Exploring Boarstall Duck Decoy with the National Trust 🦆

A family day out at Boarstall Duck Decoy

Boarstall Duck Decoy welcomes visitors to see one of the few remaining duck decoys in the UK.

Built in the 16th-century, the duck decoy was used to catch waterfowl for Boarstall Manor.

Although once very common in Britain, there are now only four left in the country. This one was built around 1697.

What is there to do?

Surrounded by woodland, you can enjoy a peaceful stroll among bluebells, ancient trees and wildlife in this charming place.

It offers visitors an hour of tranquility as you wind your way around the lake.

Is Boarstall Duck Decoy family-friendly?

It is to an extent. I’d probably suggest leaving your buggy or pushchair at home.

The area is mostly covered in wood shavings but there are some muddy and uneven areas if you stray from the main path.

You may choose to navigate them with your buggy but I’d probably bring a carrier instead for younger children.

There is lots to see! A highlight is the lovely children’s natural play and den building area with carved wooden mushrooms dotted around.

There are plenty of places to stop and appreciate your surroundings and lots to discover in the woodland. It is also surprisingly quiet, adding to the tranquility.

Please note, that there are no baby-changing or breastfeeding facilities. However, there are male and female toilets available.

Where can we eat and drink?

There is no cafe but you are welcome to bring a picnic to enjoy and dedicated picnic tables are available.

How much does it cost?

Boarstall Duck Decoy offers free entry for National Trust members. If you are not a member, please see the entrance prices below:

  • Adult – £5
  • Child – £2.50
  • Family – £12.50
  • Family with one adult – £7.50

Boarstall Duck Decoy is open on Sundays and Bank Holidays from 3 April to 25 September 2022. You do not need to pre-book your visit and it’s cash only.

Looking for more UK days out?

Discovering Small Worlds at The Story Museum, Oxford 📚

Small Worlds at The Story Museum allows young children under five and their parents the opportunity to escape the hustle and bustle of Oxford for an hour.

This 60-minute structured storytelling and play session welcomes visitors to its magical patchwork world.

Inside Small Worlds, you’ll be greeted with a kind smile and introduction, an engaging song, and the featured traditional tale.

What can we expect?

Afterward, you can burn off some energy and explore five unique story zones at your leisure.

These beautifully themed areas allow you to:

  • Go on a bear hunt
  • Crawl into Traction Man’s under-sink world
  • Unwind in the soft glow of the Night Safe
  • Take a ride on the Story Bus
  • Get lost in stories in Winnie and Wilbur’s miniature theatre

There’s a thematic craft activity alongside a wealth of stories for you to read together and loads of interactive play opportunities.

Before it’s time to go, you gather around once more on the giant patchwork bed for a final story and goodbye song.

Is The Story Museum worth a visit?

It is indeed worth a visit and an amazing family day out! The gallery is designed for pre-school children and the storytelling is enchanting, engaging and interactive.

The free-play element of the session is invaluable for younger children and the gallery offers a vibrant and secure environment to explore.

The Story Museum is a truly immersive experience and one of the best things to do in Oxford with a baby or toddler!

There are numerous timed sessions throughout the day and tickets are £5. Under 1’s receive a complimentary ticket.

Book tickets for The Story Museum on their website.

Have you been to The Story Museum yet?

Stephanie xox

Discover other UK family days out

Exploring Waddesdon Manor’s House and Grounds with the National Trust 🌲

A family day out at Waddesdon Manor

Waddesdon Manor welcomes visitors to its grand Neo-Renaissance country home and grounds each day from 10am to 4/5pm.

This impressive French-style château was built in the 1870s and offers surrounding views of the Chilterns Hills, Oxfordshire and the Vale of Aylesbury.

Exploring Waddesdon Manor - Fountain

What is there to do?

There’s so much to see and do, Waddesdon Manor is an entire day out in itself as the House and Grounds are so expansive.

Exploring Waddesdon Manor - Aviary

Exploring the Grounds

You’ll start your day in the stunning Victorian Gardens. In spring, Waddesdon comes to life in a wash of colour. You’ll spot over 6000 tulips on the Parterre and plenty of daffodils left in Daffodil Valley.

The Aviary is charming. This ornate green and gold cast iron aviary features many exotic birds including the Rothschild mynah, a bird native to Bali. This bird was named after Walter, second Lord Rothschild (1868-1937), a famous zoologist.

