The Challenge: to visit all National Trust properties in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
As soon as I decided to embark on this challenge (which could take me the rest of my natural life!), issues arose as to which properties to include and how to narrow down my focus so I could avoid having to visit every single NT car park scattered widely across the British landscape.
Immediately, I therefore made a sweeping decision to cover only the properties marked with a triangle in the NT Handbook. This will take out the vast swathe of NT-owned coast and countryside and will leave me with only (only?!) the buildings and gardens. Narrowing this down further, I have removed properties in which the ‘buildings’ at the site are simply visitor’s centres or shops/cafes rather than attractions in their own right.
In addition, the Handbook lists numerous small properties with limited openings and/or restricted access. So, I took a further decision to concentrate only on those properties with a full entry in the Handbook, i.e. with details of access and opening times included with their listing. However, once again, I wasn’t entirely happy as this omitted several properties that I would really like to include. So, I have gone through the Handbook and have arbitrarily picked out some of the smaller or subsidiary properties and put them back on the list (although they are noted down as Extras).
When all this is done, it leaves me with a total of 257 properties (listed county-by-county within the separate regions, see top menu). I will not ignore the coast and countryside entirely, though, and may well post about visits to some of the locations designated by a block square in the Handbook. Meanwhile, the target list of 257 will be gradually ticked off as I go.
I have visited many of the properties on my list already, either on family holidays as a child or later as a more appreciative adult. However, for the purposes of this challenge, I am wiping the slate clean and starting afresh. So, starting from July 2013, let the challenge begin!