We’ve been members of the National Trust for a couple of years now. With three young kids it’s usually easier to go out at a weekend than it is staying in! We’re big believers of getting them outdoors to blow off some steam.
National Trust Membership
We find the National Trust membership to be excellent value for money. We pay a around £9.50 a month which covers all five of us. Where else could you take a family of five for less than a tenner?! During the summer months we tend to go somewhere at least weekly so you can easily make a great saving.
We are lucky to have a few National Trust properties in our area, and Dunham Massey is up there as one of our favourites
Where is Dunham Massey?
Dunham Massey is a huge Georgian house with gardens and a deer park located in Altrincham, between Manchester and Cheshire. It’s really easy to get to by car and is close to the M6/56 motorways. If you’re travelling by public transport there’s train stations at Hale and Altrincham three miles away, and there’s regular buses from both Altrincham and Warrington that stop right outside the main gate.
What is at Dunham Massey for kids?
Last Sunday, before the snow descended upon us, we decided to visit Dunham. It was cold but dry and there’s something quite therapeutic about being outdoors when it’s frosty and crisp.
We had a walk through the gardens and took part in the Curious Kids Trail. Each child was given a mini magnifying glass to help them discover and hunt for various things. This meant my daughter insisted on stopping and examining every flower we passed – which was a lot! The kids were rewarded with a sticker from the ever friendly NT volunteers for completing the trail.
We’ve also visited the gardens before, during spring and summer when all the flowers are in full bloom so it’s definitely worth a visit during the warmer months too.
They quite often have trials and various activities within the gardens, including egg hunts during the Easter holidays. We have found the gardens to be good fun for the kids even without any additional trails or activities. To be honest they’re quite happy just searching for sticks!
Below Stairs Tour at Dunham
After the trail we booked on to do the Below Stairs tour that was running. The tour gives visitors a glimpse into what it was like back in the late 1800s for the servants of a house like this. We were a bit concerned that the kids may be a bit bored but we needn’t have worried. Our toddler didn’t really know what was going on but our older two loved it!
We were taken back in time to the Victorian times where the Estate Manager (tour guide) showed us the inner workings of the house, and discussed what it would have been like to work as a servant. The tour guide himself was delightfully eccentric and stayed in character throughout. We were the only ones on the tour with young kids and he picked on our two boys, much to the delight of our six year old, and embarrassment of our 8 year old. The tour was brilliantly interactive and catered perfectly for kids. It was funny and informative and just the right side of silly. We were really glad we did it.
What else is there to do at Dunham?
You can also have a guided walk of the deer park if you wish, but we’ve never done that particular tour. We usually just let the kids roam free. It’s a lovely walk if you didn’t want to venture into the gardens and pay the fee.
There is also a cafe within the visitor centre and a restaurant within the stable block, along with a lovely little shop. We have always found the volunteers to be really friendly and helpful, and great with the kids which is always a bonus.
How much is it for a family to visit Dunham Massey?
If you’re not NT members but were interested in visiting Dunham Massey, it’s £33.75 for a family of 4 to visit the house and gardens and they charge £7 for car parking. We park for free as members, and as you can see it’s definitely worth having a membership as you soon make your money back.
Having said that, if you didn’t want to visit the gardens and the house, you can visit the deer park for free which is lovely in itself. It’s picturesque and the perfect way to while away the hours.
We’re always on the look out for more NT places to visit, so let us know if you’ve visited any great ones!