Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Adventures with a Birthday Present

Julie Sykes

Last birthday I was given a whole year of National Trust membership. It’s one of the nicest presents I’ve ever had. I love the countryside and the National Trust owns and maintains some of the best. The houses are fun, too. What’s not to like about nosing around other people’s properties, especially when you’re a writer!

Here are some of my favourite National Trust properties and places to date.

St Michael's Mount

 Cape Cornwall


The place I visited most was Mottisfont, near Romsey in Hampshire. The grounds are spectacular as is the chalk bed river running through the property. The house is pretty special too, crafted from a medieval priory it has the sort of hallway that makes you want to roller skate down it. There’s an impressive 3D room, where pictures literally spring from the walls. Another brilliant thing about Mottisfont is that it regularly hosts events.

Last summer there was an exhibition by Quentin Blake and an exciting story trail through the gardens.

This year it’s the turn of Lauren Child. Lauren has generously lent over 50 original pieces of her own artwork to Mottisfont, including a sneaky preview of the illustrations from her new book. She’s also helped to create a fun adventure trail through the house and grounds. Keep a sharp eye out for that Pesky Rat. Bed you won’t guess where he’s hiding!

The Art of Lauren Child: Adventures with Charlie and Lola and Friends exhibition runs until 6th September. It’s DEFINITELY worth a visit.

I wonder how the National Trust will top that next year.

I’d like to nominate Chris Riddell. Mottisfont, can you hear me…

Which author/illustrator would you pick?


Sheena Wilkinson said...

I LOVE the NT and my favourite day out is to a NT house. They're brilliant for getting ideas from, aren't they? I always imagine myself the mistress of the house, but know rightly I'd have been the skivvy. And so many of the houses are straight out of children's books -- I've been in so many NT stable yards and thought, Ah, Flambards in its heyday...

Julie Sykes said...

NT properties are definitely the place to go for ideas and the tea shops are brilliant places to write in - inspiring and with great coffee and cake ;)

I love Flambards. I've read my copies so many times the pages are falling out.

John Dougherty said...

How serendipitous, Julie: I didn't look at ABBA yesterday, when you posted this, because I was spending the day at Croome Court near Worcester - a lovely National Trust property - celebrating the Summer Reading Challenge with Worcestershire Libraries!

Julie Sykes said...

What a fabulous way to spend a Wednesday! I've just looked Croome Court up and added it to my wish list of places to visit. It looks amazing.