Osterley Park and House – and Our First Time in a Canoe

It was a sunny day so I suggested we travel to West London to try Osterley Park and House – our National Trust membership has just renewed for an eighth year so I wanted to use it as quickly as possible.

Osterley Park and House is over in West London, around an hour for us in the car. You arrive and you wouldn’t feel like you’re in London at all, apart from being underneath the Heathrow flight path, so you see a plane every minute or so.

Osterley Park and House

Osterley House dates back to Tudor times – we ran out of time to investigate so we’ll have to go back. We were going to combine a trip with Syon House but ran out of time – there was way more to do than we thought.

The National Trust website mentions sports activities in Osterley Park, so we headed there as it sounded like something fun to do. Little did we know it would be a LOT of fun. H has played badminton twice now, so any excuse to find some space to have a proper game, right? (and they provide racquets too)

Osterley Park and House badminton


In conjunction with the National Trust, a local canoeing club offer you a 30-45 minute canoe around the pond there. At £6 per person we thought it was pretty reasonable – the main issue for me was how deep was the lake?

It isn’t that deep at all, probably up to H’s shoulders, so we could have stood comfortably in there had we fallen out. Nonetheless, we wore life jackets and I instantly wondered what on earth I was getting myself into.

Canoeing at Osterley Park and House

The canoe sessions are running until October, and are definitely worth doing! For the more experienced canoeist you could take one on your own. If there are just the two of you, there are plenty of two man canoes. Ours holds three people so we didn’t get wet (you do in the canoes for two). My feet still ended up soaked but oh my, it was GREAT fun! We went around the lake twice, and ended up exhausted – it took a short while to get our rhythm as well as making sure none of us shuffled around too much.

But that’s not all, because Osterley Park has a trail – a natural play trail. How cool is that? If you head for the long walk around the grounds you’ll find it. There are plenty of bits of wood marked like this

Osterley Park and House arrow

You come across wooden features like this

Osterley Park and House wooden climbing natural play

and this

Osterley Park and House natural play 2

or this

Osterley Park rope swing

and even this

Osterley Park and House Rope Swing 2

until you reach the really big natural play area with this

Osterley Park and House giant swing

and a tree you can climb which is a really good tree for climbing, with a ‘climb chime’ half way up.

Osterley Park and House Chime Climb

and this – but of course who needs an invitation when it comes to building dens?

Osterley Park and House den arena

We could have spent far longer at Osterley Park and House, which means we’ll just have to go back. Next time we’ll combine it with that trip to Syon Park we didn’t manage to get to.

Here’s their website.

Country Kids

Easter Egg Hunts – Where to Go?

It’s almost that time of the year again, Easter. Every year without fail we find ourselves at a National Trust Easter Egg hunt which are all brilliant, and well organised. This year we fancied a change. But where to go?

Easter Egg hunts are starting around now, the start of April. Most run for a few weeks, but please check the links provided for more information.

National Trust and Cadbury Easter Egg Hunts logo

The National Trust Easter Egg hunt are great. They work with Cadbury’s, and usually have some kind of trail around the place you’re visiting. I’ve spotted easy ones for younger children and slightly more complicated ones for the slightly cockier over 7’s (read : H). They’re suitable for all and perfect for glorious sunny days. The eggs are pretty good too!

You can find more information here. There is usually a cost involved on top of your National Trust membership.

[We pay for National Trust membership every year]

hampton court magic garden h on dragon

Historic Royal Palaces have some trails on as well. We’re probably going to do Hampton Court Palace this year, who are doing their trail in conjunction with Lindt. I’m actually wondering if adults can do it too… It is Hampton Court’s first ever Easter trail. I love Hampton Court, and the Magic Garden has reopened for the season as of yesterday (1st April). I can’t think of a better reason to go! The Easter Egg trail is included in your admission price.

[We get free entry to Hampton Court as it is part of the CSSC scheme]

hever castle

Hever Castle has an easter egg hunt, another Lindt one. I don’t think we’ll have time to do this one this year, but having had a day at Hever recently, it would be a wonderful place to wander around in the sun, especially knowing there is Lindt chocolate involved at the end. The Lindt Gold Bunny hunt is free, and they have additional activities available at a cost. Worth looking into anyway!

[We have Historic Houses Association Membership so can enter Hever Castle for free]

Our Summer - Tintagel

English Heritage also have some Easter Activities on – with all sorts of activities. They look pretty awesome, and don’t mention chocolate… Not all English Heritage places are doing it, so please check this link for more information. They also fall around the Easter weekend, rather than the start of April.

[We are English Heritage members via CSSC and the above link is an affiliate link]

Picture-perfect picnic spots with the National Trust

There’s no better way to celebrate summer than packing a picnic and catching up with friends and family. With miles of coastline and acres of countryside, the National Trust cares for some of the best spots in the country for eating al fresco and enjoying stunning views.

For those whose picnic preparation isn’t quite up to scratch, there are also plenty of ways to make it extra-special with the delicious seasonal food on offer at National Trust cafés and shops.

Here are some of the top picnic spots and places to stop for a tasty treat:

South West
Avebury, Wiltshire
If you’re looking to picnic in historical surroundings then Avebury is the perfect spot. The pretty village is partially encompassed by the world’s largest prehistoric stone circle, now a World Heritage Site. There’s plenty of green space to throw your rug down and little ones will love rolling down the surrounding hills and banks. On the edge of the village stands Avebury Manor, which was recently transformed in a partnership between the National Trust and the BBC. The Manor creates a hands-on experience that celebrates and reflects the lives of the people who once lived in Avebury; the perfect educational accompaniment to a glorious picnic.

