Our Favourite National Trust Days Out in Dorset, Hampshire & Wiltshire

Last summer we got our first National Trust membership and have definitely got our money’s worth. We worked out that after 3 trips our family of 3 would be getting free visits on the annual membership of £115. This post isn’t in conjunction with National Trust at all, we’ve just been to some really great places and think the membership is such good value for families that I wanted to share our faves with you.

We live in Poole, Dorset, so the National Trust attractions we’ve visited are in Dorset, Hampshire and Wiltshire. They are always a great family day out in the fresh air, exploring and having adventures. These are our favourite National Trust days out …

Kingston Lacy, Dorset

The nearest National Trust property to us is Kingston Lacy in Wimborne and we’ve visited a lot over the years as it’s right on our doorstep. Kingston Lacy is a fabulous house surrounded by beautiful gardens and walks. You can go a few times without even walking in the same direction. The house is good fun to explore and they often have fun activities laid on for the kids.

Our Favourite National Trust Days Out in Dorset, Hampshire & Wiltshire | Digital Motherhood

We last visited at Christmas when the gardens were all lit up and looking very festive.

Our Favourite National Trust Days Out in Dorset, Hampshire & Wiltshire | Digital Motherhood

There’s a Japanese garden which is fun to explore and a kitchen garden with little play area. There’s also a walled garden under the cover of trees where all the kids love to run up and down the paths and there are lots of woodland walks. If you head away from the house there’s a good wooden play area and if you walk through the woods you might see two giant pigs foraging for food.

Our Favourite National Trust Days Out in Dorset, Hampshire & Wiltshire | Digital Motherhood

There’s also the laundry to see with all the old-fashioned mangles, sewing machines etc that the kids love to look at.

Our Favourite National Trust Days Out in Dorset, Hampshire & Wiltshire | Digital Motherhood

We always head to Kingston Lacy to see the bluebells in the Spring

Mottisfont, Hampshire

Mottisfont house and gardens is in Romsey, Hampshire which is about an hour away from us. Similar to Kingston Lacy there’s a great house to explore and they always have an art exhibition including some for kids such as artwork from The Gruffalo.

Our Favourite National Trust Days Out in Dorset, Hampshire & Wiltshire | Digital Motherhood

There are lots of gardens to explore and wooden paths to wander down. We always like to head to the little gypsy caravan which is kitted out like a shepherds hut and all the kids love.

Our Favourite National Trust Days Out in Dorset, Hampshire & Wiltshire | Digital Motherhood

Our favourite part to explore at Mottisfont is the walk down by the River Test. You can walk down one side, down to the fishing hut, over the bridge and then back down the other side. There’s a little water park and also a wooden bog play area which gets extremely muddy in the winter!

Our Favourite National Trust Days Out in Dorset, Hampshire & Wiltshire | Digital Motherhood

Stourhead, Wiltshire

Stourhead in Wiltshire is our favourite even though we have only visited once so far! There’s so much there that we ran out of time and are looking forward to visiting at Easter.

The gardens at Stourhead are incredible. In the middle is a lake with a path that takes you the whole way around. Around the lake are temples, cottages and grottos and you end up wandering off in a completely different direction into the woods or up the hill. The buildings are so much fun to explore and great for kids who might otherwise get bored just wandering.

Our Favourite National Trust Days Out in Dorset, Hampshire & Wiltshire | Digital Motherhood

We visited last summer and had a lovely lazy picnic on the grass by the lake. The gardens are great fun to explore as well.

Our Favourite National Trust Days Out in Dorset, Hampshire & Wiltshire | Digital Motherhood

The house is really interesting to look around and I won’t give it away but head up to the top floor and see what surprise is waiting in the children’s’ bathroom!

Our Favourite National Trust Days Out in Dorset, Hampshire & Wiltshire | Digital Motherhood

Away from the main house, there’s also chapels and churches within the grounds to explore. Like I said, you need more than one visit to see it all.

Corfe Castle, Dorset

I’ve visited Corfe Castle over on the Isle of Purbeck so many times since I was small and it’s always really good fun. It’s different to our other favourite National Trust properties as there’s no house and gardens to explore.

