The Vyne, last on our list of National Trust properties we wanted to visit this year using our Home Educator’s membership and it didn’t disappoint. The house perhaps slightly more shabby around the edges than the many other properties we have visited yet for me one of my favourites in terms of actual main house and it’s added surprises.
Although not the most spectacular of ground settings we have seen still we love the outdoor spaces. The Vyne immediately captured the children’s imagination with it’s Dragon Willow Tunnel swiftly followed by more Willow Trees, a field of cows with a soft fluffy looking black calf, a delightful Brook full of Trout and edged with womping Willow’s complete with bridge for playing Pooh Sticks.
Heading for the main house we came across the Summer House (mid 17th century) and some beautiful gardens.
Then much to the delight of our three girls, they found The Hidden Realm.
Upon entering the House, which was originally built as a palace in the 16th Century, we were handed a brochure to accompany the current Art Exhibition. Unravelled. I must say Unravelling The Vyne gave our visit just that extra bit of focus and inspiration for our own projects.
Naturally we spent our time spotting pieces of furniture or artwork that we liked. Personally, I loved the carved walls and the many ornate mirrors placed upon them but a certain style of cabinet always catches the eye of S and we agreed we loved these plates too.
The friendly, knowledgeable staff would take the time to offer snippets of interesting information to the children, sharing stories about the people who have spent time in the house including King Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn, Catherine of Aragon to name drop a few. A real sense of history can be felt from treading the space where they once walked.
Discussions about tapestries; individual meanings of carvings on the wall; information about paintings that we liked; the need for servants to dress, as often garments were pinned; the fact that ladies didn’t wear knickers; that the frilled collars were often coloured not just white; in winter these people would stay in their clothes. All of these bits of information helping to bring the history alive just that little bit more.
Lastly inside the house, but by no means least, THE RING ROOM! Was this the ring that inspired Tolkien’s novels? As Lord of The Ring Fans this exhibition gave another special part to the day. I think this and the other special additions is really what will make The Vyne more memorable to us more so than possibly as any of the other properties we have visited. Although, each of them have had something we have enjoyed. Uppark and it’s amazing grounds for example. Petworth and it’s sheer size and grandness.
Our last stop was the Walled Gardens where we spotted lots of different fruit and veg growing plus we sampled a bag of Plums – delicious. Twin Dad helped dig for some slugs and worms beneath the beds and the girls fed them to the chickens. L and I opted out and discussed what we might like to grow if we had our own land.
We see so much on these days out. I could speak of the geese, or the variety of apples growing, or the fact that the Bees were still buzzing in and out of their hives.
We are making connections and learning all of the time. I know I say it all the time but it’s so true, these days out exploring are undoubtedly the best parts of our home educating journey. We feel inspired and more knowledgeable from all that we see and experience by getting out and about whether it be a simple walk in the Woods or a trip to a Historical site. Our eyes and senses are wide open. If we hadn’t visited yesterday we may have never come across this tree that reminded us of a Runner Bean and then discover it’s name.
Good Job National Trust! The Vyne is a real treasure.