Lanhydrock, Cornwall
Lanhydrock estate covers 1,000 acres, with parkland, ancient woodland and riverside paths. Pack a rucksack and go on a family adventure to find your perfect spot. The estate has lots of cycle trails and even has bikes to hire, so you can plan a day full of exploration. Once you’ve had your fill of sandwiches and adventures, why not relax in the gardens and take in the beautiful scents of blooming herbaceous borders.
For information on bicycle hire, please call: 01208 265975

Studland Beach, Dorset
Take the children for a good old fashioned day out on this golden sandy beach that stretches four miles from South Haven Point to Old Harry Rocks. It’s an ideal place to enjoy the simple pleasures of beach picnics and tumbling sandcastles. And with shallow bathing water it’s perfect for paddling with the little ones. You can also visit the nearby ruins of Corfe Castle to discover over 1,000 years of history and relive childhood memories by seeing the inspiration behind Enid Blyton’s Kirrin Castle in the Famous Five.

A family enjoys a picnic on the lawn at Polesden Lacey, Surrey ©National Trust Images Stuart Cox
A family enjoys a picnic on the lawn at Polesden Lacey, Surrey ©National Trust Images Stuart Cox

South East
Polesden Lacey, Surrey
Lazy Jazz Sundays, every Sunday June – September & Bank Holiday Monday 29 August, 2pm – 4pm
Unwind on the lush green grass of Polesden Lacey’s South Lawn to the melodious tones of live jazz music. You can fill up your hamper with treats at the café which will be offering pick-up-and-go food for impromptu picnics. Every penny you spend in the café helps the National Trust care for special places like Polesden Lacey for summers to come. Afterwards take a stroll through the gardens and estate where stunning displays of climbing roses and double herbaceous borders will be in full bloom.
Price: Free event (normal admission charges apply)
For more information, please call: 01372 452048

Morden Hall Park, London
Jazzy June Evenings, 17 & 24 June, 8pm – 10pm
Morden Hall Park is green oasis, giving you a taste of the country at the end of the Northern Line. Every Friday throughout June, Morden will be staying open late and playing host to an evening of jazz in the historic stable yard. A different group will be performing each week, so bring a picnic, grab a glass of Pimm’s and take the chance to dance the night away.
Price: £8 in advance, £10 on the gate (booking essential)

Woman relaxing beside the River Wandle at Morden Hall Park, London. ©National Trust Images John Millar
Woman relaxing beside the River Wandle at Morden Hall Park, London. ©National Trust Images John Millar

Stowe, Buckinghamshire
Stowe is a place of such scale and beauty that it has attracted visitors for over 300 years. This timeless landscape, created by the celebrated gardener ‘Capability’ Brown, is full of picture-perfect viewpoints, winding paths, lakeside walks and classical temples. Drop by the café to add an extra homemade treat to your hamper. There’s everything from mouth-watering cheese scones and sausage rolls to indulgent slices of cake, so all you need to do is bring a rug and choose a spot to enjoy the view.

Blickling Estate, Norfolk
With a shimmering lake, shady woodland, colourful garden and rolling green parkland, you’re never far from an idyllic picnic spot at Blickling. Take a stroll around the grounds to find your picture-perfect setting. After tucking in, set the kids loose in the secret garden and ancient temple, and smell the wonderful citrus trees in the orangery. The whole family can also hire bikes and segways to explore the park, with every penny going towards conserving the beautiful landscape.

Flatford, Suffolk
Flatford Mill is right in the middle of Dedham Vale, part of the rolling Essex landscapes that inspired Constable’s idyllic rural paintings. This is great walking countryside, so why not pack a rucksack full of treats and head out onto the trails for a day of family fun. There are plenty of spots along the way to relax by the water’s edge and enjoy your feast. Or you can even hire a boat from the nearby boathouse and row down river to see the beautiful surroundings from a new perspective.

Wimpole, Cambridgeshire
Admire the views of the recently restored Gothic Tower at Wimpole Estate with a picnic in the north park. The 18th-century tower, designed to look like a picturesque medieval ruin, makes a picture-perfect backdrop for any picnic. You’ll be able to see right across the estate as you enjoy the peace and tranquillity of your surroundings. Afterwards, take a stroll around the gardens and woodland and find out how Wimpole’s gardeners are using greener gardening techniques to safeguard the future of this glorious estate.

Visitors at Stowe Landscape Gardens, Buckinghamshire. ©National Trust Images John Millar
Visitors at Stowe Landscape Gardens, Buckinghamshire. ©National Trust Images John Millar

Berrington Hall, Herefordshire
Enjoy the splendour of Berrington Hall’s ‘Capability’ Brown parkland from the comfort of your picnic rug this summer. The lake at the centre of the park is a haven for wildlife, carefully cared for by Berrington’s gardeners and rangers. Herons, mute swans, great-crested grebes and much more live there so there’s always something to see. Afterwards take a stroll around the walled garden to see the flourishing orchard, flower borders and vegetable patch.

Clumber Park, Nottinghamshire
Escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and take the time to get closer to nature at Clumber Park. Whether it’s cycling, orienteering or a gentle stroll you’re after, there are plenty of opportunities to have fun with all the family. Afterwards you can enjoy a shady picnic in the woodlands or overlooking the glittering lake. The kids can climb, swing and run around in the play park, try out some of the ‘50 things’ activities or pick up a family tracker pack to see what they can find.

Croome, Worcestershire
Croome was Capability Brown’s first landscape garden and it’s the ideal place to relax with some tasty treats. When it comes to picnicking you’ll be spoilt for choice with tranquil spots overlooking lakes and rivers, next to statues, bridges, follies or classical temples. There are plenty of activities to keep the kids entertained too, including a natural play area with den building and an exciting programme of walking trails to explore.

