Guys, after a 2 year gap, I decided to sign me and Neil up for a joint National Trust membership again! :) The last time we were members we had just got engaged ( the membership was a gift from my best friend and her family) and we loved it so much. We were living in our old basement flat in Hove at the time, with a garden that was about 1m2 and never saw sunlight, so having membership to the National Trust meant we had an excuse to get out and about in nature on most weekends, and we documented lots of our National Trust days out on my blog.
I joined us up online last Friday, set up a direct debit of £9.50 per month (but you can pay £114 one off for the year), printed off our temporary membership cards until our permanent ones arrive by post, and we were up in Sheffield Park & Garden the same weekend!
Membership gives you free access to pretty much all of the National Trust sites across the UK which normally cost about £10-£15 each per person per visit, so if you're like us and regularly off on days out during weekends it more than pays for itself. Plus it is a charity that has always been really important to me and Neil. Our best memories have been created out on country walks on land that the National Trust helps to protect.
We've visited Sheffield Park and Garden before, last time it was February on a wintery, breezy day. Seeing the place last weekend in May, with the sun shining and flowers in full bloom felt like we were in a completely different place!
That's what I love about visiting National Trust locations and botanical gardens like Wakehurst Place, you could visit the same location once a month and still see completely different colours, plants and events on every time you go. No two days are the same :)
We arrived at Sheffield Park and Garden just after they opened, showed our temp membership cards and were given a map of the estate to find our way around. Then off we went exploring...
I was in awe of the colourful, gigantic Rhododendrons - some of the country's biggest rhoddies up there, and Neil is a big tree lover so we made an instant beeline for the Big Tree Walk through the forest, stopping here and there to take in the silence and have a banana!
Mine and Neil's favourite part of the estate was the forest. Tall pine trees towered over us and the place was so peaceful. Still a few bluebells in sight... It's one of the first years we missed our annual bluebell photography sesh's together, but just caught this one!
Have you heard of the Japanese word shinrin-yoku? It simply means forest bathing. The Japanese believe that forest bathing is a healing therapy and important for health and well being. We coudn't agree more. After a few hours strolling through the woods taking it all in, we felt so zen.
Next time we go, I need to bring bread for the ducks. These little ducklings had me squealing they were so cute!
After an obligatory look at the National Trust shop (I love the shops on site, such gorgeous artwork, gardening bits and blankets to be found in them) we headed off to find a place to eat for lunch.
I've got to show you where we ended up eating... it's an interior / cafe dream, about a 5 min drive from Sheffield Park & Garden. Stay tuned, I'll share all about it in Wednesday's post.
Thanks for reading,