Just one of the categories in the Free Time with the Kids Awards 2020. Here are the nominations for the best historic house, garden or building in Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire, Oxfordshire and Hertfordshire. Have a look at all the nominees below and vote for your favourite by clicking this link.
If I have already visited one of the shortlisted attractions then I’ll put a link to the review below. For places I’ve not managed to see yet, I’m hoping to visit as many as possible over the next few weeks and I’ll add the reviews as I do. In the mean time I’ll add links back to their website.
Cliveden. Taplow, Buckinghamshire
I’m slightly biased because Cliveden is my favourite NT property. Sorry. It’s a vast estate with loads on offer (but not the house because it’s now a hotel). There’s the family friendly water gardens and storybook play area. You’re spoilt by acres of beautiful grounds to explore plus some very nice scones. Check out my full review of Cliveden here.
Stonor Park. Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire
This is the one place on the short-list that I’ve never visited, but you guys love it! As well as the house there’s a perfectly preserved, pre-historic stone circle and Wonder Woods. This is a children’s paradise with water and sand play areas, adventure playground and a huge zip wire. Definitely one for the to-do list. Check out their website here.
Blenheim Palace. Woodstock, Oxfordshire
Blenheim is the only non-royal palace in the UK and it’s VAST and beautiful. It’s still lived in by the Duke of Marlborough and his family but there’s a good amount of rooms open to the public. It’s very family friendly with lakes, formal gardens and a wider estate to explore. There’s also the pleasure gardens which are prefect for the kids. There’s a small butterfly house, a brilliant maze and epic adventure playground. There’s also Winston the miniature train which is just 50p per adult. Tickets are valid for a full 12 months. Have a look at lots of photos on the website.
Hatfield House. Hatfield, Hertfordshire
Childhood homes to both Bloody Mary and Queen Elizabeth I. Hatfield House is also where Queen Elizabeth I learned that her sister was dead and she was finally queen! As well as the Jacobean manor house, there’s still the medieval palace on the same site. Parts of the house, most of the formal gardens and the large estate are all open to visitors. There’s also an adventure playground and farm on-site. I’ve not been to the house for several years but there’s a review that I’ll update when I do. Tickets are valid for the whole season.
Waddesdon Manor. Waddesdon, Buckinghamshire
Our go-to, local stately home. This year it was voted the best Christmas experience in the UK (and had the crowds to match). It’s a brilliant place all year round though. There’s the spectacular house, woodland playgrounds, play trails, aviary and much more. There are regular events throughout the year, mostly included with entry. You can read my full review here.
Woburn Abbey. Woburn, Bedfordshire
Although this is right next to the famous safari park, it’s actually separate. There are still animals to see though in the deer park. The house has an incredible art collection, including my favourite Tudor painting, Elizabeth I’s Armada portrait. I remember visiting as a child and loving playing in the parkland. They’re currently closed until Easter 2021 thanks to a massive refurbishment project so I’ll just have to wait until I can visit. Find out more about the project on their website.
Now you’ve seen all the shortlisted attractions in this category of the Free Time with the Kids Awards click the link below to cast your vote. You can vote in as many or as few categories as you like. Don’t forget to tell all your friends about the awards so they can choose their favourites too.
For the nominees across all categories have a look at the main Free Time with the Kids Awards 2020 page.
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Hi, I’m Vicky. My husband and I live in Aylesbury with our three children; a 10 year old son, an 8 year old son and a 3 year old daughter. I (mostly) love spending time together as a family. We visit all kinds of places and we’re quite happy to drive a fair distance for a decent day out. A few years ago I decided to set up Free Time with the Kids as a way to share our experiences of these family days out. You know, the essential information you need to know before your visit that can be surprisingly hard to find out. Where do I park? How much will it cost me to get in? Are there any discounts available? Are there loos? Can I take a picnic or get food? My aim is to be your go-to guide for all your free and cheap family days out across Bucks, Beds, Oxon, Herts & slightly beyond. I really hope you find the reviews helpful. If there’s anywhere that you’d recommend please get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org or get in touch via Facebook