Visiting Kingston Lacy, National Trust, Dorset.
January 19, 2015.
Dear mummy, this week we headed across the county border into Dorset to visit to Kingston Lacy.
Kingston Lacy is a Grade 1 listed country house and estate owned by the National Trust. It’s just on the other side of the quaint Wimborne Minster, off the A31, past Ringwood and the New Forest.
It’s a bright and sunny day so we decide to brave the cold and go on an hour journey down the motorway and into the countryside.
We nearly get lost heading to Poole (which wouldn’t be a bad thing as we quite like the coast and the beach) after doubling back a couple of times we finally find Kingston Lacy.
Huge imposing gates and a long drive lead into the car park right next to the entrance to the visitors reception.
With plenty of space to park, we bundle everything into the buggy (warm clothes, wellies, rucksack, camera and changing bag etc) and head into the estate. The entrance doors are narrow and we have trouble getting the buggy through. We have to get help entering the visitors reception and this is the first hurdle of the day.
It doesn’t help that mummy is on her own with a troublesome toddler making mischief – the sun is a blessing on this cold day but also a curse.
It hurts my eyes and I winge all the way to the main house, my mummy tries to walk against the low sun in the sky but it still bothers me.
Finally, I’m let off the rein onto the grass where I have a really good run around, tripping over my own feet in excitement and covering myself in mud.
It seems quiet but then again it is midweek. There are only older couples waking around the estate and I destroy all the peace and quiet with my laughing and shouting.
In fact my shenanigans draw so much attention that people start to walk the other way!! However it does draw some interest in the form of a friendly black cat. He runs over from the main house to give us a big leg rub.
We follow him to the little gardens, past the ancient 6.5m-high obelisk and he mysteriously disappears. Hmmmmm spooky…..We explore the Kitchen Garden and the Japanese Garden.
Unfortunately Lime Walk is closed today, so we miss the carpet of Snowdrops. However, we do see lots of Snowdrops poking out of the brown soil in and around the woods.
We play on the South Lawn and then head into the cafe to warm up with a cuppa.
Hurdle number 2. Doors aren’t wide in the cafe area and a lot of the seating has been sectioned off for NT staff training. So we are squished in this barn/stable style cafe with wonky cobbled floors and chairs all bunched together.
We put the buggy away in the corner and mummy juggles an overloaded tray, soup, hot drinks and while dragging me to find a high chair… while staff look on. It’s a shame really as they could have helped as there where enough of them milling around. We then had the fasted lunch on record, as we felt unwelcome in the silent dining room, attracting unwanted glances from elderly couples.
Back outside we explored the courtyard while mummy finished her drink and I was causing mayhem, balancing precariously on little curbs and jumping in puddles. We set off to the woodland walk, my mummy pushing the buggy and me trailing behind her.
Unfortunately that’s when I fell, tripping over my wellies in my eagerness to hold onto the buggy. I split my lip on the gravel path :( a lovely ‘off duty’ National Trust staff member came over to offer us help which was nice and my mummy probably appeared rude refusing. A kind ‘on duty’ lady from reception came over to point us in the direction of the toilets while my mummy tried to comfort me and stop the bleeding.
Over tired, with the sun in my eyes the rest of the afternoon was an upset one with our woodland walk rushed, we decided to head home and chill out on the sofa.
A long way to go for us but it was very pretty at Kingston Lacy. We can’t always have brilliant days.
We’d like to go back when the house and Lime Avenue is back open and when the Kitchen Garden isn’t as bleak. With safety in numbers I’m sure we’d have a lovely time with friends and family.