A few weeks before Christmas, I took a much needed day out (sans bebe) with my friends, Jenny and Alice. We had planned to visit London and soak up all the festivities by visiting the markets, sipping mulled punch and nibbling on mince pies but instead we opted for a more peaceful approach to celebrate. A National Trust estate.
This is soon becoming a tradition of ours. We visited Hever Castle together at Christmas time not too long ago so staying in Kent and spending the day at Ightham Mote adorned with Christmas seemed like a pretty good shout.
After a much needed catch up, we filled our (very much mine!!!) hungry tummies with sausage rolls and scones laden with clotted cream and jam, washed down with breakfast tea and went to explore. The gardens were beautiful, with robins flitting about perched on bushes posing for photographs. Unfortunately it was raining so we didn't get a chance to roam the grounds fully, next time we shall pick a Summery day, bring a picnic and explore properly.
We spent our time inside the manor house learning about Christmas traditions, eyeing up each beautifully decorated tree that stood in every room and exchanging personal traditions (ie leaving different treats for Father Christmas!).
I love walking through the rooms and taking each and every detail in, imagining life in the 14th century. I loved learning all about Henry VIII at school so these estates fascinate me. Well, any type of historic house intrigues me. I have always wondered and wished I was born centuries before!
We finished at the gift shop where, between us, we bought Christmas gifts and tree decorations. We jumped in the car and drove to Sevenoaks to have a wander in the town and visit the local Christmas market.
We finished our day with more gift buying and some delicious food at the market before setting home and watching festive films.
I do love a National Trust spot. I must visit more this year. Hopefully my mother and I can visit a few in the Spring with a picnic and little Olive. I know she will love adventuring through the pretty flowers and spying the friendly birds. Perhaps I should invest in a pass.
Do you have a National Trust pass? How often do you visit an estate?