Today we visited Waddesdon Manor which is a stately home close to Aylesbury. It is well signed and just off the Aylesbury to Bicester road. The manor has been featured in Downtown Abbey and various films such as Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor.
As you enter the site you come to a big car park where you leave your vehicle before catching a shuttle bus up through the parkland to the Manor itself.
Waddesdon Manor is in my opinion the most beautiful stately home in the UK and was designed to look like a French Chateau. The house itself is interesting inside and very luxurious but our highlight is the gardens.
To the rear of the house there is a stunning parterre which is planted up each season in a really lovely display, there are also other areas to explore such as woodlands and little hideaways with statues etc. The boys also found a massive hill with a great view that they were running up and down.
Near to the main gardens are two large birds made completely of flowers.They lead you towards the Aviary in which there is a great variety of tropical and unusual birds. There is information about each one and they are usually easily visible.
We headed from here down to the Stable Block which has a sweet shop, toy shop, cafe, National Trust shop. bookshop and an exhibition space. At the moment it has an exhibition about ceramics.
Just above the stable block is the woodland play area. This is fantastic for all ages of children, as there is an under 9's area with swings, climbing equipment, slides, see saws etc and as you go up through the woodland you come across different areas with more balancing and climbing equipment and a great big long green slide which was great fun.
At the top of this area is equipment for older children such as a zip wire, basket swing, balancing items, climbing frame etc all of which is designed for children aged 6 to 14. Close to this area there is a small cafe selling hot and cold drinks and ice creams which has lots of seating outside plus a picnic area and natural auditorium.
We would highly recommend Waddesdon as a day out as it is really beautiful, has lots to see and the play area was great fun too.
Today we visited Tring, which is a town in Hertfordshire close to Aylesbury. Its well signed locally.
The town itself is very pretty and has a small duck pond, church and other features to look at (including a maze in the shape of a zebras head).
Trings main tourist attraction is its museum which is part of the Natural History Museum. It houses four floors of stuffed animals ranging from tiny insects up to an elephant seal.
Its completely free and interesting for all ages, you can borrow paper and a clipboard from reception to draw your favorite animals, watch a video about taxidermy (not for the squeamish!) and there is a hands on children's room for younger ones.
At the moment they have a small exhibition on about early man with a few objects to touch and information about what creatures were around at the time.
The museum also has a picnic area directly behind it and a cafe and small shop.
If you exit the Museum and head to the side of it there is a path which leads you over a bridge which spans the dual carriageway to Tring Park.
Tring Park has over 300 acres of downlands and woodlands to explore and is managed by the woodland Trust. They have free roaming cattle who can often be seen and are totally unfazed by people walking past them.
There are lovely views in this area and its pleasant to walk around. We headed through the main pasture to get to the woodlands in which there are various monuments to find including a mock Greek temple and an obelisk.
The park again is free to enter so for a low cost or free day out Tring is well worth considering.
Yesterday we went to London to visit the Cabinet War Rooms, which are located off of Whitehall and are well signed in the area.
The museum comprises the Cabinet War Rooms which is a huge bunker under the treasury building that housed the British command centre during World War two, and the Churchill Museum which has items relating to Prime Minister Winston Churchill.
When we entered we were all given an audio guide to listen to as we walked around the site. The boys had one especially for children that was a bit more entertaining than the adult version.
The rooms in the bunker are laid out as they would have been at the time, such as the map room, cabinet room, Churchill's bedroom etc. You can see the phone that he used which was a direct line to President Roosevelt at the White House. The area is well preserved and you can imagine what it was like being down there.
We then moved onto the Churchill Museum which is also in the bunker complex. This had some interesting things such as his Nobel prize, some of his paintings, the flag that was put on his coffin and many of his other personal possessions. They even had the original door from 10 Downing Street that was on there when he was Prime Minster. Apparently they change the door every time there is a new prime minster, something I had never realised !
The Churchill Museum was quite good for the children as there were more interactive bits here and they enjoyed looking at Churchills paintings, finding out what pets he had and looking at his gun. The War Rooms also had a small cafe and shop before you exited.
I would recommend this to anyone interested in Churchill or the second world war. For children it was ok but probably better for older children / teenagers.