Updated: Feb 25
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Are you a National Trust member looking to find new places to explore? or interested in becoming an NT member and want to know what is on offer first?
Well, we've explained previously how being a member works for us...
We like to take Staycations, a break away, respite, whatever you wish to call it but this usually means a roadtrip, rest breaks at an NT site can give us somewhere new to explore, as well as a much needed toilet trip and caffeine boost!
Overall, single property admission prices can be quite hefty for a family, we have found that having a membership has meant that if we only have a limited time, it takes away the burden of having to stay longer because of the cost of getting in.
It gets us outside! Fresh air to clear away the cobwebs! The National Trust has something to suit all...beaches or forests? Stately homes or Castles? A maze or an adventure playground? Oh and did I forget, it's educational too?...but can be in a fun way to learn. Allowing us to explore history and learn facts about local places and expand our knowledge about properties and sites around the country.
So now the list... we've rounded up 5 favourites in and around Hampshire.
Mottisfont Abbey. Hampshire.
The abbey is a historical priory, dating back to the 13th Century, and a country estate. The house now stands as a museum, often hosting art galleries and exhibitions. Surrounding the house, are walled rose gardens, lawned areas perfect for picnics and games and a riverside walk along the River Test.
For families, the property regularly hosts trails with various themes, the trail featuring characters from the Julia Donaldson books was fantastic and Heath Robinson's Invention trail was also a great addition for slightly older children.
There is also a natural play area with balancing blocks and sensory trail, as well as a water play station, with dams and pump.
🌟🌟Good to know:
Free Entry and Parking to NT members.
Golf Buggy service offering transportation between visitor centre, house and walled gardens.
Toilets in the main buildings.
Shop and Café on site.
Winkworth Arboretum. Surrey
We stumbled upon this treasure by accident and are so glad we did. We were in the area with a few hours to spare and found it on the National Trust app. (Free to all)
Winkworth is located in Godalming and is a tranquil, hillside Arboretum, which is now managed and cared for by the National Trust. Offering 95 acres of carefully chosen shrubs and trees, it is a beautiful place to be, whatever the season.
There are 3 walking trails of various distance and gradient, meaning some are more accessible than others. There are lakeside walks with a lake hut (if open or not already occupied) offering a quiet spot to sit and take in the surroundings. The Trust regularly offer activity trails, mainly during school holidays, that allow children to find, identify or take part in activities around the arboretum. They have all been reasonably priced at only 50p each.
The adventure playground is not to be missed, with monkey bars, rope bridges and towers, the new addition was a huge hit on our visit.
🌟🌟Good to Know: Free entry and car park to NT members. Tearoom at the entrance (no admission fee needed)
Stourhead, is a Palladian house and gardens, in Wiltshire. With spectacular views, lakeside walks, and temples, there is so much to see.
At over 2600 acres, this is one of the largest National Trust Properties we have visited.
During school breaks Stourhead offers trails which take you on a journey around the ground and the lakes. There are lots of places to explore with temples, grottoes and hidden caves.
🌟🌟Good to know: Free admission and parking for National Trust members. Cafe and Toilets on site. Accessible gravel paths BUT a few steep hills
Petworth, West Sussex
Petworth House, a house and parkland, in the beautiful setting of the South Downs National Park. It is a 17th Century country house that is open to the public, it has an extensive deer park that was landscaped many years ago, by Capability Brown. It is now home to the largest herd of Fallow Deer in the whole of England.
What does it offer for families? As I have stated previously, The National Trust are doing their utmost to encourage families to visit their sites, Petworth also offers trails which usually extend around the Pleasure Gardens, a 30 acre woodland garden with plants and shrubs from various places across the globe. A sea of yellow covered the pleasure grounds on our visit, with hundreds of daffodils ready for Spring. The grounds are amazing, very picturesque!! There is a vast amount of space to run, play and roll down hills. A lake to stroll around and spot all kinds of wildlife, ducks, geese, birds of prey, and sometimes even mice. Take an extended walk around the parkland and you may be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the deer. 🌟🌟Good to know:
Large pay and display car park (free for NT members, as well as free admission) .
Cafe and toilets on site.
Pleasure grounds firm track suitable for pushchairs and wheelchairs (although on a slight gradient) Parklands are grass, with some areas being covered in mounds.
Kingston Lacy, Dorset.
Kingston Lacy is a 17th Century country house and estate close Wimborne Minster, Dorset (also not to far from Bournemouth Beach) It is positioned on a 410 acre grounds and garden, it had remained in the Bankes family, until the passing of John Ralph Bankes, in 1982, when it was handed over to the National Trust along with Corfe Castle.
There is a woodland walk , which was in the direction of the natural play park. Throughout the woods there are fun additions with wooden tic-tac-toe, natural twig picture frames for a photo stop, pigs and instructions for things to spot and identify. The play park is set in an open space with natural climbing structures, balancing blocks and ropes. With play parks and large open spaces, Kingston is the perfect spot for a picnic and is wonderful on a warm day.
🌟🌟Good to know: Pay and Display parking (Free to NT members, as well as free admission) Admission to house runs on timed entry. Cafe and toilets on site.
Looking to join or find out more? www.nationaltrust.org.uk