We have been out and about making the most of our membership to English Heritage and National trust locations. We are finding that these places are not feeling terribly busy during the summer holidays yet they provide us with all we need. A place to sit and enjoy a cuppa while feeding the baby for me, huge grounds to explore, find something new and run wild for everyone and a play area for the children. Ticking all the boxes.
So far we have visited Wrest park which lets us enjoy glorious grounds from grass hills to roll down, beautiful buildings to explore, ponds and woodland areas with all sorts of wildlife to discover as well. We did an English Heritage event fairy hunt here. This was a fantastic experience, though aimed at younger children even the older ones got into it as the man doing the guided walk was incredibly funny and engaging. There’s some hands on activities inside the main house which makes for a great run and hide if the heavens open.
Another on our list was Waddesdon Manor where we enjoyed a shuttle bus through the grounds from the car park, a lego race car competition, glorious ice cream and an exhibition of animal inspired art. There is a playground in the woods on the hill, this makes walking up hill from the stable block much easier going as the play ground is on several levels so there’s lots of pit stop areas. This was ideal for my dad who had come with us and who struggles with walking up hill. There was a variety of equipment from swings and climbing frames, small slides, a zip wire and a really tall slide, there was lots to keep the three children happily occupied. There are lots of refreshment areas, meaning no where was overly busy, we weren’t faced with queuing when wanting drinks, and there was plenty of sit down areas. We took in the views of the stunning house and gardens, visited the rare bird aviary and watched the boys running around playing happily on the lawns.
Wimpole estate has been another on our visit list. Here you can enjoy a tractor ride to take you too and from the farm, although it is also a very pleasant walk. There are several animal encounters to be had, feeding the pigs, donkey grooming and cow milking etc. There are exhibitions about farming, magnificent shire horses and a piggery where you can see the piglets. We visited on one occasion and were able to quietly view the piglets that had been born earlier that day. There are beautiful gardens, tea rooms, a restaurant, trees to climb and a woodland adventure playground. We haven’t even been near to the main hall part of this estate there is just so much to see and do. Next to the play area at the picnic area at the farm you can buy a delicious light lunch, hot pot of the day. It comes with chunky bread and is great value for money and very tasty on both occasions I have had it.
At Audley end J took part in an English Heritage event, training of the troops. A small assault course under orders of a shouty soldier. Again, play area, tea room, trees to climb. Large open areas of grass to run around on. Some beautiful ponds and lakes. There is the option to buy duck food should you wish too. You can view the horses in the stable block and find out about the history of the estate. Across the road there is a minitaure railway which we walked across to also visit. Here we took the children on a ride that lasted approx 20 minutes through woodland where we were able to look out for wildlife and the teddy bear houses.
AS well as the National trust and English heritage locations we also paid a visit to Wendover woods A forestry commission site that is home to a large gruffalo statue. We have the gruffalo spotter ap on my phone and N really enjoyed seeing the characters come to life before jumping in to have his photo taken with them. This is a fantastic way to get small people walking through the woods and also a little bit of fun for us adults too. There a cafe in the woods to enjoy a sit down and refreshments following the 2.5km trail.
Another woodland area we enjoy is Rushmere country park Here N loves walking through the bushes and trees searching for the goblin doors. We like to visit in spring when you get magnificent views of the nesting herons, and there is again a very tall slide which the children love. There is also a smaller sanded play area for younger ones. This was the filming location for the game show the wild things and so you can find the tall wild things gate which looks quite mystical standing tall in the middle of the woods. There is a giants chair which makes for some fun photographs and plenty of pretty carvings and sculptures along your walk.
We enjoy getting out and like to find new places. Generally the children are wild, they feel grounded and happy wherever there is water or there are trees, animals are bonus. These places have fulfilled our needs so far this summer.