National Trust 50 things to do before you are 11 ¾

April 13, 2012 at 12:26 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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Growing up I spent most of my time enjoying the outdoors and this is the case for most people who are my age. We’d climb trees, play conkers and go exploring all in time to be home before it got dark. It was a great way to grow up because I always knew that there was something outside to keep me and my friends entertained.

Now it’s a rarity to see children exploring the great outdoors and I don’t know if this is because parents feel that their children might be at greater risk of getting hurt or lost or because youngsters would prefer to watch the television, search the web or play on computer games.

50 things to do before you are 11 34 national trust

National Trust hopes to encourage children to enjoy the outdoors

The trust is that experiencing the outdoors when I was a child helped sculpt who I am today. I have a great fondness for animals and I believe that this is because I grew up searching for different bugs and catching butterflies. So I’m delighted to hear that National Trust has today released a list of ’50 things you should do before you are 11 ¾’.

The list includes activities which us grandparents enjoyed hugely as children; climbing trees, making mud pies, building dens, sledging and burying friends in the sand something which I used to do on every family holiday.

In an attempt to show how exciting exploring the outdoors can be the National Trust have enlisted five ‘Super Rangers’ who are all experts in their fields- a treasure hunter, bug catcher and champion stone skimmer- to teach children who visit National Trust sites how to make the best of their surrounds.

Brilliantly the National Trust has acknowledged that children won’t forget all about the technology which they enjoy so much. So they’ve created a website which children can sign up to (with parental approval) and register each of the tasks which they complete. With each completed task children receive online badges, bonus games and surprises from the National Trust which is a great incentive to get kids playing outside.

As grandparents I think that the ‘50 things to do before you are 11 ¾’ campaign is the perfect chance to champion the great outdoors because we can share all of our wonderful childhood experiences and maybe even help our grandchildren complete some of the 50 tasks too.

The campaign doesn’t officially kick off until 21st April which might be worth bearing in mind but view the list online now. Who knows it might bring back some great childhood memories.

Family days out over Easter

April 5, 2012 at 12:54 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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As the long Easter weekend is nearly upon us I thought it would be nice to share my favourite Easter family days out. When you’re planning a family outing remember to look online for discounts and offers and go early to make the most of your day!

National Trust- I’m a huge advocate of National Trust and often turn to their properties and gardens for family days out. This Easter National Trust have teamed up with Cadbury who will be hosting various different Easter Egg Trails in National Trust sites- find you’re closest here. Along with Easter Egg Hunts in the most beautiful surrounds, children will also be able to take part in Easter themed quizzes and challenges, run the egg and spoon race and get their faces painted!

National Trust Easter

Explore a National Trust site this Easter

Check out the National Trust website for specific information about events near you and special membership offers with the National Trust. I recently received a 3 month free voucher which would be worth looking into if you’re not already a member.

Cadbury World- For most children Easter is all about chocolate so a trip to Cadbury World is the perfect treat for Easter. Located in Birmingham, Cadbury World is easily accessible and offers visitors an in depth tour of Cadbury’s and how they make their legendary chocolate. During the Easter period they will be hosting an Easter Eggstravaganza with a world class Easter Egg Hunt and some of the biggest and best Easter eggs you’ll ever see. Definitely worth visiting!

Easter at Cadbury World

Go chocolate mad at Cadbury World

Local Museums Local Museums are brilliant places to visit during seasonal periods because they will both entertain and educate children. The majority of museums have a timetable of schedules activities; my local museum, The Potteries Museum, is hosting Easter craft sessions but you do need to book in advance so consider this before going along.

If you visit a museum over Easter check out which other exhibitions they are holding on the same day. Chances are it will be something which you will really enjoy and it’s a great way of making the most of your day out.

Easter craft making

Visit your local museum for Easter crafts

Local Attractions- Spring has sprung, even if we had a blip yesterday, so get out and about and enjoy your local attractions. Here in Staffordshire the Trentham Estate is a great option with an outdoor shopping village, garden centre and beautiful lakes which are a real treat especially over a Bank Holiday weekend.  And I’d imagine that the Easter bunny will be wondering around the gardens to keep children entertained too!

If all else fails check out my alterative Easter craft indoor activities from earlier this week. Enjoy!

The first day of spring… 2012

March 20, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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It’s officially the first day of spring and I couldn’t be happier to see flourishing daffodils and lambs bounding around fields as I’ve always felt that spring has a wonderful way of naturally uplifting people’s spirits.

For me bright and early spring mornings are splendid not only because they make me feel refreshed and revitalised but because they give me a chance to get up early and run errands before I get to the office.

Spring Daffodils

Spring has finally sprung

And I’m not the only person who feels a sense ‘get-up and go’ when spring finally arrives as often older people feel a sense of relief to see the end of winter and a start to spring because they find it easier getting out and about.  Whether it’s tending to the brightly coloured flowers which have recently popped up in the garden or going for a light stroll around a National Trust park that really do start to bloom at this time of year.

Read my guide to easy access gardening for elderly and disabled people which is full of useful tips on how to enjoy time in your garden this spring and summer time.

Lucky for us there are lots of things to look forward to in spring. Easter will shortly upon us, which means Easter egg hunting for us grandparents, and we can also look forward to May’s bank holiday weekend- a chance to have a good spring clean before a busy summer celebrating The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and London 2012 Olympic Games.

