The best muddy day out ever

The best muddy day out ever

What makes a really good day out with small children? I discovered the answer on a breezy December day when I visited the National Trust’s Wimpole Estate, in Cambridgeshire.

Wimpole Estate

Walking towards the folly at Wimpole Estate

The stately pile part of the estate was shut (it will re-open in mid-February) but we weren’t there for a history lesson. Wimpole Estate is a particularly good place to get outdoors and we fancied a post-Christmas walk.

Wimpole Estate

We wandered along muddy paths, across the windswept fields, past grazing sheep and rippling lakes, up to the atmospheric 18th century folly. The expansive parkland is the perfect place for a winter’s stroll, indeed the National Trust’s website has a whole section on walking at Wimpole.

Our three year old was so distracted by the various features of the landscape that he forgot to complain about his weary legs until right near the end.

Wimpole Estate folly

Wimpole Estate folly

After lunch in the Old Rectory restaurant (eat early as popular menu items sell out fast) we headed over to Home Farm for a quick look at the animals. Then we ventured through to the play area and that’s where the day really took on a whole new muddy dimension. There are a number of ride-on tractors in the play area and a rudimentary trail for them to follow, along with pigsty-like playhouses (how apt…) and a combine harvester climbing apparatus.

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This may all sound rather pedestrian to the seasoned parent, but it had been raining very hard in the days preceding our visit. The tractor track had been reduced to some muddy ruts and deep puddles and this is where our boys and other children proceeded to spend a long time getting very dirty.

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I’ve seen them having fun with mud before but this episode seemed to create a fresh level of hilarity and enjoyment for all concerned. Perhaps everyone had been stuck indoors with feuding relatives for too long over Christmas and this was a way to let off steam: mud therapy. Whatever the reasons, there was a deep involvement with the mud.

Wimpole Estate

I highly recommend a visit to Wimpole Estate, but for full effect make sure it’s been raining before you go.

Wimpole Estate

There’s a nominal £2 parking charge if you just want to go for a walk to the folly, otherwise entry to the grounds with full mud experience is £12 per adult and £6 for children from age 5.

Membership of the National Trust costs £64.80 per year for an adult or £114.60 for a family (there’s a reduction for single parent families). If you’re heading to the British coast for a holiday, you’ll find National Trust membership will cover the hefty parking charge at many beaches from Cornwall to Northern Ireland.

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47 Comments

  1. pigeonpairandme
    01/05/2018 / 12:09 pm

    Ah, mud and mini-tractors. What more could you want! I love it.

    • 01/06/2018 / 8:33 am

      Simple pleasures are always the best!

    • pigeonpairandme
      01/08/2018 / 1:29 pm

      Lovely to revisit this as part of #MondayEscapes!

  2. 01/07/2018 / 4:47 pm

    I keep meaning to join the national trust – we have so many places nearby to us, Love your photos – perfect muddy walk. Sarah #adventurecalling

    • 01/08/2018 / 9:58 am

      We took a few years to get round to joining but so glad we did. It pays for itself really quickly!

  3. Esther
    01/08/2018 / 9:41 am

    Mud and tractors. How awesome! (And good for the skin, hehe)
    #MondayEscapes

    • 01/08/2018 / 9:56 am

      Not so good for the washing machine..!

  4. 01/09/2018 / 10:14 am

    Mud as therapy – I love that! I think my girls would have had as much fun as your boys 🙂 #MondayEscapes

    • 01/10/2018 / 8:17 am

      There were plenty of girls enjoying the mud, universal appeal!

  5. 01/10/2018 / 9:39 am

    Mud therapy sounds like the perfect escape from holiday stress…though I admit I’d prefer mine in some form at the spa. 😉 #mondayescapes

  6. 01/12/2018 / 8:29 pm

    Aw there is nothing better than a great dose of mud, I miss that part of having toddlers, I bet you had the best time. Thanks so much for linking up #MondayEscapes x

    • 01/13/2018 / 9:18 am

      Yes, I’m definitely making the most of these moments!

