If you’ve read my previous posts you’ll know that I’ve gone from being a part time working mum of one to a stay at home mum of two as it wasn’t financially viable for me to work and pay for childcare for two children. One of the things we have done to compensate for the lack of my salary its to find more free and cheap things to do as a family. One off the ways we have done this is by joining the National Trust. We decided to join when we were on Holiday in Anglesey and wanted to visit Penrhyn Castle. This would have cost us £27 for two adults as under 5’s go free so we opted for a joint membership at £9.50 a month. (which can be upgraded to a family membership for an extra 50p if you have older children) and took advantage of the ability to then visit Plas Newydd for free to search for Red Squirrels.
Since joining the National Trust one of our favourite (and most local) places to visit has been Calke Abbey.
There are over 67 acres of walks in total away between the deer park and closer to the house for those who want more accessible paths and to see the gardens. Near the main car park there is a children play area, toilets, changing facilities, cafe and plenty of picnic benches.
We often visit the gardens when we go, its nice showing Logan how they change throughout the seasons, Logan likes to explore them and particularly likes the underground tunnel and the hand water pump which you can have a go at. In the gardens you can see vegetables being planted, the orchard and bee hives which is great for helping children understand about where food comes from. During lambing season you can also visit the farm to see the new Portland lambs in the barn and the paddock.
Logan is definitely an animal lover his favourite things about visiting Calke are splashing in puddles and all the deer. There are a mixture of Red and Fallow Deer but we’ve never been on a visit and not seen any of them. During our most recent visit we were also lucky enough to spot a pair of voles. We keep Logan dry during our days out with a Dry kids set in bright yellow (also handy to spot him when he decides to make a run for it). We previously used all in ones, but he outgrows them so quickly and the two piece is great for being a safe coat to leave on in his car seat for the preschool run if its raining as there is no padding.
During our most recent visit Logan made a new discovery, this beautifully painted rock hidden by a member of the #Derbyshirerocks Facebook group. When we got home I looked for the group and shared our photos. I handn’t ever come across the idea before but I love the idea of getting children excited about going out for walks and being observant so we will be having a go at decorating and hiding some of our own rocks soon.