All around you, there are things to discover. Whether it be the beautiful gardens, exquisite statues and sculptures, or the contrasting landscapes.

Things to see on the Grounds include:

If you fancy a more guided experience, check out the garden walks and maps.

Exploring Waddesdon Manor - Neo-Renaissance House

Exploring the House

You could spend a few hours appreciating the grandeur of the House. Inside, you’ll discover a plethora of stately rooms, renowned paintings, exquisite furnishings, and fine porcelain.

The current Alice’s Wonderlands exhibition offers a fascinating insight into the life and legacy of Alice de Rothschild.

Exploring Waddesdon Manor - The Red Drawing Room

Things to see in the House include:

  • The East Gallery
  • The Breakfast Room
  • The Conservatory and Ante Room
  • The Dining Room
  • The Red Drawing Room
  • The Grey Drawing Room
  • The West Gallery
  • The Small Library
  • The Baron’s Room and the Tower Drawing Room
  • The West Hall
  • The Morning Room
  • The Treasury
  • The State Dressing Room, State Bedroom, and Green Boudoir
  • The Fountain Bedroom and Bathroom
  • The Blue Dining Room
  • The Armoury Corridor
  • The Bachelor’s Wing
  • The Smoking Room

Once you’re finished, you may browse the Manor Shop or dine in the Manor Restaurant.

Exploring Waddesdon Manor - Dining Room

Is Waddesdon Manor family-friendly?

Waddesdon is super family-friendly and is honestly the perfect family day out!

I’d probably suggest leaving your buggy or pushchair at home. Although there are buggy-friendly routes, there are lots of hills and access from the car park is difficult.

From the car, the route takes 15 minutes to walk and is partly covered in wood shavings and in parts is uphill. This makes it awkward to navigate.

So, if you take a buggy or pushchair, you’ll want to utilise the shuttle bus (separate fee) or pay for parking outside the House (£20 per car). Alternatively, do what we did, and bring a carrier.

Please also note that buggies and pushchairs cannot be taken into the House and you are advised to bring a carrier.

You’ll find baby-changing, breastfeeding, and toilet facilities available at the Manor and Stables.

Exploring Waddesdon Manor - Picnic

Where can we eat and drink?

Once you’ve worked up an appetite exploring, there are plenty of dining options at Waddesdon.

You can enjoy afternoon tea in the Manor Restaurant, grab a bite to eat at the Stables, Woodland Playground, or Manor Terrace, and even pre-book a picnic!

Alternatively, if you fancy something a little different, why not bring your own yummy picnic to enjoy on the Grounds?

How much does it cost?

Waddesdon Manor offers free entry for National Trust members. If you are not a member, please see the entrance prices below:

Grounds only

  • Adult – £13.20
  • Child – £6.60

House and grounds

  • Adult – £25.20
  • Child – £12.60

Children under five are free.

Please note, that visitors to Waddesdon Manor are advised to book Grounds admission in advance and online booking is essential for timed entry to the House.

Stephanie xox

Waddesdon Manor in spring on TikTok

@stephmulz

Exploring Waddesdon Manor in spring. 🌷 A beautiful day exploring this huge country home and grounds in Waddesdon, Buckinghamshire, with our National Trust membership! #waddesdonmanor #nationaltrust #ntchallenge #waddesdon #spring2022 #countryhouse #discoveruk #familyday #lifestyleblogger

♬ One Summer’s Day – Smyang Piano

Looking for more UK days out?

Exploring Upton House and Gardens with the National Trust 🌲

A family day out at Upton House and Gardens

National Trust’s Upton House and Gardens welcome visitors to the beautiful former country house and gardens of Lord and Lady Bearsted each day between 10am – 5pm.

On arrival, you’ll make your way down the tree-lined North Drive. Eventually, you will be greeted by the entrance to the honey-coloured stone country home alongside its beautiful terraced gardens.

What is there to do?

There is lots to do! Within the house, you will find plenty of character alongside a plethora of renowned and impressive artwork including paintings, porcelain, and tapestries. Some of the National Trust’s most celebrated paintings are featured within the gallery at Upton House and Gardens!

The expansive South Lawn behind the house leads to a deceptive and steep ha-ha with a terraced hillside beneath. This is surrounded by the Orchard, Wild Garden, Mirror Pond, Sunken Lawn and Bog Garden.

