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National Trust - quick rant !

(37 Posts)
Whizzz Sat 06-Aug-05 19:42:25

We went to Penrhyn Castle today near Bangor. Great place (not a 'real' castle built in 19th C) with lots to see.
We are tempted to join the old NT but WHY don't they do more stuff for children? DS is almost 5 & it was a battle trying to keep him interested as we trawled through all the rooms.
They had activity sheets for older kids - why can't they do something for littler ones ? I'm sure I could have come up with something !

Rant over !

WigWamBam Sat 06-Aug-05 19:44:38

Why don't you contact the NT and raise the issue? I'm sure it's a problem that a lot of people with children that age have come across, and it may be something that they can do something about, if it's brought to their attention. They do seem to take comments from members on board, where they can.

Whizzz Sat 06-Aug-05 19:46:49

OO I could do - I have written off to them before when I had a major rant when DS was little about a lack of babyfood warming !!
I think it was my maternal hormones kicking in !!
(they'll say ' oh no, it's her again')

MrsGordonRamsay Sat 06-Aug-05 19:49:05

We love the NT.

But have not been through the houses properly since DS4 was tiny, we tend to use their grounds to run him ragged and take it in turns to nip into a house.

Whizzz Sat 06-Aug-05 19:52:08

I do like NT properties (although sometimes you think that pleated skirts & cardies are mandatory) and we are in 2 minds whether to join - are some better than others for children?

Maybe I could research each location myself & then hand out sheets for little children !

stacijc Sat 06-Aug-05 20:11:08

we would love to go to more places like that but with a 2yo and a 4 mo its nigh in impossible. If you can even get ur trolley up to where u are going theres no chance of lugging it round the place with you

swedishmum Sat 06-Aug-05 23:54:52

Having joined NT about 3 years ago haven't visited since! We do get good value in our area from English Heritage though. Their places tend to be a bit more "ruined" therefore better for me and my 4 (have single membership as dh is rarely home and can take in up to 7 children on my ticket!). Went to Battle Abbey this week and they loved it - some exhibition stuff and some outdoor. Often take a picnic and visit one of their properties.

Gobbledigook Sat 06-Aug-05 23:56:38

I agree Whizzz - the NT is great but they don't cater that well for little ones. Near us, Tatton is great as it has a farm and it has a great outdoor play area, but Dunham has nothing. And I've also noticed there's not much 'organised' activity for little ones too.

Whizzz Sun 07-Aug-05 13:25:00

Gobbledigook - you must be near me as those places are quite local to us too !

Right, I think a letter to NT is in order !

purpleturtle Sun 07-Aug-05 14:14:07

I would struggle to come up with relevant activities for littlies. Dd is 4, and usually moans extravagantly all the way round any house we visit, but she does enjoy the gardens and grounds, and of course the teashop!

Try playing I-spy as you go round - no worksheet required.

suzywong Sun 07-Aug-05 14:16:32

blatant hijack

is it true you are moving to Perth next month?

I am in Perth with same age kids as you, I think

Shall we do a breakaway MN meet-up?

PS if you don't want to I won't take it personally but tell me now so I stop pestering you on the MN boards

purpleturtle Sun 07-Aug-05 14:27:13

Yes, it's true! We're coming to Cottesloe mid-September. I was going to wait till we bought the tickets before I sounded you out about meeting up.

suzywong Sun 07-Aug-05 14:28:47

How lovely, have you been before, are you coming for good?

purpleturtle Sun 07-Aug-05 14:34:48

Going back to the point

Whizzz - what do you think you could come up with? (Please read that question in a friendly tone, and not the antagonistic one it looks like now I've typed it!)

I think you have to work on an individual basis, knowing what is likely to interest your own child. I think it must be very hard to come up with something that's not worksheet-based, and therefore inaccessible to most under 5s anyway.

Hardwick Hall have a sheet where you try to spot designs they're reproduced in the different rooms as you go round. It could be improved no end by a decent photocopier. But again, that's nothing that any parent couldn't do as you go round, is it?

statijc - if you're not allowed your pushchair, there's usually somewhere safe to leave it, and free slings/hippychick carriers. I don't believe that the NT is deliberately awkward towards the parents of small children - just doing its best to preserve its properties. (And no, I don't work for them, no member of my family works for them, and nobody in my immediate acquaintance works for them! I just appreciate what they do )

purpleturtle Sun 07-Aug-05 14:37:37

Suzy - I hadn't been out of Europe till I went on holiday to America in June! We're coming for 3 months or so initially, to explore the possibility of being employed by a church in Cottesloe from the New Year. We are currently living in the realm of potentials and possibilities! We're considering this a kind of unpaid sabbatical (well, long holiday in my case, actually!), but it may be that we're there longer term.

