Mottisfont is a fantastic National Trust location for you and your kids, I definitely rate it for a family day out. The staff were friendly, polite, helpful and spoke with a smile on their face. Parking is free and whilst I have an annual membership, meaning I do not have to pay to get in, entry fees seem reasonable in my opinion, for how large the estate is and what is on offer, particularly for the children. There are stunning streams that run through the grounds and beautiful bridges to cross them; the main lawn at the front of the house is extremely well maintained, with no ball games being allowed making it the perfect spot to put your picnic blanket.
Our picnic blanket was much like these...
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The Manor itself is remarkable – we did walk round it but with young children in tow and being the only adult with them, I wasn’t able to take in too much of its beauty.
Pushchairs are permitted around the grounds at Mottisfont but not in the house due to space restrictions. There is a place where you can leave the pushchairs and lock them to the railings, taking the key with you whilst you walk around the house. I took a stroller similar to the one seen here...
I only take a stroller as a 'just in case' precaution should my youngest decide her legs have given up and actually, it was perfectly fine around the grounds. The paths were very lightly gravelled with tiny stones so the pushing the stroller with its tiny wheels wasn't a struggle like I had imagined it would be. However, it goes without saying that if you have a pushchair such as an Out 'n' about that has wheels that are designed for rougher terrain, you will find it easier to get around.
I used to have an Out 'n' About pushchair until my youngest started walking and I have to say, with my hand on my heart, the Out 'n' About was the best pushchair I have ever owned (and I've owned a few what with four kids)!
The first thing I have too look for after a car journey is the toilets...not for me thank you but for my toddler who isn't long out of nappies. The toilets are to your right as soon you as go through the gates as well as being dotted around the grounds as well. Perfect for us as when a toddler has to go, well, they have to go!
For the ‘grown-ups’ there are art exhibitions displayed in the house, Rose gardens to walk around and you are able to take your dog, as long as it is kept on a short lead. As we were there having a family day out with my focus on the children upon arrival we set out to find the fun stuff.
We played pooh sticks from the first bridge we came to and we rolled down the hills, enabling us to tick things off our ’50 things to do before you’re 11 and ¾’ list...an app for your phone or tablet, I’ll elaborate in a mo!
For children there are two main fantastic activities, the Climbing Bog and the Pump, Pool and Paddle area. The Climbing Bog is a muddy area with various climbing frames, balance beams and huge stepping stones that have been crafted from old trees. We were here for ages. The kids absolutely loved it. The Pump, Pool and Paddle area is where the children are free to play in the water. The streams are kept perfectly clean therefore visitors are asked to keep the playing in the water to this specific area. They can pump the water up from the stream and watch it run back down to the pool where it drains back to the stream. Children are able to use levers to stop the water running and allow it to collect then to let it all go again. I highly recommend taking spare clothes and a towel. Both my girls fell over in the water leaving us to find a sunny spot to dry off in!
After all the fun and frolics we went off in search for the perfect picnic spot. It wasn’t hard too find. There was a massive tree on the front lawn, where many a family had already laid out their picnic, so I placed the picnic blanket half in the shade made from the tree, and half in the sun. Those of us that were wet from the Pump, Pool and Paddle were able to dry off and the others could get out of the sun. We dried very quickly and were incredibly warm so we soon shimmied into the shade as well.
I try to do these visits without spending a penny (tight arse I know) but our bottle of water went within minutes of us being there. This was partly due to having to pour half of it over Daisy’s leg after she put her foot in the muddy bog when we were climbing (she had jelly shoes on, it wasn’t pretty)! So we ventured into the shop to buy a drink each. There was a good selection of food and drink and again very reasonably priced. I didn’t go into the seating area indoors as there was a lot of us and the indoor eating area isn’t huge – I didn’t want to take over – having already had our food I didn’t purchase any more or use the outside seating area but this was packed with people, always a good sign.
As the day went on the kids were getting tired, we had done the house, the Climbing Bog, Pump Pool and Paddle, had our picnic so it was almost time to go. I didn’t fancy dragging them round the Rose garden keeping on at them to behave after a long, fun filled, hot day so we went in search for a field where they were allowed to play ball. We took our phlat ball with us to play with. It was new toy the children had not long been given and as its so light it is very easy to transport so that was the must have toy that we took. The children had a good run around and let of the last of their steam before I decided we should make tracks.
We were at Mottisfont all day; well 10:30 ish until 4pm and we definitely didn’t see all that was on offer. As I say I was there for the children so focussed on keeping them entertained and I did so with no issues whatsoever. There is plenty to keep them busy. I whole heartedly recommend Mottisfont for a fun family day out.
Now, I haven’t forgotten, I mentioned the app for your phone or tablet – 50 things to do before you’re 11 and ¾ …
It is an app by the National Trust with the most amazing list of outdoorsy activities. You set up an account and it gives you a list and you just tick them off when you’re done. Definitely worth getting, it’s great to open up when the kids start getting bored .
Where do you love to go when your after a fun family day out? Have been to Mottisfont or any other National Trust attraction? I'd love to hear from you, please comment below...
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