
Q3: no, hadn't heard of it.
Q4: DS is only 1yo, he liked exploring the plants but otherwise not fussed!
Q5: It would be good to have a small playground near the cafe areas, the queues were so long at Scotney it was quite tricky with fractious children.
Q6: The beautiful gardens, and the photos we took with our friends! It's nice that there are always lots of benches in pretty areas, we had the babies playing on one while we took pics of them, lovely mementos.
Q7: yes, it was gorgeously sunny both days, made it extra special.
Q8: Yes, it's a beautiful place to visit, lots of space, different areas to explore, usually something for everyone. The properties are kept beautifully, and each has it's own character.

AlexanderSkarsgardOhYes Wed 22-Aug-12 18:00:03

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

Sheringham Park. We choose it after reading a supplement in the Observer about walking that said it was nice and also because it was near to where we were staying.

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

It was a lovely park. Nice gift shop and cafe 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, I've heard of it, though don't ask me to list any of the 50 things off the top of my head! We didn't take part in any of them, no.

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

My 3 year old son enjoyed looking the newts in the pond and building a den in the Bower.

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

It really was nice. The only improvement I can suggest is a children's play area.

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

Nothing particularly.

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, it was a lovely sunny 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, I would definitely recommend this National Trust property.

AlexanderSkarsgardOhYes Wed 22-Aug-12 18:00:47

Sorry, chose it.

cherryjellow Wed 22-Aug-12 18:03:38

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

Snowshill manor (amongst other ones but this was the one we spent longest at smile) Its close to home and our friends told us how much they enjoyed it, we are members so we like to use it.

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

I really enjoyed it. Its was the most interesting NT house ive been in. Iloved the gardens too! The inside was a big suprise because there was sooo much stuff to see! There seemed to be a trail for older kids which was good

3. 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 didnt, our daughters a bit young yet, I have heard of it (and at 11 months she has done some already smile)

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

There was a toy mouse in a room which a volunteer let my daughter play with - she liked that smile She wanted to touch everything though and she found it frustrating when she couldn't

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

so more stuff to touch like the mouse as a distraction that a child can touch would be good smile especially as theres soo much they cant touch.

Q6. Was there anything that made your day particularly special or memorable? If so, what was it?
It was sunny, the staff were fantastic and friendly, and very kind.

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

its affected it positively, we got to lounge about in the gardens

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 I would, especially if they were a member of the NT. (if they were struggling for money I wouldnt as its pricey for a family when your not a member.)

We've been to Mottistone Manor whil on holiday and Hinton Ampner is our regular local trip to an NT property.

Mottistone was lovely, beautiful gardens, friendly staff and a simple trail for the DCs to do. Hinton Ampner - the children and I love the gardens, Not really interested in visiting houses, it's the gardens and. iews that we love.

I have heard of the 50 things to do but not found any of it happening at any property so far.

One thing I really like is the lack of play areas in most of our regular properties, we can go to playgrounds anywhere and it is really nice to explore with the children without the distraction of play areas. I spend enough of my life sitting round play areas without having to do it at NT
properties.

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