The gardens offer numerous landscapes including the orchard, woodlands. grassland and lakes. It’s truly a beautiful place to wander around and full of colour in spring.

Once you’ve worked up an appetite, you can grab to grab a bite to eat in the Pavillion cafe or treat yourself to local produce at the gift shop.

For those feeling adventurous, you’re also welcome to explore the surrounding countryside if you fancy.

Is Upton House and Gardens family-friendly?

Upton House and Gardens are indeed family-friendly! However, it’s probably best to bring a carrier if you plan to go with a baby and leave the buggy at home.

Within the house, buggies will have to be left outside. Once in the gardens, there are lots of steps and slopes which would be awkward to navigate. However, there is a wheelchair-accessible route that partially covers the garden that you may wish to use if you do choose to bring your buggy.

Please note, the house and gardens are located near the edge of a valley and there are a few steep drops as well as open water elements.

You will find baby-changing, breastfeeding, and toilet facilities available in the Courtyard.

The onsite Pavillion cafe offers serves light lunches, snacks and hot and cold drinks. A children’s menu and high chairs are available also.

If you wish to, you can also take advantage of the sunshine and enjoy a picnic in the gardens.

How much does it cost?

Upton House and Gardens offer free entry for National Trust members. If you are not a member, please see the entrance prices below:

  • Adult – £13.00
  • Child – £6.50
  • Family – £32.50
  • Family One Adult – £19.50

Stephanie xox

Looking for more UK days out?

Exploring National Trust Stowe 🌲

A family day out at National Trust Stowe

National Trust Stowe welcomes its visitors to a vast Georgian landscaped garden and parkland each day from 10 am-4 pm.

Once parked at New Inn, there’s a short walk downhill to the garden entrance where you will be free to explore over 250 acres of nature.

Image of property map by National Trust Stowe

What is there to do?

There is lots to do and you can expect plenty of opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors. Stroll around the scenic garden at your leisure before heading into the surrounding parkland to discover its secrets.

You’ll see lakes, temples and plenty of monuments, alongside beautiful flora and fauna. If you choose to go off-the-beaten-track and explore further, you’ll be spoilt.

You could easily spend an entire day wandering around discovering new sights and sounds throughout the parkland.

Once you’ve worked up an appetite, feel free to grab a bite to eat in the cafe, browse second-hand books at the Old Dairy Book Shop or treat yourself to local produce at the gift shop – all located at New Inn on the way out.

Exploring National Trust Stowe - The Palladian Bridge

Is National Trust Stowe family-friendly?

It is indeed! There are buggy-friendly routes around the garden and surrounding parkland and you’ll also find baby-changing, breastfeeding, and toilet facilities available at the New Inn entrance.

The onsite cafe offers a children’s menu and high chairs are available also.

How much does it cost?

National Trust Stowe offers free entry for National Trust members. If you are not a member, please see the entrance prices below:

  • Adult – £13.00
  • Child – £6.50
  • Family – £32.50
  • Family One Adult – £19.50

Children under five are free.

Please note, if you would also like to visit Stowe House, this is charged separately.

Stephanie xox

Looking for more UK days out?

How to spend a day in the Cotswolds 🐄

Looking to spend a day in the Cotswolds? We visited places in our home county Oxfordshire before heading onto some of the best Cotswolds towns and villages in Gloucestershire with our seven-month-old son, Theo, in tow.

Wrapped up snug on a chilly November day, here’s where we visited on our day out in the Cotswolds:

St Oswald’s Church, Widford

Our first stop was St Oswald’s Church. Slightly off the beaten track, St Oswald’s Church is a beautiful minuscule English Gothic church nestled amongst lush countryside in the Windrush Valley.

The church’s main construction is said to be from the 13th century but it also has 11th-century remnants. To our surprise, the church was open and you can wander inside and see its wonderful interior.

Nearby, you can find the outlined remains of the deserted medieval village of Widford in crop marks.

Burford, West Oxfordshire

Next, we visited the town of Burford, often referred to as ‘the gateway to the Cotswolds.’ It’s a charming place with a rich history of wool production.

Visitors can see its beautiful church, medieval bridge, the Tolsey Museum, and thriving town centre.

Church of St John the Baptist, Burford

The impressive St John the Baptist Church was the first thing to catch our eye as we arrived in Burford. This Grade I listed church has gone through many restorations, with building starting in the 12th century.