Plas Newydd Country House and Gardens, Anglesey, Wales. ©National Trust Images John Millar
Plas Newydd Country House and Gardens, Anglesey, Wales. ©National Trust Images John Millar

Chirk Castle
Chirk Castle is packed full of fantastic places to picnic, each with their own charm. Relax in the Kitchen Garden with far-reaching views along Offa’s Dyke and into the Ceiriog Valley below, or up at the castle you can picnic and play in the meadow with views for miles across the Cheshire plain. Why not spread a blanket on the grass in the courtyard, or if it’s tranquillity you’re after then head to the terrace at the bottom of the gardens for beautiful views across Shropshire from the ha-ha.

Dinefwr Park and Castle, Carmarthenshire
Settle down for sandwiches at Dinefwr Park and keep an eye out for the resident fallow deer that have been roaming the land for 1000 years. What better place to lay down your picnic blanket than the only parkland National Nature Reserve in Wales. Stop beneath an old oak tree or next to a flower-rich hay meadow cared for by National Trust rangers and watch the world go by. There are some designated picnic benches on the estate too.

Plas Newydd Country House and Gardens, Anglesey
With atmospheric views across the Menai Strait and to Snowdonia’s mountains, and beautiful blooming gardens throughout the summer, it’s never hard to find a perfect picnic spot at Plas Newydd. Settle down with a hamper on the lawns to the north of the mansion and you’ll be rewarded with views of the Italianate Terrace, where hot borders are a virtual furnace of reds and oranges, including canna, rudbeckia and dahlia.

Fountains Abbey,  ©NT Images Andrew Butler
Fountains Abbey, ©National Trust Images Andrew Butler

North West
Borrowdale and Derwent Water, Cumbria
Just five minutes’ walk from the quaint market town of Keswick, the Borrowdale Valley is a great place to get an introduction to walking in the Lake District. There are plenty of trails up onto the fells, or you can stick to exploring the pebbly shores around Derwent Water. Brandelhow on the western edge of the lake makes the perfect picnic location, with far-reaching views across the water and loads of space for the kids to run around in.

Quarry Bank, Cheshire
Picnic on the Mill Meadow at Quarry Bank, set against the backdrop of the 18th-century Georgian cotton mill in the valley of the River Bollin. With scenic panoramic views and plenty of space to play in, it’s the ideal place for a day of fun in the sun. Quarry Bank even welcomes four-legged furry friends to its woodlands and gardens, so you can explore the estate as a whole family.

Wray Castle, Cumbria
Perched on the shores of Lake Windermere, this mock-Gothic castle with turrets and towers provides a great backdrop for a family day out. Settle down with a feast at the picnic tables just outside the castle and you’ll be rewarded with stunning views in all directions. Little visitors will be excited to know that there’s now a mini ‘treecastle’ in the outdoors play area, so after you’ve had your fill of feast why not head out for an adventure?

Visitors in the grounds to the south front of Beningbrough Hall, North Yorkshire. ©National Trust Images John Millar
Visitors in the grounds to the south front of Beningbrough Hall, North Yorkshire. ©National Trust Images John Millar

Yorkshire and North East
Beningbrough Hall, York
Beningbrough’s gardens are full of secret nooks where you can picnic surrounded by flowers and wildlife. Or if you prefer a bit more space, why not throw the rug down on the south facing lawns and soak up some summer sun? If you’re hoping to build an appetite first you can borrow a bike for the day. There’s a selection of bikes and trikes on offer, and even one with a picnic-carrying carriage so you can tow along your lunch to your perfect destination.

Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal, North Yorkshire
On a glorious sunny day you can’t beat packing a picnic and heading for the abbey green. With acres of lush green grass and the stunning 800 year old abbey ruins as a backdrop, it’s not hard to find a picture-perfect spot. Afterwards, take a stroll among the trees on the edge of Studley Royal deer park or along the banks of the river Skell and see if you can spot some of the 500 wild red, fallow and Sika deer.

A family day at Wallington isn’t complete without the chance to play games in the outdoors. Bring your Frisbee or football or set off towards the West Woods for a wild adventure. If you’re looking for a quieter spot to relax then why not set out a blanket and tuck into a picnic on the lawn at the end of the walled garden. Overlooking the little pond, it’s the perfect hide away for a tranquil afternoon.

Northern Ireland
Rowallane Garden, County Down
Just a short drive from Belfast, Rowallane is a beautiful setting for a walk and picnic. During the summer the walled garden is brimming with colour, from egg-yolk yellow hypericum to bright pink shrub roses. There are plenty of picnic benches around the grounds, or you can take a blanket and find your own hidden corner among the blooms. Head to the garden café for extra treats, where every penny you spend goes towards conserving places like Rowallane for summers to come.

The Argory, County Armagh
Deep in the green County Armagh countryside is a place where the mist rolls down to the River Blackwater and time stands still. Enjoy peaceful views of the river, running wild in the woods and adventure playground, and mulling over the sun dial. The Courtyard Coffee Shop is full of fresh, home-baked scones, sandwiches and cakes so you can grab an impromptu picnic while you’re there.

Florence Court, County Fermanagh
Build up an appetite for a picnic with a day of adventures at Florence Court. There are miles of glorious walks and cycle trails through the forest, a playground for little explorers and the opportunity to discover more about nature with adventure tracker packs. Take a stroll to visit the blacksmith’s forge and carpenters workshop, then relax with a picnic in the peaceful gardens and enjoy the mountain views.

Every single visit supports the National Trust’s conservation work, looking after special places for people to enjoy for years to come.

Cadbury teams up with the National Trust to offer families a cracking Easter weekend 

It’s that time of the year again when Cadbury teams up with the National Trust to offer families the ultimate day out with their popular Easter Egg Hunts.

