We decided to make the most of having the day off for my birthday and put our National Trust annual passes to use with a trip to Basildon Park. We arrived early before the main house opened to enjoy a walk around the grounds and gardens first. The walk from the entrance through the woods up to the house was lovely. Cody really enjoyed the little hidden areas to explore and we loved the carved animal benches along the way to stop and have a rest. The pathway was uphill which was a little tricky with my baby goddaughter Savannah in the pram but we managed.
The gardens around the house are beautiful. There are so many different flowers and trees to look at plus some lovely statues along the way. Cody particularly enjoyed the small maze and I loved the umbrella chair. We had a lovely time exploring outside and then decided to head in to the cafe for a cup of tea and cake (well it was my birthday after all!).
The food served in the cafe was very good quality and reasonable prices. The decor in the seating area was stunning with beautiful murals on the walls of the jungle. Unfortunately I didnt have the chance to take any photos due to juggling a hungry baby and restless 3 year old but do go and try it for yourselves. There is an additional seating area where dogs are welcome too!
After a bite to eat we were able to go and explore the house. I was a little concerned how this was going to pan out due to having to carry my goddaughter (no pushchair access to the house) and having Cody to try and keep under control. Thankfully when we entered the house Cody was handed a childrens map of the house by one of the guides which had a picture of an animal in each of the rooms. He was instructed to look carefully at the pictures on the walls to find the animal in each room and amazingly this kept him occupied throughout the tour! Some of the animals were quite tricky to find but the guides in each room were brilliant with him and helped point out things of interest as well as helping him find the animal he was searching for. It was such a relief to have such friendly staff on hand and made the whole tour really enjoyable. The house itself is stunning and had so much to see. We particularly loved the seashell collection room and seeing the magnificent beds.
Cody’s favourite room was the 1950s kitchen where 2 ladies were making shortbread biscuits for visitors to sample. The biggest hit in here though was the tray full of old kitchen utensils for children to handle. Cody absolutely loved pulling each one out and trying to work out what it was used for. It kept him occupied for ages!
We really enjoyed our visit to Basildon Park and will certainly be returning soon with the girls so they can enjoy the house as well. We also want to do some of the walking trails. I loved how child friendly the staff were – something I didn’t expect knowing how fragile the items in the house were. Everyone we met took time to speak to our little man and answer his questions. One of the rooms was being restored and the people doing that also stopped what they were doing to talk to him and explain why everything was covered in dust sheets in there. I definitely recommend it!
Disclaimer: The National Trust and Basildon Park had no involvement in this review. All photos, words and opinions are that of my own 🙂