Earlier in the year I treated us to English Heritage membership. To be fair it was a no brainer. Membership for two adults, with L free, is £30 in Tesco Clubcard Vouchers. So it was next to no money. L loves castles, English Heritage have a lot. It’s free days out for a year.
I’m going to try to write about all the properties we visit using our membership. What I liked, didn’t like, share some pictures. We’ve already made our money back on the membership, so I am very happy it is good value for money.
Husb and I visited Audley End by ourselves, a nice treat of a day out whilst L was with his grandparents. It’s a huge place to explore, so on one hand I was glad it was just the two of us and we got to see everything. On the other hand, L would have adored so many parts of it I was sad we hadn’t bought him.
I was really impressed with the facilities at Audley End. With the gardens, house and stables to explore it is really spread out. But they had covered this with toilets and places to eat at both ends of the site. Everything was clean. Food prices are as expected, and the food was delicious. Really good baby change facilities and a good sized playground, though it was very busy and I know L wouldn’t have played on it because of that.
I loved the gardens. The formal gardens are stunning. The flower beds are thing I can only ever dream of. I lack the space, time and skill to create them. The water gardens were my favourite area, they are magical like being transported into an entirely different place. There is a walled kitchen garden as well. On top of all these areas there is plenty of open space and less formal areas, parkland and places for picnics. You can tell it is a Capability Brown designed garden.
The house is kind of split into two parts. The main house and then all the service wings.
The service wings really give you an idea of how the house worked and use projectors to really bring it to life.
The main house is amazing. We luckily caught a talk about the history of the house. I am so glad we did as we found out so much that I wouldn’t have picked up on otherwise. It was really interesting.
The displays in the rooms were really interesting and when you get upstairs to the nursery there is loads for the kids to get involved with.
I got to stroke a couple of the horses. Yey! That just always makes me happy. There is a really interesting display about the history of the site and how it had changed from an Abbey to house and more.
You can go into one the garages as well and see the fire engines. Plus the horses can be seen pulling carriages about the grounds every now and then.
Opening Times & Prices
|WITHOUT GIFT AID||WITH GIFT AID|
|Child (5-15 yrs)||£10.50||£11.00|
|HOUSE||STABLES, SERVICE WING AND GARDENS|
|Daily||12:00 – 17:00||10:00 – 18:00|
For full details of times and prices please visit the English Heritage Website, these are only a snapshot.
It is one of the most expensive properties to visit. But it is also one of the largest and certainly the one we have spent the most time at.
We spent the whole day here. Enjoyed lunch in the restaurant in the house and had a snack at the cafe by the playground. I’m really glad we caught the talk about the house and would thoroughly recommend that to anyone.
For younger kids this might be a bit big to take it all in over one visit. L would have struggled. But the gardens are perfect for exploring and playing and being able to visit the horses in the stables is a bit special.
I really want to visit again and I’m incredibly glad we have the membership so I can, without worry.