Basildon Park With A Toddler
In an attempt to Get Out Of The House and Do Something Outside we went to Basildon Park with a toddler today. For Poppa Choufleur’s birthday back in July I bought him National Trust membership. It’s a great investment, and right up his street. Unfortunately we’ve only used it a handful of times since the purchase – Wedding Stuff and general laziness + lots of other plans have eaten up the majority of our time. It’s a shame, and such a waste really! National Trust memberships really should be used at least a couple of times a month. There are so many brilliant places that you can visit for free.
Anyway, this was why this morning we bundled up and set off to Basildon Park. We weren’t sure if it would be hugely suitable for TD, but as it turns out, Basildon Park with a toddler is a decent day for all!
BASILDON PARK WITH A TODDLER
WHAT IS BASILDON PARK LIKE?
Basildon Park sits in one of the more pleasant parts of Berkshire – one of the parts which has actual hills and views. The drive there from our house takes us through Pangbourne, which is all beautiful old houses and River Thames scenes, so extra win. Obviously TD wasn’t massively interested in scenery, but there are many other attractions.
I’m sure you know that Basildon House itself is where Downton Abbey was set. You didn’t know? Neither did I. However, the path to the House leads through woodland filled with fairy doors and twinkling lights. It’s a lovely place for kids, full of charm and mystery and magic…however TD was supremely unimpressed. To be fair we had just woken him up. I’m sure most other families would find that this area of Basildon Park with a toddler is perfect!
The park itself is large and free-roaming, with rolling hills and woodland. Beautiful.
CAN WE WALK AROUND BASILDON PARK WITH A TODDLER?
There are a variety of walks around the grounds of Basildon Park, and all routes are colour-coded. In theory this means that you can’t get lost. We were happy to undertake that challenge, given Poppa Choufleur’s propensity for getting lost. Thankfully, we didn’t! Score One for the Choufleurs!
Unfortunately, whilst two of the routes are “buggy friendly”, this is definitely only In Theory. You’d need a decent off-road buggy to plough along them when the mud is out in force. Guess what it was like when we were there? Yep. Heard of the Somme? Well, I imagine this was slightly reminiscent…
We have a Mamas & Papas Luna, which isn’t by any means an incapable pushchair. It really, really didn’t cope well with the sheer amount of mud. And, more importantly, the wet leaves. Oh, the wet leaves! They clogged up the wheels until our Luna was spinning as uselessly as a Kylie Minogue impersonator in silver hotpants. I kept wincing as I thought of the tiny iCandy we had seen earlier. They might still be there somewhere, y’know. Stuck in the mud. Someone take them a blanket?
THAT ALL BEING SAID, a good walk is a good walk, and mud issues aside we had a lot of fun. Stomping through the woods, running up and down muddy paths, play-fighting with sticks. Eventually our trail led out on the road and back up to the house. It was the perfect length for a pair of little legs. Score one more for Basildon Park with a toddler!
AND BASILDON HOUSE?
The house itself was lovely, and that’s saying something as I’m definitely not a fan of anything “period”. It was still decorated for Christmas, and I wish we’d visited in December because the sheer amount of trees and decorations was stunning. We even heard a rather talented lady visitor playing some carols on the grand piano in the main hall. It was all very festive and very pretty – perfect for visiting with little ones.
After a tour around the house and a visit to the tea room (where I didn’t have anything but the toddler enjoyed a packet of Pom Bears whilst refusing to eat his cheese sandwich), we took a stroll around the gardens. Someone was fairly pleased to find some muddy puddles!
I’m fairly certain we’ll return to Basildon Park in the future. We probably won’t go into the house again unless it’s Christmas (once you’ve seen fifty zillion massive fancy bedrooms it all becomes a bit repetitive). However, the grounds are perfect for long winter walks…with an off-road buggy, of course. Thankfully we have a Beast hiding in the shed which should do the job.
Basildon Park with a toddler turned out to be a good day out for the Family Choufleur, and definitely worth a usage of those National Trust memberships!