The National Trust
We intended on becoming members of The National Trust when we arrived in England. After the move, settling in period, trying to squeeze a huge Shanghai apartment full of stuff into a small English house and finding our way around...all the National Trust properties were being closed up for Winter, so we waited for the reopening in March to join.
The National Trust was founded over 100 years ago to preserve outdoor spaces and protect them from being built on. They protect historic houses, gardens, forests, coast, countryside and more. Volunteers work as guides in the properties, a font of information on the history of the place. There to advise and protect. Volunteers also work in the gardens and much more.
I used the online Direct Debit option and bought a 12 month family membership for £72.75, printed off a temporary card and arranged to meet up with a friend at a National Trust property. I found a postcode half way between us, popped it into the search on the National Trust website and chose Grey's Court, near Henley.
On a freezing, literally, March day we discovered a beautiful old building that was lived in until 2003, still feels like a family home.
Gorgeous gardens and I love a Chinese touch!
Found some beautiful flowers, I have no idea what this is if anyone can help!
After many outings to the gardens of Hughendon Manor to walk the dog, I finally got to visit the house!
Loved the library.
On another unseasonably, snowy and cold day, we ventured out and found the very impressive Waddeson Manor!
Such extravagance. Would have loved to come here for a party!
Beautiful silverware for true silver service.
Tranquil gardens, with scattered, brave daffodils.
On a sunny warm day, when Spring finally popped up, we headed over for an outside stroll around Cliveden.
Stunning buildings against a blue cloudless sky, with daffodils surrounding us.
Beautiful views down to the Thames.
I have a feeling my little family will be getting our money's worth out of our National Trust membership. All of these places were less than an hours drive from our home so we have much more to discover. The National Trust website makes it easy, just put a postcode into the search bar and you will be given a list of places close by. There are many things to do, gardens and parks to stroll and picnic in, houses to visit, history to learn. The great outdoors with woodlands, hills and mountains, beaches and forests to explore. Lots of outdoor events are coming up for the summer. They have a great '50 things to do before you are 11 and 3/4' for kids, free for members if your kids are younger. My teen and tween girls have enjoyed their visits and learnt so much history, It's amazing to be inside houses that are older than our home country of Australia!
Our membership cards were sent in a pack with lots of information, a handbook and a sticker for the car. Looking forward to discovering so much more in the coming months. Reviews of the places we have been to and those we have yet to discover will come soon!