A few years ago the National Trust started a campaign aimed at getting children outdoors – 50 Things To Do Before You’re 11 3/4. We started working our way through the fifty things when Ameli was just two, using the online system. Last year we carried on with it and by the time she was four, she had ticked off 37 things! This year we decided to start from scratch and see how we could get on with it through the summer.

One of the benefits of following the #50things program is that as National Trust members, we get to visit a lot of properties around the area and find what they have earmarked that can be ticked off in their grounds – things like explore the inside of a tree, play Pooh sticks and so on, so it’s really useful, actually, and a cheap day out. The Vyne Basingstoke Hampshire

Last year we visited The Vyne National Trust where we ticked off ‘Bird Watching’ (no.44) and we loved the ‘Hidden Realm’ play area so much, when I suggested we go back 6 months later, Ameli was very excited!

As a National Trust property, The Vyne has the standard house, gardens and cafe. It also has a fabulous hobbit-like play area for children. There’s a bird watching hutch over a wetland nature reserve, and a forest area with a Tree Trial, complete with downloadable trail map. The Vyne has an enclosed garden – or as the children call it, a secret garden, with more outdoor play toys too. Along the walk way in the secret garden are apple trees, currently in beautiful bloom with apple blossoms, and in September or so, full of apples (that you’re not supposed to pick, but my four year old couldn’t read the sign, so we happened to tick off no.9 – eat an apple straight off the tree – there too!)

The cafe has massively improved their coffee this year, which is always a good thing for me! You can have a kiddies lunch in the cafe for £4.95 per lunch box, which is a bit rich for my blood, so we take our own lunches.

During our visit last year the children were able to tick off Make a mud pie (no.13) in a fabulous sand pit-turned-mud-bath, but as the weather is still cool at the moment, it’s just a much enjoyed sand pit. The Vyne, Basingststoke, Hampshire

The House itself is beautiful too, and at the entrance the children can pick up a picture quiz. They go through the house and locate specific artifacts. It keeps them busy and entertained, which is great. On the day we were there, a pianist was practicing for a recital the next day, so we got to sit and listen to her rehearsal for free. Beautiful and again, the children – all under four at the time – were engrossed.

The Vyne is a beautiful, fun, and highly engaging National Trust property, perfect for a day out and changeable as the seasons, so there’s always something fresh to do.

For Homeschooling themes on music, wetlands or leaves/trees etc, the Vyne is a great place to visit too!

Categories: Hampshire UK