Tuesday 8 November 2016

Wray Castle

Wray Castle is a mock-Gothic National Trust property, which perches on the shores of Lake Windermere. Built  in 1840 and used by Beatrix Potter and her family as a holiday home it is advertised as being kid friendly, but is it really??

Back in September we found out!

It was the standard rainy day in the Lake District when we arrived at Wray Castle. Luckily it wasn't overly busy so we could park in the small onsite car park. We walked with haste up the path as the toddler refused to have the raincover down on the pushchair! We were met by the sight of the impressive Gothic-styled castle. The kind you expect to see in a fairy tale. It was very Disney-esque

Exterior of a traditional castle with turrets

On entering the castle we find it a little bare and empty of the antiques that you'd usually spend the time warning the kids away from. Downstairs are the usual National Trust gift shop and cafe, along with a lightly furnished library and morning room.

There's an area for pushchairs to be left before you climb the grand stairs, where the adventure begins.

Interior of castle showing archways

Upstairs is a true rabbit warren of rooms, where a famous little rabbit currently makes an appearance with part of Wray Castle featuring a Peter Rabbit theme.

Peter Rabbit cutout against green background between toadstools

A room set up like a garden with raised vegetable patches

The theme is well thought out with some of the corridors featuring darker walls and ceilings and cargo netting to give it a proper burrow feel. Unfortunately this didn't appeal to our babs. He was very concerned about the dark areas and my husband had to carry him through most of it but if your little one isn't worried about gloomy corridors then they will have a great little adventure!

There's still plenty to see and do if an adventure with Peter Rabbit doesn't take your fancy. There's a billard room featuring a large table and leather sofas.

Daddy holding up a toddler to play billiards
In another room there is a hilltop scene accompanied by farm yard animals to play with. There's also wooden stools to perch on and a film showing the work the Trust does with other charities for those undergoing rehabilitation.

Toddler playing toy farm animals at a wooden table, covered in rocks

Toddler playing toy farm animals at a wooden table, covered in rocks

There's a handy picnic room with wooden table and chairs for those rainy days, which is probably used often in the Lakes! This also currently has a Beatrix Potter theme.

There are rooms to do crafts, read, dress up and a castle to take over! 

Play room with bean bags and rocking toys
Toddler playing on a rocking toy

Toddler in an indoor play castle 
Then there's the amazing soft play. Yes! Soft play in a National Trust property!!! When we came across it both my husband and I stood there opened mouthed. It takes a lot to render us both speechless but we were. Soft play!! SOFT PLAY!!!!! We could let the ginger hurricane run free!!!

Toddler playing in soft play

Toddler and daddy playing in softplay

It was at this point us grown ups declared how amazing Wray Castle was. It is great to see the National Trust embracing families and turning an empty castle into a place of adventure.

Now, here's the important stuff. As I've said the car park is small so get there early or look into alternative travel i.e. bus or boat. An indoor picnic area means you don't need to break the bank in the tea rooms. There are toilets with changing tables but there's also an AMAZING parent and baby room. I don't think I've ever seen anything like it. There's a microwave, bottle warmer, highchairs, changing table, sofas, the works!!!! I was always put off taking Joseph to these kind of places when he was younger due to the lack of resources when you get there but you don't need to worry at Wray Castle! They have it all!

   Parent and baby room with sofa, microwave and changing table

Room with changing table, highchair and pictures on the walls

Wray Castle isn't your average National Trust property or stately home. Kids can explore and have adventures. 

Take a look. You might be pleasantly surprised.

Mummy Snowy Owl

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