A visit to Mottisfont National Trust

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I’m a recent convert to the National Trust but you can’t stop me going on about it at the moment! I’m making the most of our membership over the summer and one of the top places on my list was Mottisfont, near Romsey in Hampshire. Over an hour’s drive from us, so I was really hoping that it lived up to the hype, and I think it’s safe to say that it did! I’m a big garden lover, and love visiting gardens for inspiration, and the fact that Mottisfont has so much to do for children makes this one a hit with our whole family.

 

The Walled Rose Garden

We headed for the formal rose gardens first, as Max’s patience for gardens can start to wane once he gets a bit tired. There’s something so special and ‘secret garden’-ish about a walled garden, isn’t there? All those doors and wondering what’s behind them! Although we were past the best of the rose season being late July, there were still plenty of rose blooms to be seen. I loved the sectioning off of various parts of the garden to make individual square gardens, each with a little bench to sit and relax. A pretty fountain forms the centre of the garden, surrounded by echinops, so full of the relaxing sound of buzzing bees.

 

Purple and blue borders with central path

Max running through rose garden smiling

Pink climbing roses on red brick wall

White wooden door in wall with climbing roses

Blue echinops and pathway with pergola and roses

 

Through the walled doorway, you enter another garden, filled with lavender spilling over the paths and poppies dancing in the breeze. A rose covered pergola is a lovely centrepiece, although I suspect we massively missed it looking it’s best.

 

Gravel path with lavender either side

Magenta opium poppies with purple verbena in background

View through archway covered in honeysuckle into the rose garden

 

The grounds themselves are beautiful and so relaxing with all the different water sources around. There is the Font itself, and then the river (which is so clear!). The curved bridge covered in roses with the weeping willows behind looked like something out of a fairytale! It provided the perfect opportunity for me and Max to go trip trapping over the bridge to find trolls!

 

Iron bridge with roses and weeping willows on banks of river

Katy and Max holding hands walking across bridge with willow trees in background

 

Mottisfont for Children

I love how much effort the National Trust have gone to to make their properties family friendly. It’s so different to the rather stuffy houses that I used to visit with my parents as a child. Mottisfont has huge grounds for kids to run around in, open spaces to play games, a water play area, and a muddy bog climbing area. Mottisfont in particular appear to have a ‘let kids take appropriate risks’ approach to play which is really refreshing in our age of health and safety regulations. It feels worth saying that if you’re heading to Mottisfont, a change of clothes for your kids is probably required – they will get wet/muddy!

 

Pump, pool, and Paddle

I’d read about Mottisfont’s water play area and I thought Max would love it. It’s located just by a stream and is a simple wooden construction with a water pump and a series of sluice gates that can be opened and closed, allowing the water to flow down to the river. Max took a little while to warm up to getting his feet wet, but once he did we practically had to drag him away! (Scratch that, we did have to drag him away!) He loved working the pump, and watching him work out how to open the gates was lovely.

 

Wooden sign with carved words 'Pump Pool and Paddle - don't let the grownups wander off!'

Wooden water play structure

Max paddling through wooden water trough

Max holding foot under water from pump

Bare toes in the water

Max and Daddy's hands on gate ready to close

Max looking upstream for the water

 

The Muddy Bog Climbing Area

Max was instantly drawn to the muddy bog climbing area, but it’s designed more for slightly older kids. It looked like a fantastic space to play in though and Max is nothing if not ambitious, so I’m sure he’ll be trying to tackle it on our next visit!

 

Max in front of wooden climbing equipment

 

The Beatrix Potter Trail

From 16 July to 18 September Mottisfont have a Beatrix Potter exhibition in the house, with an accompanying family trail through the grounds. You’ll find these cute little doors carved into tree trunks, with different Beatrix Potter characters hiding behind. I expected Max to be a bit young for this, but I underestimated the power of opening and closing a door to a toddler! He was fascinated and could have done this for ages.

 

Max opening small blue door carved into tree trunk

 

Eating and Drinking

Mottisfont has a good range of places to eat and drink. There is The Old Kitchen, it’s biggest cafe, serving hot food, cakes, salads, sandwiches, and The Coach House Cafe, which is more focused on sandwiches, cakes and drinks. Inside the walled garden is The Walled Garden Kiosk (sandwiches, cakes and ice cream) with outdoor seating, and on sunny days the Stables Ice Cream shop is open to satisfy your sweet tooth! We ate at the Coach House Cafe and took advantage of the kids pic and mix picnic option for Max.

 

Information

 

Mottisfont Lane, Romsey SO51 0LP

Website: http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/mottisfont

 

 

My Petit Canard

 

Monkey and Mouse

 

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday
25 Comments
  • Laura @dearbearandbeany
    July 24, 2016

    This looks like a lovely place to visit. Max definitely looks like he loved it and I have a feeling my girls would too! I definitely need to check out which NT places we have near us x

    • Katy | Hot Pink Wellingtons
      July 26, 2016

      Oh, your girls would love it Laura! I think this one would be about the same distance from you as for us – took us just over an hour but it was well worth it!

