Friday 28 September 2018

Visiting National Trust Felbrigg Hall with Tweens/ Teens

felbrigg hall header image

Whenever I chat with my friends who have older kids, I hear the same thing again and again. ‘Oh yes, we went to a National Trust property yesterday and the kids all moaned and didn’t want to go and then they ended up having a wonderful time’. It’s completely the same for my family, my 11-year-old twin girls yawn and whine about having to go and my 14-year-old lad says “at least you can get a good cream tea there” and is just resigned to the fact that he has to come off his PC every now and then and have a bit of family time.

We’ve been to quite a few NT properties now and we always have a great time. My husband and I said the other day that whilst they are all different, there are a lot of similarities with the properties sporting a stately home, and if you aren’t a massive history buff then they could become a bit boring. But what I think the NT do really well is engage all the family. Recently we were on holiday in Norfolk and we headed to Felbrigg Hall, it’s a well-maintained house with a superb walled kitchen garden and a large estate to explore.

Felbrigg Hall

The kids (as per always) were not impressed that we were going to a heritage property rather than down to the seafront and the 2p coin machines but as soon as we drove down the drive you could tell they were captured. The girls spotted all the cattle and people walking through their field and they wanted to do that too. But first, it was time for lunch and a bit of cake; we had delicious jacket potatoes, brownies, shortbread and coffee cake with hot and cold drinks to wash it all down. The kind of prices you can expect are £5.25 for a cheese jacket potato, £2.00 for a pot of tea and £1.95 for an NT shortbread.

Felbrigg Hall restaurant courtyard

Once we’d finished our lunch we headed into the main house and we were given a small A6 booklet with information about each of the rooms. It was a great size, very informative and a nice keepsake from our visit. The girls were given an A5 spiral-bound book for them to track around the house and find the small segment of the item shown. Each NT property we’ve been to has always seemed to have a treasure trail for the kids and they’re great. They are all different and especially good for younger kids. My 11-year-olds are on the cusp of being too old, but about 7-10 years was the perfect age for joining in with these trails/ hunts.

Felbrigg hall staircase

inside felrigg hall
Inside Felbrigg Hall 2

This was the first property we have visited that invited the guests to have a play on the piano if they could. It was great to hear JJ play.

Teen playing a grand piano

Natural Trust sites are also very good at living history events. There wasn't one going on when we visited Felbrigg Hall but we've been part of many before, finding out how the Lord of the manor lived, or following a scullery maid in her duties. On the day we visited Felbrigg has uniforms and small cleaning equipment for the children to get involved with the cleaning in the service corridor.

Tween dusting at National Trust house

What we often do as we look around properties is use our own historical or culinary knowledge to ask the kids questions and quiz them on their knowledge, making it a competition between each of them to see who can answer right first. They seem to enjoy this, and it works really well for truly historic properties, like Winston Churchills Home, Chartwell and Polesdon Lacey where King George VI and Queen Elizabeth (the Queen Mother), spent part of their honeymoon in Surrey in 1923.

The other thing that we do whilst at NT properties to help engage the kids is have a photography competition. We will set a theme, something like ‘weirdest capture’, ‘cutest smile’ or even something as simple as ‘a circle’ and then we all take pictures to try and capture the theme best. At the end of the day, whichever parent didn’t join in gets to be the judge.

Tweens taking photos of each other

Whilst we were at Felbrigg Hall the girls decided to do another photography challenge and they decided that Miss E would be a model for the day. It was so funny watching Miss M boss her around and take snaps like she was being paid to do so! They had great fun together and you can see some of the pictures over here.

Tween girl twins

I loved exploring the walled garden at Felbrigg Hall as it is bursting with colour and has some gorgeous fruit and vegetable specimens. It truly is a gardener’s delight and if I had been visiting alone I’d have happily sat on a bench for an hour and read a book, just taking in the wonderful serene atmosphere. Oh and whilst I mention books there is a good second-hand bookshop at Felbrigg Hall with quite a selection to choose from, all for very reasonable prices.

Kitchen garden at Felbrigg Hall

The wider estate is open to explore, and you are given a choice of routes in the leaflet you receive on arrival. We opted for a short 1.7mile walk by the lake and church as this satisfied the girls desire to walk through the cattle, and it was starting to get late in the afternoon too.

In all we had a lovely time at Felbrigg Hall, it did what the NT does best, provide space for families to have time together and to chat and enjoy the natural world, in amongst a healthy dose of history.

Family on a Nataional Trust wak

Cattle at National Trust

I noticed that Emma at Bubba Blue and Me has also written about Felbrigg Hall, check out her post for a perspective with a younger child.

Why not pin this post for later?

felbrigg hall pin

No disclosure is necessary as we paid for our own membership and day out.

Check out all our other National Trust reviews over here. 

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