I don’t know if it’s escaped your attention but it’s Halloween weekend! Which for us with a near three year old, means some sort of family day out. I didn’t really bother last year as I didn’t think my daughter fully understood what it was all about. But this year she’s been shouting “pumpkins!” whenever she’s seen one (usually in the Supermarket!) So earlier this week we did the obligatory pumpkin patch visit. And this weekend we decided to look for a pumpkin related activity to do as a family. We decided to try the Halloween Pumpkin Trail at Oxburgh Hall, a National Trust property in Norfolk.
We’d never been to Oxburgh Hall before, but like all National Trust properties we’ve visited over the past few years, we weren’t disappointed. It’s a smaller site than Blickling Hall, but this was a good thing now that I’m nearly 30 weeks pregnant. I didn’t want to walk miles! Parking is free which is also a bonus. We headed in and said we wanted to do the Pumpkin Trail and were directed to find the sheets in the Orchard. The trail itself is pretty small with just six pumpkins to find. The grown ups or older children can then draw the design of the pumpkin faces on the sheet. Miss Belle just enjoyed trying to spot them. It could have been easier as the pumpkins were all pretty small!
We walked through the Orchard and Kitchen gardens to look for them.
Then we went into the Formal Gardens to find the last few. Here you get lovely views of Oxburgh Hall and the surrounding countryside. There were cows and sheep in the fields and although it was a bit grey when we got there, there will still lovely views to enjoy.
After we’d completed the Pumpkin Trail we went for a walk through the woods and Miss Belle collected leaves. When we picked up the Pumpkin Trail activity sheets there were also some other things for children to do as part of the National Trust’s 50 things campaign. That’s “50 things to do before you’re 11 and 3/4”. Collecting different leaves to take home was one of the activities and the best option for a toddler. Miss Belle is a bit of a lazy bones and still would rather sit in her pushchair than walk. So this was a good way to get her out and encourage her to run about and explore.
Like the last time we visited Blickling Hall in the summer holidays, there were free crafts being held in a tented area on the lawn. Again it was pretty popular. There were options to make witches hats, spiders and do some colouring in. We chose to make a witches hat as it was mostly just sticking and scribbling. Again the easiest thing for the younger children. Miss Belle was pretty pleased with her finished product, even if it was ever so slightly big! Her hat has come home with her and I’ll be giving Nursery some photos to show that I’ve finally don’t some crafts with her!
We arrived at 10:30am when it opened and by 12pm we were done with the trail and crafts so headed for some lunch at the cafe. It was pretty busy and isn’t the biggest, so get there early as you might have to queue a bit to order. After a couple of jacket potatoes and hot chocolates we popped inside the Hall or “castle” as Miss Belle called it.
Part of the Hall is still lived in by the Bedingfield family but there are a few rooms you can look around. Bits we looked at dated back to the time of Henry VII. Old stuff kind of blows my mind! We didn’t spend ages in the house because we didn’t want Miss Belle to touch anything she shouldn’t! But it was nice to have a look around. The best bit was heading up to the roof to take in the views of the countryside. We also popped our heads down a trap door that led to a tiny secret hiding place for the Catholic Priests called the Priest’s Hole.
If you’re looking for a morning or afternoon activity in the fresh air then the short Halloween Pumpkin Trail at Oxburgh Hall is worth a visit. The trail itself is free but normal admission prices apply (adult £5.80 / child £2.90 / family £14.50).
We were guests of the National Trust for the day. All views are my own.