  • Emma Easton
    July 25, 2016

    I love National Trust and it looks lovely here. We’ve actually just signed up for a membership 🙂 x #MarvMondays

    • Katy | Hot Pink Wellingtons
      July 26, 2016

      Ah, you’ll love it! I’ve been getting so much use out of ours this summer, it’s one of the best investments we’ve made

  • Beth
    July 25, 2016

    I really love visiting places like this. So beautiful and colourful. #MarvMondays

    • Katy | Hot Pink Wellingtons
      July 26, 2016

      I love the colours – and it’s just all so tranquil (until a toddler comes careering around the corner towards you!)

  • Alison
    July 25, 2016

    That looks gorgeous! What a great place to take kids – it looks so magical and the water play is a bonus. It seems to be the perfect day out. Your photos are lovely 🙂 Alison x #MarvMondays

    • Katy | Hot Pink Wellingtons
      July 26, 2016

      Thanks Alison – the water play makes the place in my view! It’s definitely a unique feature and honestly Max could have played there all day!

  • The Collage Queen
    July 27, 2016

    Sounds like a wonderful place to visit. #MarvMondays

  • Hannah G, The 'Ordinary' Mum
    July 27, 2016

    This looks like an amazing National Trust property!! I especially love the Pump, Pool and Paddle part. We have a national trust membership which I love but I’m still trying to convince Hubby to visit more places. I’m going to show him these photos in the hopes it will show him its not all ‘fuddy duddy’ as he thinks haha! #Whatevertheweather x

  • Jenny Eaves
    July 27, 2016

    Aw, the look on his face! He’s clearly loving it there, with so much to do! I love that even the gardens are exciting for children, with doors to go through and little gardens to explore. The water sluice area looks fab and brilliant for small kids, it won’t be long before he’s up those frames in the boggy area climbing either. Thanks so much for linking up to #Whatevertheweather x

  • thehelpfulhiker
    July 28, 2016

    We’ve just become members again and I’m such a fan of a good NT property. Mottisfont looks amazing! I especially love the rose garden, your photos are gorgeous. Also, all the kids things look fab. Finn would love the water play area. Another one for the ‘must see’ list 🙂

  • Merlinda Little
    July 28, 2016

    Awwww love every photo with your son in it. Looks like he is enjoying this place so much and I can see why as this garden looks magical and fairy tale like! Gorgeous area to visit! #whatevertheweather

  • TravelingWithOurKids
    July 29, 2016

    Such lovely pictures. I love the flowers so pretty. Its great it has kids stuff too, and not the normal type of play items. Great fun #whatevertheweather

  • My Petit Canard
    July 31, 2016

    What a lovely place! I’ve never heard or come across Mottisfont but it looks like a great place to visit. I’m hearing more and more bloggers recommend the national trust gardens so am definitely going to look into a membership I think! Thanks for sharing this on #MarvMondays. Emily

  • Island Living 365
    August 7, 2016

    Oh I love the fairy door! Another lovely place! I am so jealous of all of these stunning places that you visit. :- )#KCACOLS

    • Katy | Hot Pink Wellingtons
      August 10, 2016

      It’s really cute, isn’t it? Of course Max just wanted to open and close it for ages – the door held more appeal than what was behind it!

  • Bridget
    August 7, 2016

    This is so lovely – I’ve become a bit of a fan of National Trust places since becoming a mum…we don’t have a membership but it’s so lovely to take the little lady and walk around. I absolutely love your photos, gorgeous as always. The paddlng bit looks so much fun – perfect for little kids! Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next Sunday xx

    • Katy | Hot Pink Wellingtons
      August 10, 2016

      I used to moan about being dragged round NT places as a child, but I can’t get enough of them now! I’m more about the gardens than the houses though, and my parents were the opposite. Or perhaps they’re just more child friendly these days – that probably has a lot to do with it too!

  • 2 Travelling Totts
    August 7, 2016

    This looks great! Love the water pump it looks like so much fun! Your photo’s are brilliant! What camera do you use? Here’s hoping there’s lots mores sunny days left this summer for more adventures! 🙂 #KCACOLS

    • Katy | Hot Pink Wellingtons
      August 10, 2016

      It really is a fabulous place – I’ve never seen anything like that water pump! I’ve just bought a new camera so am still getting to grips with it – it’s a Canon 700D. I’m really loving it so far – it’s meaning much less photo editing for me!

  • Savannah
    August 8, 2016

    Oh wow this looks like an absolute blast!!! Such a gorgeous area with a little bit for the whole family. I’m curious if we have anything like that near where I live here in America…

    Max is such a little cutie!!! He reminds me of my son with the water play-a little hesitant at first, but never wants to leave. It looks like you all had such a wonderful time. Thanks for sharing <3 #KCACOLS

    • Katy | Hot Pink Wellingtons
      August 10, 2016

      Thanks so much Savannah – it’s fabulous, isn’t it! You got Max spot on too – he always takes a little while to warm up to something before he throws himself in fully!

  • Madeline Littlejohns
    August 11, 2016

    That place looks incredible! So pretty for the grown ups and such fun for the children! x #KCACOLS

  • Emma (Upside Mum)
    August 12, 2016

    Wow, that looks amazing. So much to see and do for everyone. Love the water play area. My boys would never be away from there! #kcacols

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