Last summer I signed up for a National Trust Membership on a whim and one year later I can confirm it was an excellent decision and I’ll be renewing it in the coming months.
When I made the decision to buy a membership we’d only just moved to Cambridge and didn’t really know many people. As the months went by and I began to make new friends for X and I to go out exploring with I realised that they also all had National Trust Memberships. This made planning days out very easy no matter what season we were in.
One of our favourite places to go at the moment is Wimpole Estate and I think we’ve ticked off visiting multiple times through all 4 seasons this year. It’s huge, there’s lots to do with an impressive mansion, parkland, gardens and Home Farm. It’s about a 20 minute drive from where we live in Cambridge which makes it ideal for a last minute day out.
There’s lots of info over on the website about Wimpole Estate but a quick overview from me is that there’s plenty of parking available with lots of parent and child spaces as well as spaces for charging electric vehicles. It’s easy to get around with a pram, we always take a scooter and there are good snack and lunch options at the cafe (the vegan pasty is delicious) although we often take a picnic and just buy ice cream and coffee when we’re there.
It gets pretty busy at the weekends and school holidays, as you’d expect, so there can be a queue, but if like me you’re taking toddlers then the weekdays and out of term time are perfect and dare I say very relaxing. Yes, even with a lively 3 year old. I should add that even though there are busy times it’s a massive estate with plenty to do so you don’t notice the crowds unless your’e in a queue for coffee and ice cream.
Many of our visits over the last month have involved a little rain but when you’ve got a toddler with endless energy to entertain all day you have to roll with it. It’s actually really nice to see the same place in each of the seasons. There’s always something new to look at and talk about with toddlers as the trees change and the animals grow.
Anyway, I’m here to tell you why you need to take your toddler to Wimpole.
5 Reasons To Visit Wimpole National Trust With Your Toddler
Firstly, I just wanted to make a note about the house. I don’t take my toddler in there right now because he’s just a very energetic and outdoorsy boy. I’ve seen lots of families go in there but right now it’s not in our line of thought so I don’t have much to share with you about that but I’m sure you can get the scoop over on the NT website.
See the animals at the Home Farm
Visiting the farm is always high up on our list when we spend the day at Wimpole. It’s rare we don’t visit it but if the kids are tired and happy to play with diggers and scooters then we’ll sit just outside the Walled Garden and do that. It’s easy to go with the flow on this type of day out.
In the last month or so we’ve seen the cutest little piglets and more recent weeks have been all about the lambing season. There are also goats, rabbits, Shire Horses and donkeys.
Although my 3 year old takes his scooter with him there’s a little drop off point before you head up towards the Walled Garden and Home Farm. Scooters and bikes have to be left there and they’re always kept safe ’til you return to pick them up.
There are lots of picnic spots
While we picnic my toddler uses this time to briefly snack but mostly take out the toy diggers he insists on bringing and gets to work with some imaginary play.
You can stop anywhere for a picnic. There are huge stretches of grass to throw down a picnic blanket, benches on your walk up to the farm and then designated picnic tables close to the cafe and further on past the farm. so basically you can pretty much stop anywhere for a snack or picnic.
Burn off energy at the play area
The play area is another regular visit for us. When you visit the farm you simply can not avoid a trip to the playground, whatever the weather. There’s a bit of everything to play on plus more animals to see and picnic spots.
A new addition to the park are these very cute wooden tractors and animals. They’re perfect for practicing those ever important climbing skills and imaginary play.
Lots of space to run, scooter and toddle
I’ve mentioned this a few times now but the Wimpole Estate is huge. The long walk from the car park to the cafe is perfect for scooters and little bikes. Little ones can run and toddle all over the wide areas of grass and get up close and personal to the beautiful trees. Be careful they don’t attempt to climb the precious 200 year old tree. You’ll notice that’s the one they always go straight for too.
There’s so much space to go for long walks too – check out the multi-use trail which is a 8 km circular route around the estate.
Beautiful flowers and sensory fun at the Walled Gardens
The Walled Garden, to me, is a hideaway from the world. Even with toddlers stomping around it still manages to have such a tranquil and relaxing atmosphere. The paths are adorned with with the most beautiful flowers and fruit trees. Little ones will love seeing the stunning array of vibrant colours, shapes (my toddler thought the alliums were big dandelions) and scents as you walk around.
It’s also ideal for prams so I try to attempt a short nap or at least a spot of quiet time while we explore.
It seems wrong to end my post here because there so much more to explore at Wimpole. I’ll leave that for another day though. Times have changed and I think many of us are scanning blog posts to get the info we need and move on. I’m more than happy to answer any questions about visiting Wimpole with a toddler so drop me a message on Instagram or Twitter.