It’s the second week of the school summer break and we have settled into the lazy morning routine well. The kids have already partied hard in Scarborough with my parents for a week and I was still recovering from the pink wine fest that was Kendal Calling so I was more then happy to have a long snooze this morning! Long may this continue for the rest of the hols!
Alan was back at work this week, so I was flying solo with the kids. In an effort to have a cheap week of not spending, we decided to dig out the old National Trust pass out and head up to Wallington for the afternoon. A thrown together picnic was assembled for further cost cutting measures and we jumped in the car with the journey taking around 35 minutes from Great Park passing through the posh villages of Ponteland and Belsay. Well sign posted and easy to follow on the Sat Nav. The last time we came to this NT estate was for the Cadbury Easter egg hunt (one of the many we did!) and this was our favourite and best value one.
Passes flashed at the gates we were in the grounds of Wallington. Passing under the clock tower we were in the grassy courtyard. Loads of kids were having fun and playing football next to the goal posts, which I think looked like they were a permanent feature. Some organised folks had brought pop-up badminton nets and cricket sets, but that’s just not our style! I was lucky to have remembered the sandwiches.
It’s been a while since we have toured the house so decided to head straight there. Our bags were popped in a cupboard (just in case you are clumsy and take out a precious artefact) and one of the friendly guides told the girls to look for squirrels hidden in the rooms. Throughout the rooms were little games and things of interest for children. You could try your hand at napkin folding in the dining room, play the bizarrely named ‘hump backed zebra game’ (this one didn’t make it over the Tyne to Jarrow!) and could match up logos to the descriptions of the associations that Lady Trevelyan was associated with. She volunteered for as nearly as much stuff as me and that’s saying something!
The girls really enjoyed the doll’s house collection and spent lots of time peeping into the rooms and looking at the tiny plates of food, carpet and little curtains. Abigail couldn’t see a lot of them so Imogen was happy to pick her up to look through. At certain times of the day you could watch the volunteers undertake the delicate work of cleaning the houses. The collectors room stuffed with labelled shells, rocks and birds eggs was deemed ‘creepy’ by Imogen and I had to agree it was of its time though when reality telly didn’t exist.
There’s only so much to occupy kids in a stately home and once we had a look round the kitchen, nursery and bedrooms they were keen to head back outside into the fresh air.
Picnic and Grounds
Out in the grounds we found a quiet spot to lie on our picnic rug next to the most uncomfortable deck chairs in the world and a cool tree perfect for climbing.
It had been mentioned at the entrance that there was planting for the kids at the Potting Shed down at the Walled garden in the East wood so we headed there. You need to cross the road to access the walled garden, but it’s a gorgeous part of the estate with winding paths and ornamental ponds that are home to cute ducks.
The girls enjoyed exploring the walled garden and soon found the gardener with his seeds to plant. They chose climbing beans and popped then into the pot which now live on the window sill. We’re hoping for a bumper crop of beans in the near future. Caffeine levels were low at this point so I grabbed an Americano from the kiosk for £2.20. Totally worth it!
We headed back via the Adventure Playground and Play Fort which they really enjoyed. Imogen loves a good set of monkey bars at the moment and Abigail enjoyed the zip wire and didn’t seem to mind the kid self-policed queue. While they played I even had time to get into my latest book Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn (of Gone Girl fame) nowt like a cheery tale of murder, self-mutilation and dark family secrets to while away the time before we packed up and headed home.
To find out whats on at Wallington visit