Inside, you can view memorials of Burford’s great families, a 100AD carving said to depict the Celtic goddess, Epona, the tomb of Sir Lawrence and Lady Tanfield, and a memorial tablet of Burford mason, Christopher Kempster.

Burford town centre

Along a hill sloping toward the River Windrush, Burford’s High Street is booming with quaint old stone cottages, independent clothing, gift, and antique shops, as well as numerous old pubs and places to eat.

Bibury, Gloucestershire

Our next stop, the picturesque village of Bibury. Famed for its quaint Cotswold stone houses, Arlington Row, Rack Isle, The Church of St Mary’s, Bibury Trout Farm, and Arlington Mill.

Arlington Row

Arlington Row is a beautiful row of weavers cottages of honey-coloured Cotswold stone on one side of the River Coln. It is one of the Cotswolds and England’s most photographed sights.

You may have even seen Arlington Row featured in films such as Stardust and Bridget Jones’s Diary!

Bourton-on-the-Water, Gloucestershire

On to, Bourton-on-the-Water, dubbed ‘the Venice of the Cotswolds.’ Bourton-on-the-Water is a charming village, centered around the tranquil River Windrush, crossable by five stone arch bridges.

Bourton-on-the-Water offers a wealth of things to do. From tea rooms, shops, restaurants, to attractions such as The Model Village, Birdland, Dragonfly Maze, and the Cotswold Motoring Museum.

The Model Village

The Model Village in Bourton-on-the-Water is a must-see. It’s the only Grade II listed model village in the country.

It offers A one-ninth scale model of Bourton-on-the-Water in intricate Cotswold-stone, allowing you to navigate it in its entireity.

There’s a lot of fun to be had pointing out the storefronts and buildings you may have seen earlier in the day, as well as wandering the city like a giant. Interestingly, there’s even a model village within the model!

Entry to The Model Village in Bourton-on-the-Water is £4.50 for an adult ticket.

Lower Slaughter, Gloucestershire

Our next stop, Lower Slaughter. Lower Slaughter is a peaceful place, built upon both banks of the River Eye.

There are a few places to visit, including The Old Mill Museum and the Grade II listed 13th Century Church of St. Mary the Virgin.

The Old Mill

The Old Mill in Lower Slaughter offers a museum, gift shop, riverside tea room, and riverside cafe terrace.

Visitors can learn about the history of the mill and bread making and see the inner workings of its machinery.

Stow-on-the-Wold, Gloucestershire

Finally, Stow-on-the-Wold, a bustling and charming market town. It offers a lively Market Square, brimming with independent shops, delicious tea rooms, and fine British pubs, alongside a beautiful church.

As it was getting late in the day, we grabbed some pastries to go from Huffkins before heading to St Edward’s Church.

St Edward’s Church

St Edward’s Church is famed for its mythical tree-framed doorway, dominated by two ancient yew trees.

The door is said by locals to be the inspiration for Tolkein’s Doors of Durin, who was supposedly inspired during his many visits to the Cotswolds.

What’s your favourite place in the Cotswolds?

Stephanie xox

Discover more things to do in the UK

Can I take my baby to a nightclub in the UK? Yes, really. 💃

Can I take my baby to a nightclub in the UK - Mini Ravers Review - Theo and his Glowstick

When Mini Ravers popped up on my TikTok feed, I had to know more. Clubbing with a baby? Surely not!

I immediately found their website and realised they were hosting a daytime event only 45 minutes away.

After checking out their frequently asked questions, I discovered their events are suitable for babies, are quieter than your standard club and full of colour and fun. Plus, they even have character appearances!

Taking your baby clubbing

On arrival, we were greeted and headed upstairs with our family exclusive wristband.

Grabbing a coke, the club welcomed us with bright lights, confetti cannons and many happy faces toddling about. Mini Ravers events are suitable from age 0-12 years, alongside the watchful eye of parents and guardians at all times, of course!

We’d decided to bring along some baby ear defenders for Theo despite the quieter music as we didn’t want him getting overwhelmed – he didn’t.

To get the party started, I pleaded with my partner that he needed a light-up flashing stick, which he absolutely loved chewing on to the beat.

Can I take my baby to a nightclub in the UK - Mini Ravers Review - Theo and Mummy

What is Mini Ravers like with a baby?

I thoroughly recommend Mini Ravers with a baby in tow! We had a great time bopping along to many a 90s and noughties classic during the day.

