Saturday, 20 December 2008

The National Trust do it again

Anyone will tell you that I'm a big fan of the NT. I love it. I mean you pay your £85 each year and then you don't have to pay for another family day out for the whole annum. Wow, that is good value; it cost dh over that amount to take the boys to Legoland for one visit. We are even at the point now where we book our holidays by looking at the NT map. On a recent mini break to Wales we managed to visit a different National Trust property for four days running. And each of them was completely unique and had different things to attract and engage the children. So, yes, I do think rather highly of the old NT.

Well today the NT has gone up a notch even in my estimation. Why? Santa. In Birmingham city centre today, people were queuing for two hours to see the big man in red. Last year it cost £3.50 for a cheapie plastic toy and then extra for a photo. I know, I was one of the poor suckers who paid - yes, even for the photo. Santa wasn't even particularly warm, and you were in and out in less than 2 minutes; a Christmas conveyor belt, if you like. So this year, having reduced funds yet still wanting some of that Christmas magic for the boys (even if they know it's all a rather wonderful game) I opted for the National Trust version.

I don't know what I expected. For £2 per child, which was the cost, I don't think I really expected very much at all. How wrong could I be. Of course, if we'd been non-members it would have cost much more but as fully paid up chaps and chapesses we got into the property for free and just had to hand over the princely sum of £4 for our two bigger boys to see St Nick. This is what we got:

  1. We saw the deer being fed in the deer park. This was wonderful. They came bounding over the ridge of the hill, following a tractor which intermittently dispersed food. It was like being on the Serengetti plain - except much colder I suspect.

  2. A free Christmas trail around the beautiful festivally adorned house, including lots of Christmas information bulletins - very educational.

  3. A free performance of Carols by a childrens choir in period costume.

  4. A visit to Santa. We queued for about 20 minutes before entering through a fur coat laden wardrobe (very Narnia) into Santa's grotto. He was a fantastic Santa. Very warm and engaging. He asked the children lots of questions and seemed genuinely interested in them.

  5. A free photo opportunity with SC.

  6. A lovely selection of small wooden toys to choose from.

It was great. Totally uncommercial and fantastic value. I feel a Christmas tradition coming on. Long live the National Trust.



Jackie said...

As Home Edders you can get NT membership for a fraction of the price - however, the downside would be you probably wouldn't have caught Santa, as you can't go in school holidays on educational membership, which is fair enough.
But if your credit is crunching, it's worth a thought for the future LOL

Lynn said...

Merry Christmas Jo!
Praying for a peaceful & joyous time for you & your family

Lynn said...

Happy New Year, Jo!