A photo posted by Jo Brooks (@mumfriendlyjo) on

This year, the Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt (25 – 28 March*) will be inviting families to unleash their inner explorer with adventurous quests taking place across the country.

From spring woodlands and craggy coastlines, to historic houses and enchanting castles, there are over 250 Cadbury Easter Egg Hunts to choose from across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, guaranteeing a fun-filled Easter for everyone.

What’s more, everyone will be rewarded with a delicious Cadbury chocolate treat at the end of each completed hunt, and every single Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt will help support special places looked after by the National Trust for future generations to explore.

To join in with the fun and find a Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt near you, visit: www.cadbury.co.uk/easter

National Trust Easter 2016 Topiary bunny
Conservation charity, National Trust, unveils a series of show-stopping topiary Easter bunnies to celebrate the ninth year of their partnership with Cadbury Easter Egg Hunts. Taking place at 271 National Trust locations over the Easter weekend (25 – 28 March), the special topiary bunnies will be on show at select National Trust places for visiting families to spot on their Egg Hunts. Helping to preserve special places for generations to come, the National Trust anticipates over 3 million visitors over the course of the weekend, and has received an impressive 362,592 Cadbury chocolate bunnies in preparation.


London & South East

Mottisfont, Hampshire

Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt, 25 March – 10 April, 10am – 5pm

Ancient trees, bubbling brooks and rolling lawns frame this lovely house. Crafted from a medieval priory, it is full of surprises, both inside and out. Pick up an Easter hunt sheet, full of brain teasers and craft activities. Follow the trail to discover giant eggs hidden around the grounds, and complete challenges with your family to earn a delicious Cadbury treat.

Price: £2 per hunt (normal admission charges apply)

For more information, please call 01794 340757


Morden Hall Park, London

Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt, 3 – 6 April, 10am- 4pm

At the end of the Northern Line deep in the heart of sprawling south London, you can step off the train and hop into the countryside at Morden Hall Park. This Easter, families are invited to follow a special hunt, with clues that will have you searching high and low through tree-lined paths and riverside lawns. To top it all off, each egg hunter is rewarded with a yummy Cadbury chocolate treat.

Price: £4 per hunt (normal admission charges apply)

For more information, please call 020 8545 6850


Stowe, Buckinghamshire

Stowe’s Sleeping Beauty Quest – Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt, 25 – 28 March 10am-4.30pm

This Easter embark on a quest to awaken Sleeping Beauty from her slumber, and in return claim your delicious chocolate treat. Fairy-tales, myths and legends have been weaved through the garden, where chivalrous knights and courageous princesses will hunt for clues. The quest will take you past mystical lakes and deep into the Sleeping Wood to claim your egg and finish on a happily ever after.

Price: £2.50 per hunt (normal admission charges apply)

For more information, please call 01280 817156


Chartwell, Kent

Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt at Chartwell, 25 March – 10 April, 11am – 4pm

This year, discover Easter characters from the 1920s era as they take you on a good old-fashioned adventure around Chartwell. The Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt will wind through the natural play areas and finish with a delicious chocolatey treat. Afterwards, stick around for more Easter related fun and grab a chick-shaped shortbread in the café.

Price: £2 per hunt (normal admission charges apply)

For more information, please call 01732 868381


Woolbeding Parkland, West Sussex
Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt and Spring Nature Trail, 27 March, 10.30am – 3.30pm

Hop down to Woolbeding Parkland for an exciting day of Easter fun. There’ll be a Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt down by the River Rother where adventurers can hunt to claim their Cadbury treat. Make a day of it and stay for crafty egg-decorating fun and all sorts of competitions from egg rolling and egg and spoon races, to face painting, an old-fashioned egg shy and creative craft activities. It’ll be hard to know where to begin!

Price: £3 per hunt (normal admission charges apply)

For more information, please call 01730 816638


South West

Dunster Castle, Somerset

Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt, 25 March – 10 April, 10am – 4pm

This dramatic Norman castle, perched on the top of a wooded hill is an impressive place for an Easter Egg Hunt. The quest will take noble explorers through the garden where they will solve clues to win the ultimate reward, a delicious Cadbury chocolate treat.

Price: £2 per hunt (normal admission charges apply)

For more information, please call 01643 821314


National Trust Easter 2016
Conservation charity, National Trust, unveils a series of show-stopping topiary Easter bunnies to celebrate the ninth year of their partnership with Cadbury Easter Egg Hunts. Taking place at 271 National Trust locations over the Easter weekend (25 – 28 March), the special topiary bunnies will be on show at select National Trust places for visiting families to spot on their Egg Hunts. Helping to preserve special places for generations to come, the National Trust anticipates over 3 million visitors over the course of the weekend, and has received an impressive 362,592 Cadbury chocolate bunnies in preparation.

Dyrham Park, Gloucestershire

Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt, 25 – 28 March, 10am – 5pm

Complete with roaming deer and herds of cattle, Dyrham Park’s 270 acres of wild parkland is perfect for a day of adventure. And what better way to explore than on an action-packed Easter Egg hunt? Complete the hunts to claim your Cadbury chocolate treat, and afterwards take a look around the house, where tours will take you high above the roof of this 17th-century mansion to see the restoration works from a birds-eye view.

Price: £2 per hunt (normal admission charges apply)

For more information, please call 0117 9372501


Kingston Lacy, Dorset

Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt, 25 March – 10 April, 11am – 4pm

With acres of beautiful gardens and parkland to explore, including a kitchen garden with a royal reputation, you can have a great family day out at Kingston Lacy. This Easter help Bunny find all his giant egg creations around the garden. Each egg is different and some are easier to spot than others. Once you have found them all claim your very own Cadbury chocolate treat.

