In 2015 we joined The National Trust. We were in Cornwall, the rain was beating down and had been for two days, the wind was rather dominant and it was the August Bank holiday.
What to do with a bored 9 years old and a borrowed 15 year old (my niece)? Also we were a little down on our uppers and the National Trust offered monthly instalments. And so we took the plunge and have never looked back. We have been to so many stunningly beautiful places; we have centred weekends away around National Trust properties, we have been inspired and in awe (and sometimes a little spooked). For family membership we pay about £9 a month and we try and visit something at least once a month (our record being 5 in 2 days, although we are off the Cheshire next weekend so watch this space).
I really love the ethos of the National Trust, the volunteers are knowledgeable and very enthusiastic, the cafes and restaurants are usually very good (although they do get very busy) but we often take a picnic. I’m a bit of a picnic addict, I have far too many wicker hampers, cool bags and melamine, I get very excited by picnic mats and multi-tools. Sad, I know. Often we’ll pack an empty hampers and stop at a farm shop or deli on route – sampling the local cheeses, breads or pies. It’s always lovely to immerse ourselves in the area, last week we enjoyed a bottle of local cider and a chunk of Single Gloucester from Morton-in-Marsh’s cheese shop before visiting nearby Chastleton House .
We preceded our visit to Chastleton with a few hours wandering about the flagship gardens at Hidcote which were an absolute delight, in fact we plan to return there to see them in the other seasons, I should imagine early summer would be exceptional.
The gardens would inspire anyone to turn their hand to horticulture, the wild cottage style gardens within gardens were wonderfully informal (and the ice-cream was good too!)
As with all National Trust properties it’s very family friendly, there are lots of things for children to get involved in, we enjoyed the Croquet (although it did get a little bit, shin-achingly competitive). So it’s a thumbs up for The National Trust and no doubt I will be hopping on my soapbox to extol their virtues for many years to come!