I recently bought a family pass for the National trust, It cost £115 for the year and apparently we can take up to 10 children with us, however I think I’ll just stick to our two thanks! We also got a £15 gift voucher to spend in the National Trust shops along side the passes which is great as I have my eye on one of their tartan picnic blankets so I think I’ll use it towards that.
We got the passes a couple of days before we went glamping in Stratford-Upon-Avon so it was a perfect time to make use of them and we managed to visit Wighwick Manor and gardens, Charlecote Park and Moseley Old Hall meaning we have already had our moneys worth and still have 11 more months and more than 1000 more places to potentially visit.
Charlecote Park was the second place we visited on our weekend away and the one we spent the most time at. It is also the biggest out of the the three with large grounds to explore and luckily for us the sun was shinning.
Things to do?
Gardens House Activities for children Two cafes
Deer Sheep Outhouses
Charlecote Park is a large place and you actually park on the opposite side to the main attraction. When leaving the car you enter a small shop and visitors center first and then walk through a lovely outdoor plant shop before crossing the road and entering the main grounds, you will also leave this way so save the plant buying for the way back.
As the grounds are so large there are mapped walks that you can choose to follow or you can choose to wander as you wish and explore everything you come across. We chose to do a mapped out walk and came across some sheep followed by lots of deer. This fascinated the children especially as the deer seemed so relaxed and allowed you to get very close before they moved on a few steps.
The main house looks magnificent on arrival and very large but in actual fact the tour is small and doesn’t take more than half an hour as you can only walk round selected rooms. However the rooms you can see are lovely and full of interesting facts. My eldest did this tour with me and he loved the idea that there was a secret spiral stair case that had wallpaper over the door so no one would know that it lead from downstairs up to the bedroom.
Top tip – if you want to tour the house you need to get a timed appointment card from the reception area near the car park so it’s best to do this before you cross over to the main park.
As well as the main house you can also explore some out buildings and the kitchen and these don’t require a timed slot so feel free to visit when you get chance.
In the kitchen we were greeted by two lovely ladies in old fashioned aprons and hats who were actively cooking and asked if the boys wanted to join in. Although shy at first both boys did want to join in and they made some cakes by hand and then cooked them over the open fire. My eldest also got to try his hand at turning cream into butter whilst he waited for his cakes to cook and was mesmerised by all the information the cook was sharing with him about the old fashioned methods and lack of technology, it was lovely to watch. Once the cakes were fished the boys ate them outside in the sun before we headed off for another walk and spotted some more deer.
We didn’t find a park, tree house, or den here like we had at previous National Trust places so there wasn’t as much for the children to do outside which was a shame but it was still a wonderful day spent exploring.
Where to eat and drink at Charlecote Park?
There are two cafe areas serving a variety of food and drink where you can sit inside or outside as well as lots of benches and tables for picnics.
Can you bring dogs?
Dogs are welcome if you stick to the dog friendly route round the grounds and they are kept on a lead. You can not take them in the house or let them roam freely or enter certain gardens due to the livestock which is understandable but it does limit where you can go so bare this in mind if you are thinking of taking the dog. We took Buddy with us and he had a lovely walk and we took it in turns to explore the dog free zones with the children. There is a dog station where you can tie your dog up and it is under the shade and water is provided but as Buddy is a puppy we thought he might get upset if we left him there and disturb other peoples day by barking and crying but plenty of other people were making use of this helpful facility.
As National Trust places go I would highly recommend a visit to Charlecote Park on a dry day. It is suitable for the whole family, parking is free, and you could easily stay for at least half a day maybe longer if the weather is nice. However I would point out that it is a fair walk from the car park to the house and of course the grounds are big so it may not be suitable for those with mobility issues.