Fountains Abbey is one of our favourite places to visit, and a place that has become really special to us since we started a family. It’s grown more special in the last few years when we have visited for special occasions like our wedding anniversary, which i wrote about here. Somehow we must have always escaped visiting in spring. I am sure I would have remembered the bluebells and the beautiful smell of the wild garlic.
Things to do
The children were given a spring explorer map, which we loved as it pointed out signs of spring around the estate. The national trust have a printable list of ’50 things to do before you are 11 3/4′ and the map helpfully shows where you can tick a few things off your list. We also entered their Easter ‘golden egg’ competition, because we found the tiny golden egg.
There was so much to see and do, including an Easter egg hunt (which we didn’t take part in because we are overloaded with Easter chocolate!) and a ‘woolly workshop’ where the children could take part in wool themed crafts.
Signs of Spring
I have been hunting for wild garlic, ever since I found a recipe for wild garlic scones last year. This year it seems to be everywhere. I asked James if he knew what it was, and the answer rolled off his tongue. I found out later, he had spotted some two days earlier when we went to Lotherton Hall and my friend Ashley had told him about it – I am still impressed that he remembered!
The wild garlic seems to be everywhere you go at Fountains Abbey, along with some gorgeous bluebells.
The park at Fountains Abbey is one of the children’s favourites. Its has been updated in the last year and is full of wooden play equipment.
Some fantastic views
We had planned to visit the little lakeside cafe at the opposite side of Studley Royal but we had so much fun exploring the ruins that we didn’t have time. This meant we missed some spectacular views but Amy was so tired after our short walk that I don’t think she would have made the whole walk around.
We also took a few photos for our reading challenge at in the ruins of the Abbey. It wasn’t until afterwards that we found out that we were not ment to climb on the ruins… ooooops. We had seen lots of other children exploring by climbing so we didn’t think anything of joining in to take our photo, but we will avoid it next time!
A sleeping baby
Its so nice to be able to explore without a pushchair with a toddler. It means that she can have the freedom to explore when she wants, but also she can ask for a carry when she is tired or sleepy, without too much extra trouble. She is nice and close so feels safe and she can see so she is always excitedly pointing out birds and animals. We brought our wrap instead of a pushchair on our last visit and it meant that we were able to follow a few of the steeper paths that we would never have managed with a pushchair.
There is so much to see, lots of nooks and cranny’s to hide in or explore, and its a beautiful place to take photographs.
A leap of faith.
Rolling down a big hill.
This hill felt a lot bigger at the time than it looks in this photo. Amy chose our picnic spot on the lawn of the Abbey, at the bottom of this hill.
Lily especially loved rolling down it again and again. James wanted to run down it, which was even more scary! Amy tried but rolled horizontally instead of vertically and then wanted to run instead.
James and Lily decided to have races up the hill, down the path and back to our picnic spot. On their final run they both skidded across the grass at the same point, but determined not to loose both stood straight up win the race, they had the most amazing green grass stains on their knees, I wish I had taken a photo!
But… I don’t want a photograph
We have always loved photography, and we have kept it quick and fun so the kids like it too. If they don’t want to get involved we try not to make a big deal of it, and they all love seeing the photos on the screensaver of our kitchen computer as we eat our meals.
Over Easter we met up with the children’s cousins, and a few times her eldest cousin said he didn’t want his photo taking. Amy is three months older than him and I don’t think she really thought about saying ‘no’ until she heard her cousin. James went through a similar phase when he was a bit older and hes happy to be involved again now, so I am hoping that Amy’s aversion wont last.
Luckily for me, I have three other littles who are happy to have their photograph taken.