Over the last couple of years I’ve become friends with Tina at The Soup Dragons Says and we were lucky enough to stay with them last summer when we both went to an event at Butlins with our boys. Sadly we don’t live close enough to each other to meet up often but we decided to find somewhere halfway for a day out during the Easter holidays. Monkey is quite taken with her son and was looking forward to seeing him again too.
After consulting the map I suggested The Vyne, a National Trust property near Basingstoke. It seemed to have some woodland trails which would give the boys some space to let off steam. Neither of us had been before so we kept our fingers crossed that I’d made a good choice.
Monkey and I arrived first, grabbed a map and timed tickets for the house for later in the day. We got a text from Tina – she was lost and was going to be late. Ok, don’t stress. It gave Monkey and I some time to walk around the grounds and have a bit of an exploration. There were a number of different trail leaflets available from the entrance desk, and we spotted different trees as we began our adventure.
I’ve loved weeping willows since I was a child walking by the River Wey in and around Farnham. They seem so serene don’t they.
There were deck chairs spread out on the lawn but Monkey was off in search of a Worm and a Butterfly which form part of the Sculpture Trail.
We then followed the path around the lake, past the bird hide and decided to head back around the other side of the lake to wait for our friends. If we’d been alone we would have headed off into the woodland trails.
The view across the lake to the house was lovely, especially in the Spring sunshine.
Tina and her son had arrived, he needed some time to let off steam after a long car journey so we headed back down the trail to an area we’d spotted that was great for den building. In between den building and stick carrying we all had a picnic lunch and caught up with each other’s news. There are picnic tables dotted around but we were happy to perch on a log, enjoying the peace of our surroundings.
Our entry time for the house was approaching so we said goodbye to the dens and headed back around the lake. A couple of ladies were busy painting, so we stopped to admire their work. One lady lived in Farnham, which gave me a few moments to reminisce about my childhood. Tina’s son was keen to try some art himself whilst Monkey looked on in awe.
Once in the house we followed the tour route and Monkey had the challenge of spotting mice in selected rooms. I do like this idea of giving children something to look for as we wander around National trust properties. It means I get to have more than a passing glance at the rooms and That Monkey actually takes an interest in what we see.
Mice spotted it was time to head outside once again. The Brewhouse Tea Room is the perfect place to stop for a slice of cake and a cup of tea. There’s seating inside and out and toilet facilities too.
The Hidden Realm Play area is a must for youngsters, Monkey had great fun exploring and it looks as if there should have been a water feature flowing through the area. All of the children seemed to be having a great time.
We had a full on day at The Vyne and been so lucky with the weather too. There was just time to say hello to the resident bees before heading home.
We’d had a thoroughly enjoyable day and got the chance to catch up with friends too. Perfect.