We decided to join National Trust which is an organization that owns and preserves places of historic interest in the UK. You typically pay a yearly membership of 63 pounds per person; however, we received a discount at a travel fair and only had to pay 75 pounds for our family. As a National Trust member you do not pay entry fees whenever you visit their sites. A lot of people say they rotate yearly memberships between NT (typically more manors and estates), and English Heritage (more ruins and castles). Being that we expect a lot of visitors next year we decided to hold off on an English Heritage membership as our guests will probably be more interested in visiting castles.
Our first NT adventure was Oxburgh Hall. Its only about a 30 minute drive from us and we stopped in on our way to a petting zoo. It is a moated manor house built around 1482 and has been inhabited by the same family since. You can spend a couple hours there just walking the trails around the estate as well as touring the inside of the home. The grounds are absolutely beautiful.
Inside the manor I could have spent plenty of time observing every detail of history. When you have a 1 and 2 year old in tow you get the fast forward version. All they cared about was being outside and seeing the sheep! I did get to snap a couple pics in between the “no thank you’s”, and “Don’t touch that’s”.
Beyond this room was a priest hole that Ben got to go down. A little too claustrophobic for my liking. The Bedingfeld family remained loyal Catholics during the English Reformation. They built the holes so travelling priests could stop and hide from their persecutors. Sometimes the searches took weeks and the priests would die of starvation or lack of air while hiding. This particular hole shows no evidence of being discovered.
After we went through the manor we took the kids outside to the open fields of sheep. I think they are steadily becoming one of Kellan’s favorite animals since they are all over the place here.
Overall a good time walking around a beautifully historic home and worth a visit if you are in the area!