In keeping with many we used the time between Christmas and the New Year to blow off a few cobwebs and get out and about. After a few lapsed years we had renewed our National Trust membership this year and so decided to try and get to a different property each time we went out. In the end we managed five in five different counties, which I don’t think is too shabby.
On the first few visits the weather was cold and crisp with a frost on the ground. By the end of the week the weather had turned and it was drizzly and grey and that is very much reflected in the pictures below. If you wrap up well the former is much preferred.
So without further ado here are the places we visited:
Grey’s Court, Oxfordshire
Grey’s is a good place to visit as it has a mixture of walks, a walled garden and maze to explore. The five-bean soup was also welcome after a walk round the grounds.
Sunday 28th December
Amount saved: £21.60
Osterley Park, Middlesex
We’d not been to Osterley before but again it has a good mixture of woodland walks and some formal gardens to explore. I can imagine that the latter would look great during spring and summer and so I can imagine that we will be visiting again. Lunch was in the old stables and was good.
Monday 29th December
The Vyne, Hampshire
Another family favourite with a long walk through the woods adjoining the property. We arrived at the tea shop too early for lunch but Helen enjoyed her cream tea.
Wednesday 31st December
Claremont Landscape Gardens, Surrey
This was the place that I enjoyed the least as it was too formal for my liking and was relatively small compared to the others which meant that even though it wasn’t crowded you did keep bumping into people on the way round, not something that happened on the woodland walks of the others. Just a cup of tea for me please!
Thursday 1st January
Basildon Park, Berkshire
My absolute favourite place to be. Once, a long time ago, at NCT classes were were given an exercise to imagine a calming place that we would like to be. Both Helen and I, independently, chose Basildon and it still is a lovely calming place to be. This was particularly true on this damp and drizzly day and we were the only ones to brave the long walk through the woods. We certainly felt that that we had earned our soup (butternut squash and red pepper) and cream teas!
Saturday 3rd January
Whilst this wasn’t an exercise in saving money we do like to think that we have made the most of our membership so I totted up how much the entrance fees would have been had we paid separately and it came to a total of £73.40. From memory we paid about £75 for a (discounted) annual membership for two and given that we have been to several other properties since rejoining we have definitely more than saved the membership fee. Of course we could have chosen to go to some public places instead but would the soup and cream teas have been as good. I very much doubt it!