Monday, 27 June 2016

Boys Day Out at Buckland Abbey, Devon

Boys Day Out at Buckland Abbey

Many years ago we were members of the National Trust but because at that time, we have very young children we cancelled as we found we were not able to us it as much as we wanted. Recently however, now our children are a bit older we decided to take out membership once again and I am very pleased we've done so!

This weekend the Mrs was busy and so i decided to take my youngest two out for the day. The eldest of my two younger sons had recently been to Buckland Abbey with his school and when I asked them what they wanted to do, this was the first thing they said.

Now I haven't been to Buckland Abbey for quite a few years but still remember being amazed at how good it was.

We set out mid morning and headed off to Buckland Abbey which is only a 10 minute drive for us. When we arrived i showed my membership card and off we went with the eldest of the two leading the way.

Outside of Buckland Abbey
First we headed down to the massive barn, what a stunning building both inside and out. Just outside there are some smaller buildings which have some farm equipment which, being boys, they were happy to look at for a while.

Buckland Abbey

From here we headed off round to the main entrance of the house. What a fantastic building inside and out. There are many rooms inside with lots of great features but unfortunately i didn't take any photos.

Main Entrance Buckland Abbey

Both children were amazed by what they saw inside and the volunteers were very forthcoming with a plethora of information about the house and it's contents.

I also found out a few things that i never knew before. One of these, which i am compelled to write about is in reference to where the term "The Upper Crust" comes from in relation to the upper class of society. Apparently years ago when the staff made bread in the bread oven then would light the fire inside and when hot they would pull out all the embers and put the bread inside to cook. Once cooked they would remove the bread which would of course be covered in soot and dirt on the bottom from where it had been in contact with the base of the fire. Once removed the staff would cut the "upper crust" off which would be eaten by "them upstairs" and the staff would be left with the bottom dirty portion of the bread, hence the term Upper Crust.

Buckland Abbey
After we'd walked around the house we went outside the garden and then on up to the restaurant where we had the compulsory pasty and sausage rolls.

Lunch at Buckland Abbey

I knew that there were a variety of walks around the area but didn't realise that the National Trust had also made a lovely woodland play area for children. Mine had a fantastic hour playing around on the variety of climbing equipment including the zip wire.

Play area at Buckland Abbey

Buckland Abbey Play Area

We all had a fantastic time and i explained to them both that because we were now members, we could come back to Buckland Abbey or to any other National Trust property whenever we wanted. I was slightly surprised but very pleased to hear them ask to come back again tomorrow!

A great day out for all the family, even though only half mine went today!

Sunday, 5 June 2016

Mont Saint Michel France

Back in March I decided to take the family on a cheap break to France. We stayed at a campsite called Chateau des Ormes near to St Malo and on one of our day trips we visited Mont Saint Michel.

Mont Saint Michel

Mont Saint Michel is a wonderful place and the kids were amazed by the sight of it even as we approached it. It can be seen from miles away and i was quite surprised how impressed even our youngest was at the size of the island and abbey.

We parked in the main car park which is located near to the main information centre. From here you can get a free bus, or pay for a horse and cart ride to the island itself.

Horse and cart

Parking at the car park is fairly cheap and you pay prior to leaving. Please make sure that you visit the paying machines that are located at the rear of the information centre prior to returning to your car.

Although when we first arrived at Mont Saint Michel it was a little cloudy, it soon cleared up and it ended up being a lovely sunny day.

Mont St Michel

If you're planning to visit Mont Saint Michel i would try and take a packed lunch with you as although there are plenty of food shops and restaurants located within the small medieval streets on the island they do become very busy.

Mont Saint Michel Streets

We walked all the way up to the abbey on our trip which is truly spectacular. There are two ways to get there, either up the main street as we did or via the ramparts. We chose to go up the main street and then down via the ramparts which is what the majority of people seem to do and the sights you get are brilliant.

Mont St Michel Ramparts

We had a really great time at Mont Saint Michel and in my opinion it really is worth taking the time to visit if you're in the area. It is one of the most visited attractions in France, outside of Paris so please ensure you are prepared for the crowds.