Mummy Diaries | Exploring Wimpole Estate

a large brick building with a path leading to the front
As National Trust members, we definitely don’t use our passes enough – although during the colder months, there aren’t always places open and it’s just too cold (and wet) to spend hours outdoors (is it just me).

We’d never been to Wimpole Estate as a family before and decided to tick it off – getting Alfie an annual membership in the process. It was only £10 for year, so amazing value – especially when you see the cost of this trip for non-members at the end of this post. I already know that I’ll renew it… only a couple of visits and you’ve already saved money!

I couldn’t believe how much there was to do and see, but we started off with a little woodland picnic. There was a lovely peaceful spot, shaded by large trees with plenty of benches and we sat there, tucking into baguettes, crisps, and fruit. There was a coffee cart selling hot drinks and crepes nearby, and next to it, an archway led to a courtyard, where there was a restaurant.

We did so much walking, from taking the path to explore little fairy houses, to visiting the parterre gardens. I love a garden! We embarked on the folly route (which was about two miles) – because I wanted to see the Chinese bridge, serpentine lake and hopefully reach the folly. Alfie was intrigued by the ha-ha wall, but it was essentially a wall concealing a large ditch and suddenly he wasn’t so interested (although still found the name funny). We did make it to the folly too, which was really impressive. It dated back to Gothic times, and we could go inside.

a stone tower in a grassy area

I also loved the walled gardens, home to so many fruits, vegetables, and flowers (when in season, of course). A lot of the produce is served in the café and restaurant, and I also read a board about the produce supporting local communities and causes, which was so lovely.

But the highlight was undoubtedly home farm. You could have honestly spent all day there. It’s still a working farm, so expect to see a hive of activity – feeding and cleaning the animals, machinery in use and just lots going on. Alfie was able to pick up an activity sheet, with various checkpoints to tick off – there were brass presses at each area which etched an imprint onto the paper… they were all themed to the area.

We go to see the rare breed animals: shire horses, cows, goats, and pigs. We actually arrived for the pig’s feeding time and I’ve never seen anything like it – there was so much noise and some of the pigs were even trying to climb the railings to get it all. It was a fantastic thing to experience, especially given how many pigs were in the pen… it wasn’t just one or two – there must have been more than 20 or 30!

a group of pigs in a barn

Alfie enjoyed the cow milking station and really got the knack of it – to the point, a member of staff offered him a job. There were three sets of udders with large tin buckets underneath, and it was a case of squeezing water that had been poured from above. In the stables, we couldn’t believe how large some of the shire horses were. The tallest was 19 hands, which is nearly 2m! There were also displays to read, and each stable had a sign with the horse’s name which was a great touch.

After seeing the animals and exploring the barns, we had time for a quick play at the most incredible play area. National Trust sites are known for their eco-friendly, natural wooden play areas – but this one was huge, with so much going on and yet more benches. It was nice to rest my legs (and bump) while Alfie enjoyed playing. We let him have 10 minutes, which I’m sure turned to 20 – but it’s always good to let off steam. There was also an activity barn which we didn’t venture inside.

Throughout the year, there’s lots going on at Wimpole Estate, particularly for families. We will have to return in warmer weather to play garden games on the lawn, enjoy all the gardens in bloom, see new life on the farm and check out what’s growing in the glasshouse. Spring/summer would be a lovely time to visit.

If you’re not a member, the standard prices for an adult are £9 (gardens and parkland) or £18 (full access), children over the age of 5 are half price (so £4.50 or £9) and children under 5 are free. As I said at the beginning, it’s well worth getting a child’s membership!

Love, Lucy xx

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Love, Lucy xx

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