If you’re looking for a toddler friendly day out in Cornwall (especially when the weather isn’t right for outdoor adventures), we highly recommend a trip to Lanhydrock. As Nanny Pat discovered, the house is well set up for visitors with young children, and you can be sure of a warm welcome from the friendly staff and volunteers.
We have been very unlucky just lately with a series of wet Fridays and with another one forecast (maybe even with snow!), so I decided to forego our normal outdoor adventure and seek an indoor one. There are relatively few attractions open in early March but I checked and found Lanhydrock (National Trust) would welcome us in. With the promise of a children’s trail to follow round the house, we set off.
I must admit that it was with some trepidation that I wandered down the hill to the entrance with a four year old and 18 month old in a buggy, wondering whether a) we would be made welcome or b) they would be interested, but I needn’t have worried one little bit! All the staff and volunteers, without exception, went out of their way to be helpful and give us their time. We left the pushchair in the secure buggy park and then stripped off our outdoor gear and rucksack and placed it in a locker. We were given a pictorial trail to follow, and with his own clipboard and pencil, four year old Sam felt really important – he couldn’t wait to be off!
I was presented with a Hippychick carrier (it clips round your waist and provides a ledge for baby to rest on) which was super comfortable, so it was no problem to carry Jasmine, as she is very slow walking on her own.
The route is easy to follow and we started in the grand dining room – with the table set for dinner it looked very opulent. Next were the kitchens, which were full of interesting items. Sam was fascinated with the spit as he’d seen a picture of one in his favourite castle book and the volunteer spent a long time explaining to us how it worked. We visited about six rooms dedicated to specific jobs: the dairy, bread ovens, butchery, cold room for meat and fish, the scullery – all peppered with antique gadgets that myself, mother and grandmother used and a reminder of how many people it took to look after a family in a stately home.
Sam was chomping at the bit to find some animals and the next corridor on the way to the billiard room yielded some finds in the shape of stuffed animals and fish, tiger and leopard skins and a bath with a spider in it!
We happily wandered around for two hours, talking to the room volunteers and wondering at the interesting objects. There was a real contrast between different areas in the house, from the nursery with its abundance of toys to the starkness of the poky servants’ quarters and the grandeur of Lord and Lady Robartes’ bedrooms.
We only saw one other child on our way round and he was having fun too. I must congratulate the National Trust for bringing the house and its history alive. There was lots to see and read for adults, as one might expect,but they have gone the extra mile to make visiting as a family a pleasure. I would wholeheartedly recommend a visit.
Sam couldn’t wait to rush down to the magnificent gatehouse to collect his badge for finding all the animals before we walked back to the car park and had lunch at the cafe. We played on their lovely natural wood play area and then spent another hour doing the balance bike and skills trail. A great day out for all of us!
Lanhydrock is just off the A38/A30 near Bodmin. Postcode for SatNavs: PL30 5AD. From Bosinver, it’s just under half an hour’s drive.
Have you visited Lanhydrock (or any of the other National Trust properties in Cornwall) with babies, toddlers or preschool age children? We’d love to hear what you enjoyed most as a family. Leave comment below, tweet @bosinver or post on our Facebook page.