This was one of those wonderful days out that you don’t want to end. It was last week when we were still having all of that amazing hot weather and M was being such a cutie. The last time we came to Nunnington Hall M was only 6 months old so this time he could fully enjoy our day together. Nunnington is situated in a beautiful little spot on the banks of the River Rye. Even the drive there is gorgeous, from York it takes you through the beautiful villages of Sheriff Hutton and Hovingham and through the Howardian Hills with its breathtaking views across North Yorkshire.
We started by going around the house, most of the time it is a fleeting glance around before we head into the garden. Today though, he appeared to enjoy going around, looking at all the pictures and looking out of the windows, he was almost enthusiastic. Up in the attic there was a room set up just for kids which is brilliant especially if the weather wasn’t so good. There were colouring pencils, paper, books, a little tent and cosy sofas to sit on. We spent nearly an hour up there, a lot of it in the tent pretending it was a rocket, I may have got a little stuck getting out.
We took a picnic with us though I did get a cup of tea, I will take Emma’s suggestion of a flask sometimes though. We sat in the outside tea garden which has some picnic benches and umbrellas, a lovely tranquil spot by the river. There is a cafe inside the house which sells proper lunches but it was too nice a day to be inside. For those of you who are not so keen on wildlife close at hand, there were a lot of peacocks and peahens running about in hope of some dropped food and they did linger pretty close, so just be wary. I sat on a bench and had my lunch while M played with the giant draughts and occasionally popped over for something to eat, he got a reasonable lunch in the end but there was no way he was going to sit down with me.
The grounds are partly accessible, there is a lot of grass, loose gravel paths and slopes in the gardens. I would say that it is easier to have sling, carrier or get toddlers to walk/ be carried around. It is not a big place to wander and plenty of places to sit and rest. Inside you can borrow hip seats to take younger ones around as there are a lot of steps and uneven floors, the play room is on the third floor in the attic as is the shop so you do get a good workout. There are also baby change and feeding facilities available.
After lunch M was straight away loving the Croquet set. After quick instructions from me how to play and M completely disregarding everything I said, he took to bashing the balls with the mallet and then when all else failed picked up the balls and chucked them through the hoops. He only managed to get my foot once and yes it was agony. We spent a long time with the croquet including making friends with a lovely little girl who was only allowed to hold the yellow and black balls, M had a meltdown when she tried to even touch the blue and the red. Toddlers are strange creatures, they all have their quirks. At the moment M is going through a bit of a possessive stage so we are encouraging sharing as much as possible but quite often it ends in tears and having to be carried away from the scene of the crime profusely apologizing to all involved. Today as long as the blue and red balls were his, he was happy, definitely a ‘choose your battle’ situation. I got to spend a bit of time on the lovely deckchairs that were laid out in the gardens, it was so nice and peaceful, the perfect place to sit and read or have a quick forty winks (if I didn’t have a child with me of course).
We had a lovely walk through the meadow that turned into me chasing M around. It was truly beautiful though, all the flowers were just perfect. They have cut some little paths through the grass and flowers that is fun to explore. At the reception you can buy a coloured ribbons for a donation to tie on the ribbon tree in the orchard. M was very excited when he saw it and ran over asking to be picked up so he could tie it on. With a little help we both tied on our ribbons and made a little wish, I would love to know what he wished for, he did tell me it was a good wish.
We wandered through the grounds and found the kitchen gardens. M always loves smelling all the herbs and flowers and htere was thyme, lavemder, rosemary and many more to choose from. He was pointing out and telling me all the fruit and vegetables he wants to grow at home and he now wants to buy every tomato plant and apple tree we see in the shops. We discovered the mud kitchen around the back of the vegetables and had a good play there. It was all little dry so I got a few clouds of dust over me but he was happy. He made a mountain of cupcakes of varying flavours, chocolate, carrot, strawberry and worm and lime, not so sure about that one. It took a little convincing to leave the kitchen but then we discovered a wooded area where little ones can make dens and had a few wigwam creations. It was nice to find a cool spot to spend a few minutes
On our way out we had a little play on the hopscotch and quoits they had on the grass. M was practicing his numbers as he counted me jumping from one to ten multiple times.
M found a box of sticks by the bridge which had ‘pooh sticks’ written on. We went through the whole box of sticks dropping them over one side of the bridge and running to see who had won on the other side (mostly M according to him). It is now his favorite game and whenever we find a bridge he wants to play.
Nunnington Hall is a brilliant day out. It is one of my favorite National Trusts I have visited and I have been to quite a few throughout the country. There is so much to do with young ones especially if you get a nice day like we were lucky to have on our visit. It takes about 30 minutes from York and is a gorgeous drive, it makes me realise what a wonderful county I live in.