Days Out Parenting

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

  • February 19, 2018

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 Comments

  • pamsbakeandbabyblog

    Wow some amazing places! I’ve never been to Dorset or Wiltshire but would love to head down one day. So many great places to see in the uk.

    Reply
  • Sarah - Mud Cakes and Wine

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

    Reply
  • Zoe

    We love a National Trust day out! These places look great to explore xx

    Reply
  • Emma Me and B Make Tea

    we are going to join the NT this spring and def want to head to Stourhead. it isnt too far for us. Dunster castle is on the list, and Tyntesfield 🙂 #KCACOLS

    Reply
  • Su {Ethan&Evelyn} (@ethannevelyn)

    I have heard about many of these places I do love National Trust properties.

    Reply
  • Lisa Pomerantz

    These destinations look absolutely magical! I’ve never been to any of these areas, but I sure would love to! Thanks for taking me along for the trip! #kcacols xo

    Reply
  • Shiree | Confessions of Parenting

    How fun! Your pictures are gorgeous! I felt like I was right there with you.

    Thanks for joining #WanderingWednesday!

    Reply
  • Lori

    Absolutely beautiful! I love all the history!
    #WanderingWednesday

    Reply
  • Thoroughly Modern Grandma (@TModernGrandma)

    I love our National Trust membership, it’s great for taking the Grandsons out for the day. Our daughter also has a family membership so we quite often go for family days out all together. These look great, we’ve visited Corfe Castle but not any of the others on your list yet. #KCACOLS

    Reply
    • Sarah | Digital Motherhood

      Yes we’re the same, my parents have a membership too so they can take the grandkids our or we can all go together 🙂

      Reply
  • Michelle Twin Mum

    Thanks a lot, I adore NT sites so I have added Stourhead and Mottisfont onto our ever growing list. The others we’ve already been to. Mich x #Countrykids

    Reply
  • Little Steps/Dean B (@LittleStepsTwit)

    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

    Reply
  • Coombe Mill (Fiona) (@coombemill)

    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.

    Reply
  • Merlinda Little

    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

    Reply
  • Mary @ Over 40 and a Mum to One

    For some reason I thought Stourhead was up north, but Wiltshire might just be doable from here. We discovered Mottisfont last year on our way back from Bournemouth, and we both loved it #CountryKids

    Reply
  • dearmummyblog

    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

    Reply
  • The Queen of Collage

    There certainly sounds like there are some lovely NT properties near you. #CountryKids

    Reply
  • Tracey Bowden

    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.

    Reply
  • Shiju Sugunan

    Loved the post. Your photos are impressive.

    Reply
  • Louise

    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

    Reply
  • crummymummy1

    We’re NT members too & have been to all of these except the Wiltshire property – Kingston Lacy & Brownsea are firm favourites for us! #KCACOLS

    Reply

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