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May 18

Weekend Walk: Basildon Park

Basildon Park is an impressive National Trust run Georgian mansion and estate near Reading and is perfect for weekend walking with baby.  You can explore the grand 18th century mansion with any budding young historians, with the house painstakingly restored to its former glory by Lord and Lady Iliffe in the 1950s or simply relax in the beautiful and exstensive parkland and with a walk, picnic or other outdoor adventures.

If you are looking for a walk with a pushchair or buggy, Basildon Court will not disappoint. The estate has two accessible walks suitable for babies in pushchairs. One walk is a leisurely 20 minute stroll through Basildon Park ‘s pheasant park and woodland before completing the half a mile walk with an easy wander back down the impressive formal drive to the house. The second walk suitable for pushchairs is 1.5 miles or approx. 40 minutes long for those wanting to explore further into the extensive woodland and landscaped parkland the Basildon Park estate has to offer. For those roaming the grounds with baby carriers or little walkers there are an additional two walks to choose from – a 2.5 mile route or a 3 mile walk around the edge of the estate which would take an estimate 2 hours to complete and offers serenity and seclusion for those looking for rural relaxation. All walks are colour coded and clearly marked around the parkland and a map of the routes along with a guide to the wildlife to be found along the way is available here. If you are visiting on a Friday then why not join one of the guided nature walks, leaving from stable yard at 11am, for an insight into the wildlife in the grounds – babies and children are welcome but you will need a baby carrier as these walks are not suitable for pushchairs.

Don’t forget to make time along your walk to stop for a picnic and take in the views back to the house. There is plenty of open space and grass for little legs to run off any remaining steam and to work on ticking off things on the National Trust’s ’50 things to do before you are 11 3/4′ Great Outdoors list! You can finish the day by rewarding yourself with an indulgent cream tea back at the house from Basildon Park ‘s tearoom.

Basildon Park grounds are open in May 2012 from 1000-1700, with the house open from 1100. Check here for seasonal variations in opening hours. Entry is free for National Trust members or you can purchase a ticket for house and grounds or grounds only on the day for a one-off visit.

Already visited Basildon Park? I’d love to hear all about your visit – please leave a comment!

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