On the first bank holiday of 2016, Good Friday, we loaded the car up with the picnic rug, a cobbled together picnic of miscellaneous items and clothing for every season. The weather forecast was good and the girls insisted I go through the drawers looking for last years sunglasses but in reality it was definitely a fleece and jumper kinda day.
We arranged to meet our friends the Walkers (Liv, Lee, Louis and Millie) and the Lights (Andrea, Jez, Francesca and Jacob) at the National trust Wallington Hall to take part in their annual egg hunts in conjunction with Cadbury’s. The property is past Ponteland, near the village of Cambo and should have taken 35 minutes from Gosforth, but today it took over an hour. Everyone in Newcastle seemed to be heading here or nearby attractions. Cue a few ‘are we nearly there yet?’ from the girls, wonder how many times we will hear this before the weekend is out?
We parked up in the overspill carpark and soon realised the place was packed. The whole of Newcastle really was here!! We were through the entrance quickly having our our National Trust passes scanned and we passed on to the courtyard area. This part of the trust comprises of a clock tower which houses the gift shop, plant shop and cafe. Queues to the cafe were already snaking outside so we were pleased we had brought the picnic.
As it was around 12.30pm we thought we might as well find a spot, set out the rugs and eat before embarking on the hunt. Trying to get the girls to eat when they just wanted to run around with their pals was another matter. Finally were tempted by the picnic sausages and chocolate brownies provided by the Walkers and that was good enough for me.
Possee Assembled-Hunt Time
Andrea had sorted out the egg hunt out so we were ready to go. It costs £2.50 to join in the hunt and for this you get a map specific to Wallington and a pencil to note down the answers. The hunt took place in the grounds of the house so today we wouldn’t be looking inside the Hall. We were advised to come back to the tent to claim our prize once completed.
The treasure hunt was based around the Trevelyan children who were lucky enough to call Wallington their family home in Victorian times. It led us on a path past the ‘climbing tree’ just outside of the entrance of the Hall, the 3 large children’s park areas (an adventure playground with zip wires, a converted train, and a wooden fort), the lake, and leading back to the Clock Tower. Each clue was to look for something different such as letters in a tree, horse shoes and the colours of the feathers placed inside a boat in the house. The Trevelyan children seemed to have a very Enid Blyton childhood and one of the sons apparently liked to pretend to be a Greek God, when he wasn’t going out on adventures on the lake in their boat. No Minecraft in these days!
A little confusion over the names of the children for the last clue ensued… was it Geoffrey or Gregory? Was Robert a son or their dad? We headed in a tipi set up with some lovely photos of the children and sorted out the answers.
Coffee and Chocolate Egg Time
Back at the stall the kids handed over their complete egg hunt sheets and claimed their egg which in fact was one of the chocolate bunnies which had featured in the television adverts this year.
Mr Hoops was getting tetchy as he’d been without coffee for a whole couple of hours so we took our place in the kiosk queue to get our caffeine fix. Coffees were priced at £2.40, so not cheap but it definitely hit the spot.The girls decided to get their faces painted (well a black nose and whiskers to look like a bunny) at the Cadbury stall. It was free and did look pretty cute. We pitched up the rugs again and the kids had a little run around before the wind started getting chilly and we all had other places to get to.
We all agreed that Wallington is a great place to go for the ages of our children (5-9). The parks are well set out, accessible and not babyish like some other play areas. We could have spent a lot more time had it been a tad warmer! Although we have visited inside the house, time constraints meant we didn’t this visit but will again in the future. The dolls house collection always interests the girls and is something different to other NT properties.
The National Trust Egg Hunt runs until 4pm on the 28th March.