While we were camping at Deersglade campsite, most of our friends spent bank holiday monday at Bewilderwood. As a family we didn’t fancy that – we’re not good at queuing, and I had a feeling queues may be involved on a bank holiday. Instead I’d taken both our National Trust and English Heritage handbooks and we looked for something nearby.
There were two candidates that stood out, Blickling Hall and Fellbrigg Hall. We decided that we’d keep Fellbrigg as a possibility for a stop off on the Tues and go to Blickling, mainly on the grounds that Blickling wasn’t open on the Tuesday 🙂
We didn’t regret the choice for a moment. Blickling is absolutely stunning, and really, you could spend days there rather than hours. It was our first visit to a National Trust property since buying membership at Sutton Hoo and I think may well have put us half way towards paying for membership. A visit with parking would have cost £30 🙁 We need to cram in a few more visits to make it all worthwhile, but I think we’ll probably manage it over the summer.
With it being a slightly cold day (understatement!), we decided we would focus on the inside of the house, and leave the stunning gardens for another day. Turns out that The National Trust provide packs that children can borrow – these consist of a “gone exploring” badge, so that room stewards know what they are up to, a folder with a page of suggestions of things to look at in each room, pen/pencil and pads for making of notes, and torch, magnifying glass, binoculars and measuring tape so that they can really focus in.
Those who know Small will know he was in his element with this pack. Big was too, just as soon as the connection with Anne Boleyn was mentioned – and she kept careful note of the Hobart bulls as we went around the house.
The room stewards were unfailingly polite and helpful – when we broke for lunch part way through one of them short cutted us out to the main door and when we reappeared a little while later took us back to where we’d broken off 🙂 We had our lunch (using our rather wonderful Outwell Calabash Picnic Bag, complete with wine glasses for squeezed orange juice don’t you know 😉 ) at a picnic table next to the little play area – the kids played in a determined fashion despite the chill while I walked briskly to the car with soa to fetch the food.
The only bit missing appeared to be rubbish bins, surely a reasonable addition to a picnic area?
To summarise – we loved Blickling Hall. We fully intend to go back and enjoy it again, and we were very impressed with our first experience of National Trust properties as members. It was a very good day out. Oh, and the children even got to keep their “Gone exploring Blickling Hall” badges 😀