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To be put off visiting National Trust properties because they are National Trust properties

(155 Posts)
Growlithe Sat 03-Aug-13 18:55:47

I can see that the National Trust have some great places, but it puts years on me whenever I visit one.

They always try to flog you the annual membership. When you suggest you may not get the value out of it (because believe it or not you have other things to do and places to visit of a weekend than just National Trust places) they look at you like you are stark raving mad. And people with National Trust memberships do the same. It's like a cult.

They have complicated pricing systems based on which bits of the place you want to visit. How do I know which bits I want to see, I've never been there before. confused

The cafes are always expensive.

Whilst you often go for days out to entertain/educate the DCs, and they often have activities/packs aimed at children, they seem to tolerate children rather than welcome them.

They must also think the children of today are some sort of alien species, judging from their '50 things to do before you are 11 3/4'. I mean, do we have to be told the DCs would enjoy making a daisy chain, climb a tree or run about in the rain? I know kids like to play computer games these days but do they think we are so so removed from doing this kind of thing with our DCS? It's condescending.

They are full of performance parents with massive great big picnic baskets (which is probably understandable given the prices in the cafes I suppose).

Although they are knowledgeable, they often just seem to sap the life out of the very things they want to show you, and could do with taking a leaf out of places like the Black Country Living Museum, which has amazingly enthusiastic staff.

So go on, National Trust members, do your worst. AIBU?

Eyesunderarock Sat 03-Aug-13 20:19:35

I obviously have crusty children. grin
They hate theme parks, fast food and Disneyland.
Good job that there are resources and places that cater for all sorts then.
DS even takes.....

a sketchbook. shock
A camera.
And a collecting bag.

I'm in charge of the food.

JassyRadlett Sat 03-Aug-13 20:21:32

Definitely get our money's worth, we go at least once a month and more when on holiday.

We must be going to different properties as those I've been to are great with kids - dressing up boxes, discovery trails, enthusiastic and knowledgable guides and at Polesden Lacey the lovely bloke who drives the 'train' who always waves at DS and offers him a short ride if it's not busy.

I am unclear on why owning a large picnic blanket might be perceived as performance parenting, though. Is it only performance parents who don't like getting itchy legs?

Openyourheart Sat 03-Aug-13 20:21:48


"Performance parents" I love that expression. Am I a performance parent if I take a picnic or am I just too poor to afford the cafe. I think I actually want to be a performance parent. It sounds such fun.

BeerTricksPotter Sat 03-Aug-13 20:22:39

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Mrsrobertduvall Sat 03-Aug-13 20:22:43

We had membership when dcs were small...our nearest is Ham House, which has a very nice cafe grin
and we would always stop in Powis Castle on the way to our holiday.

I am not interested in gardens or stately homes, but it was a nice thing to do if all else failed.

Chartwell is my fave.

Sparklingbrook Sat 03-Aug-13 20:23:20

Eyes. DS1 won't even be seen with me. Anywhere. sad

VivaLeBeaver Sat 03-Aug-13 20:24:03

I used to be a member when dd was younger. Hardly ever went in any of the houses but gardens, etc were all good. We lived near fab Belton House with the amazing adventure playground and also close to Clumber which is great for walking/bike rides. That and beach car parks, Lake District carparks, somewhere to go on a rainy day on holiday made it good value.

Growlithe Sat 03-Aug-13 20:25:48

Looks to me like many NT members use it for the grounds and car parking then.

I think it's such a shame to have the actual houses not being used. How much history is getting bypassed if the places are only being used as open spaces, gardens and adventure playgrounds?

Is there no way they could bring these houses alive to children, to spark an interest in history? Otherwise, who is going to be motivated to volunteer in future generations?

bringonyourwreckingball Sat 03-Aug-13 20:26:54

Belton House is fab, we joined there thinking if we went to one/two more we'd make our money back but actually where we live there are very few NT places so it was a v expensive day trip. Most NT places really aren't that child friendly.

