As it was an extra long weekend and Easter so Jon and I decided we wanted to do something different, so we dusted off our National Trust passes and off we went for a weekend of culture and chocolate!
On Saturday we went to Petworth House, it was lovely. I had never been to the house before, I’ve walked round the very picturesque town, but never ventured through the gates of the big house. My first impression was that it’s a lot bigger than I thought it was and considerably older, for some reason I thought it was 19th century, but was actually built in 1688 by the 6th Duke of Somerset.
We walked around the lake, and then got involved with the Eater egg hunt. This year Cadburys teamed up with National Trust to put on Easter egg hunts at most of their sites. I love an Easter egg hunt; I like the idea of solving clues and then earning the chocolate treat at the end. Jon and I did an amazing one at Highclere Castle once.
This one however was, well truthfully it didn’t start all that well because we went the wrong way! I asked which way to go (first mistake), the man said left past the gates and so we went into the garden with a giant lake and started walking (second mistake). After about 5 minutes I said its been a bit rubbish as there have been no clues, arrows or anything to tell us we were going the right way. I decided to consult the booklet called ‘Easter Egg Hunt map’ sadly it had no actual map!! So we continued walking. After about 30 minutes I was thoroughly annoyed and decided it was a very poorly planned hunt! What had actually happened was I had taken us to a different part of the gardens away from where the actual hunt was, basically I had managed to get lost before we even started…typical!!
When we did find the right part of the gardens, (it was not hard) it became fairly obvious how wrong I had got it. Luckily Cece was not of an age to get involved as I think she may have got quite cross!!!
The hunt itself involved filling in an address book and drawing, although it was not really aimed at me – it was very much for children (and ones older than Cece) we still had fun and even tried to get Cece involved. It failed… she wasn’t really sure what to do and thought the crayons looked tasty and put them straight in her mouth…oh well, we still got the chocolate (a tiny Cadburys bunny) so it was kind of worth it, though I prefer the ones with questions to answer!
The rest of the day was spent in a more age appropriate way, walking round the house and admiring the very impressive art collection. They had a number of pieces by Turner, Constable, Reynolds, Van Dyke and Holbein, to name but a few.
Sadly the day did not end well when I started to feel decidedly sick, it turns out I had caught a bug off Cece and ended up spending most of Saturday night in bed, sadly Jon then got it after me and then Cece got it back again on Sunday night. It meant our nice evening with Jon’s parents, the delicious meal of roast pork (I don’t eat lamb) I had been planning and the idea of ploughing our way through a lot of chocolate had to be cancelled or at the very least postponed!!
However it did seem to be a 12 hour thing and by Monday everyone seemed ok, so we got back in the car and headed out to another National Trust place….this time we went to Bodiam Castle. I remember going there when I was a child and loving it and now as someone who loves history and especially medieval history I was excited about going back. Bodiam Castle is a beautiful moated castle in East Sussex. It was built by Sir Edward Dallingridge in 1385, which is around my favourite era of history as we were always at war or trying to overthrow the King! The castle itself was lived in for over 200 years, before it was destroyed during the civil wars in the 1640’s…I feel the parliamentarians ruined quite a lot of castles back then. The outside walls are all in tact and although in interiors have all gone it’s still a very impressive site.
We had some food in the café and then let Cece set the pace as we walked around the moat, which is filled with enormous fish. We explored the ruins and I watched the video on the history of the place. They also had an Easter egg hunt, but after the slight debacle of the last one we decided against it…also, and I rarely say this, I didn’t think we needed any more chocolate!! Cece was also struggling with her tummy, she was OK and in fact had been incredibly well behaved, she wondered around, played a bit and sat very patiently in the café. However she was getting a clingy and had not eaten anything, so I wanted to see if she would have something different at home, so we called it a day and went home. That evening I made up for not being able to eat chocolate the night before!!
Overall, although there had been more sickness than I would have liked (obviously!!) and I didn’t get to eat any slow roast pork it was a really great weekend. I love being able to visit historical sites around the country and I am pleased that even though we have a baby we can still do these kinds of things.
I had been worried about taking babies to places like this, but I realise now it is definitely possible. It may require bringing extra food, bags or baby things and I may not be able to meander quite as slowly as I used to round each room, but I think I am realising that having a child does not mean this kind of things need to stop. I just hope Cece stays well behaved as she gets older and they should hopefully become even more fun!!!