As a joint present for mine and my husband's birthday presents my Dad and Step Mum got us membership to the National Trust, which we are over the moon about.
We took advantage at the first available opportunity and all packed into my new car (also thanks to my Poppa Bear and The Fifi Lady!) and pootled off to Corfe Castle. The castle has been there for a great many years and was important in all kinds of political intrigue in times gone by - but was pulled down in response to said intrigue. A lot of it is still there and you can climb what's left of the stairs.
The castle is still amazing - it must have been breathtaking when it was whole, and the views from the top are some of the most beautiful I've ever seen.
The boys seemed to enjoy it - Jellybean loved the tents in the courtyard where he could pretend to be a knight with "a pointy fighting one" (that's sword to you and I) and play with the building blocks (they demonstrated the different building techniques for the various arches that still stand) and he loved the children's activity they had put on.
They had harnessed up a collection of teddy bears and rigged a zip line from the top of the castle to the bridge below - children could climb and send the teddy bears whizzing down the line then they were given a certificate. It took Jellybean a long time to decide on a name for his bear - Superted (good boy) - but he was amazingly good climbing all the way up. He picked the biggest bear (just like his mother) and insisted on carrying it himself all the way, though it was almost as big as he is!
He loved running and climbing around the ruins of the castle and Midget Gem loved the blowing air, the chance to be out with us all and the chance to watch his brother running around like a crazy face!
We popped into the traditional sweet shop and the cafe on our way out then enjoyed the walk back to the car - a mile of walk beside a river with arched trees overhead. Perfect.
We plan to visit somewhere with our membership most weekends - getting your moneys worth Poppa! If you haven't got a membership yourself i strongly recommend you get one - there are so many places you're entitled to free entry and free parking once you're a member (and the magazine is great) and it solves the "what shall we do with the kids this weekend" dilemma!
One last word to my Poppa - sorry I always pestered you and dragged you away when you were reading about the fallen down castles we visited in my youth - it's so frustrating!