We ought to start our own thread somewhere, really. What about under meet-ups?!

Whizzz Sun 07-Aug-05 15:37:12

I thought of an I spy type game with pictures.
A sheet with pictures of something in the various rooms. Then as the grown ups are admiring the gothic design and elaborate panelling, the little ones are looking for a painting of a dog or a gold clock for example.

(provinding that is they don't run up to grab it !! )

Scatterbrain Sun 07-Aug-05 15:50:14

We went to Lanhydrock (NT) in Cornwall a few weeks ago and they did actually have a game for under 5s - they had placed 8 small toy cars in various places and the little ones had to spot them and the adults write down where (ie. which room) they were in. My dd (4.5) loved it and is still talking about it now ! Her prize was a balloon !

So matbe they just need to roll that out to their other properties ?

Whizzz Sun 07-Aug-05 15:53:54

Thats sounds great - Lanhydrock was where I had the rant about warming babyfood !

(They wouldn't warm the food for me but would give me a open jug of boiling hot water to put on a wobbly table !!!)

Tommy Sun 07-Aug-05 16:18:28

We went to Corfe Castle last week when we were on holiday. We've never been to anywhere like that with the DSs before. DS1 (3y7m) "rode a horse" all the way round and though it was great as the ruins gave his already very vivid imagination loads of scope. DS2 had to stay in the backpack and it was really wet and I was a bit worried about him slipping. We really enjoyed it though. I started thinking that it might be good to join as we won't feel like we have to stay for ages in one place to get our money's worth as we could go again to the same place at another time.

flashingnose Sun 07-Aug-05 16:18:47

The NT properties round our way are pretty good for kids and lay on special activities for them during each holiday e.g. bouncy castle, face painting, treasure hunts, dressing up etc etc.

Scatterbrain Sun 07-Aug-05 19:34:30

A friend of mine uses NT properties as service stations - they plan all their journeys around them so they can use nice loos, have nice food and a generally better break experience than on offer in motorway service stations !

clary Sun 07-Aug-05 19:47:48

I agree with some others on here, as an NT member I haunt the local properties like a bad smell, esp at this time of year.
They organise trails round the gardens, activity days eg crafts, teddy bears picnic, be a park ranger, insect hunts.
Enjoyed the Hungry Caterpillar trail at Calke Abbey just this week.
But i also agree we don’t always go in and in fact haven’t been round the inside of Calke (fascinating) since ds1 was born 6 yrs ago!
Good luck with the letter whizz.
(purpleturtle - had no idea you were off to Oz! will miss you, in person i mean...)

purpleturtle Sun 07-Aug-05 19:50:46

Thank you, clary. You may recall from the Spa meet-up that we knew we would be going somewhere other than Sheffield - 3 weeks ago it turned out to be Oz!

Do you think that NT places vary so widely according to who they have volunteering at them? You can't really impose any kind of 'corporate line' without a 'corporation', IYSWIM. Some of these places must have more 'hands-on' grandparents in their ranks than others!

purpleturtle Sun 07-Aug-05 19:52:53

I've just remembered that at Beatrix Potter's house they give children a copy of one of the books, because the pictures are all of things in/parts of the house. Didn't work for dd, because she just freaked, as usual, about being in a house at all, but I'm sure that would be great fun for a lot of little ones.

Skribble Mon 08-Aug-05 01:39:28

My DS is looking forward to another week of childrens activites at a NTS property. Mostly for over 5's.

We never bother going round the castle were to busy rampaging around the grounds discovery hidden buildings and stuff.

DD and I will go off and explore whil DS is busy, thay are doing a kids secret tour of castle this week. If I was taking under 5's round castle I would go at their pace and point out things and ask them to figure out whats things are. I never make kids wait while I read things. My Mum was the worst ever and it put me of museums and stuff for ages, she would read empty crisp packets in a bucket if it was in a museum.

If with DH we have to take turns with kids if one of us wants to read a bit more. We have been round loads of historical places and museum and always tried to work it for the kids.

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