Sunday, 21 April 2013

Petworth House and Park

Last weekend, The National Trust opened many of their properties for free. We decided to take the opportunity to visit Petworth House and Park, probably our closest property and somewhere that we had never been before.

Petworth House, situated in Petworth, West Sussex, is a 17th century mansion set in a 700 acre landscaped deer park. It is famous for housing an important collection of paintings and sculptures, and the largest herd of fallow deer in England live in the grounds.

It was one of the first warm days of the year, and the car park was busy when we arrived. We paid £3 for parking, but considering that our entrance was free we felt that was very good value. One thing that I've noticed about National Trust properties is just how friendly the staff are. As we walked into the house with the pushchair and Harry in tow, a lovely lady stopped me to tell me all about the extra things they have going on for little ones, and the staff around the house all made an effort to interact with the children.

In most of the rooms there was a box with some kind of activity - dressing up clothes, a miniature room furniture to move around, a Henry VIII jigsaw to do in front of the actual portrait, some plastic tableware to practise setting a table for a formal dinner. Harry loved finding the boxes in each room and seeing what was inside to explore, and they really helped to engage him with his surroundings. There were also cuddly puppies hidden around the house for the children to find - I was quite pleased to spot our first one until a gaggle of children behind us cheerfully announced that he was puppy number six!

We spent a good amount of time looking around the house, and Harry was never bored. Mia also loved being allowed out of the pushchair to walk around, under close supervision of course!

Petworth House and Gardens

When we had finished seeing the house we sat out in the garden and had a picnic. It was probably the most relaxed meal that we have ever enjoyed, the children sat happily on the rug eating their sandwiches and we soaked up the warmth from the sun. When we had eaten we set out to explore the large park. Harry did brilliantly, he's not the best when it comes to walking but we walked a very long way. There is a large lake with ducks to feed, and then we climbed a steep hill up to a wooded area with some ancient trees, including one that was hollow inside, and a fallen tree trunk which children could climb on.

Petworth House and Gardens

We had a really lovely day. I am gradually becoming more relaxed about our days out as the children get older, and I am enjoying being out as a family much more. We haven't bought Merlin passes this year, so we have a whole list of local attractions that we are hoping to visit and I'm really looking forward to it now that it's all becoming easier.

Did you take advantage of the National Trust free weekend? Or did you find another way to enjoy some rare sunshine?

7 comments:

  1. I had no idea the grounds were so vast - will definitely have to take my two!

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    1. I'd really recommend it, the grounds are huge!

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  2. Thanks for blogging about us. Those cuddly spaniels in the house are quite hard to spot! We'll pass on your nice comments to our staff and volunteers.

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    1. Thanks for coming by, and I'd love you to pass on my comments!

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  3. Sounds like a good day out and it does get easier and the children begin to appreciate the time out. I would love you to join my CountryKids linky, all about outdoor fun with the kids every Saturday to Thursday.

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    1. Thanks for inviting me over, I have joined in!

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  4. We used to go there: a great place for day out! Looks like you had a lot of fun :)

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