Family days out are just the best, aren’t they? There is nothing like getting everyone in the car and heading off somewhere in search of adventure and fun. There are loads of free things you can do as a family out of the house, trips to the beach, country walks and so on, but some days out can cost a small fortune. I don’t even want to work out how much money Oli and I have spent on trips to the zoo, farms, aquariums, theme parks and activity centres since we had Leo 3 years ago. My guess though is that it would be a lot! When my super generous sister bought Oli, Leo and I an annual membership to the National Trust earlier this year I was so happy. What a fantastic way to get us out and about and exploring new places as a family. Since March we have visited lots of National Trust properties and we will most certainly be renewing our memberships when they expire next year. If you don’t know what the National Trust is all about you should check out their website and see if there are any properties near you waiting for you to explore. I love my National trust membership and here are 5 reasons I think you might just love having one too.
5 reasons why you need a National Trust membership.
1. Lots of outdoor space – The majority of National Trust properties are surrounded by beautiful country walks and gorgeously maintained and designed gardens. With all this outdoor space there is no better day out for a toddler, all that nature around them is just waiting to be explored. Some properties even have their very own lakes and ponds and you can often find ducks and swans hanging around. We loved strolling round all the different gardens in the spring time and seeing all the flowers in bloom. Leo really enjoyed taking in all the bright colours and looking at all the different flowers. You also get free parking at all National Trust sites and this includes several coastal walks and woodland areas, even more outdoor adventures can be had at no extra cost to you.
2. Fun things to do – During the summer holidays and in half term many National Trust properties hold special exhibitions and events to make a visit even more enjoyable for the kids. Over the summer Leo and I had fun exploring the world of Beatrix Potter at Mottisfont Abbey and we had a fun family day out to Basildon Park where several ball runs had been set up around the site for the kids to play with. Many properties have special events and trails running over Christmas too, it is always worth checking your local property’s webpage to see if there is anything fun going on – to get a pack to do the trails properly usually costs about £2, a small donation I am happy to pay. The activities are always something a little bit different and make a fun refreshing change to a trip to the playground or your local soft play.
3. Cute tea rooms – I just love a tea room. Maybe it is because I am a cake obsessive but if we visit somewhere and it has an adorable tea room then it is safe to say I will immediately fall in love with it. All the properties we have been to have never let us down when it comes to food and the tea rooms are always so well designed, clean and feel like they have always been a part out the beautiful properties they are found in. You can obviously take a picnic with you if you want, we do usually, but sometimes it is nice to treat yourself to something yummy.
4. Lots to learn – Of course, I can’t sit and talk to you about the National Trust without mentioning the actual properties. There are abbeys seeping in history, stunning stately homes, castles, Tudor houses and the list just goes on. If you love learning about heritage and want an exciting hands on way to get your kids interested in history too, then exploring the hundreds of National Trust properties across the country is a great way of doing just that. When exploring the grand, beautifully impressive buildings I often find myself imagining what life would have been like living there, hosting big feasts and mingling with royalty.
5. It feels like a free day out – Ok so I know it’s not technically free as you have to pay for a membership but once that’s paid you don’t need to worry about entry fees or parking prices again. Over the summer Leo and I visited our local National Trust property several times, I would pack us some snacks and we would spend the afternoon exploring the house, running around outside and having adventures in the enchanting woodland and gardens. If you take your own food with you, the only thing you ever have to pay for is your petrol to get you all there. If you don’t want to spend a penny then it is definitely doable with so much to see and do, just steer clear of those tea rooms – those cakes are just too tempting.
Current fees for National Trust membership ..
If my love of the National Trust has got your attention and you are interested in becoming a member too, here are the current annual membership prices as of September 2016 –
Young person (13-25) £31.50
Child (0-12) £31.50
Under 5s Free of charge.
My family and I really do love a day out to a National Trust property. We have visited lots of local ones but there are still so many in Hampshire we still haven’t seen. Once we have visited all of those we will be venturing off a little bit further in the car to see what else we can find. I wasn’t sure if we would actually use our membership cards when my sister gifted us them but, as it turns out, they have been one of the best presents ever. I will happily be coughing up the cash for a new membership when ours expire next year.
Do you have a National Trust membership? Do you enjoy family days out like this? What is your favourite National Trust property? We are always looking for somewhere new to go. I would love to hear your thoughts.
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