Winter walk around the National Trust: Blickling Estate, Alysham, Norfolk

On Sunday, our 12th wedding anniversary, we spent a couple hours walking around the lake at Blickling Estate.

Last time we walked Blickling Estate, we did the Mausoleum Walk – hard to believe it was back in October, seemed like just yesterday.  As I’ve said before, there are some spectacular trees on the National Trust properties… so of course, I took photos of many of them.

And neat tree stumps for climbing.

The walk around the like was nice… the kids had some fun running ahead to look at the brass rubbings and made fun of some of the fishermen who just sit in tents all day long, alone waiting for a bite.  I don’t mind fishing, providing there is some talk, sunshine, and fish to catch – this way is BORING!

We started off walking around the lake and as we were approaching the house, we didn’t see a way to get across to the house gardens until much later in our walk, we learned you walk the perimeter.  It makes sense when you think about it (paying admission or membership).  What we didn’t want was to have to walk back the entire distance.  Now we know!

We walked by the orangery which I love!

Before it got dark, the kids were able to have about a half hour of play in the orchard playground…

and the bubbles I packed came in handy.

On the way out, we had a pint for the road at the Buck Arms … there Soren & Maebh made themselves home among the toys in the snug.

While this place is nice in all seasons, when we had a visit to the house and garden in full bloom it was especially great!

National Trust: Mausoleum Walk Blicking Estate

As we were driving, we had an idea to walk around the National Trust’s Blickling Estate. Often times you hear that the region of Norfolk is very “open” and has “big skies”.  These two photos represent just that… space, light and nature.

Last time we were at Blickling Estate, we visited the Hall, Gardens & Second-Hand Bookshop, we read that there is a nice 3 or so mile Mausoleum Walk and it is very likely that you see Barn Owls as they are very common on the estate.   Of course, that was a huge interest for this barn-owl loving family.

When we checked in at the Visitor Service Center, they gave the kids a crayon, and each a large booklet with 21 or so photos along with descriptions with blank circles and a map.

As we walked along the trails, Soren & Maebh would spot the signs with brass rubbings and details. This really helped give the kids some adventure in our walk.   We didn’t get to do every single one, so we’ll keep those books and head back to finish them up soon. Very typical of National Trust trying to get kids outside and in the wild – hence the 50 Things To Do Before Your 11 3/4 challenge, which the kids have already done a lot of the activities and keep track in their little scrapbooks!

As we started out, Soren was our leader and showed us which color path we were on and which direction was the Mausoleum.  When we arrived, the kids thought the pyramid structure was quite cool – as they have never seen a pyramid-styled building before in person.

The Mausoleum, built in 1797, is the tomb of the Second Earl of Buckinghamshire and his two wives, Mary Anne & Caroline.

As the area was so vast, many times it was just our family and not a single person around.  But one time, a guy passed us and I couldn’t resist the photo opportunity.  He looked like a guy who lived in a restricted residential home and removed his pants and went on a walk. His stark white shorts were pulled very high, along with this white legs and white socks.

There are some really amazing trees on the estate.  The only trouble was that I didn’t switch my lenses so I only had my 55 mm to 200 mm zoom lens with me.

The Grandstand Tower was built in 1773 to watch horse racing in the Park, and is now available to rent for holidays.

We walked and walked in search of barn owls before it became too dark.  In fact, we saw something flying around near the lake so I ran ahead to see what it was, but it was not a barn owl.  We did see plenty of cute sheep!

Maebh was tired, so she got to ride a lot on Nils’ shoulders with some fun on the way.

As we completed the walk, we had just minutes of daylight left and when we got to our car it was pitch black – clearly we need some flash lights in the car and on us next time.

As we exited the gates by the car park, we popped into the Buck Arms for a pint, before heading home for the night.  The pub is quite cute and has a great menu.  I’d love to come back in the Winter for a meal after a nice long walk.  I bet it will look great with Christmas decorations too.

So it was a lovely family walk even though we didn’t spot any barn owls! 😦

National Trust: Blicking Estate

Today, I had to visit Blickling Estate, a nearby National Trust property, for membership training. After the training, I popped around the garden for about 1/2 hour taking photos. I took about five minutes in the 123 room house but thought I’d really visit it with more time. There is a lot of things to do there & I’ll definitely be going back with the kids soon.

One thing I’ve found that all the National Trust properties I’ve been to have these amazing trees.  Also, pretty gardens, a huge house, a cafe with local-sourced products which sounded yummy.  Oh and an added bonus, the kids will love the garden croquet, a huge connect four-game, huge chess and so much space to run & explore.





























Amazing & HUGE colander

Redwings Horse Sanctuary

Today we took the kids to a visit at Redwings Horse Sanctuary in Aylsham.  It’s the UK’s largest horse sanctuary, caring for over 1,200 horses, ponies, donkeys, and mules every day.  The place is really great and brand new.  They have been in the news lately for a huge scandal in Wales where they saved 26 horses from death.  A lot of the animals are re-homed but for the ones who are medically not able to be re-homed, they stay and live out their lives here at the Sanctuary.

Fields and fields of space for the horses.


The best part is that it is FREE to visit!  It’s run by volunteers and relies on donations to continue to support the animals and maintain the land and buildings.  They had great kids play area, with facts, stats & a measuring stick to see how many “hands” you are.  They also have a kids quiz and coloring pages in the cafe.  We will come back when it’s warmer to use the playground area.   Love to give support to such a great place like this.








Soren once again surprised me by patting the horses.  This one horse had such a strange blue eye.  I feel that nearly every horse I’ve ever seen had brown eyes, right?


One horse, Lord Tucan, even closed his eyes when he patted him.   While Maebh loves horses, especially her therapy horse, Klagen, who is back in Boston, she doesn’t want to touch them.