1 July 2018

Dunster Castle, the place that started the love

Over half term we spent the weekend at Butlins in Minehead, on the day we had to leave to come home we popped into Dunster Castle. Dunster Castle was the place that sparked our love of the National Trust, when we were on holiday a few years ago we went to visit there with the girls and as we wandered around looking in all the old rooms and gazing at the greenhouse, we told the girls all sorts of things and answered so many questions as they were so interested, it was such a lovely day out.



Not long afterwards we became members and so this was our second visit to Dunster, after a picnic and a little game for frisbee next to the car park we went in, the girls had remembered a woodland play area so we went for a stroll first and found it. 



Daddy timed the girls running across logs, a wooden sea saw and over balance beams while Little 3 headed straight for the natural musical instruments and starting doing what boys do best and giving everything a good whack with a giant stick!


A game of pooh sticks followed as we headed for the mill meandering along the river trail. Last time we visited the mill was not open and needed refurbishing, this has all been done so we were able to go inside and see the mill workings and read all about the changes over the years. The little Ones spotted a sign for ice creams at the mill tea room so we stopped and sat in the tea room gardens and listened to the water running past while eating salted caramel and chocolate chip ice creams.


Next we headed on up to the castle itself, and explored the rooms. The girls are always fascinated by the places we visit, they don't run from room to room like some children do, they stop and take it in, read the titles of the books in the library, look at the patterns on the bed spreads and talk about the clothing from the pictures on the walls.



One part of all the houses and castles we see that the girls really enjoy are the kitchens, normally you can't really touch things or there isn't a lot to do but here it was different. One of the volunteers challenged the girls to try and lay a table for a dinner party, having learnt how to do it at brownies recently Little 1 was up for the challenge and got it correct to the surprise of the volunteer!


Little 3 was intrigued by the old ovens, opening and closing the doors and stood and listened for ages to his sister explaining about kettles and coffee pots as I stood and admired the gorgeous views out of the windows.


As we carried on around the castle it was lovely to see how children are catered for in some of these places, in the games room there were older style board games and a wooden knights castle for them to play with, then in the next room all sorts of dressing up.


A dash through the hot but yet beautiful greenhouse and we found ourselves outside again, taking in the beautiful views from the rear of the castle.


It was time to leave, to head on the 2 hour journey home from our weekend away as it was the end of half term and the girls had school the next day, but it was so lovely we couldn't bring ourselves to leave. We decided we had to walk around to the front of the castle, to take in the gardens and stay just a little longer.


The girls were interested in the pet cemetery reading out the names of the long lost beloved beagles the castle's families once owned and they marvelled at the tiniest headstone you have ever seen for a pet budgie.


Soon we appeared out of the dappled sunlight and winding pathways around the castle to the front of the building, the perfect place for cartwheels, obviously. The Little ones found garden games on the lawn, boules, hula hoops, skittles and croquet, we let them play a while before dragging them away for the journey home.


It doesn't matter which National Trust place we visit, we alway have a good time, children are very much catered for these days and the volunteers are always lovely talking to the Little Ones trying to get them interested or offering them trails or stickers etc, Dunster Castle was the first place we visited and it won't be the last time we go there either.

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