Price: £2.50 per hunt (normal admission charges apply)

For more information, please call 01202 883402


Knightshayes Court, Devon

Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt, 25 March – 28 March, 10.30am – 4.30pm

Head over to Knightshayes and revel in the Easter fun, where little explorers can hunt high and low for clues in the magnificent garden. There’s a yummy chocolate treat from Cadbury when you’ve completed the hunt. Stick around after for craft activities and face-painting.

Price: £3.50 per hunt (normal admission charges apply)

For more information, please call 01884 254665


Lanhydrock, Cornwall

Lanhydrock Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt, 25 March – 10 April, 10am – 4pm

Calling all Easter detectives, there’s a mystery to be solved! Head to Lanhydrock to uncover the clues while exploring the colourful garden, ancient woodlands and riverside paths. All detectives can claim their Cadbury chocolate treat once the mission has been completed. Afterwards head to the adventure playground for some wild play, or go on a family bike ride on the special family trails.
Price: £3 per hunt (normal admission charges apply)

For more information, please call 01208 265950


Stourhead, Wiltshire

Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt, 25 – 28 March, 11am – 4pm

Take a trip to Stourhead this Easter where egg hunters can explore through towering trees, by mystical grottoes and past a glittering lake. Make a day of it and bring a picnic, best enjoyed on the rolling lawns with views that stretch across the Wiltshire countryside. Afterwards, keep the family fun going and play giant games in the garden.

Price: £2.50 per hunt (normal admission charges apply)

For more information, please call 01747 841152



Melford Hall, Suffolk

Cadbury’s Easter Egg Hunt, 25 March – 28 March, 12pm – 4.30pm

Enjoy a family day out at this eclectic home deep in the Suffolk countryside. Join the ever-popular Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt to solve the clues and claim your chocolate treat. Afterwards why not test your skills in the egg and spoon races or try your hand at some colouring in the crafts corner.

Price: £2.50 per hunt (normal admission charges apply)

For more information, please call 01787 379228


Sutton Hoo, Suffolk

Eostre – Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt, 25 – 28 March, 10am – 5.30pm

Easter is named after Eostre – the Anglo-Saxon goddess of the radiant dawn, so what better place to celebrate than here at Sutton Hoo. Discover the secrets of the Anglo-Saxons on the fabulous Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt and collect your chocolate treat at the end.

Price: £2.50 per hunt (normal admission charges apply)

For more information, please call 01394 389700


Wimpole Estate, Cambridgeshire

Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt, 25 March – 8 April, 10.30am – 4.15pm

Take a trip to this beautiful country home complete with a working farm and resident bunnies. Rhyming clues will lead you on an egg hunt around the gardens, but to claim your chocolate treat you’ll have to find the hidden magic word.

Price: £2 per hunt (normal admission charges apply)

For more information, please call 01223 206000




Kinver Edge and the Rock Houses, Staffordshire

Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt, 25 – 28 March, 11am – 3pm

Go on a woodland hunt to learn all about the wildlife of Kinver Edge, and find your chocolatey treat awaiting you at the end. Afterwards, take a stroll around the unique rock houses, carved by hand out of the sandstone ridge, and let off some steam on the Adventure Play Trail.

Price: £2 per hunt (normal admission charges apply)

For more information, please call 01384 872553


Attingham Park, Shropshire

Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt, 25 – 28 March, 10am – 4pm

Explore Attingham’s vast parkland this Easter and follow a Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt to unravel the clues and claim a chocolate treat. Continue the family fun with spring activities and a good old run-around in the playfield.

Price: £2.50 per egg hunt (normal admission charges apply)

For more information, please call 01743 708123


Upton House and Gardens, Warwickshire

Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt, 25 – 28 March, 11am – 4pm

Upton’s gardens are worth exploring at any time of year, and even more so when there’s chocolate at stake. Discover the great outdoors on this Easter Egg Hunt through the sweeping lawns and colourful flowers. Afterwards, have a go at the Wellington boot trail and see if you can spot some spring wildlife.

Price: £2.50 per hunt (normal admission charges apply)

For more information, please call 01295 670266


Clumber Park, Nottinghamshire

Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt, 25 – 28 March, 11am-4pm

This Easter there will be no less than four days of family fun, with the Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt through the Pleasure Grounds and across the mansion site, along with mini children’s rides and activities such as face painting and a BBQ. And if that’s not enough, there’s the whole park to explore on foot or by bike with plenty of wildlife to spot.

Price: £3 per hunt (normal admission charges apply)

For more information, please call 01909 544917


North West

Fell Foot, Cumbria

Cadbury’s Easter Egg Hunt at Fell Foot, 27 March, 11am – 3pm

Perched on the edge of the stunning Lake Windermere with rolling lawns and views up to the mountains, Fell Foot couldn’t get much more idyllic. Enjoy an action-packed day out in this glorious park with a Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt, traditional Lakeland Egg rolling, family-friendly games and much, much more.

Price: £2 per hunt (normal admission charges apply)

For more information, please call 015395 31273


Wray Castle, Cumbria

Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt, 25 – 28 March, 10am – 4pm

This Easter make a splash and visit Wray Castle nestled on the shores of Lake Windermere to discover turrets and towers fit for a knight in shining armour. Have fun exploring this quirky building, weaving your way through woodland and rambling along the lakeshore, solving clues along the way in order to claim your Cadbury chocolate treat.

Price: £2 per hunt (normal admission charges apply)

For more information, please call 015394 33250


Ennerdale, Cumbria

Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt, 27 March, 11am – 3pm

Enjoy the great outdoors at this activity-packed Easter Egg Hunt in the wild Ennerdale Valley. There’s a Cadbury chocolate treat waiting for you at the end too. Starting at the Bowness Knott car park, the hunt will take you on an adventure around the lakeshore, through the woodland and along the forest track with loads to discover along the way. Perhaps you’ll find a Tree Spirit, help the Easter Egg Tree to grow or hear a woodland tale.

