Wimpole Estate: the best muddy day out ever

Wimpole Estate: 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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.

Our other National Trust outings include Snowshill Manor in the Cotswolds and Bodiam Castle on the Sussex / Kent borders.

If you’re driving in the UK, make sure you take a look at my post about family-friendly places to stop just off the motorway. It covers everything from play areas to picnic spots, castles to nature reserves. 

The Helpful HikerExtraordinary Chaos

Country Kids



  1. pigeonpairandme
    5th January 2018 / 12:09 pm

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

    • 6th January 2018 / 8:33 am

      Simple pleasures are always the best!

    • pigeonpairandme
      8th January 2018 / 1:29 pm

      Lovely to revisit this as part of #MondayEscapes!

  2. 7th January 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

    • 8th January 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
    8th January 2018 / 9:41 am

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

    • 8th January 2018 / 9:56 am

      Not so good for the washing machine..!

  4. 9th January 2018 / 10:14 am

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

    • 10th January 2018 / 8:17 am

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

  5. 10th January 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. 12th January 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

    • 13th January 2018 / 9:18 am

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

  7. 13th January 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

    • 13th January 2018 / 9:18 am

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

  8. 13th January 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. 13th January 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

    • 14th January 2018 / 9:02 am

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

  10. 15th January 2018 / 6:34 pm

    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!

  11. 15th January 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

    • 16th January 2018 / 7:42 am

      It’s definitely one of our favourite NT properties.

  12. 16th January 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. 17th January 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

    • 18th January 2018 / 7:20 am

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

  14. viewfromthebeachchair
    23rd January 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

    • 23rd January 2018 / 3:48 pm

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

  15. 23rd January 2018 / 4:43 pm

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

    • 23rd January 2018 / 5:03 pm

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

  16. 23rd January 2018 / 5:42 pm

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

    • 23rd January 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!

      • 24th January 2018 / 6:48 am

        That is funny…what a coincidence!

  17. 23rd January 2018 / 9:23 pm

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

    • 23rd January 2018 / 9:38 pm

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

  18. 29th January 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. 30th January 2018 / 1:53 pm

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

  20. 4th February 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!

    • 4th February 2018 / 7:58 pm

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

  21. 5th February 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

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Smudged Postcard participates in various affiliate marketing programmes. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

%d bloggers like this: