Ok, if you haven’t worked it out by now, we love visiting National Trust properties and are lucky enough to have some great ones on our doorstep. Basildon Park is really close to Goring, Streatley and Pangborne. The kids and I usually stop off at The Boathouse by the river in Streatley to stock up on some fabulous hot chocolate and biscuits before embarking properly on our latest escapade.
The house itself is amazing (more on this later), but it is the grounds we come for. Depending on the time of year there is usually something on offer – be it hunting for the fairy doors, following any number of trails in the garden, or searching out the ball runs set up round the park.
Apparently there are great walks through the park. We attempted one on our last visit, only my oldest decided there were ox in the field – to be fair the one near us did have horns and did stamp the ground looking at us – and so we swiftly abandoned that idea in favour of den-building elsewhere. There are some perfect spots for this – an easy hour or so of fun!
What else? There is a mini-maze made of laurel – you won’t get lost for long, but it is fun, and a hazel-hideout which we only discovered on our last visit which has wood-carved animals and garden games.
The house itself is a beautiful Georgian mansion that was restored in the 18th century, and it is stuffed full of wonderful paintings, furniture, ornaments and other interesting items. Kids can the trail looking for particular items in the rooms to keep them interested … Oh, and unsurprisingly you might recognise it from some scenes in Downton Abbey. Clang, clang, clang would be my kids on the piano near the restaurant area – must get them some lessons before we return!
Phew, I defy you to not lose at least 3 hours here – so much to see and to run around and do, oh, and a great place for a picnic in the summer …
Note to self, must do one of the walks next time!