It was the perfect event for parents who are looking to do something different with their children. To make some truly unique memories!

Theo got to say hi to Woody from Toy Story and even enjoyed some dancing under a giant parachute during the festivities.

We left sweaty and happy, much like your usual nightclub. I agree with my partner who said, “I think it’s important to say the parents enjoy it as much as the kids.”

We cannot wait to attend another event when Mini Ravers next comes to the South East!

Would you go clubbing with your children?

Stephanie xox

Looking for more UK days out?

Pumpkin picking at Millets Farm Centre, Oxfordshire 🎃

Pumpkin picking at Millets Farm Centre, Oxfordshire - Pumpkin Picking Signage

For their Halloween ‘spook-tacular’, Millets Farm Centre welcomes visitors to pick-your-own pumpkins in Oxfordshire!

Be sure to wrap up snug and get into Autumn vibes with your nearest and dearest. At £1 to enter (and free for under 2’s), you pay for what you pick. 

Pick-your-own pumpkins

You can grab a wheelbarrow on entry or come armed with your own carrier bags. Let’s face it though, the wheelbarrow’s more fun.

Be warned, the pumpkin match is muddy and can be awkward to navigate – so be sure to wear some old shoes!

Pumpkin prices vary depending on size, starting at £2/£3 for a small, £4 for a medium and £6 for a beastly large pumpkin! 

Pumpkin picking at Millets Farm Centre, Oxfordshire - Pumpkin Picking

Cool Autumnal pictures at Millets Farm Centre

On route, there are lots of cute and spooky Autumnal photo opportunities so feel free to get snap-happy. 

Once you’re done, grab a pumpkin carving kit at the Pumpkin Patch or within the Farm Shop. Then, when you get home, you can perfect your Jack-o-lanterns!

You can enjoy this fun family day out until October 31! Millets Farm Centre hosts pick-your-own pumpkins each year, as well as seasonal produce year-round.

Pumpkin picking at Millets Farm Centre, Oxfordshire - Pumpkin Picking Baby

A fun family day out in Oxfordshire

Whatever the season or reason, Millets Farm Centre is a fantastic family day out. It offers an expansive playground, soft play, farmyard animals in the animal walkway, falconry and even woods to explore! 

Plus, there are lots of different unique attractions across the year, so plenty of reasons to revisit!

Make sure to grab a few treats from the Farm Shop as you leave, you won’t regret it. 

Want to join the fun? Book tickets for Halloween spook-tacular events at Millets Farm Centre

Have you been pumpkin picking yet? 

Stephanie xox

Looking for more things to do in Oxford?

Getting close to crocodiles at Crocodiles of the World, Oxfordshire 🐊

Looking for a fab family-friendly day out? Then look no further than Crocodiles of the World.

The UK’s only crocodile zoo is certainly an exciting place to visit. This unique conservation centre welcomes over 100 crocodiles (housing 19 of the 24 different species worldwide). 

This includes crocodiles, alligators and caimans, alongside other fascinating reptiles, mammals and birds.

Feed crocodiles in the UK

As you enter the Crocodile House, you’ll enjoy unique underwater and aerial viewing via their decked walkway above. Be sure to double check when feeding times are to see the crocs in action!

If you choose, you can experience a variety of hands-on experiences and encounters. Under the guidance of a zoo keeper, you can even feed the 35 Nile crocodiles within the Crocodile House!

As you make your way through the zoo, you’ll also get to see Galapagos tortoises, meerkats and the cutest otters, among other animals. 

See meetkats and otters up close

In addition to cute critters, there’s a play area, cafe and gift shop to enjoy on-site. 

I have to admit, I was a little disappointed with the on-site Croc Cafe. If you’re going, I’d probably grab some chips and avoid the lacklustre burgers. 

On the other hand, the gift shop is lovely, with a host of crocodile-themed items. Be sure to grab a crocodile plush on your way out to commemorate the day!

Dodgy veggie burger aside, Crocodiles of the World was a fantastic experience that I’d recommend for people of all ages. 

You can enjoy this accessible experience within two to three hours and it makes a lovely and stress-free family day out with a buggy in tow. 

Tickets start from £8.75 (children aged 2 and under are free) and they offer discounted family tickets. You can book tickets on the Crocodiles of the World website

Have you ever been to Crocodiles of the World? 

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Follow me on Twitter Instagram Facebook for more updates from The LDN Gal

Stephanie xox