I love the fact that we live only 10 minutes drive from our local National Trust property, Anglesey Abbey. The Abbey is actually an old house (not a church as you might expect) set in a lovely large area of land with gardens, lawns, fields and woodland, perfect for little legs to run around in and let off steam. There is also a spacious cafe with yummy food and a toddler toy table which keeps Andrew amused for hours!
Quite often we meet friends up there, and it’s a popular meeting place in the week for mums with young children, especially NCT groups and the like. Sometimes I decide at the last minute to head there on my own with the boys when we have an hour or so in the afternoon after Andrew’s nap time with nothing particular planned and no errands to run. This is what happened earlier in the week.
Andrew insisted that he take his new foam football that Granny and Grandad kindly gave him in a damage limitation effort with respect to Joel, windows and other breakable objects. Even though I said he could take an outdoor ball, he wanted to take this soft one – I’m not one to argue too much with a determined toddler when the matter isn’t a serious one.
He had a lot of fun kicking it up the paths, over the fields, along the lawns, and under the trees (avoiding the beautiful bluebells hiding under there). As we reached the lawn by the house, where we’ve seen croquet being played a few times so I knew it was alright to have a ball on, I was quite glad that it was the soft ball after all, as Andrew was keen to kick it and we seemed to be so near the old house with its delicate windows (not that he can kick it high yet, but you never know when he might learn!)
Just around the corner from the house we walked into a bit of garden with a high hedge around it because Andrew spotted a few steps that he wanted to jump up and then run down the grass slope next to them. This little game lasted a surprisingly long time. There were also some urns on plinths in this bit of garden, and Andrew said hello face to face with the lady carved into the side of one!
The whole area of land around the property is full of little bits of hedged off garden, perfect for a game of hide and seek. Over the several years that we’ve been visiting the place, we’ve often discovered hidden statues as we walk through the various gardens – even having been umpteen times, we’re still to this day finding new bits of garden with plants and works of art in them, as the land is so extensive and varied.
We have been into the house before, which is fascinating, particularly an intricate clock that chimes spectacularly every hour, but that was back in our pre-kids life. One day we’ll take the boys in, but they’re still too young to appreciate it, even with the kids activity sheets. In any case, it closes earlier than the time we usually make it up there in an afternoon, which was the case this time too.
The weather was fairly kind to us. It started off overcast and quite chilly, but Andrew was warm enough running around with his bright yellow fisherman’s coat on. It did start to rain a couple of times, but didn’t come to much, and we’re used to being out in worse than that. Joel spent the whole time snuggled up warm and dry asleep in the buggy.
As the afternoon drew closer to closing time, we headed back to the car through a short woodland walk. There was no time for a refuelling stop in the cafe today, and besides, it wouldn’t be long until dinnertime anyway, once we had crawled back into Cambridge on an unusually busy road (it’s not normally busy going into town during rush hour, but I think there had been some incident on the modern road wonder that is the A14 so cars were being diverted!) Despite the journey, we had a fun afternoon and I’m sure it won’t be too long until we pop back again.
Linking up with the lovely #CountryKids linky over at Coombe Mill’s blog again 🙂