Whenever we go on a long car journey we generally try and find somewhere to stop off along the way for a run around and have a bit of lunch. On our journey down south for our Dorset holiday we looked at a few places around halfway and settled on Basildon Park near Reading – partly because it was a filming location for Downton Abbey (we very much enjoy the show), also because we have National Trust membership and it looked like it had some lovely grounds for Monkey to have a run around.
The house didn’t disappoint, though smaller than some (which, obviously, doesn’t make it small) it was still very grand and had some gorgeous rooms. We rarely go round inside but couldn’t resist seeing the rooms Downton was filmed in and were allowed to take some piccies.
The grounds were very lovely too and what made it really perfect was the fact that they have fantastic ball runs dotted around the grounds. Upon entry you pay a couple of pounds for a tennis ball and put your name on it. Then as you go exploring you come across various different ball runs throughout the park, which really are great fun.
The first was in the woods on the way up to the house. It is worth noting that there is a fairly steep walk up to the house from the car park which included a few steps that we carried the pushchair up.
Then there are various in the grounds, I loved these ones made out of big old logs and tree trunks – as did Monkey! He had great fun running backwards and forwards and putting the balls down holes and working out where they would come out.
This big long one was brilliant too and Monkey had so much fun chasing his ball down and trying to catch it at the end. He managed a spectacular fall at one point though, literally going down head first (:() thankfully he was fine though and carried on running after a brief cuddle from Daddy!
There was also a great ball run which was perfect for older kids which had various bits and bobs so they could assemble it themselves. A bunch of kids were having great fun with it and had made a fantastic ball run which Monkey loved testing out – and once again, chasing his ball down to see which way it would go!
For her part LM enjoyed having a wander and watching her brother running about like a loony 🙂
It was the perfect little stop off on our journey and Monkey had so much fun that I actually wsh we lived nearer so we could revisit the ball run which will be there all summer. It is definitely worth a visit if you live nearby!
We are the same – I always try and find a NT or EH place to stop off at on long journeys – soooooo much better than a grotty service station and I love how most properties will have a lovely park and picnic tables where you can enjoy lunch and kids burn off some energy. I love the tree trunk ball runs!
This is something we’ve started doing too – there’s so many great NT properties you’re never far from one and so much nicer than services. The ball runs sound brilliant too. #MondayEscapes
Oh! We need to go back there. Went when Monkey was a baby, and they didn’t have the ball run then, he’d love that. Noted for future reference #MondayEscapes
This place looks so grand! I love these types of places, so magical and it’s great they’ve got a ball activity outside – that makes it more fun for the kids 🙂 #mondayescapes Sabrina xx
I am definitely a fan of road trips (short or long). I try to find places along the routes that we transit a lot. I am used to find a lot of cool spots. This park looks like a phenomenal stop (wish I can find some of those around California).
Horay for the national trust!! We do the same on long journeys… This is how we discovered Hardwick Hall, my eldest all time favourite!
aaaa so much to see and do, national trust locations are always fab! #triedtested
This is on my list to do this summer – looks lovely
It looks great! Those ball runs look like great fun! Don’t think we’re too far away so might plan a visit this summer 🙂 #letkidsbekids
I remember our first visit there! I was very small and my mummy was worried about bumping into the precious vases in the roped-off rooms! We love NT properties 🙂 looks like you had a great day too! xx #triedtested
That’s such a good idea to use an NT as a stop gap if you’re travelling on a long journey somewhere. I will remember that for the future. Basildon Park looks like a wonderful place to while away a few hours – I never knew Downton was filmed there. That ball run looks so much fun, don’t think my monkey would have been happy to leave that! Thanks so much for linking up with #MondayEscapes
I’ve been a bit surprised with NT properties and how child friendly they are. That place looks so beautiful and the play area looks entertaining for little kiddies!
Fantastic, this is our local NT place and we love it there. We’ve been several times in the last couple of months already. It looks like Monkey was enjoying those ball runs.
Thanks for linking #LetKidsBeKids
I’ve seen posts about these ball runs before, they look amazing! And, Monkey is clearly having the best time 🙂
This looks great. We are driving down to Dorset this week and think I will see if this will be near our route. Our girls love marble run so I’m sure they will love this larger version of it.
Ohhh, I’ve seen this in another persons blog a little while ago. I love the ball run! I really wish we could go visit it as both my boys would absolutely love this. I like the look of the log ones too, very cool.
The house looks nice too, would be interesting to see where they filmed Downton.
Thanks for linking up to #whatevertheweather. Could you please stick the badge on your post too.
Thank you! 🙂 x
What a fab place to visit, you can see why they pick here to film Downton Abbey. It’s great seeing Monkey running around letting off some steam from the long car journey, he’s really running to keep up with his ball. I’m sure Monkey will remember this little stop on your journey for a while yet. Thanks for linking up with me on Country Kids.
Wow what an amazing place! Love those ceilings! So artsy and the grounds are just endless for playing and running. #countrykids
It’s a great idea to stop off on a journey, adds even more to the adventure!!
Thanks for linking with #toddlerapprovedtuesday x
I love Downtown. I’d love to go here and explore the rooms. I adore big houses and seeing how other people used to live. The ball runs are such a genius idea! It looks like so much fun and really makes your day extra special when there are extra things like this available. My daughter would spend hours playing with these! Thank you so much for linking up to #whatevertheweather. x