For Christmas Simon's Mum bought us a joint membership to the National Trust and it was easily my favourite present. Every time I say that Simon likes to remind me of the beautiful Jo Malone candle he bought me as a surprise! I obviously loved that too, but it's the National Trust membership that has me excited. You know you love a present when you're sitting in a pub ignoring your husband because you're too busy happily flicking through the National Trust guide planning adventures.
Wallington in the beautiful Northumberland countryside.
As we clambered our way out of our car on a beautiful sunny day in January, I was so thankful that I'd decided to bring my wellies. Every path was either glistening with sheets of ice or thick with mud. I wouldn't have lasted two seconds in the boots I'd originally planned to wear.
Note to self - still need to buy some walking boots!
Wallington was completely packed with families enjoying the Winter sunshine. Simon never really understands why I love to head outdoors in the freezing cold, but judging by the amount of families out and about that day it seems I'm not the only person in the North East who appreciates a Winter walk in the sun.
Once I'd finished prancing about on the wet lawn appreciating the beautiful views of the Northumberland countryside and taking far too many photographs for Instagram, it was time to decide on our plan of action!
There's a great selection of beautiful walks at Wallington but for our first visit we decided to stick to the main grounds of the Estate and not wander too far. We were in the mood for a potter rather than a hike.
We decided to ditch all maps and plans and just go where our feet decided to take us. It wasn't long before the noisy playground had faded into the distance and we were more or less alone wandering round the beautiful woodlands of Wallington. Although it was freezing it felt so good to be strolling out in the fresh air!
Just as our toes had begun to feel a little numb from the cold (note to self, buy thick socks when purchasing walking boots) we stumbled across the bird hide and eagerly made our way inside for a bit of shelter and hopefully some good wildlife. Anyone whose been reading New Girl in Toon for a while may remember our holiday to Center Parcs a few years ago where Simon and I spent over 2 hours sitting in a bird hide. We just love them!
Before our adventure I'd read a little about how Wallington are working with Red Squirrels North England to save the red squirrel population. I never expected to see any on our trip, but as we took a seat in the hide alongside the other wildlife spotters we were thrilled to be treated to a visit from a red squirrel only a few moments later.
I feel so lucky that we live in a part of the country where red squirrels are slowly becoming more common, since moving north I've been very fortunate to see a fair few red squirrels and it always feel so special.
We decided to treat ourselves to a cup of coffee to warm our hands on as we headed back to the car so stopped off at the Clock Tower Cafe. Queuing up for our drink don't ask me how we managed to resit all of the tempting cakes on display, the amazing looking sticky toffee cake looked particularly good!
As we returned to the car I stopped to peruse the National Trust map by the entrance gate. One down, 499 to go I told my husband happily as I started planning our next adventures. He was pretty quiet, I'm pretty sure he thinks I'm joking!
Let me know where we should go next folks! I plan on making full use of our membership this year!