Price: Free event

For more information, please call 017687 74649


Dunham Massey, Cheshire

Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt, 25 – 28 March, 11am – 4pm

The Earl and the Countess are coming to Dunham Massey for a picnic to celebrate their wedding but the food is hidden all over the garden! Can you save the day and follow the hunt to find the food? It’s hungry work, so chocolate treats will be plentiful at the end.

Price: Free event (normal admission charges apply)

For more information, please call 0161 941 1025


Speke Hall, Liverpool

Cadbury’s Easter Egg Hunt, 27 – 28 March, 11am – 4pm

Glorious gardens and woodlands surround this magnificent Tudor manor house. Venture through the blooms of daffodils and bluebells to solve the clues on the Easter Egg Hunt and receive your delicious Cadbury treat. Once you’ve finished the quest why not head to the house and see if you can track down all the run-away chicks? They’re counting on you!

Price: £2 per hunt (normal admission charges apply)

For more information, please call 0151 427 7231


National Trust Easter

Yorkshire and North East

Wallington, Northumberland

Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt, 25 March – 3 April, 11am – 4pm

Amble down to Wallington’s West Wood for a wild Cadbury Easter Egg hunt amongst the trees. This rambling wildlife haven is complete with red squirrels and a bubbling river. Follow the hunt through the woods, keeping an eye out for resident wildlife, and claim your yummy Cadbury treat at the end. Why not top the day off with a hearty family picnic and a game of Frisbee?

Price: £2.50 per hunt (normal admission charges apply)

For more information, please call 01670 773606


Fountains Abbey & Studley Royal, North Yorkshire

Easter Egg Hunt, 25 March – 10 April, 10am – 4pm

I spy with my little eye… an Easter bunny! This spring at Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal little bunnies have been hoppety-hopping around the estate. Head over bridges of the river Skell, explore around every corner of the Abbey ruins, and follow the waterways of the Georgian gardens to find them and get a yummy Cadbury chocolate treat. There’ll be lots of family fun along the way too, including crafts in Swanley Grange and a brand new adventure playground.

Price: £2 per hunt (normal admission charges apply)

For more information, please call 01765608888


Northern Ireland

Murlough National Nature Reserve, County Down

Easter Egg Hunt, 26 March, 2pm – 3pm

Join the Easter fun on these beautiful windswept sand dunes, where an Egg Hunt will have you searching high and low to discover the hidden treasure. Murlough is a wonderland of wildlife, so keep your eyes peeled for seals and resident seabirds as you explore.

Price: £1 per hunt (normal admission charges apply)

Booking Essential

For more information, please call 028 4375 1467 or email murlough@nationaltrust.org.uk


Ardress House, County Armagh

Easter Egg Hunt, 25 – 30 March, 1pm – 6pm

The Easter Bunny has made a hunt around the farmyard and gardens at Ardress House. Follow the clues to unlock the tasty Cadbury treat. Stick around afterwards to explore the apple orchards and feed the resident chickens. And on Easter Sunday there’ll be games, face painting and more family fun.

Price: Free event (normal admission charges apply)

For more information, please call 028 8778 4753


The Argory, County Armagh

Easter Egg Hunt, 21 March – 3 April, 12pm – 5pm

Where could be better to enjoy Easter than in the beautiful wooded estate surrounding this country house in County Armagh. Solve the clues to find the Cadbury chocolate treats with this fantastic hunt around The Argory Estate. Enjoy some eggstra fun on Easter Monday and Tuesday with face painting, games and more fun for all the family.

Price: Free event (normal admission charges apply)

For more information, please call 028 8778 4753


Springhill, County Londonderry

Easter Egg Hunt, 21 March – 3 April, 12pm – 5pm

Bounce down to Springhill this Easter where you can search the house and grounds for clues on the Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt. After you claim your delicious chocolate treat, why not stay for extra fun on the natural play hunt, or join in the face painting and games on Easter Sunday and Monday.

Price: Free event (normal admission charges apply)

For more information, please call 028 8674 8210




Erddig, Wrexham

Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt, 25 – 28 March, 10am – 5pm

The Easter bunny will be hopping over the wall into Erddig’s beautiful garden to offer families the ultimate day out with a Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt. Unleash your inner explorer to solve the clues dotted around the garden and outbuildings to claim a delicious Cadbury chocolate treat. Once you’ve completed the egg hunt there’s more fun to be had inside the house where some special Easter chicks are hiding, can you spot them all?

Price: £2.50 per hunt (normal admission charges apply)

For more information, please call 01978 355314


Plas Newydd House and Gardens, Anglesey

Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt, 25 – 28 March, 11am – 3.30pm

Bunny has hopped over the Menai Strait and has been up to his tricks again. He’s hidden clues for you to find all around the gardens at Plas Newydd. Help us find them and claim your special Cadbury chocolate treat. You can even take part in the famous Easter Sunday egg rolling race after, or head to the Dairy Wood for some wild time in the adventure playground.

Price: £2.50 per hunt (normal admission charges apply)

For more information, please call 01248 714795


Penrhyn Castle, Gwynedd

Cadbury Easter Weekend, 25 – 28 March, 11am – 4pm

The cheeky Easter Bunny has hidden clues behind the front doors of our woodland friends’ houses, dotted around the woods and garden. And that’s not all, while he was busy setting his clues, Bunny’s family have disappeared. Can you help him find his family, who are lost inside the castle? After you’ve helped Bunny and claimed your chocolate treat, there’s even more fun to be had with fluffy-eared team games and Easter crafts galore.

Price: £2 per egg hunt (normal admission charges apply)

For more information, please call 01248 353 084


* Some Cadbury Easter Egg Hunts will be running for an extended period over the Easter holidays, please visit www.cadbury.co.uk/easter for more details.

