Since a very young age, I have associated National Trust properties with fun days out. My parents had membership, so growing up it was a cheap and easy way to have a good day out which usually included some history, a walk and some tasty cakes! Over the past couple of years I have resisted buying membership, thinking it to be expensive and unnecessary as I don’t have a car and wouldn’t be able to reach many properties. However, I was wrong. I recently caved in and bought Young Person’s membership and have already made my money back, making it good value as I still have the rest of the year ahead. The car thing is still a bit of an issue, so I’d recommend checking which sites are accessible without a car in your area so you can still get full use of it. If you are visiting York (or are located nearby), here are the sites I would recommend visiting.
Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden
Chances are, you’ve heard of Fountains Abbey. It’s a World Heritage Site and is certainly a full day out. Located near Ripon, it is a short drive from York. You can walk around the largest Cistercian abbey ruins in Europe, the eighteenth century water garden, a deer park, church, mill and Fountains Hall. It’s best saved for a sunny day, but is definitely worth it. As most things are outside it is also a good place to visit with a dog (providing they are kept on a lead).
The Treasurer’s House
I’m not quite sure why it has taken me so long to visit. Located just behind the Minster in York, the Treasurer’s House has a central and easily accessible location. On top of this, the gardens and tea room can be visited for free (even without membership), although I would recommend going around the house as well. Each room is decorated in a different style, meaning that you will find yourself standing in a Medieval style great hall, and then in an eighteenth-century style bedroom. I would also recommend taking the slightly spooky ghost tour of the cellars if you dare…
Best enjoyed when the weather is dry, Brimham Rocks are an amazing collection of natural rock formations – fun to walk around, climb, or take great photos of! Dogs are welcome, although they may not have as much fun climbing as children (or big kids!).
Goddards House and Garden
Former home of the Terry family (yes, as in Terry’s Chocolate Orange) Goddards is a small site located near York Racecourse which is worth a visit. The house currently contains an interesting exhibition on the Terry women, as well as marketing materials and chocolate boxes from days past. The garden is beautiful, and visitors are encouraged to make use of it by taking tea on the terrace, playing croquet or by playing tennis.
An eighteenth century mansion with beautiful walled gardens, this year Beningbrough is celebrating its 300th anniversary since the current hall was built – so if ever there was a time to visit, it’s now! If you are an art lover, then Beningbrough is a great place to visit as it houses over 100 portraits on loan from the National Portrait Gallery, as well as an interactive gallery, allowing you to get hands on.