Last Sunday we were in the Cotswolds to review a pub lunch and I was looking for somewhere to visit in the afternoon. We’ve been to the area lots of times over the year but I was really looking for somewhere new to go. Then the penny dropped, it was finally time to go spend an afternoon exploring Chastleton House, near Moreton-in-Marsh.
It’s worth noting that Chastleton House is only open in the afternoons, which I think is why we’ve never been before to be honest. It’s somewhere we’ve passed so many times, but either in the morning, or too late in the day to just pop in somewhere else on the way home. Finally we had our timing right to spend time exploring Chastleton House.
It’s a National Trust property and there is car parking available, but it was limited by the time we arrived. Once we’d parked up and studying the map, we walked through a field of sheep and a dovecote down towards the Jacobean house and adjacent church.
It was a nice little stroll and we could see the house ahead.
The house was built during the early 1600’s and had been in the same family, relatively unchanged until the 1990’s, I was really hoping that we’d get to have a proper look round, as I’m a sucker for this type of period building. But with a 6 year old in tow, how likely was that to be!
Exploring Chastleton House is by timed ticket only, so we headed to the ticket desk to show our NT passes and pick up our tickets and information bout the property and gardens. Monkey is surprising me at every turn these days, and when he was offered an Explorers Pack he nodded enthusiastically, yes please! We decided to grab a coffee and cake / ice cream as we hadn’t had a pudding at the pub, this also gave Monkey time to look through the Explorer pack bag. He loved the contents – binoculars, magnifying glass, tape measure, explorer sheets, bird identification sheet and lots more besides.
Apparently exploring Chastleton House was going to be lots of fun, and it looked as if I might actually get to look at the various rooms, rather than zooming through as breakneck speed.
What a godsend! We got to measure tables, search for squirrels in the plaster work of the ceilings, look for hidden key holes in a bed frame and mystery doors. Every trip out with Monkey is bringing new levels of patience and interest, and he was an absolute joy to be with. Asking questions, taking time to look at things (what a novel idea), letting me admire carvings and stained glass windows. Some of the ceilings really reminded me of the Library at Lanhydrock.
We ended our walk through the house with a secret door, where would it lead? Always remember to look up.
Now it was time to explore the gardens and admire the house from a different view-point.
Apparently the rules for croquet were invented at Chastleton House and the sight of a croquet set was just too tempting. It’s a game I’ve always loved playing, we have a kids set at home but Monkey wasn’t in any mood to play by the rules! He was having fun, taking the lead, growing up in front of my eyes.
When Daddy P and I had been beaten ‘fair and square’ at croquet, it was time for some hide and seek fun.
Before exploring the rest of the grounds, apple blossom, flowers and a rather unusual scarecrow! Of course it’s totally natural to run around with a tape measure snake too.
We’d had a lovely few hours exploring Chastleton House and grounds and there was just time for a quick visit to the adjoining church before heading home.
I’d certainly recommend a visit if you are in the area one afternoon.