Thursday, 13 June 2013

A day out at Llanerchaeron.

As I am hoping to encourage a natural childhood of playing in the great outdoors for Bug and keen to record his 50 Things To Do Before You’re 11 ¾ accomplishments when we recently had the car on a lovely sunny day I thought it was the perfect time to get out for a day out, play outdoors and attempt a #50 Things task.

With the National Trust Wales promoting the 50 Things To Do Before You’re 11 ¾ campaign I thought it would be great to go to a National Trust Property so Bug and I headed to Llanerchaeron in Ciliau Aeron, near Aberaeron.  As my mum has wanted to go to Llanerchaeron for a walk around the house for ages I thought it would be the perfect chance for Bug and I to spend some quality time with her on a family day out.  I also hoped that it would be the perfect day and place for Bug to complete 1 of the 50 Things To Do Before You’re 11 ¾ adventures.

Bug was super excited about his day out with his Mamgu and raced off to explore the 18 th century Welsh gentry estate.

First we decided to have a look in the house which was designed in the 1790’s.  The Llanerchaeron villa is according to the National Trust website is the most complete example of the early work of John Nash. 

Inside the house was very impressive with lots of gorgeous furniture.  I loved the wallpaper on the ceiling in a number of the rooms downstairs and the curved walls were a particularly interesting feature.

Unfortunately Bug’s hyper character and inability to stay still for more than a nano-second meant that I was dragged around the house and not able to take in all the grandeur, leaving my mum lagging behind to really appreciate the house fully.

I loved one room in particular that thankfully Bug seemed equally interested in, providing me with more than a flashing glance at the room and its contents.  I thought the games in the glass cabinet were very interesting and I loved the unique walking sticks that were beautifully displayed above the fireplace.

I loved the gorgeous, sparkly jewellery, interesting artifacts and distinguished medals inside the large wooden cabinet with glass windows.

Walking through the house we made our way through to the rear of the property to the housemaid’s quarters where it was very interesting to see the contrast between the plush rooms we had just walked through to more basic rooms.

I loved seeing fragments of history and how things were back in the day.  I found the buzzer system very interesting, where it would highlight to the housemaid’s which room they were being called to when being summoned.

I was also intrigued by the old fire extinguisher.

Making our way past the housemaid’s quarters we arrived at the cellars and then the kitchens.  It was very interesting to see the old fashioned kitchens that were filled with items from that time era.

I loved seeing the beautiful blue china on the dresser.

It was also great to see that as well as items and furniture the place was dressed with props such as rabbit and pheasant caught for dinner which added to the atmosphere, bring the house to life.

At the rear of the property you entered the service courtyard where there were dairy, laundry, brewery and salting house.

Bug enjoyed running around the courtyard and exploring all the service houses.  

The contrast between the service houses and living quarters of the servants to the living quarters of the main house was even starker.   The servants living quarters were very basic and the service houses were practical and plain.

It was very interesting to see the different houses that were filled with props to highlight how each area was used.

It was great to have a sneak peek at the house and get an insight into a time long past.  Even though I think the house was a little too boring for Bug due to his age and busy-bee character, I enjoyed myself and I am pleased that I have been able to see a rare example of a self-sufficient 18th –century Welsh minor gentry estate which has survived all these years virtually unaltered.

After exploring the house and exiting at the rear of the property through the service courtyard we visited the walled gardens where 200 years ago it was used to feed the family, helping them to live a self-sufficient life.

The gardens were beautiful and it was lovely to see that they are still used; in fact everything that is grown is sold in the shop at Llanerchaeron with different produce on offer depending on the season.

I found it particularly interesting to see how the trees had been trained to grown a particular way which apparently was done to make picking fruit off the trees easier.

Bug loved the little pond we found in the gardens and it was a shame that we had no way of discovering what was in the pond and completing one of the Tracker tasks from the 50 Things list.

After a pleasurable stroll through the walled gardens we explored the grounds and ornamental lake.  It was peaceful (apart from Bug’s shrieks and giggles of happiness) walking through the trees exploring the grounds.

We noticed a small gravestone which according to the useful and interesting information leaflets found in handy wooden boxes all over the site was the burial site of the family dog.

After strolling through the grounds we came across the tranquil lake that was a breathtakingly beautiful view.  

The lake is truly stunning and being near the lake felt like you were hidden away from the world only surrounding by Mother Nature at her best and wondrous wildlife.

After our peaceful walk through the walled gardens and beautiful grounds we headed for the home farm to see the animals and for Bug to complete his first 50 Things To Do Before You’re 11 ¾ adventure, #23 Visit a farm.  I have decided to dedicate his accomplishment to a post of its own (see the link above); where I can record his achievement in a special #50 Things post where only that the activity is highlighted.

My only slight criticism of the place was that it would benefit from a children’s play area because even though it has lots of nature and countryside for them to explore and play in it would be great if there was an area that had been sculpted with small mounds of earth as slides, wooden see-saws and swings hanging from trees.  I think an area such as this would make the day out extra special and a lovely area for children to play and then have picnics there with their family.

Overall we had a lovely time at Llanerchaeron and I would love to visit again and explore the grounds, lake and walks more.  It is a place we will be returning to over the years as it will be a great place to complete more of Bug’s 50 Things adventures; in particular he climb a tree, catch a fish with a net, go on a really long bike ride, explore inside a tree, hold a scary beast and track wild animals plus many more activities at Llanerchaeron.

More information about 50 Things To Do Before You’re 11 ¾ and National Trust Wales.


*  We were kindly provided 2 family passes to NationalTrust Wales properties of our choosing to help Bug make a start on his #50things *

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