Corfe Castle is basically what’s left of a 12th-century castle built for King Henry I. It’s brilliant fun to explore and the views from the top are definitely worth seeing.

Our Favourite National Trust Days Out in Dorset, Hampshire & Wiltshire | Digital Motherhood

There’s usually things going on in the grounds for kids – when we last visited they had tents showing trades and crafts from the time of Henry I with people dressed up. They also had stocks, catapults and there’s always great educational events going on during the school holidays.

Our Favourite National Trust Days Out in Dorset, Hampshire & Wiltshire | Digital Motherhood

Brownsea Island, Dorset

Brownsea Island is a ferry ride from Sandbanks in Poole and is famously where Lord Baden-Powell held the first scout camps.

I hadn’t been since I was little as it works out quite expensive with parking at Sandbanks and a ferry ride as well as the entrance fee. We visited last summer and had a really good day out, though it does still work out more pricey than the other National Trust days out as your membership doesn’t cover parking and the ferry.

Our Favourite National Trust Days Out in Dorset, Hampshire & Wiltshire | Digital Motherhood

It’s a full day out though and another place you need more than one visit to explore. It’s not open all year round so best to check the timings if you’re planning to visit in the winter.

Brownsea Island has lovely beaches with amazing views across Poole Harbour and they’re so much quieter than those over at Sandbanks etc.

Our Favourite National Trust Days Out in Dorset, Hampshire & Wiltshire | Digital Motherhood

There’s also lots of woodland walks and plenty of wildlife to spot in the conservation area. On any walk around the island, you can find peacocks and red squirrels though the squirrels are harder to spot.

Our Favourite National Trust Days Out in Dorset, Hampshire & Wiltshire | Digital Motherhood

There’s a church to explore, various huts along the way and a really good wooden play area.

Our Favourite National Trust Days Out in Dorset, Hampshire & Wiltshire | Digital Motherhood

I don’t think we saw the whole island as ran out of time so on our next visit we’ll just have to walk the opposite way around!

Those are our favourite National Trust days out. Have you visited any of these? Or do you have any recommendations for us?

Sarah

Our favourite National Trust days out | Days out in Dorset, Hampshire and Wiltshire | Family Days Out | Countryside days out

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21 thoughts on “Our Favourite National Trust Days Out in Dorset, Hampshire & Wiltshire

  1. Sarah - Mud Cakes and Wine says:

    We have been to corft castle and loved it. You have some amazing places to visit and the gardens sound wonderful

  2. Little Steps/Dean B (@LittleStepsTwit) says:

    We’re also members of National Trust and English Heritage, when you have kids, it just saves up thinking about to do or where to go when the weather is lovely or during half-term breaks isn’t it? Well, at least that’s what we think. Looks like you guys visited a lot of lovely National Trust properties! Must put them on our list next time we’re in the area 🙂 #countrykids

  3. Coombe Mill (Fiona) (@coombemill) says:

    National Trust properties really are a fantastic place to explore as a family, the open spaces they offer combined with history really do help tick boxes for everyone. Membership really does help to save cost, especially for us as it covers large families. It’s clear why these are the places you’ve enjoyed visiting, the kids are clearly having a blast in all of these shots.

    Thanks for linking up with me on #CountryKids.

  4. Merlinda Little says:

    NT membership is really so worth it! The sites that you can go are endless! And the sites that you visited are all amazing! You always find new things on places so it really pays to go again =)

    #countrykids

  5. dearmummyblog says:

    We’re lucky enough to have visited Mottisfont, Kingston Lacey and Stourhead before and would definitely recommend The Vyne (once the roof is complete) we’re so thankful that there are plenty of NT properties near us. #CountryKids

  6. Tracey Bowden says:

    I have never visited any of these before but they all look beautiful places. Will definitely check them out if I am visiting these areas! Thanks so much for linking up ay #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again soon.

  7. Louise says:

    National Trust membership is fab – we love being able to make the most of ours. I haven’t taken the girls to visit any of these places yet but I have fond memories of visiting Corfe Castle as a child and visiting Mottisfont when I was at university in Southampton. We had friends who got married at Stourhead and it was such a beautiful location for a wedding. We haven’t been back since but it’s one of the places on our list to visit at some point! 🙂 #countrykids

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