Some weekends are lazy ones, we have a slow start and stay in our pyjamas way later than we should. We have a late breakfast and cuddle on the sofa watching cartoons, we stay local if we go out for walks for spend the time playing in the garden and reading. I love these weekends but sometime you just need to get out, the walls are closing in and it feels like there are too many people in the house. The endless energy of three boys can’t be contained and no matter what the weather, we know that we need to get outdoors. That was one of the main reasons we became National Trust members, knowing that we could easily just go to one of the nearby properties for the day, take a picnic and have a nearly free day out at a moments notice.
Our nearest National Trust property is Speke Hall and has become one of our favourites. It is the perfect size for our boys as the grounds aren’t too big, we can easily see everything in one day. There is a normal playground and an adventure playground in the woods, a maze that can be completed with relatively little stress but enough fun can be had in there. The planes from Liverpool airport pass overhead and captivate the boys when they do. There are lovely formal gardens, a kitchen garden and sprawling woodland with dens to explore. The Childe of Hale trail has been there for a year or so and our boys still love it. We’ve been inside the hall once but if you’ve got young children you know that part is usually best left alone, we whisked our three through it making sure they couldn’t duck under the ropes or grab anything. A little tip if you’re going, for some reason it seems to get really busy about 2pm so we go as close to opening as we can at 10.30am and we’re usually ready to leave by the time it gets crowded.
You’ll know if you’ve been to a National Trust property recently that there is usually something going on, an event or an activity that is always family friendly. We went on May Day weekend which was their Tudor weekend – we’d been last year, in the rain, so this time round it was much better. Around the grounds we spotted a jester, Tudor characters giving tours and morris dancers. They had a little Tudor fete set up on the front lawn where the boys made their own pomanders and had a go at hobby horse jousting. We had our picnic on the quieter lawn at the back of the house and there is nothing quite like a big open field to entertain children – I think the boys would happily run round that the whole time.
As well as all this we discovered that the bluebells had come out in the woods, we’d been just a couple of weeks before and couldn’t believe the difference. My photos don’t really do it justice as it just looked like a mist of purple flowers, they were so beautiful. They’ve cordoned them off so you can walk through and because they are undisturbed they grow back better each year. The twins thought it was funnier to play with the rope than look at the flowers so I got a couple of giddy photos out of them as we walked through. We of course had to do the maze and both playgrounds, even more non-stop giddiness from the boys. However, we’ve discovered that we can get a takeaway tea and cake from the cafe, buy the boys an ice cream and get a peaceful few minutes to sit and enjoy the gardens. It’s the perfect way to finish a busy day and the banana and cardamon cake is particularly good!