We’d been considering joining the National Trust as a family for a while, so when we were looking for things to do over the Christmas holidays and saw that Cliveden were doing a Pantomime Trail, we decided to take the plunge! As non-members, admission, plus the trail would have cost £50 for our family of two adults and three children, whereas a year membership is under £10/ month. For that, we can visit any National Trust grounds, as many times as we like with only a small fee payable for extra seasonal activities like the Pantomime Trail (£5/ child). Parking is also free for members and if you visit beaches regularly in the U.K., it can save you a fortune in car parking fees! For joining that day, they gave us the Pantomime Trail free, saving us £15, a nice touch and great start to the day!
Once we were signed up and wrapped up warm, the kids were given their trail packs and we began.
The Boy loved spotting the stars, hanging from the trees, indicating that we were on the right path and following the arrows that pointed the way.
Lou enjoyed reading the map, provided in the pack, to tell us where to go and K read each clue, as we found the numbered stops and made sure everyone got involved in the activity!
Families with children of all ages were getting involved, with the paths being accessible to buggies and wheelchairs but there were also plenty of opportunities to explore the woodland, just off the trail. My children are more happy with a stick and a tree stump than a full play area so this was right up their street! Some of the views from the trail were absolutely breathtaking, the formal gardens and the natural landscape beyond both equally beautiful. With the trail only covering a small amount of the grounds, there is still plenty more to discover, when we visit again.
Around half way through, we came across Aladdin’s Cave where the children were asked to write a wish and post it to receive three (chocolate) gold coins. They were then told that they needed a disguise to help Aladdin escape and were given a package each, to open. Here they are, in disguise!!
Towards the end of the trail was the maze, the only part that isn’t accessible to buggies (the paths are too narrow), but you don’t have to go in, to complete the trail. We must have spent over half an hour trying to get to the centre of the maze- we were truly rubbish but it was great fun! The Boy managed to lead us out in under five minutes- luck or genius? I’ll leave you to decide!!
We were then led passed the beautiful water gardens, where the children couldn’t resist crossing the stepping stones over to the centre and back again. Of course, we had to do it too, for safety reasons!
At the last stop, the kids were given a present (bubbles) and a bag labelled ‘Fairy Godmother’s New Year Spell Mix’ (oats and glitter in a draw-string, gold bag) and they were told how to cast their New Year spell!
Unfortunately, the play area at the end of the trail was closed due to ice, that day, but as I said earlier, my lot are happy with a leaf and a stick and there were plenty of them around so we decided to explore the grounds a bit further before finally heading home. They spent over half an hour in this big hole, running down one side and up the other! I love watching them playing outside and enjoying being outdoors!
It was a great day out and will hopefully be the first of many, exploring the various National Trust locations in our area. There are so many to chose from that cater to every age with many activities on offer. I think our next adventure will include a bike ride so if anyone has a suggestion for a good National Trust place for cycling, please let me know!
Are you a member of the National Trust? Is it something you’ve ever considered? What did you get up to with the kids over the Christmas holidays?
This is not a sponsored post for Cliveden or the National Trust, we just had a great day out and wanted to share! If you are interested in joining, here is a link to the National Trust website, where you’ll find more information, ways to join and places to visit near you.