National Trust membership offer

This Easter, if you take out a National Trust membership by Direct Debit, you’ll receive access to over 500 special places across England, Wales and Northern Ireland that can be enjoyed all year around. Any new membership taken out with Direct Debit over the Easter weekend at a National Trust place will receive a Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt voucher, valid until Monday 28 March. The voucher entitles the holder to free, unlimited Cadbury Easter Egg Hunts on presentation at a participating property – the voucher is multi-use. The cost of the hunt bought on the day of taking out a membership to the National Trust will also be refunded. Plus every membership helps the National Trust carry on looking after these special places and spaces for ever, for everyone.

National Trust and Cadbury Easter Egg Hunts logo

Bluebell Railway and Sheffield Park

We’ve wanted to go on the Bluebell Railway for a long time now, but never seemed to time it right. We finally went on New Year’s Eve, driving down to Sheffield Park where it starts, making it with minutes to spare.

Bluebell Railway

From Carshalton to Sheffield Park on a good day it takes an hour, which isn’t bad at all – we bought tickets for the Fairy Godmother Specials (£17.50 per adult, £9.00 per child – slightly more than a standard all-line return), which gives you third class seats plus you get a mince pie and are served drinks. After a crazy end of year I was more than happy to sit down, watch the world go by and drink a glass of white wine.

For H’s ticket she got a pack of smarties, a balloon character made (Tigger!) and a little bag with a toy lion in it which was lovely.

The journey there and back took around two hours, and it was good to switch off and take in the Sussex countryside.

Sheffield Park National Trust

Afterwards we decided to head up the road to Sheffield Park, a National Trust place we’ve never visited. Our main purpose was to grab some food, and then spend their last hour open of 2015 wandering around the grounds. They had a trail which immediately appealed to H, looking for various wicker sculptures (A Winter’s Trail) around the grounds – so once we had eaten we headed out – and it was fairly easy to do in an hour.

One sculpture had blown away, but otherwise there were eight sculptures of varying designs dotted around the grounds which H loved finding (as well as stopping to splash in a few puddles). Sheffield Park is a landscape garden with much of the layout and design coming from Capability Brown, who worked on a few gardens and houses we’ve been to.

Sheffield Park National Trust

Sheffield Park has many lakes, joined together with interesting bridges, walkways, paths and gardens. You can hear the whistle from the Bluebell Railway from time to time as you walk around, but most of all you can breathe; the fresh, crisp country air is all around you.

We arrived at Sheffield Park train station for the 12.15 train, and left Sheffield Park National Trust at 4pm – and could have stayed for longer too!

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Headley Heath Glow Worm Walk

Calling all young nature lovers! The National Trust on Headley Heath is inviting guests to join them on a children’s night time stroll looking out for glow worms. Well worth the late night at the start of the summer holidays, the walk, which will be held on Friday 24 July from 9 -11pm, is a special chance to see these rare bugs. Suitable for ages 5+, the short walk will start with a warming hot chocolate and an introduction to the magical world of these glowing insects.

Glow worm on Headley Heath credit Andrew Wright

Ranger Will Frost, who has looked after Headley Heath for the past 4 years says “glow worms are usually found on grassy slopes, verges and hedge banks on heaths and open grasslands, especially in chalky and limestone areas. We’ve spotted them over several years on Headley Heath and we can’t wait to share the magic of them with our younger visitors. Truly a magical sight and one that they’ll remember for years to come”.

Suitable for ages 5+, tickets for the event cost £6 per person and need to be booked in advance by calling 01372 220644. The event, which will start at 9pm will last until approximately 11pm.

Did you know? Five facts about glow worms:

  • There are four types of glow worm: Tropical, U.S., New Zealand and European.
  • They are neither worm nor fly, but are in fact beetles, resembling woodlice more than a beetle with the female glowing strongest to attract the male.
  • They are most commonly seen between late May to September.  They glow for a few hours at a time and usually stop after mating.
  • Adult glow worms can’t feed and live only 14 days. The adult female glow worm has a glowing life of only a few weeks until she mates and dies shortly afterwards.
  • The light from the glow worm is cold and is a form of Bioluminescence. It is caused when a molecule, luciferin, is oxidised to produce oxyluciferin with the enzyme luciferase acting as a catalyst in the reaction.

Polesden Lacey Photography Competition

Polesden Lacey is holding a competition in search of their ‘Photographer of the Year’ for 2015.

polesden lacey wild flowers

The property itself is a photographer’s playground offering bags of inspiration, including sweeping views, idyllic formal gardens and Edwardian interiors crafted by the gentlemen who designed the Ritz. This year’s competition asks for photographs on the theme ‘Celebration of Colour’ capturing the vivid colours of Polesden Lacey wherever they might be found.

Ten finalists will be selected, one of whom will be named Polesden Lacey’s ‘Photographer of the Year’ and win the prestigious Spectrum Award. All finalists, including the winner, will have their work made large as photographic installations and displayed throughout the grounds at Polesden Lacey in their Autumn photography exhibition, which begins in September.

The judging panel will be made up of Polesden Lacey staff including Head of Collections, Jonathan Marsh, and one of Polesden’s top volunteer photographers, Eddie Hyde.

“People love sending us their photos of Polesden,” says Camilla Morgan, Polesden Lacey’s Marketing Officer. “Some of the photos are so beautiful that they end up in our leaflets or on the website. The competition is a way for us to showcase the work of our most talented visitors.”

You can enter the competition by liking Polesden Lacey’s Facebook page and posting up to two photos on their wall. You must include the words ‘Celebration of Colour’ in your post. You may also enter via email but everyone is advised to read more about how to enter the competition, including the rules, terms and conditions on the Polesden Lacey website. The submission deadline is midnight on Friday July 31st.