  7. 01/13/2018 / 9:11 am

    It’s great when the kids don’t need much more than a bit of fresh air and a lot of mud. Perfect day out #CountryKids

    • 01/13/2018 / 9:18 am

      Absolutely, in this day and age it’s easy to forget!

  8. 01/13/2018 / 5:48 pm

    I’ve got this on my to do list for this year but later in the year when we can make the most of the long drive. Does look very muddy! #CountryKids

  9. 01/13/2018 / 10:21 pm

    We love a good muddy walk, especially warming up afterwards. Looks like you captured all the fun of the day. Cant beat a good winters walk and the sky was amazingly blue! Love National Trust estates to roam through x #CountryKids x

    • 01/14/2018 / 9:02 am

      Yes, we’re lucky to have the National Trust.

  10. How much fun that must have been, just look at the beaming smiles on their little faces! Funnily enough, my gang also played in the mud a lot just after Christmas. The ‘dirt pit’ they use in our garden had turned into a squishy mud pool, and they played in it for hours!
    #Adventurecalling

  11. 01/15/2018 / 9:58 pm

    It sounds like a lot of fun! Playing in muddy puddles never gets old. I know what you mean about appreciating the fresh air after the Christmas enforced close confinement is so important. What a great place, it’s definitely on our list for our next NT adventure. Thanks for sharing with us #AdventureCalling

    • 01/16/2018 / 7:42 am

      It’s definitely one of our favourite NT properties.

  12. 01/16/2018 / 12:28 pm

    What a great day out. National Trust properties are great for this because so many people just think of them as the actual buildings when in fact the land that the buildings are housed on is almost always worth exploration. My two would love the muddy tractor rides – in fact, I’m not sure we’d ever get out of there. Thanks for joining us on #adventurecalling . I hope you can tomorrow when it opens again.

  13. 01/17/2018 / 11:29 pm

    Oh mine would have loved this! We managed to visit Wimpole once when we were in Cambridge and saw the folly from the house. It looked like quite a walk. Can’t beat National Trust for a good day out! #CountryKids

    • 01/18/2018 / 7:20 am

      It’s a bit of a walk but so lovely you don’t really notice the distance.

  14. 01/23/2018 / 1:55 pm

    YES!!! I love it! Kids getting dirty. This is what childhood should be like. Explore. Get muddy. Have fun. Eat dirt! All good! #ExplorerKids

    • 01/23/2018 / 3:48 pm

      Yes, there was something quite gratifying about them being filthy!

  15. 01/23/2018 / 4:43 pm

    This looks a fab place to visit and so much Muddy fun I love it! 😊💕Mandy xxx #explorekids

    • 01/23/2018 / 5:03 pm

      It’s lovely, we’ll definitely be going back!

  16. 01/23/2018 / 5:42 pm

    Wow…England looks a lot like Texas in winter. Except for the castles. 😉

    • 01/23/2018 / 6:25 pm

      That’s funny you should say that, we were with Texan friends that day who were visiting the UK for Christmas!

      • 01/24/2018 / 6:48 am

        That is funny…what a coincidence!

  17. 01/23/2018 / 9:23 pm

    Oh my goodness; that is a lot of mud and I bet they had the best time!

    • 01/23/2018 / 9:38 pm

      It was a lot of fun, am glad we had spare clothes in the car…

  18. 01/29/2018 / 11:53 am

    Oh! I love this mud therapy so much! It must be such a laugh for everyone! Thank you very much for linking up with us on #ExplorerKids x

  19. 01/30/2018 / 1:53 pm

    You can’t beat a good muddy day out! #triumphanttales

  20. 02/04/2018 / 7:56 pm

    This looks like something that Ben would really love, who doesnt love a beautiful nature background also???
    Thank you for sharing this with us at #TriumphantTales. I hope to see you back next week!

    • 02/04/2018 / 7:58 pm

      Yes, it was a great day out for all, we’ll definitely be returning!

  21. 02/05/2018 / 9:52 pm

    Good old fashioned fun in some ways and hence timeless. On the other hand, I am annoyed with myself as I have lived in Cambridgeshire twice and never visited this place. #TriumphantTales

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