Wednesday 11 April 2012

A Day Out to Grasmere

I posted on Twitter a couple of days ago that I was looking for ideas as to where to take my children next after our day at Sizergh Castle to make use of our National Trust membership.  One of my Twitter friends just happens to do the official NT tweets for Grasmere and she suggested the newly opened Allan BankThe thought of free arts activities for the children and free coffee for me was a real draw! So just before lunch time today we packed a picnic and headed off to Grasmere...

Due to being distracted by back seat drivers I took a wrong turn at Ambleside so we took the scenic route to Grasmere via Langdale up and over a very narrow, twisty and steep road - great fun! With it being Easter the village was busy but we managed to find a place in car park for £5 for 4 hours. A stroll through the village showed lots of touristy temptations in the form of shops until we reached the National Trust information centre and shop to meet my friend. She gave us directions to find the house (with it being newly opened it isn't on the official maps yet).

The house is up a long winding drive with access only for cars with disabled badges. It is visible from quite a distance due to its position on the hill. You can see why the original owners chose to build it there back in the early 1800s.

As the house was severely damaged by fire in March 2011 it has been opened to the public for the first time in 200 years as it has just had the major fabric sorted but not the  full interior. The rooms have simply got chairs to sit in and some extra bits for visitors to help plan the completed renovations. My children quickly found the room where they could draw pictures and were happy to stay there whilst I wandered around the house with a mug of coffee!

There are lots of rooms to explore most with lovely views across the lake and all the windows have chairs to sit in whilst enjoying the view and a drink:

Having explored the whole house I came back and informed my children that there was a room in which they could paint pictures on the wall I have never seen them move so quick! The house has been open for 2 weeks and apparently they initially had only one wall for painting but now its every wall in the room. My children struggled to find unpainted space but managed it in the end:

Luckily there are several bathrooms in the house to clean up mucky kids! The children also found rooms to design gardens and build a dolls' house as well as some areas of wall that were set aside for writing on:

Basically they were having so much fun and I got to chill in comfy chairs! Very different from a normal National Trust house where you are forever saying don't touch or be careful! We didn't explore the outside area as the children didn't have the proper area so we need to go back again.

We walked back into the village and thanked my friend for the suggestion before exploring some of the rest of the delights of Grasmere. We wandered around Wordsworth's daffodil garden and the graveyard which was pretty busy. Then my children asked to go into St Oswald's church. This turned out to be a beautiful old building with some stunning stained glass windows:

Then we meandered back to the playground adjacent to the car park for the children to have some last bits of fun:

We had so much fun that we are planning going back soon and taking the grandparents along for the ride! For more photos from our day please check out my Smilebox:

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