Spring Google Doodle

Today's Google Doodle

The joy of the first day of spring has even spread to the internet as search engine Google have dedicated today’s Google Doodle (created by fashion brand Marimekko) to spring. True to the season the doodle is brightly coloured and features flowers, butterflies and birds. It boldly captures the spirit of spring which has sparked a storm of positivity online as thousands of people have commented on the eagerly anticipated arrival of spring on both Twitter and Facebook.  

I’m happy to say that there is a glimpse of spring sunshine peering through my window, fingers crossed it will last until the weekend when the clocks go forward one hour which means summer won’t be too long away!

Heritage Open Days

September 8, 2011 at 11:00 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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For four days in September a variety of cultural hubs ranging from beautiful gardens, architectural centres, castles, farms, churches and temples open to the public for them to explore the great, and sometimes forgotten treasures which exist here in Great Britain.

Heritage Open Days are running from 8th -11th September with 4300 events running across the country. Each region is opening their doors to their most cultural attractions, some of which are part of the National Trust. During visits admission is completely free and guests are able to have a look around areas which in usual circumstances would be off limits- very exciting!

heritage open days logo

Here in Staffordshire there are a variety of events. I’m particularly interested in the Silverdale Mining Heritage Walk which takes place on Sunday 11th at 2pm. In another area of the county Ford Green Hall, a 17th century farm house turned award winning museum is open to guests. It’s an attraction which is popular amongst visitors, however somewhere that I’ve not visited for sometimes myself, so now is the perfect opportunity.

It’s great to see National Trust properties involved in the Heritage Open Days too. Locally Biddulph Grange Garden, a wonderful Victorian garden which displays plants from all over the world is welcoming visitors as part of the Heritage Open Days scheme. Visitors aren’t asked to pre-book just simply turn up and enjoying James Bateman’s beautiful creation.

Biddulph Grange garden

Biddulph Grange Garden part of The National Trust

Heritage Open Days are a fantastic way to fill the weekend and with exclusive entry to cultural centres it’s the perfect chance to make the most out of fantastic attractions in your local area, or a little further afield. Admission to all events involved is completely free and most feature activities and tours.

For more information including the Event Directory, times, dates and whether or not you need to pre-book visit the Heritage Open Day website here.

School holiday activities with Grandchildren- Family day out

July 13, 2011 at 3:26 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Today I’m talking about my favourite family days out with my grandchildren during school holidays.

For me a good family day out involves going somewhere which the entire family will enjoy, and importantly has a little educational value. Day trips are the perfect place to learn new things together something which I try to encourage.  

I’ve come up with a couple of suggestions which I think offer good variety and are great value for money. Hope you enjoy!

Family days out


museumI always remember visiting local museums as a child, and feeling fascinated with what was on display. There are thousands of museums up and down the country all focusing on different topics and subjects. With this in mind museums are a great way to get children interested in a whole range of subjects.

A trip to a museum is a great way to get the whole family out and about. The only tricky thing is deciding which one to visit. To avoid squabbling why not try to visit a few which suite all family members – remember entry to most museums is free with additional charges for entry to special exhibitions only.

In large cities museums are dotted all over the places, however if you would prefer to stay local do some research and find what’s on display nearby.


National Trust– 


Preserved National Trust establishments have lots to offer from historical landmarks, culturally enhancing sites and some of the most beautiful landscapes you can find in the UK.

I’d recommend visiting a variety of venues throughout the holidays as many hold different events from crafts, outdoor shows, guides bike rides and wildlife discovery walks all depending on where you decide to visit.

It’s great idea to become a member of the National Trust as you can make the most out of the variety of venues. As a member entry to National Trust and car parking is free – you will also receive a handy guide book for inspiration on where to go. For me a visit to National Trust is a school holiday must!

Canal Boat-

canal boatsI came up with the idea of hiring a canal boat when I heard rumbles about how much fun this was from a friend. Lucky we have a canal locally (Trent and Mersey) so this idea is pretty feasible- it might have been a little tricky otherwise.

Canal boats are available to hire from a day up to as long as two weeks. And although this activity is pretty expensive in comparison to others, it is something completely different which grandchildren will love.

If the option of hiring a canal boat seems a little too daunting then you could take the grandchildren for a walk along a canal instead. Ideally go to a canal locks so that they can see how the locks work and are operated- the children might even be able to get involved themselves. These sorts of trip are fascinating for children and will become fond memories.

National Trust Access Guide 2011

April 8, 2011 at 8:09 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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From beautiful estates, glorious manor houses and breath taking landscapes there are so many spectacular places which are all within the National Trust, becoming a member really is worthwhile.

National Trust Access guideGoing out to a National Trust area of interest can provide entertainment for all and with some many National Trust hotspots across the country, a day out is possible if you’re going away for a weekend or just for a day.

However, many people put off going to some of the most beautiful or historical places in the country because of the fear that their mobility might mean they will struggle to get around.

It was great to see that the National Trust attended Naidex National this week. The team representing that National Trust handed out 2011 Access Guides, which lists endless amounts of National Trust places in the UK which are accessible to go to.  

The free bundle of goodies, which were handed out in a handy jute bags, also included a map and additional information such as price lists and guides. All easy to read with large text to accommodate those who may suffer with problematic eye sight.

I thought it was a great idea to have such an influential organisation on board. As getting out to visit the National Trust isn’t just a great activity to do over the summer months, it also keeps you active and you get to enjoy time with family and friends whilst doing so.

So why not go ahead and look into becoming a member or just get more information about National Trust areas local to you.

Little Moreton Hall

Little Moreton Hall- National Trust local to Bath-Knight

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