Sunday, May 13, 2012

Castles and Princesses

We recently joined the National Trust for Scotland. It's a bargain at only £5.50 a month! We get free parking and entry to all their properties. The kids of course have been wanting to take full advantage of this. So on any nice days lately we've been off to castles to explore and learn.

First we went to Fyvie castle. We went there on a day that Daddy was off work, though sadly Daddy wasn't feeling too good! We took a picnic in our handy dandy American style cooler, and as we arrived it started pouring with rain. We hid out in the car for about ten minutes and it passed, then the sun came out thankfully so we resumed picnicking.

The kids in front of Fyvie Castle.

Sadly this is the only real picture I have from Fyvie, because you're not allowed to photograph inside it. We had our own personal tour guide though and the kids loved seeing all the different rooms, all the guns and armour, and hearing stories (particularly about the Lairds racing their horses up the massive stone spiral staircase!). Cora's favourite was the bedrooms and the accompanying tales of princesses sleeping in the four poster beds.

When we got home that evening, Maia promptly went and built Fyvie castle out of duplo blocks. She keeps asking to go to more castles, she loved it!

That Saturday Cora was off to Edinburgh Zoo with Brownies, so we had planned a family day out. Unfortunately Aaron wasn't well enough to come with us, so it was just Calvin, Maia and I. We went to the cinema to see the £1 showing of Cars 2 which we all loved, followed by shopping at Costco. Before we left I looked up on my phone where the nearest NTS property was, as Costco is about an hour from our house so I thought maybe there would be somewhere nearby to go that we normally wouldn't drive to. Success! I found that we were only 15 minutes from Castle Fraser, where I had been once or twice before but never inside. It was a gorgeous sunny day so off we went.

Calvin and Maia at the side of Castle Fraser.

The view of the Castle you see when you walk down from the car park.

Inside the court yard.

We went to the shop to get our tickets and headed into the Castle. There was a wedding so part of it was closed off unfortunately. But we got to just wander around by ourselves. We went up one of the towers and it was up a series of very steep spiral staircases.

In front of an exhibit at the top room of the tower.

Another exhibit at the top of the tower.

Calvin was interested to learn that the children here were home schooled. Their teacher lived off the library in her own room and every day the 14 children that last lived here had to learn lots of subjects like Latin and Greek.

After the tour we headed back to the gardens and there was a Woodland Secrets Play Area. Much fun was had here! There are all sorts of fun things for the kids to do.

Climbing on rocks in the stone circle.

Then there was the big Wigwam, which the kids decided we could camp out in if only they would let us!

I spy with my little eye, two monkies!

Inside the wigwam.

Maia reading the map to tell us where to go next.

Inside a wooden hut.

Climbing and playing!

I was amazed that she managed to get up here by herself!

A cool tunnel provided much entertainment.

Calvin really wanted to know why this was here. He thought it was very cool but just wanted to know why it was in the middle of the play area!

Inside what will be a tree playhouse I think, all the trees have been planted to grow into a dome shape, but they're young so not much coverage yet.

The magical blue tree!

We never did figure out what exactly this was for!

And last but definitely not least, their favourite thing in the garden! 

I expect our membership is going to be money very well spent.

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