Tuesday 17 June 2014

A Visit to the Vyne

Our National Trust passes really are a gift that keep on giving. We receive them every Christmas from my parents, and as its usually too cold and dark for long days out at that time of year, the passes sit in the kitchen promising lots of adventures just as soon as the days get a bit brighter and the sun a little warmer.

Not only that, every 3 months a National Trust magazine plops through my letterbox......

... lots of lovely pictures to look at, and the most recent one had a great feature on one of my favourite NT properties - Mount Stewart, in N. Ireland ... I grew up close by, visited a lot as a child, and take my own Little People there when we visit on holidays. It makes me sooooo happy to see them doing exactly what I did as a child :)

Once April has passed, and the weather is a bit more friendly, most properties are properly open and we can use the passes quite regularly, each time remembering back to opening the card containing them on Christmas Day.

For Father's Day we decided to use our passes to visit The Vyne, which is a fairly small NT property about 30 minutes drive away, which, for some reason we rarely visit. I don't really know why we don't go more often, as we do really enjoy our visits there. Or maybe that's exactly why we enjoy it so much ? Who knows.

The weather was rather pleasant - a lot cooler than the hot humid days we've had of late, but perfect for tree climbing, scenic-view viewing, nature-discovering and general running about.

The NT do this great thing where they encourage children to do outdoorsy stuff - "50 Things to do before you are 11 3/4". Its been on the go for several years now, but every year we have to get new booklets and start ticking things off all over again :)

Today's main objective was to do Number 1 - "Climb a tree". Now I think about it we never really get much past number 1 as they love to climb trees so much .... Little Tomboy is the best at this, she is fearless and determined ....

The Vyne has a lovely little orchard and vegetable garden, along with a chicken run .....  this one was digging for victory. Or maybe just worms ....

Little Man and I did a bit of vegetable spotting ...

 .... and fruit spotting ....

.... under this chap's watchful eye ... love those socks ...

Little Man has a bit of a thing for snail shells - look at this beauty ....

Much hilarity as Little Miss has a go pedalling on a tractor waaaaay too small for her long legs ....

A dazzling array of wonderful flowers .....

All that fresh air seems to draw the Little People to the sweety stand ..... and how sweet it was ....

Candy Floss on a stick! Please Mummy please can we have some ...

... look, it was bigger than their heads ....

Somewhat less messy carrot cake and tea for the Big People .....

And a rather fabulous natural play area for the Little People ..... tunnels, hillocks, bamboos ....

... and some unusual sculptures .... is it a bird? a kettle ? a Viking hat ? Viking Hat we decided.

We ambled on and did some random nature-spotting ..... Little Man spotted the mushrooms ....

.... and he spotted this furry little guy ....

... and just what are these two up to ....

... sycamore helicopters ....

There's a beautiful lake ........

... with some amazing weeping willows on its banks ....

We especially liked this one as the path went under its canopy so we could see the reflection on the water ....

There were some rather wacky trees ....

.... and lovely spots to sit down and rest awhile...

 ..... finally it was back to the entrance where we noticed the artwork that we hadn't spotted earlier .....

... and the plants for sale that had also gone unnoticed ....

... but, luckily for my bank account, the "Garden Shed" where you pay was closed already. And so it was off to the car to head home.

I've said it before, I know, but I do love that a simple walk in the fresh air, absorbing all the wonders of nature, can be enough for my Little People. To see them running about, exclaiming at new discoveries, using their imaginations and playing together makes me so happy :)


  1. I'm madly playing catch-up.... I love the gorgeous bunting in your previous post...I look forward to viewing your bike bunting :-) I bet the the stall bunting was snapped up in no time!
    We are going to rejoin the NT this summer as it's so much easier now we can take Bertie with us (wee dog). Your family day out sounds wonderful :-)
    Tracey xxx

    1. Hi Tracey, I love the NT. Great days out. It's brilliant you bring Bertie too :)

  2. What a lovely day out, it's great to get a sneeky peek into some other NT properties....I aim to visit a place a week in the summer hols.....Dunster Castle will be one of them this year xx

    1. What a fab idea to visit a place a week! I love that!

  3. Some wonderful photographs. I particularly like the one of the children eating candy floss, and lovely to see it on a stick rather than in those awful plastic bags! Sounds like a really lovely day out.

    1. I know, I hate the bags. They had bags as well, and of course the chikdren's decision to have them on a stick was based purely on which option gave them the biggest amount of candy floss LOL

  4. A beautiful day out with some lovely photos. We've loved our NT memberships in the past but don't have one this year. Unfortunately there's very few properties near us so we tend to make best use of it on holidays :)

    1. We try and use ours lots in the holidays too when we go back home to N Ireland. Trying to make the most of them while the children still want to come!

  5. Hello Jill and thanks so much for your visit to my place - I hope you come again soon! I've really enjoyed browsing through this post and reading about your family trip out with lots of good fun - I used to love candy floss on a stick when I was a child, and also remember the sycamore helicopters, thanks for the memories! xoJoy

  6. Thanks Joy :) It was funny, I immediately thought "sycamore helicopters" then had to think - actually is that what they're called ? Had to google it to be sure! I was a bit worried it was just me who called them that lol

  7. Hi Jill and thanks for visiting my blog! I clicked right over here and thoroughly enjoyed your post and photos! What a lovely park! I love the different names we call things.. we call candy floss - cotton candy! Both names are fun and so is the smell of it being made! ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

    1. Hi Tetesa, thanks for visiting :) The names thing is funny isn't it, we are quite used to Anerican terms mainly from TV. The one that always raises a chuckle is you call trousers pants. We use pants for underpants :)

  8. It was so great to see The Vyne through your eyes Jill, you go to totally different parts of the property than we do when we visit, so it was like going somewhere completely new. I haven't been there this year, but now I want to go and see the roman sculpture that you showed as it looks amazing. Shame that I am too old to drive the little tractor, my legs are definitely too long!! xx

  9. The Roman art was on the way out, I suppose that means its on the way in too, but we didn't spot it then. I love the walled garden but where the veggies are, that's definitely my favorite bit :)

  10. What a beaut place to visit. I really miss England when seeing all my bloggy friends visiting all these nice old places. We have nothing like them down here. : (

    1. :( But I'm sure there are lots of things about NZ that are much more interesting than here! xx

  11. That looked like a lovely day out! Beautiful photographs - and an unusual looking caterpillar :)

    1. Thankyou :) A lovely day indeed, despite Little Man being VERY reluctant, we all, including him, had a great afternoon

  12. Hi Jill, would you be interested in a blog hop? Give me your email and I will give you details :) x

  13. Ooooh yes please Niki :) At leadt I think I'd lime to! Email is Jill_davidson@ntlworld.com
    At least it should work. Let me know if it doesn't. I don't like to post my proper one publicly


Thankyou so much for visiting, and for taking the time to leave me a comment :) I really really love getting little messages, I read and value every single one, so thankyou again, and have a great day :)