A Family Outing to Osterley Park & House

Osterley House 2

I know I’ve said it before, but we are lucky to have so many amazing places filled with history on our doorstep. Last Monday was a Bank Holiday so we grabbed our National Trust cards and drove down to Osterley Park and House, near Isleworth in Middlesex. A huge imposing Georgian mansion, dating back to the 1780s and surrounded by the most stunning gardens, it is one of the last surviving country estates in London. We had a quick coffee and snack in the stables tea room and then set off exploring the house and the colourful formal gardens.

It’s funny, both my husband and I can remember being dragged to visiting these places as children and while our own kids may not love all of it (the guided tour of the house springs to mind!) they do enjoy roaming the grounds, playing hide and seek and climbing trees. Hopefully, in years to come these outings will also give them some appreciation of this country’s history and culture that they in turn can share with their own children.

Osterley House 1

{I love the sweeping staircase}

Osterley Garden 4

{A beautiful summer house}

Cameron jumping

{Jumping high}

Casper jumping

{And there goes the next one}

Clemmie flowers

{Every corner of the garden was bursting with colour}

Osterley Garden1

{I seem to have developed an affinity for taking pictures of flowers – unlike the children they stay in one place!}

Osterley Garden 3

{Gorgeous tulips}

Osterley Garden2

{I wish I could have brought this flower pot back to my garden}

Osterley Garden 5

{A short rest before the next game of hide and seek}

If you go down to the woods today…


I’m a city girl at heart and although we live in a village on the outskirts of London, I love that the city centre is only a 30 minute train ride away. But despite my affection for urban living I do sometimes get a yearning for wide open spaces. Now that the weather is better, we have all (especially the children) been craving fresh air, trees to climb, trails to explore and hills to roll down. Luckily, we also have on our doorstep some of the finest countryside the south east of England has to offer. So on Sunday morning we set off early to beat the crowds and drove up to Box Hill in Surrey where we spent a good couple of hours enjoying the great outdoors. We all had a fabulous time and, best of all, come Sunday night the kids were so exhausted they were out like a light at 8pm!

Cam & Clem


Woods 3


The boys & I

The Great Outdoors


One of my best purchases over the last year was not a new bag or a pair of shoes, but a family membership to the National Trust. So far we have enjoyed a Boxing Day walk at nearby Claremont Landscape Gardens and an Easter egg hunt at Ham House as well as trips to Petworth House and Uppark, both in Sussex.

The staff are great at engaging the children with stories of what life was like in ‘the olden days’ and there are usually little activity stations and play areas dotted around the houses. What my three enjoy most, however, is exploring the often vast grounds and gardens – climbing trees and rolling down hills, things they don’t really get to do on a day to day basis. And best of all, once you’ve paid for your membership, if you bring a picnic it’s virtually a free day out and all that fresh air is sure to guarantee sleepy children by bedtime.

Yesterday we spent the morning at Bodiam Castle in Kent, about an hour away by car from where we live. We had promised Casper that we would go there before Christmas as he missed a school trip to the medieval castle when he had his operation a couple of months ago. It was a grey and drizzly morning but we had lots of fun exploring the castle which was built in 1385 by Sir Edward Dallingridge, a rich soldier. As it wasn’t quite picnic weather, we warmed up afterwards in the National Trust cafe with home baked scones slathered in butter and jam and cups of tea and hot chocolate.

A lovely day out.

{Bodiam Castle viewed from the courtyard}

{Bodiam Castle viewed from the courtyard}

The children contemplating whether or not to roll down the muddy hill outside the castle. Luckily they decided not to!

{The children contemplating whether or not to roll down the muddy hill outside the castle. Luckily they decided not to!}

Listening to a talk about the history of the castle

{Listening to a talk about the history of the castle}

There were lots of nooks and crannies to explore

{There were lots of nooks and crannies to explore}

Cameron looks rather pleased to see his brother in the stocks!

{Cameron looks rather pleased to see his brother in the stocks!}

The Weekend in Pictures


On Saturday night we booked a babysitter and went out to the cinema to see the new Steve Coogan film, Alan Partridge – Alpha Papa. My husband chose the film and while it was quite entertaining, it wasn’t really my cup of tea. But the cinema itself more than made up for it. Just 15 minutes down the road from us, it is part of a small independent chain and is a far cry from the massive Odeon theatres with their overpriced pick and mix and jumbo tubs of popcorn. The theatre itself is quite small with two or three seat sofas and tables to put your drinks and munchies on, and attached to it is a cosy bar where you can buy wine, beer, soft drinks and a large selection of snacks from pizzas and olives to chocolate buttons and retro sweets.


I love England in late August/early September. It is usually sunny, although the evenings are getting darker and nature’s palette is slowly transforming into beautiful red, deep orange and bright yellow. Today we decided to make the most of the long Bank Holiday weekend by heading to Hatchlands Park, a National Trust property and parkland, near Guildford in Surrey where we went for a walk across cows meadows and the children played in the woods.


All that fresh air and exercise left us all feeling famished but luckily we were going to the in-laws for lunch. My mother-in-law is a fantastic cook and had made a lovely roast chicken followed by the most gorgeous (gluten free) apple and blackberry crumble.



A game of croquet in the garden (complete with the requisite squabbles over who was winning and who was cheating).


And finally, today’s all black outfit was one of the £7 H&M dresses I bought at the start of the summer teamed with leggings and patent wedges from Topshop. Hope you all had a great weekend. X