Following the mantra that there is no such thing as bad weather… only inappropriate clothing, some of our best days out with the kids have been to National Trust properties. With beautiful gardens, wonderful cafes (often serving home-grown produce) and play trails / adventure areas for the kids, it’s a great opportunity to get the whole family outdoors. Educational too, with fantastic historical properties, although the kids usually groan when we suggest going inside the houses they always find something interesting to look at from Tudor bedrooms slept in by Kings and Queens to Victorian kitchens (…and a promise to swing by the sweet counter at the NT shop usually helps.)
Sometimes we’ll meet up with a crowd; it’s fun for the kids to dress up and do the mazes and trails with their friends or cousins. On these occasions we tend to take picnics as a big crowd with kids can be overpowering for other diners as well as frazzling for parents, but often if it’s just the four of us, we’ll grab something to eat in the delightful cafes and restaurants. Whenever we travel in the UK, we’ll find a National Trust place to stop and recharge our batteries at a half way point. The properties are everywhere and much nicer than stopping at a motorway cafe (sorry Heston!) After a couple of hours in the car, a stroll around stunning gardens letting the kids run off pent-up energy is just what we need and as we visit regularly, the Family Membership is excellent value for money at under £100 per year (see link for special new member deals).
Throughout the year there are a host of additional activities and especially during the summer months, there is outdoor theatre, live music, guided walks and afternoon teas – booking essential. We’re spoilt with Cliveden in Burnham Beeches, Basildon Park near Pangbourne and the Vyne in Basingstoke all on Windsor’s doorstep, but if you’re travelling further afield there are hundreds of place to visit.