Daddy and Munchkin Blog
Our National Trust Top Four

While we only started our membership during the Covid-19 pandemic, we have managed to visit a good handful of National Trust properties. While Oxburgh Hall and the Dunstable downs and a few others didn’t quite make the list, here are our top four of the National Trust properties so far. (This post will get updated over time as we visit more locations).

4. Clumber Park, Worksop

Clumber park is a huge expanse of woodland and park land situated off the A1, south of Worksop. It has many a peaceful walk surrounded completely by nature, letting you feel totally disconnected. This is the property we first saw Munchkin’s love for nature grow. His little nine-month old eyes lit up when he first saw the trees towering above him and his love for nature hasn’t changed since.


3. Belton House, Grantham

Belton House is a one of the properties I visited as a child, and we have revisited many a time with Munchkin. It has a giant wooden park which, for a little one, stretches for miles, is the National Trusts biggest play area, and is topped off with a woodland train to give you a swift ride through the trees. Belton House hosts fantastic Christmas light displays (which we will certainly be visiting this winter) and has a fantastic property (which you can visit again now).


2. Anglesey Abbey, Cambridge

Just pipped by Cliveden for the top spot, Anglesey Abbey was the first property to fuel my passion for visiting National Trust properties. Set in 114 acres, north-east of Cambridge, Anglesey abbey features a fantastic woodland park (which is sadly currently closed due to Covid-19) and fabulous seasonal gardens which surprise us on every visit. We love a stroll or toddler-run up and down the tree -lined grass walkways and an amble alongside the river which leads up to a working water mill.


1. Cliveden, Maidenhead

Set on a stretch of the Thames, north-west of London, this property has miles and miles of woodland and riverbank to wonder. It boasts a fantastic property (albeit one we’ve only seen from the outside as we visited during Covid times, during our October getaway). There’s a fantastic wooden storybook themed play area, a wooden play trail, options for boating trips and absolutely stunning gardens.

We learned a lesson at this one which we found out the hard way. If you walk the many miles up to the southern car park and then down the Thames, this may be a beautiful walk but there is a chance your toddler will get tired, go in the pushchair and fall asleep. But that’s fine right? Well not when the return up the hill is many many steep steps, which is a challenge with all the day’s bags, a pushchair and a toddler sleeping inside!

That said, it is such a fantastic and beautiful property. The view of the Thames is spectacular, and there’s plenty for the kids to do when not wondering through the woodland. That’s why its made the top spot.

National Trust Membership

As mentioned in the intro, we have a National Trust membership which grants us access to the houses and gardens, free parking (at most properties) and a handy dandy guidebook. For two adults its only £10/month and for a family of two adults plus children its only £10.50. To compare, a visit to Cliveden costs £15 per adult and £7.50 per child aged 5 – 17, with children under 5 go free, so membership was a no brainer for us.


Which is your favourite National Trust? Let me know in the comments.

Thanks for reading,

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A Dive from the Sky – Daddy did a skydive

In April 2019 I thought it would be great getting a group from work together to do a skydive. I had a gift voucher from 2011 and just hadn’t found a group of determined individuals to go with (or maybe I was actually procrastinating a little). So I popped the email out and got nine colleagues, past and present to join me, little did any of know then though that it would take until September 2020 to actually jump…

The faint hearted may call us crazy jumping from 10,000 ft, and maybe I would have agreed a little. But now, post-jump I think you are actually maybe crazy for not wanting to give it a go!

Why it took so long? You know, that 17 months it took from booking to actually jumping. Well that’s firstly the struggles of getting 10 people to agree on a date to book, with everyone’s weekend plans. Then add the typical British weather, slap on a vital plane part stuck in customs for weeks and then top it off with a sprinkling of a viral pandemic. It’s mad thinking it actually went ahead, for seven of us at least, still amongst the Covid-19 madness.

We made it on site once before, in November 2019. We jumped into jumpsuits and slipped on our harnesses in preparation. The first group boarded the plane, with us in second position. The plane set off, down the run way, then the fog dropped. We waited until 1:30pm, saw no relief and went home disappointed.

The group before us, on the plane that never flew

Then on Saturday 5th September, a coffee, was a welcome sight as seven of us nervously arrived. The nerves then grew as we got closer to flying, but were then suddenly dashed as wind speeds increased and the plane was grounded, over and over, again and again. We waited it out like before and at around 3:45 pm our names were called across the tannoy. ‘It’s actually happening!’ (though we got this far last time). We got fastened up in harnesses, took one last anxious looking masked covered face photo (see below) and climbed into the plane.

Sky diving is probably the closest you’ll get to another human who’s not from your household during lockdown. It is awfully cosy on those planes.

The door opened and closed throughout the climb, as per the new Covid rules. Then we hit 10,000 ft. The door opened for the final time and the first jumper disappeared outside. Four of my friends later, it was my turn. We shuffled to the door, legs back, fingers in our harnesses, head back and moments later we were speeding down towards the ground.

30 seconds of freefall seemed only like a moment. Then the parachute opened and the full view could be fully absorbed. It was the most mind-blowingly beautiful sight but also topped with the extreme thrill as my instructor asked if I wanted calm or exhilarating (a silly question for me). We spun in circles, dipped and dropped, before we finally drifted to the ground.

It left us all speechless, but elated beyond words. It wasn’t long after we were saying what we should do next…

Munchkin, I’ll take you one day, if you like. Just don’t tell Nanny.

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