Get Out & About

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Get Out & About - Join the Campaign for Fresh Air!

E is for Ebworth

imageWe completed ‘E’ today – the next letter on A-Z NT Family Challenge. We wanted to do things differently this time so E isn’t a traditional National Trust property – in fact there’s nothing concrete (pardon the pun!) to particularly see.

It would be easy, as part of this challenge to go to old houses for every letter. But that isn’t what a challenge is about surely? Ebworth is listed in the 2014 NT Handbook Index and on doing some research I found it was a significant old Estate, with a house (of varying size) present on the site since circa 12th century until 1957 when after the removal of some of the fittings, the interior was gutted by fire to provide practice for the local fire brigade. What a tragedy…another in the list of British history in ruins. An overriding feeling I had was that I would love to find out more about what the house looked like and the lives of some of the people who lived there.

So on this gorgeous sunny Sunday, my youngest son and I set off on the hour and a half car journey to Ebworth – located between the gorgeous Cotswold villages of Painswick & Cranham. We walked in some of the forest that would have been part of the Estate, located the Ebworth Centre which are the remains of the old estate outbuildings which now house offices and a workshop for local craftsmen. An overriding feeling I had was that I would love to find out more about what the old Ebworth House looked like and the lives of some of the people who lived there.

We spent some time in Cranham nearby to Ebworth and pretty much had a lovely couple of hours.

Now onto ‘F’….where next!

D is for Dyffryn Gardens!

image Next great visit for ‘D’ on our A-Z Family Challenge achieved!

Grabbed the opportunity of visiting the next letter on our challenge as boys had an inset day today. Dyffryn Gardens only became a NT property just over a year ago and having never visited (only as wedding guests pre NT time to the Pompeii Garden) then it was a perfect one for today and for ‘D’ on our A-Z challenge.

We had a great time mooching about the gardens and peeking inside the rooms you can in the house. Look forward to seeing its evolution now under the care of the NT.

Roll on E!

C is for Colby Woodland Garden

imageOh yes – two A-Z Challenge locations in two days – result!!


Another day, another variant of NT location on the A-Z Challenge! Had a lovely walk amongst the woodland, in the meadow and around the walled garden. Great ‘outdoorsy’ things to do – rope swings, pond dipping, dam building or just meandering along having a chat and thoroughly enjoying the tranquility as we did.

Have heard the cakes in the tea room are great but it wasn’t open today – a shame as we really fancied a scone!! Next time….

B is for Barafundle Bay

imageThe A-Z National Trust Family Challenge continues in Welsh half term…


On a gorgeous sunny Thursday February 27th 2014, what a beautiful location to continue the 2014 A-Z NT Family Challenge.

We had a lovely time on this most stunning of locations in sunny Pembrokeshire. Regularly featuring in lists of the worlds most beautiful beaches, we won’t argue at all! Pristine sand, waves crashing in, stunning coastline and a wonderful blowy walk across the cliffs from the quirky Stackpole Quay to build up the excitement of that first view of the Bay. A great game of football was enjoyed – we even had the beach to ourselves at one point – bliss!

The 2014 A-Z challenge is intended to feature a wide selection of NT locations – this will be hard to beat!

A is for Avebury

image Yeehah, the A-Z Family Challenge begins on February 16 2014!!!!

A is for AVEBURY.

On the first real sunny day of the year, what a great choice of day and location to start off the Family Challenge.

We had a great time at a monumentally historic and interesting place in British heritage and history. We learnt lots and enjoyed loads. Bring on ‘B’!

Family challenge – A to Z of the National Trust in 1 Year

imageWe like a challenge, always have. In January this year, a germ of an idea began. We have family membership of the National Trust and although support the whole ethos of heritage conservation, we haven’t really got true value for money from our membership over the last couple of years. And obviously, we like getting out and about. The thought process began.

What about if we visited new places, different places, National Trust-wide? Following A-Z gives it the fun element to the kids, ‘where’s A’, ‘where’s Z going to be….’ And it gives us chance to see lots of new places in the UK.

So, January and the early part of February has consisted of thinking it through, getting the family on board, buying a HUGE laminated UK map and through consulting the 2014 NT Handbook index, beginning to plot an A-Z route. ‘The Rules’ have formulated organically and are:

1. The A-Z must be undertaken in order.
2. Z must be visited by 31st December 2014.
3. The places visited must be varied – not all grand houses but beaches, small houses, well known places and also the more obscure.
4. Can be visited by the four of us, me & both or either of the kids or just me. I (Mum) have to be at all of them.
5. There must be a good spread of destinations geographically throughout England, Wales & Northern Ireland.
6. The property being visited has to be open or accessible.
7. It has to be a National trust listing in the 2014 Handbook index.

And so the fun & the challenge begins….

The 3 Beaches in a Day challenge – Tenby


imageSaw that the forecast was nice for the last day of half term yesterday and was in desperate need of some fresh, fresh air. We’d done some scootering in Castle Grounds and Roath Park on the Thursday but what better than some sea air.

So bundled the kids in the car, packed a picnic, football, trusty boule and a tennis ball and off we set. Less than 2 hours later and we hit South Beach, Tenby (not quite as glamorous or warm as the Miami version and definitely less posing!).

Spent a fantastic 3 hours or so having a picnic and playing various ball games. Even grabbed 10 mins while the kids amused themselves to have a cuppa and sit in the sun. Then we dribbled the football around to Castle Beach for a shorter stint before hitting North Beach for a further hour of full on rugby match (rules of the kids own making!). Then a school friend of my eldest who was staying in an overlooking apartment spotted them and came down with his cousin for a game of footie! Total free day (apart from the petrol), good healthy fresh air with the only rule being there was no rules!

3 Beach Challenge achieved. Kids enjoyed and shattered! Me – rosey-faced from the surprisingly warm Feb sun and totally cleansed from a day in the Outdoors.

Who says the beach is only for the summer. Personally I always prefer the beach out of season and without the crowds.

Penarth, Penarth

image Ok, it’s fairly obvious that this photo wasn’t taken today but it was taken just a couple of days ago. What a difference some snow makes!

But this post is about Penarth. Well the seafront in particular. A happy corner for me is tucked in cosily into one of the covered seats in the middle of Penarth Pier, the ones facing Flatholm & Steepholm. As I sit there taking in the view, I picture the varying types of people, from all ‘classes’ over the decades since the pier was built who have sat there and done exactly the same.

This pic was taken from further up the pier, near where the Waverley parks up to take eager passengers across the Bristol Channel. A stroll along the pier is compulsory! As is a walk along the front and if you have time, continue up the hill and along the coast walk. Most days, unless in deepest Summer, it’s fairly bracing. But it’s worth it.

A quick plug for the excellent Fig Tree on the front. Lovely menu, visit!