We’ve been members of the National Trust for a few years now, we renew every year and it’s definitely worth every penny. For a small monthly fee, we have hundreds of days out available for us and all we need to do is explore and decide where to go! The monthly payment including parking, so there’s a feeling of ‘free days out’, it’s great value for money, leaving more cash for an ice cream on your day out!
Within an hour of the Manchester area, you can explore several National Trust properties and gardens and there’s so much to discover.
We also usually visit one of our favourite places at a weekend or when we’re away in the Lake District for example we love to visit Wray Castle. We also try to discover new places when we’re visiting somewhere new, like Fountains Abbey and Beningbrough were both fascinating when we visited the Yorkshire Dale’s.
There’s usually always something on whether it’s special seasonal events or family fun half term events. My kids are quite happy putting on some wellies and splashing in a puddle with a stick. Also, if there’s a trail or kids quiz, my eldest will be happy.
We recently visited Quarry Bank Mill which has had a fabulous refurbishment. My son was given an explorer kit to wear for our visit, which was like a tool belt filled with binoculars, magnifying glasses and other exciting things. He was over the moon!
It was tough to decide but here’s a few of our favourite National Trust places to visit-
Dunham Massey (Cheshire) is less than a 40 minute drive from my house and we are regular visitors. The garden is great to see in all seasons and we tend to always pay the gardens a visit every time. My kids love to take part in their garden trails, they are always well organised and very entertaining. We have taken part in Reindeer trails, searched for owls, wellies, flowers to name just a few.
We have also attended several events at Dunham including a fabulous free circus event and last December we attended Christmas at Dunham which was spectacular.
There’s also a huge deer park with long flat paths which are great for prams and bikes. The kids love to spot the deer from a far as well as climbing the trees and exploring the dens. Dunham doesn’t have a play area, but kids have never noticed, there’s always so much to do!
Speke Hall (Liverpool) is a beautiful Tudor building in a very usual area for its wonderful surroundings. We have visited twice as a family and we will be back again soon. Speke Hall and Gardens is fantastic for children, there’s a couple of play areas, a huge maze, a Giants woodland trail filled with music and magic plus so much more to discover.
We have also taken part in their garden quizzes and welly trails too.
Last spring we were lucky enough to discover thoroughly bluebell walk and it’s definitely worth seeing!
Fountains Abbey (North Yorkshire), this place is definitely one of a kind! I can’t wait to visit again. The ruins of the magnificent Abbey are a fantastic sight to see. We went on a beautiful sunny day and the scene was glorious, hundreds of families picniced and played on the huge lawn that fronts the Abbey.
Our kids absolutely loved the timber play area. There’s zip wires and swings, something for everyone and all ages!
Wray Castle (Ambleside) is a play we have visited several times over the years, and it’s definitely one of our favourite places to visit with the kids when we are in the Lakes. It’s not a usual NT castle, it’s for kids! The rooms have been emptied of breakables and antiques, and filled with toys and games! There’s everything from rooms filled with princess dresses and suits of armour, to a ping pong table and even giant foam building blocks but our favourite part is the Peter Rabbit rooms.
Your children can visit Peter Rabbits home, explore Mr McGreggers Garden and climb into the tree house!
We have visited Wray Castle throughout the seasons, but my favourite is Springtime. Last year we did the Cadburys Easter Egg hunt there and found hidden treasures outside in the grounds of the castle. There’s a fantastic adventure playground outside that the kids love, lots to climb on! There’s some lovely walks around the castle, but also a fab little beach area! We can’t wait for the spring weather so we can have a picnic on the beach! The car park isn’t very big, the NT advise you to come early or park in Ambleside and get the boat across to the castle itself, although we’ve never had an issue with parking.
We also love Tatton Park, Quarry Bank Mill, Croft Castle, Lyme Park and many more. Have I missed your favourite? I’m always on the look out for new places to explore with my family, let me know!