We have been members of the National Trust for 3 years now and have enjoyed visiting our local properties of Packwood and Baddesley Clinton. We’ve also spent many days at my current favourite Hanbury Hall. This year however we decided to make a list as there are so many properties, which if we drove just a bit further we would also be able to explore.
Last week we visited our first new property: Croome Court. Now Croome is in Worcestershire and it was just a lovely quick trip on the motorway before reaching the winding lanes which eventually lead to the estate. I love that it’s usually a really picturesque drive to many of these places as they are often slap bang in the middle of the countryside.
I was keen to try Croome, firstly as I heard it had quite a good playground. With three children that is a really important factor for us as they struggle just walking round grounds and gardens all day (hence why we love Hanbury). And I have to say the playground was pretty impressive. Before we got there though we had lunch at the entrance. In fact we had been there for an hour and a half before we even got to the main area. There were plenty of big, good quality picnic tables, and all just a stones throw from the car park we were in, which is handy if you need to nip back to the car. There was also a charming little hall which housed the cafe, however it was a bit of a struggle to get the pushchair in due to the layout of the tables.
Croome was an air base at one point and its links with the RAF are clear from the beginning. Army tents are used at marquees to cover some of the picnic tables and there are war time posters adorning many of the walls around the cafe.
The one thing I did like were the toilets, I know that’s an odd thing to say, but they were quite posh. Nice big stall doors, three big changing room toilets and the sink area was really well presented, even having little wooden steps for children to use.
Once we got past the entrance we made our way past the gift shop and found the play area. Next to the play area is an RAF museum, which the children went to look round with my Dad but I never had the chance to look round myself so I can’t tell you what it is like sadly.
The play area looks recently done and is also in an air force theme.
The kids could have played on this for hours. There were a few benches in the area however the one thing which I thought was bad was as it was on a hill there were only steps leading up to it. Now for anyone with a pram this was a bit annoying, we were left with either having to struggle to carry it up the steps or sit at the bottom and therefore only have a partial view. I thought it would have been more suitable for them to place a slope or ramp up to the play area for buggies, or just have it on a lower level to start with.
The estate at Croome is massive and sadly we didn’t get to do half of it. Our youngest thought it would be a good day to not want to lie in the pram and so I ended up carrying him down the long walk to the house and around most of it so by the end of that I was quite keen to just go back to the top as I was worn out!
Like I say the walk down is quite a long walk and so if you have very young walkers I would suggest a pushchair or waiting for the little golf buggies to take you down. When you are at the top of the hill you pass a lovely chapel,
and the view to the house is stunning…
Now my mum had warned me about the property being empty and she wasn’t wrong. Sadly nearly all the vast rooms are empty of all furniture, which if you are looking for a genuine recreation you may be very disappointed as I was.
It is such a shame really to see such a beautiful property almost sat being wasted. I think they are hoping to restore it to its former glory one day but as you can imagine that would cost a lot!
There were a couple of interesting points in the house. Down in the basement as well as another tea room, you will find a shoe display. I found it rather odd and I wasn’t sure if it was supposed to be historical or artistic but the wine celler has several little boxes housing their own little displays. My favourite were the mosaic and Harikrishna shoes:
There was also a sculpture made out of chairs in the entrance hall which was unusual:
Croome was owned at one time by the 6th Earle of Coventry. It is a real shame that it didn’t appear at it’s full potential as the decoration of some of the walls was just beautiful…
Sadly we didn’t have time to look around the walled gardens or explore the vast landscape further. I know we will definitely make a return trip soon though. Overall I thought the grounds and facilities at Croome were brilliant and you could definitely spend a whole day there. But if you are just going to look around the property I hate to say it, but I think you will have a wasted trip.
I would give Croome 7 out of 10 overall for what I have seen so far, but a full 10 out of 10 for the facilities and children’s playground!
I hope you enjoyed this review, I hope to do more as we use our membership more this year!