Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Visiting National Trust Properties Local to East Sussex

Since we moved to East Sussex 18 months ago we have really enjoyed visiting the local area and getting out and about. Some of our favourite visits have been to National Trust sites, using our family membership. I thought it was time I bought all the reviews I have written together in one place and I'm also planning for this year where we should visit, we could go back to the old favourites but actually I think it is good to experience something new.

Bodium Castle

Robertsbridge, East Sussex - We've been to Bodium Castle a few times now and there is something wonderfully peaceful about it, even on a busy day when the kids are off school. I always manage to get lovely photos here and they have fun kids activities and living history events in the school holidays. 

Burwash, East Sussex - We also took a trip to Rudyard Kipling's home. Bateman's is a glorious house with so much to look at but it was the grounds that won over the kids, a working water mill and fish pond complete with jumping koi. This is one site I would like to visit again.

Enjoying the fish at Bateman's

Eastbourne, East Sussex - Time and time again we have been back to the Birling Gap and Seven Sisters and each time we take a mini bus full of different people so they can experience the wonder of the beach and the glorious cliffs. Our lunch and some fun and games on the cliff top make for a wonderful afternoon. You can walk for miles and explore for hours if you so wish.

Lamberhurst, Kent - Scotney Castle was a great day out last September, the weather was fine which meant the kids loved exploring the grounds and my Mum and Aunt enjoyed the splendour of the new house. I personally was enthral led to find out that the Ashburnhams' had first owned the old castle as I now live in the grounds of their ancestral home.

The beauty of Sheffield Park

Uckfield, East Sussex - We have only had one visit over to Sheffield Park and Gardens so far and we left it a bit late in the day really as by the time we had finished looking rounded the formal beautiful gardens and had a tasty cream tea the kids were wanting their dinner. Next time we go here it is with the intention of just exploring the parkland and enjoying some of the outdoor trails and den building areas. There is acres and acres to explore. Perhaps one to take my parents and their dog along to or maybe we will join one of the bluebell walks in April/May.

Westerham, Kent - The NT property that my son and I are desperate to visit is Chartwell. This is the family home of Sir Winston Churchill and is supposed to be amazing, just imagine the conversations and planning that went on in that house all those years ago and the rooms remain the same. Of course the part the girls will really enjoy will be the woodland trails filled with natural play areas, swings and den building. An extra treat might be to go along between 3-6th April so the kids can take part in the Cadburys Easter egg trail.

Cranbrook, Kent - One of the sites pretty local to us is Sissinghurst Castle Garden so this will be an easy visit, this weekend perhaps? We can look around the 450 acre estate, see the ruined architecture of the original house, look out to spectacular views from the tower and see the working farm.

Haywards Heath, West Sussex - The pictures of Nymans look just delightful but the reason this one is on my must visit list is because there is geocaching in the gardens and woods and my kids will love that. Add it to a play trail, second hand bookshop (JJ always find great old Beano annuals at NT properties) and cafe and my kids will be over the moon. You can see why this makes the NTs list of the top 10 gardens for kids to play in.

Stunning gardens at Scotney Castle

East Grinstead, West Sussex - I think Standen House and Gardens is a site we will head to in the May half-term as they have plenty of things going on for 50 things may-hem. I do love this initiative from the National Trust, last year the kids loved their little books where they could tick off all the activities they have completed before they are 11 3/4, which for JJ is just a few months away!

Petworth, West Sussex - The NT say that Petworth House is one of their sites which works just as well on a rainy day as it does on a sunny one. It is a vast and complex site with so much to explore across a 700 acre deer park. Petworth House is home to the NTs finest collection of paintings and it is great to be able to talk to the children about painters from the past.

It has been great exploring the NT app, website and handbook as I put this post together as it has really reminded me just how many sites are within 20/25 miles of where I live in Battle, East Sussex. I would totally have missed the Saddlescombe Farm (at Devil's Dyke) open day on Sunday 26th April and this sounds brilliant with tours of the buildings and demonstrations of traditional work like hurdle making, shepherding and carpentry.

I hope I've interested you to take a look and see which National Trust properties are close to you. They really are worth a visit with the family.

Disclosure: We paid for membership ourselves for this past year but I have been gifted some family passes to use in the next couple of months

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