Adventures with the National Trust #2 – Sudbury Hall

Well, half term was pretty busy.  So busy, in fact, that it came and went without me managing to write a single one of the posts I had planned.  Still, I promised you I would catch up later and I always keep my promises – well, I try to.

Half term seemed like the most appropriate time to begin taking advantage of our new National Trust membership.  After some deliberation I decided to take the children to pay a visit to Sudbury Hall and the Museum of Childhood, in Ashbourne, Derbyshire.

The journey was incredibly short – so short, in fact, that it seems crazy that I hadn’t visited the place (or even heard of it) before I flipped through the National Trust handbook.  Sudbury is a very cute little village just outside of Ashbourne, and the Hall sits smack in the middle.

First, we took a walk around the hall itself.  There was a special conservation event taking place, so as we walked around we got to see the staff hard at work cleaning all of the wonderful ornaments and fabrics.  Lots of things were covered up or out of place, but it was fascinating to see how much work goes into keeping our stately homes so magnificent.  It’s a side of things that we don’t often get to see, as most estates just keep their doors shut while they carry out their conservation work.

Next, it was time to have a look around the Museum of Childhood.  It was so big we could probably have spent a whole day just looking around there.  There were tons of displays of toys from throughout history and fascinating exhibits on the lives and experiences of children through the ages.

I encouraged (forced!) my little girl to sit through a Victorian school lesson, which was very interesting for me and possibly quite alarming for her.  She sat very still, with her hands flat on the desk – as instructed – and never made a peep!  She may only be four, but I bet she was very glad to get back to her nice, friendly school without canes or finger stocks (google it!)

By the time we’d explored all of this, we were pretty hungry so decided to stop in the cafe for a drink and a bite to eat.  Then we headed to the playground to burn off some excess energy.

Unfortunately we had to leave before we had time to look around the gardens, but the great thing about having National Trust membership is that we can head back whenever we like.  And it’s only a hop, skip and a jump away.  Altogether it was a really lovely family day out. I wonder where our adventures will take us next…

P.S. Apologies for the crappy photos – new camera  – not got the hang of it yet?

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