Days Out | National Trust

A Moment in History: The Vyne

By on February 23, 2018

If you're a regular reader you may have worked out that I like to do activities and outings on a budget. Mainly because there are 5 of us, sometimes 6 if Daddy comes too, which quite often means a hefty price tag. Therefore during school holidays I like to make the most of any annual memberships that we have. One of which being the National Trust and this time I am here to tell you about The Vyne and how you and the kids can make a mark in history.

We have visited a few National Trust locations and I have written a couple of posts reviewing our visits. Firstly I wrote about Bluebells in the Woods and the English Countryside which you can visit at Hinton Amper, as well as A family day out at Mottisfont. Both of which are in Hampshire.

17th century summer house

I particularly love this membership because it give us a chance to leave the city and become submerged in some of the most beautiful countryside the UK has to offer, it gets the children outside in nature instead of glued to a screen and we get to soak up some amazing history.

This time round, not only did we get to soak up some history but we got to leave our mark in the history book too! And the good news is there is still time for you to do the same!

The Vyne

I had decided before the half term that I wanted to spend some time with the children in a forest / woodland type place but the beginning of the week we had so much planned in the way of dance festivals, dentist appointments and a play date with our bestie who lives miles away from us, that the woodland walk had to wait until the end of the week.

I was originally drawn to The Vyne because of the woodland walks it has to offer but after a quick google search (what we would we do without google these days?) I soon realised our day here could be much more special.

It was a beautiful day. The sun was shining. The air was fresh but not cold. It really felt like spring was on its way.

On arrival we were asked if we wanted to take part in the 'lost tapestry trail' which was fab for the kids. A picture of a tapestry which is in the house has been printed and laminated then cut into 12 puzzle pieces. The pieces were placed in bird boxes around the grounds and we were given a map of their location. Not only was this treasure hunt type activity fun but it was brilliant for developing the kids map reading skills. Plus we get to go home with a puzzle!

Two of the bird boxes were empty but at the end of our day when we were heading back towards the carpark, we checked the boxes again and found they had been refilled. Allowing us to collect up all the pieces . Or so we thought... we ended up with 12 pieces but two of them are the same! Hey ho; you win some and lose some. It was fun nevertheless and we laughed a lot when we realised.

Tapestry Trail - The box was empty! Luckily on our way back round as we headed home the box had been refilled allowing us to collect all the pieces.

On the way round the trail we came to the house. The National trust are in the process of restoring The Vyne's roof due to extensive storm damages in 2013. The job is huge. And this is where you get to leave your mark in history.

The Roof

We saw people forming an orderly queue so me with my typical British ways joined the queue! We were queuing to go up on the roof and see first hand the restoration works going on. The children and I were given high vis jackets given a short safety briefing and were directed to the lift or stairs. The children were also given a task to look out for the Lego Workman pieces that had been placed around the roof - a great task to keep the younger children occupied on a building site.

Amazing to see all the work going on - we really felt like part of the action.

Both the works going on and the views from the roof were breath-taking. You get to walk round the whole roof and there are Perspex openings that are eye level for children so they can see what is happening without parents lifting them up and over the edge! The re-building of one of the chimneys has stuck with me. It was leaning like the Tower of Pisa but has totally restored. It has been rebuilt with new materials and reinforced to prevent future storm damage yet looks exactly the same as the original.  It really is a must see.

Leaving your mark in history

On the way back out you are able to Tag-a-Tile. There is a recommended donation of £5 to do this but any donation is welcomed and appreciated. This is where you can draw on, write on or a sign a tile that will be going up onto the roof.

Master E and Little P decided to share a tile, while Master A and Miss O wanted a tile of their own. Donations can be put in the jar or can be paid on the front desk.

Putting our mark on Great British history.

Once our tiles were completed we put them into a wheelbarrow with other signed tiles and were told they would be on the roof the very next day!

Last Chance

There is still time for you to see the marvellous works going on and the views from the roof, as well as tag-a-tile of your own. BUT you only have until 28th February 2018.


To find out opening times, prices and the location of either The Vyne or any other National Trust place I have mentioned please visit The National Trust website.

NB: I am NOT paid to write for the National Trust. I am just a member who is very pleased with what I have seen so far and therefore want to share the love by writing honest reviews.

Continue Reading

Family Fun | Rainy Day Activities

25 Rainy day Activities

By on January 23, 2018

The last few days here in the UK have been gloomy, grey and rainy. And what does a rainy day normally mean?

Bored, miserable and moody children!

Bored, miserable and moody children that WE, have to entertain! Failing to do so will result in tears, tantrums, screaming fits and sibling rivalry at its best.

But a rainy day really can be just as fun as a sunny one. You don't have to be cooped up indoors all day with phones, iPads and the Xbox but instead use the rainy day as an opportunity for an awesome family fun day full of quality time spent together.

With there being no sign of the weather improving here anytime soon, I have put together a quick list of rainy day activities and have divided it into Outdoor Activities and Indoor Activities.

Outdoor Activities

1) Watch the rain

This can be really therapeutic. Stand together under a shelter, collect your thoughts then discuss what you can see, how you feel, what you can hear and how the air smells.

2) Channel the water flow

This can be great fun. Using loose bricks, stones, old bits of guttering or whatever else you have around you that you can easily get your hands on, channel the water and see if you can make it collect somewhere.

3) Catch the rain on your tongue

4) Make a waterproof den using natural materials (no tarpaulin or plastic sheets)

5) Puddle Jumping

6) Watch water streams run down the road and see where they collect.

7) Make paper boats and sail them in a puddle

8) Rain art

Put a few drops of food colouring on a paper plate, then some raindrops and swirl it. See what patterns you can make.

9) Make rain music

Spend a few minutes just listening to the sounds of the weather. Set out various objects, such as metal, plastic and glass containers, to see how water droplets sound when they hit different surfaces.

10) Make nature boats

Sticks, small pieces of wood, leaves, bark and larger petals all make great boats. Which items make the fastest boats? Which sail the furthest?

11) Animal hunt

Become detectives and see what animals or minibeasts you can find outside while its raining.

Indoor Activities

1) Cards

2) Board games

Favourites in our house are Cluedo, Junior Cluedo, Junior Monopoly and Beat the Parents but we have played many more.

3) Den building

Good old fashion den building! Find the clothes pegs, gather the blankets together and challenge yourselves to make the biggest indoor den you have made to date.

4) Cup phones

Using 2 paper cups and a length of string you can make cup phones. Make a tiny hole in the ends of both cups, thread the string through both holes and tie a knot to stop it pulling back through.

Then there you have it - cup phones.

Can you hear each other through them? My children had loads of fun with these as did I as a child.

5) Baking and / or cooking

6) Home Cinema

Take a family movie day or night to the next level...why not cook some hot dogs, get some fizzy pop, pick and mix sweets and of course, don't forget the popcorn.

7) Trip to the library / story time

Take yourselves off to your local library or get all cosy at home to enjoy a good book.

8) Treasure Hunt

Place some items around the house, write some clues then send the children off to find the treasure.

9) Make cards / write letter to someone special

10) Write an Article for a newspaper or magazine

11) Indoor picnic

12) Have a disco

13) Make a collage (depict the weather outside then make another a collage contrasting it)

14) Make Paper planes

15) Hama Beads

If you haven't tried these yet you're missing out!

The possibilities are can make coasters, garlands, fridge magnets and so much more in just about any shape or design you can think of!

Whatever the weather, remember just. have. fun!

Continue Reading