We love a bit of the National Trust, have been members for 3 years now and we’ve always got our monies worth from our membership fee.

Credit: National Trust ©

It’s something I highly recommend to friends with young families, as the National Trust has worked hard over the last decade to become more family focussed and shake off their (unfair) middle class, middle aged reputation.

Stanley at Biddulph Grange Garden

We think the National Trust is absolutely great for families and here are some ideas for making the most of your membership if you’re visiting with children.

App

The launch of the National Trust Days Out app has meant that you can search for properties and places of interest local to where you are (be that at home or on holiday), read all about them, check out facilities and even see a diary of special events. We show Stanley the local properties and then he picks one that he’d like us to visit (usually one with an ‘extra’ think along the lines of a railway museum, toy museum, sculpture trail, or a playground). You can also create a list of your favourite places,mark off the properties you’ve been to previously and create a wish list of ones you’d like to explore.

Arlington Court Carriage Museum

As you probably already know…we are outdoorsy people and the National Trust provide an abundance of outdoor space that is safe for children to run around in, explore and learn. We always tend to visit at least one National Trust property while on holiday, it’s become a bit of tradition for us and we never forget our passport…yes, that’s right we have a National Trust passport!

Dunwich Heath and Beach

Passport

If you’ve not heard of the passports, they are available to buy online for £5 and specially made for you to take with you on your visits. Your passport will get stamped at each property. It’s worth noting however, that not all properties will have this facility, it’s usually the bigger ones with a gift shop that have their own unique ink stamp.

Credit: National Trust ©

Once you’ve completed your passport (with 30 different sites) you can send it off to the National Trust offices and they will send you a certificate through the post. We’ll be holding on to ours though as the stamps themselves are little works of art and combined with the date act like a little scrapbook of memories.

Some of our passport stamps

Stanley loves using our passport and he always volunteers to go and ask the shop staff to stamp it for him although on our last outing James showed an interest too so he’ll have a bit of competition next time. We have had our passport since we joined and have used it alongside Stanley’s ’50 things to do before you are 11 3/4′ activity book to make our holidays that little bit more special.

50 Things To Do Before You’re 11 3/4

This book is bursting with ideas to help children discover the great outdoors and get closer to nature. The pocket-sized companion contains 50 fantastic activities, selected by children around the country. Full of handy tips, nature facts and activity checklists, it’s the perfect nature journal – with lots of space for notes, photos, leaves, doodles and more.
When it’s just too wet to go outside, you can always turn to the rainy day activities.

We have been working through Stanley’s hardback copy (available online for £5, currently reduced to £2 – bargain!! ) for just over a couple of years now. Each activity is numbered and listed (some are seasonal and some geographical). Once you’ve done the activity you can sign and date it or if you are at a National Trust property then you will get an official ’50 Things’ sticker to put in your book.

Scavenger Hunt at Oxburgh Hall

We haven’t done absolutely all our activities at National Trust properties but some we have and have organised days out with this in mind.

Pond dipping at Dunwich Heath

TIP: I’ve taken a different approach and used a collage technique to fill out Stanley’s book (sticking in photos, leaves, footprints etc) as this then extends the activity into another day/week/month/whenever I remember to actually print the photos off, that he can help with….ALL kids love brandishing a glue stick, right? I also think it will make a great keepsake and something for him to look back when he is older. I’ve just ordered a further two copies for James & Eli.

Stanley’s ’50 things’

When I’ve been stuck for ideas of what to do with the boys especially in the Autumn/Winter months this has been an absolute lifesaver and with a bit of Facebook wizardry, I’ve looked up local events that will tick off an activity or two and taken the boys along.

Stanley’s ’50 Things’

You don’t have to buy the book to join in with ’50 Things’ you can pick up a FREE scrapbook at most properties or join in by downloading the full list as a PDF from the National Trust website.

Explorer Packs

Come and try our fantastic explorer packs and start your adventure today. Our packs contain five different activities to keep all the family entertained. Pick up one at reception upon arrival and get exploring.

These are available for free (a refundable £5 deposit is required) at selected properties. The contents of each rucksack will vary depending on the venue but they will contain everything you need for activities suitable for that environment (coastline, country house, castle, quarry etc). We picked one up at Dunwich Heath in Norfolk and were armed with spotting sheets, binoculars, a handheld GPS for geocaching, a bug hunting kit and pond dipping equipment.

Wearing his explorer pack at Dulwich Heath

Special Events

Due to the timing of this post there are lots of special National Trust events for the Easter holidays. Cadbury has teamed up with National Trust to create over 260 Cadbury Easter Egg Hunts (1-28 April) across the UK, so get ready for some fun and discovery.

Credit: National Trust ©

Also check out the National Trust website for the best places to see daffodils, lambing events and erm dinosaurs!!

Walking with dinosaurs at Biddulph Grange Gardens

So there you have it, a few things to be getting on with!! If it’s not your cup of tea and you prefer more leisurely and relaxed visits, then I hope you’ve enjoyed reading!

All images are my own unless otherwise credited and must not be reproduced without permission.


16 responses to “Five Go National Trusting!”

  1. Review: We’re Quackers for Thornbridge Hall & Gardens – Dirt, Diggers and Dinosaurs Avatar

    […] you are a fan of family days out to National Trust properties or English Heritage sites then I think you’ll love it […]

    Like

  2. The Wandering Pram Avatar

    I love the national Trust, we don’t have the equivalent in Ireland but I try and visit places when I’m back in UK, but I live your idea of a scrapbook for days out I could start something like that

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dirt, Diggers and Dinosaurs Avatar

      You could print the pdf and use it as a base to make your own scrapbook. The great thing about 50 things is that it isn’t affiliated with National Trust properties, it’s just a great prompt to get kids playing and exploring outside.

      Like

      1. The Wandering Pram Avatar

        Thanks I didn’t realise that, yes that’s a great idea

        Liked by 1 person

  3. The Halcyon Years (formerly Ettie and Me) Avatar

    What a great idea, we are serial national trusters too but I didn’t know about the passport! Going to have to get one! X

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dirt, Diggers and Dinosaurs Avatar

      Every day is a school day, today I learned that we can get 15% off at Millets!!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Northumberland Family Diaries Avatar

    We LOVE our membership and often visit our two nearest properties for either a day out or just to let off steam for a few hours! Haven’t seen the app before that looks good, thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Viv Simone Avatar
    Viv Simone

    I love the concept of a National Trust Passport! Such a nice momento for the children to look back on in the future x

    Viv @ http://www.vivsimone.com

    Like

    1. Dirt, Diggers and Dinosaurs Avatar

      That’s what we’re hoping!

      Like

  6. Emma Reed Avatar

    I really need to look into National Trust places in our area

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Emma Reed Avatar

    I need to look into national trust places in our area.

    Like

  8. Marie Avatar

    They are such good days out. I had no idea they had an app, I’ll definitely download this.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Latoya Avatar

    I don’t have a national trust membership as I don’t drive, so not sure how many of the places are reachable by public transport. Jealous though as it sounds fab!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Laura Leanne Avatar

    We love the national trust but I didn’t know about the app – I will definitely be downloading!
    Laura @ http://www.lauraleanne.com

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Natalie | Surviving life's hurdles Avatar
    Natalie | Surviving life’s hurdles

    I didn’t know half of these things, so I’m really excited to try some of them with my son. I love your collaged keepsake idea, such a lovely thing to do! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dirt, Diggers and Dinosaurs Avatar

      Aww thank you!! I might not be as enthusiastic when I’m doing Eli’s (number 3) book! 😂

      Like

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