To enter, go to www.facebook.com/PolesdenLaceyNT or for more information visitwww.nationaltrust.org.uk/polesdenlacey or call 01372 452048.

Wildlife Jack – I Want to Fly by Ed Kellie

Wildlife Jack – I Want to Fly comes from The National Trust via Pavilion Books and is based on the Wildlife Jack tv series.

Wildlife Jack - I Want to Fly

Wildlife Jack – I Want to Fly has been described by Chris Packham as “a great introduction to nature” – and when you’re young anything which makes it interesting has to be a good thing. So what’s the story about?

Jack is an ordinary boy who lives in the city but he loves birds and animals and learning more about their world. His Grandad is an explorer and gives Jack a very special book, full of pictures from his adventures. As they read it together, Jack’s bedroom transforms around him and his own wildlife adventure begins.

Jack uses his special ability to talk to birds and discovers their extraordinary world. He learns about their ability to fly and wishes for wings of his own.

Wildlife Jack - I Want to Fly inside

H says “he tries to fly, and in the book we get to learn about all the different types of birds, and what they look like. I like the pictures of them, as it helps me learn what they look like when I see them in real life” – I think this may be the case for me as well! There are also interesting bird facts on the front and back covers which H has enjoyed learning about.

The illustrations are the same as the show – photos of birds alongside the cartoons of Wildlife Jack.

Wildlife Jack is a new series on the Disney Channel, is narrated by Chris Packham, and is aimed at 2-6 year olds. The series uses film footage of birds with Wildlife Jack being a cartoon and is a great entry-level into the world of nature. You can understand why Chris Packham is involved.

Wildlife Jack – I Want to Fly book has lots of facts in it about birds – handy as H loves to learn. The story itself is a simple one, not too many words so ideal for very young readers, but enough information that even more experienced readers will learn at the same time. We love it!

The National Trust publish this book via Pavilion Books, with a rrp of £6.99 and is available to buy now (affiliate link).

We were sent the book for the purpose of review, all opinions are our own. 


Knole has been on our to-do list of National Trust properties for a while now, and we finally made it there today.

Knole House

Knole has been one of those properties we’ve always wanted to go to, and I’ve always had that “but it’s in Kent” excuse about it. Kent is actually really close – much closer than I realised. So close in fact, we made it there in around an hour which isn’t bad at all – mainly thanks to the M25 being pretty clear.

Knole deer

On entering Knole, you’re met with fields, space, woodland. DEER! As Shaun said “it’s like going around Richmond Park” except the deer didn’t step out in front of us, luckily.

There are renovations going on at the moment – so no National Trust shop, though there is a temporary outdoor cafe – and fortunately it was the right kind of weather to eat out, so we grabbed sandwiches and a drink and did that. There was an old red bus doing journeys for £2.50 into Sevenoaks and back again which looked quite fun, but we didn’t want to spend £7.50 – and we’d spent a while driving too. The new cafe and bookshop should open this summer.

knole house

Knole itself is a huge property, now owned by the National Trust, though the Sackville family still live there (they rent apartments from the National Trust), and with hundreds of years of history inside. I quite enjoyed looking at all the paintings, though my history and religious knowledge let me down a lot. Shaun isn’t much help either! H was given a quiz on a clipboard to do around the house which relied a lot upon this knowledge, but we muddled through.

Knole kids craftsThere were kids activities on today too – H did some colouring and was so patient too, I know she takes her time much more with pencils than anything else, and her tidiest work is done that way. She really enjoyed colouring in the letter H, she made an H bookmark (which will get used a lot) and made a little book (with her own motto ‘Be Kind’) with things to spot inside the house, just before we went in.

Knole itself isn’t just the house though, or indeed the gardens which are privately owned but opened once a week. There are the grounds too – with deer, so many deer who don’t seem so timid when you’re close (but don’t get too close – there are signs asking you not to feed or pet them). There are tree trunks to climb on, and vast green spaces to have a picnic or fly a kite if the weather is right. There’s also a golf course nearby.

Knole House

I really enjoyed it for viewing some history – H found it interesting doing the activities. We easily spent four or five hours there anyway! There are Kids Activities going on Mondays through the summer holidays – check their website for more information.

Lots Going on at Hatchlands Park

Hatchlands Park has a Sylvanian Families trail, free for kids. H did it and enjoyed it – but remember to take a pen! It’s fun and informative – and gave us a walk through a different area of Hatchlands too. It’s very suitable for little ones too – nice paths though a few trip hazards – but lots of fun!

Hatchlands Park Sylvanian Families trail

The bluebell woods are in full bloom too – Hatchlands Park is famous for the bluebells, and they never disappoint.

hatchlands park bluebells

Best of all though, Hatchlands Park has fairy doors in some trees – there are seven in all. We found five – and it was a good distraction for H who was feeling tired and hungry at this point – expect more to appear at random times!

Hatchlands Park Fairy Doors

“I don’t believe in fairies, apart from the Tooth Fairy” my five and a half year old told me. She still tried to have a look behind the doors – so there’s still some magic there.

A quick play in an empty field with H’s boomerang, and a wander around the grounds, before making our way to the play area with plenty of things to play and balance on, and H was pretty tired.

hatchlands park

Hatchlands Park was rammed when we went – but we luckily managed to find a parking space. I think a lot was due to it being the Bank Holiday, but also I think the fire at Clandon Park just up the road contributed to the numbers. The Sylvanian Family trail was quick, and follows the one track but was well suited for H. The bluebell woods have several pathways to take (hint – the ones along the bottom have the fairy doors, but the best bluebell views are on the longer pathway).

The pony trekking was there again too – but again we didn’t get a chance – next time – we’ll always go back to Hatchlands!

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall