A half term wouldn’t be a half term without a trip to a National Trust property. Today’s exploration is Calke Abbey. Nicknamed the un-stately home, what is it like to visit Calke Abbey with kids?
Before we even made it to the main parking, we were advised to stop off at the Explorers Area. With it’s own parking, toilets and picnic area, we were intrigued before the day had started!
A natural playground opened up, with areas to explore, climb and play. The star of the play area was a human sized badgers sett that the kids happily roamed around in. Even I could fit! With tunnels and lighting, they could have stayed in there all day!
Assault courses were asking to be completed, logs to be crawled through and even a tennis table sat in the corner waiting to be played on.
After tearing the children away nearly an hour later, we got back in the car and headed on up to the main portion of the estate. As soon as we got out of the car, another play area appeared! The kids had ten minutes on the swings and slides, then we finally explored the grounds.
Calke Abbey is not your typical National Trust property. The houses are shabby, the walls of the gardens faded and courtyards overgrown. Not to say that it isn’t beautiful. The buildings stand in huge areas of green land. Trees dating back 1000 years proudly displaying their foliage. Sculptures have been erected, enticing conversation and reflection as you gaze across open fields.
Inside the house, time stands still. Instead of being renovated, deterioration is merely halted. Everything is as it was when the house was vacated, back in the twentieth century. We weren’t able to see the house unfortunately as it closes for maintenance during the winter, but we will definitely be back to explore more. Calke Unlocked is an experience where you can tour the abbey and uncover a few weird and wonderful things along the way. It sounds very curious.
Half Term Activities
To end our day, we wandered over to the stables and had a go at a few craft activities that were on because of the half term. Some thought provoking activities about how we can protect our wildlife and save water and electricity. Den building and wildlife spotting were on the agenda too.
There are 600 acres to explore, with many miles of woodland and grounds to cover. Trails are way marked if you want to cycle or walk or even run!
As with all National Trust properties, if you are a member, entrance and parking is free. We pay £10.50 a month for a family membership and certainly get our monies worth.
If you don’t have a membership, entrance to Calke Abbey is £15.90 per adult and £7.95 per child. Family tickets are available. Please see the website for further details.