Saturday, 19 July 2014

The day we joined the National Trust

With each passing milestone, you think you've reached adulthood: learning to drive, voting in an election, having genuine ID, getting a sensible job, moving in with the boyfriend, owning a car, owning a Dyson, getting married, owning a whole load more stuff, having a baby... You have the worry lines, the creaking joints and the sensible shoes.  You are more likely to choose a nice dry sherry over a vodka mixer...

But nothing says "Grown Up" quite like buying yourself membership of The National Trust.  Yes, today The Husband and I finally succumbed to the lure of pleasant family days out and cream teas, shelled out almost 100 quid, and stuck the precious oak leaf sticker to the windscreen: 

With a trip to Cornwall coming up soon, it made complete financial sense (we will easily claw back the £100 cost with a few visits to the expensive Cornwall properties, not to mention free beach parking).  But really, it just felt like we were saying a final farewell to youth.

Good friends had invited us to meet them at Polesden Lacey (a convenient half-way point for us all):

Polesden Lacy is a handsome Edwardian mansion, nestling in the Surrey Hills, not too far from Chessington World of Adventures.  To be honest, we never even went into the main house, but we made extensive use of the cafe facilities and the beautiful grounds.  

We taught The Boy how to roly-poly down a grassy bank (he loved it so much he was soon roly-polying in circles on the flat!).  We played in the forest-set playground and we sauntered through meadows.  It was great just to allow the kids to run around freely.  In Central London we are always so wary of traffic you can't take your eye off The Boy for a second (even in parks, The Boy is always the one playing by the playground gate!).  A couple of streets away from us there is a poignant reminder of this responsibility, in the form of some teddy bears tied to a lamppost in memory of a young boy who ran out in front of a lorry.  But here there was such an expanse of fields and parkland we could let The Boy find his own boundaries.

Having gotten the membership pack, we will have to make sure to make the most of it.  We need to find more places for The Boy to run wild at.  What are your favourite National Trust properties for young children?

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