If you’re thinking about taking the children out to one of the National Trust’s 300 historic houses, they are opening up their doors to visitors this month, after being closed for the winter.
From a parent’s point of view, a National Trust visit is all about a leisurely stroll through lovely gardens with no resemblance to the local park; an interesting snoop through the home of someone rich and/or famous, followed by a rewarding, reliably good cup of tea and slice of cake.
For a child, it’s an adventure around every corner. These places fire childrens’ imaginations for inventing stories and games. Very young children are easily pleased with the simple combination of a gravel path and a large stretch of lawn. Older children enjoy the sheer scale of the properties; the chance to explore different areas such as formal gardens, woodland and water gardens. Most places are ideal for games of hide and seek and some gardens even have a croquet lawn, which children of all ages love.
Inside the house though, things can often get a bit more challenging. Sometimes, the mere thought of your children running amok or having a tantrum amongst the priceless antiques is enough to make you turn tail and run for the cafe. Children can get bored easily, frustrated by not being allowed to touch things and go where they want. Buggies aren’t allowed in the houses, so the failsafe option of strapping your little sprinter securely in his pushchair isn’t open to you either. The good news is that the National Trust has been working hard to engage children and if you haven’t been for a while, you’ll see many changes including quizzes, trails, craft sessions and dressing up rooms.
Also, we’re really pleased that several National Trust properties have bought our Hippychick Hipseat which they offer free of charge to parents, to help them enjoy the house. The hipseat is the perfect way to enjoy/survive any museum, art gallery, fete or festival type situation, in which you are walking and standing for an extended period of time, holding your baby or toddler. It’s very light and you simply strap it securely around your waist. Your little one gets a comfortable seat close to you, and you get great back support and the weight off your arms. Parents find that they can carry their child for a lot longer and it’s easier to keep them happy when they are at your height, talking to you and seeing things from your viewpoint.
Our Hipseat has been such a success, we’ve taken orders from parents, on their way back home after a day out. They loved the hipseat so much, they called from the car to place their order. We’re hoping that more will be purchased, so that if you are visiting a National Trust property, you’ll be able to road test our hipseat for yourself!
Visit the National Trust’s website for ideas on family outings http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/visit/families/
Image used under Creative Commons Licence, credit Peter aka anemoneprojectors’s photostream