Introducing Esme: Family Lifestyle

Good morning readers! Today I have another lovely lady joining the Florence Finds team. Esme is a smart cookie, great writer, and Mum to 7 month old Freddie. As I know so many of you are mothers, I want to include more family life here on Florence Finds. Esme is going to be our family lifestyle contributor, talking about all things family. This month, think Girl about Town, with a BabyBjorn πŸ™‚


Hello lovely Florence Finds readers! I’m absolutely thrilled to be here writing for one of my favourite blogs, especially as I will be writing about one of my favourite topics: family. So, let’s get started, shall we?

Long before we welcomed our little boy Freddie into the world, my husband and I were big fans of the National Trust. We’ve been members since we were about 19 and were lucky enough to be given a joint lifetime membership as a wedding present, so we’ve been to our fair share of properties and gardens. But since we’ve become parents our love for this British institution has grown even more – National Trust places are ideal for family day trips.

Here are my top picks for family (and especially baby) friendly days out with the National Trust.


Aberaeron

Baddesley Clinton
A 15th century house with large gardens and, most importantly, a great restaurant that offers a selection of homemade hot and cold food options (along with tea and cake, of course). We visited Baddesley Clinton not long after Freddie had started on solid food and they didn’t even bat an eyelid when he threw his mashed swede around the highchair, one member of staff was happy to show me how to use the microwave available for baby and children’s food you’ve brought yourself and there was even a bottle warmer. Baby changing facilities are in the disabled loo, which is the usual, and everything was pushchair and wheelchair accessible.

We stopped off here halfway round a circular walk that started at Packwood House and takes around 2.5 hours in total. The route is beautiful, taking you along the Stratford-Upon-Avon canal passing plenty of canal-side pubs if you fancy Sunday lunch rather than tea and cake. Unfortunately it’s definitely not buggy-friendly, but there are plenty of things look at to keep slightly older children entertained.


Anglesey-Abbey

Knightshayes
We only discovered Knightshayes this year, but it’s so lovely we’ve been there twice already and it is certain to become our default place to stretch our legs when driving to the South West (it’s 7 miles off the M5, not far from Exeter). It’s got a beautiful kitchen garden (perfect for inquisitive little ones), acres of grass for letting off steam and a perfectly manicured garden with funny topiary.

The cafe has a larger-than-average selection of cakes and I can confirm the staff are definitely not anti-breastfeeding.


Snowshill-Manor

Brockhampton Estate
This is one we’re looking forward to exploring further next time we go to visit my mum as we literally drive past it on our way to Mid Wales, but have only managed to stop for a quick lunch and to give a grumpy baby a break from the car. This is one of the things we love about the National Trust: when you’re travelling and need to stop for anything other than petrol, you can’t beat them – the food is often homemade on the premises, you’re guaranteed to find something more interesting to look at than a service station car park and the toilets are always clean and have somewhere to change the baby.

Lanhydrock
We tend to spend most of our time outside or in the cafe when we visit somewhere National Trust owned, but one of the properties you have to take time to look around is Lanhydrock in Cornwall. I probably wouldn’t recommend taking your 4 month old baby if you really want to appreciate the 100 plus rooms (like we did), but if you do then rest assured that although you can’t take your pushchair around with you, there is somewhere to lock it up securely and they will lend you either a sling or a ‘hippy chick’ (a belt that clips around your hips/waist with a hard ledge that you can rest the baby on to give your arms and back a rest) and staff will coo over them in every room even if they are crying and/or grabbing at everything.


Lanhydrock

Also, the cream tea in the cafe comes with a proper pot of tea, a large pot of clotted cream and two scones (as is only proper in Cornwall, but is unfortunately not always the case).

I can’t wait to take Freddie to some of our other favourite National Trust places such as Anglesey Abbey, which is just outside of Cambridge and has one of the best selections of trees in the country, and Llanerchaeron, the 18th century Welsh estate with a home farm that will definitely be combined with a honey ice-cream and a stroll by the sea in nearby beautiful Aberaeron – my four year old niece’s favourite day trip. Oh, and Snowshill Manor Β with its quirky model villages, but maybe that’s one for when Freddie is a bit older.

I hope I’ve inspired you to take a trip to your local National Trust property, garden or coastline or to revisit somewhere you used to visit as a child.

Love, Esme.

Find Esme on her blog Esme Wins or @Real_Married

** The National Trust have currently got a special offer on membership where if you pay by annual Direct Debit, you get 3 months free! A family membership with two adults (under 5s are free) is Β£75.72, an absolute bargain if you ask me **

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18 thoughts on “Introducing Esme: Family Lifestyle

  1. How exciting that you are joining the Florence Finds team, Esme. I am a big fan of the National Trust too but have only really explored the properties in my region…these look beautiful though, I definitely want to check out Knightshayes on my next trip to Exeter.

    Can’t wait to see more of your posts πŸ™‚ xx

  2. I love a National Trust day trip- I grew up visiting them on caravan holidays with my dad!
    My favourite is Fountains Abbey. I have such fond memories from growing up nearby.
    I’d also say – if you’re ever looking for something unusual to visit in Edinburgh, Bath, London or York – worth looking at the National Trust/National Trust Scotland sites as there’s lots of city spots too (although sadly not all have cafes!)

  3. Oh I can’t believe the very first place on your list is my favourite NT house of all- Baddesley Clinton! My parents are ardent NT fans and life members and as a Warwickshire girl I went to Baddesley a lot when I was growing up. I can tell you all about the moat, the ghostly blood stain and the coffin room πŸ™‚
    If you are near Warwickshire, another of our family favourites is Charlecote Park near Wellesbourne, it’s absolutely beautiful and has a deer park and tons of room for little ones to play outside.
    I also like Attingham Park in Shropshire which has a huuuuuge second hand bookshop which spans 3 floors in the old stables building- heaven for book lovers.

  4. Fab to see you on here Esme!

    Shockingly I have never been to Baddesley Clinton – and we are so close -must remedy that soon. Good points about baby friendly staff and changing facilities. Also, anywhere that guarantees tea and cake is a winner in my eyes. Look forward to reading more posts!

  5. Welcome Esme – great post! Brilliant timing too – reading this in my lunchtime during my last week of work before maternity leave, so this is giving me some great ideas. Looking forward to more posts from you already. xxxx

  6. Lovely post Esme, something different. I love the wilderness vibe of Angelesy-Abbey. It’s a bit far for me but I will definitely have a look locally so I can just getaway during the weekends

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