With the weather much improved, the sun shining and the temperature rapidly rising we could now begin to make plans for the rest of the week with a whole lot more confidence.
We are all members of the National Trust so one of our plans was to take full advantage of this and see how many places we could visit without spending a penny on admission. The annual cost of a joint membership is £120 and I have discovered before that it is quite easy to get all of that back in only a few days.
First of all we visited nearby Lanhydrock, an aristocratic Victorian country house, an upstairs/downstairs sort of place with a succession of perfectly preserved rooms and exhibits. I especially liked looking around the kitchens and the food preparation areas probably because in the social hierarchy of the time that is where we would most likely have found ourselves.
It was a busy place and I was surprised to learn that it is the tenth most visited National Trust property in the UK. First, by the way, is the overrated Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland.
We spent an enjoyable afternoon at Lanhydrock exploring the house, a walk in the garden and an Easter Egg hunt for the children. Without National Trust membership the cost of admission would have been a whopping £53.75 for all of us.
Next up was Trerice close to Newquay, an Elizabethan manor house that was once the home of the powerful Arundell family where little it seems has changed since it was built in 1573.
It has a nice garden and some interesting rooms and a hands-on dressing up in Tudor clothes rack for the children. This is a good feature of the National Trust, they know children are going to be bored out of their minds in the house and gardens so they lay on several distractions. Mine bypassed the clothes and went immediately for the medieval armour helmets. The poor man on duty nearly had a fit when he saw my three trying them on for size and almost dropping them on the stone floor. William’s chosen helmet was almost as heavy as he is. The man was greatly relieved when we put them down again and moved on and so was I because I wasn’t looking forward to explaining the damage to the Board of the National Trust.
Outside in what was once the farmyard there was a barn with more children’s activities, egg painting, brass rubbing and more dressing up. I left the children to it whilst I explored the gardens and the old orchard outside. I especially enjoyed this visit.
Total saving on admission price at Trerice was £47.25 and after only two visits we were almost in credit on our membership fee.
On another day we visited St. Michael’s Mount at Marazion but I am saving that for a full post later because it was an especially good day out. Total saving on admission prices £56.00. I was feeling really good about all of this.
On the return journey from the island retreat we stopped over at the country house of Godolphin, once home to the family of the same name who were once the richest landowners in the whole county with an immense and obscene amount of wealth based on exploitation of minerals and mining.
It is a pleasant little house and garden but the house it seems is rarely fully open because it is let out as a holiday home by the National Trust. It wasn’t open when we visited but the children enjoyed the gardens and the activities that were laid on for them,
I thought that the place was overpriced and our total saving on admission price was £31.50.
On the final day in Cornwall we visited Tintagel. We wanted to visit the castle (English Heritage, not NT and prepared to pay) but it was closed so instead we went to the National Trust Old Post Office which quite frankly was a bit of a let-down and I would have been very annoyed indeed if we had paid the full adult admission charge of a combined £9 for just a couple of rooms and a tiny garden.
Adding all of that together that was a total of £197.50 in saved admission charges on the day but of course to keep things in perspective I have to say that if we hadn’t been members then we certainly wouldn’t have gone to all of them!
Within the last year we have visited other places as well…
Hadrian’s Wall and Seaton Delavell in Northumberland (total saving £32.40) and Oxborough Hall, Sutton Hoo and Ickworth House in East Anglia (total saving£59.20) so overall I think membership has provided value for money and I shall be happy to renew without any grumbles when it is due for renewal in June.