Eyesunderarock Sat 03-Aug-13 20:27:53

That's sad Sparkling, DS prefers my company to most because we have similar interests. Took him and his friendwhoisagirlnotagirlfriend to a local NT house a couple of days ago. Serious fun and picnicking was had.
She's a botanist.
DD is a technonerd, but we have the sea in common, a shared sense of humour and certain forms of shopping. She likes the NT bat nights and stargazing.
Luck of the draw really.

plantsitter Sat 03-Aug-13 20:29:03

My Dh has life membership bought by his parents when he was little. He is quite scoffing at that fact but it is ace because a) it admits me and the two (under 5) kids too, b) we can stop on the way to holidays etc for free, c) my kids inexplicably love dusty old houses with paintings of ladies in lovely dresses in and best of all d)when he shows his membership card the staff go all grovelly and sycophantic as if he were a member of the landed gentry coming to a weekend shooting party. So I say thanks in-laws for that.

Sparklingbrook Sat 03-Aug-13 20:30:29

I am hoping it's a phase Eyes. DS2 is still fairly amenable at 11 but family trips are a bit like hard work at the moment.

DS1 hates theme parks too-what a grump.

Eyesunderarock Sat 03-Aug-13 20:30:39

You ain't gonna be satisfied are you Growlith? grin
I bring the houses alive with storytelling, details and facts and letting them explore and ask questions about what they see and observe.
All the properties have wonderful things just waiting to be found out, and children look at old stuff with new eyes. Then you learn from them.

VelmaDaceDinkley Sat 03-Aug-13 20:36:13

We got an annual membership on holiday last year but won't be renewing it this year.

Where I live there aren't actually that many NT properties nearby that we haven't already been to 100 times and 2 of the closest ones actually charge you to get in EVEN if you're a member.

I live in a city with loads of free museums, galleries, parks and historical buildings so for me it's not worth it.

Growlithe Sat 03-Aug-13 20:41:50

Eyes we couldn't even speak. Each room had a volunteer following us round.

DH was told off twice. Once because he mistakenly said a pot on the floor was a chamber pot, it apparently wasn't. Another time because he was joking with DD that a pot plant was 400 years old, and was told that it could well be 100 years old.

We've obviously had a couple of bad experiences lately. They could do with watching a couple of episodes of Horrible Histories IMO.

Catsize Sat 03-Aug-13 20:48:13

Got joint life membership when given some money by a big NT fan.
Seemed apt.
Love NT membership, and nice to feel we are visiting somewhere for free, especially when in new places.
Two best things...
Can bob in for a short time with no regrets.
Kids can run all over the lawns without fear of dog poo.

Catsize Sat 03-Aug-13 20:48:43

Oh, and I have never been pestered to buy membership.

BeerTricksPotter Sat 03-Aug-13 20:49:05

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

YoToast Sat 03-Aug-13 20:53:12

It seems to depend on the property, some are absolutely great for kids and the volunteers bend over backwards to engage them. At other places, kids' every move is viewed with suspicious, lemon-sucking faces in case they break something just be breathing.

I assumed that the 50 things list was written to cover a range of ages. There probably aren't many 11 year olds who haven't done things like roll down a hill or play poohsticks, but it means that there are achievable goals for much younger children to join in.

Growlithe Sat 03-Aug-13 20:54:09

Ironic given your NN BeerTricks grin

OrganixAddict Sat 03-Aug-13 20:56:23

YmayNBU but having recently discovered the NT has a property called Windy Horse Pump, I feel it definitely has some positives as an organisation grin

Sparklingbrook Sat 03-Aug-13 20:56:45

Dss were unimpressed at one where you could buy a football in the gift shop but no football allowed in the grounds. hmm

Caster8 Sat 03-Aug-13 20:56:48

Cant remember if these places have suggestions box.
Personally I would write[they might appreciate a letter!wink] to the house concerned, and suggest ways of improvement/mention hard sell and rude staff.

BeerTricksPotter Sat 03-Aug-13 20:58:13

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Growlithe Sat 03-Aug-13 21:05:23

Caster8 I actually emailed after the hard sell incident. They replied saying 'sorry you had this experience, we will look into it'. So we did try.

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