About the Challenge

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!


10 Responses to About the Challenge

  1. This is a great idea, I will definitely have a look at the list and come with for some of the visits if I can!

    • cboyle71 says:

      Thanks. I’ve had a couple of offers now so hopefully it won’t be too lonely an enterprise! I think I’ll be on my own with the Northern Irish ones though! Might need to take an extended trip and cram in the whole lot in one go.

  2. Helen says:

    Good Luck! Is your list set in stone from now, or if the National Trust acquire new properties will these be added as you go? For example, Dyffryn Gardens and House were owned by the local council until being bought by the National Trust, and re-opened to the public this year. I wonder whether the National Trust will be acquiring more properties over the next few years as local councils slash budgets and can’t afford the upkeep of some of these old and crumbling houses and gardens.

    • cboyle71 says:

      No, it’s not set in stone. I will check the new handbook every year and add on any that might have appeared since I compiled the list. There are apparently a couple of new ones in Cumbria that have only been open for a year or so. And Leith Hill Place just up the road from here is being opened for the Open Houses weekend prior to eventually being opened properly so that will add another element to the site other than just the walks and the tower. It’s definitely a fluid situation so I will have to try to keep up with any additions that qualify under my terms of inclusion! PS: I’m sure I’ll be looking for accommodation sometime as there’s a few within striking distance of Halfpenny Furze!!

  3. Abi says:

    Fabulous idea!
    I got given life membership as a little kid, and have wondered how long it would take or if I ever will manage to visit all NT properties.
    I got one of the NT Passports for my 18th birthday to see how many I ended up visiting in my adult life – 2 years on and not doing so great – keep forgetting my Passport and Uni life getting in the way!
    Good luck, looking forward to seeing some good recommendations 🙂

    • cboyle71 says:

      Thanks Abi. I bought myself life membership with money from my 18th birthday and more than 20 years on (ouch!) I have probably already covered my costs several times over. However, I have tended to go to the same places over and over (i.e. the local ones!) so thought I’d challenge myself to head further afield. I’m hoping to hit 25 by the end of this year and will try to squeeze in 40-50 a year after that. It might be a bit ambitious but we’ll see how it goes.

  4. Eliza says:

    What a lovely idea! I really enjoy reading your blog. Good luck in your journeying – you have inspired me to try something similar myself to liven up my impending retirement!:)

    • cboyle71 says:

      I’ve never been an inspiration for anyone before so that’s great! I’m really glad that you’re enjoying my random ramblings and I hope that they give you some ideas about where to start your own travels.

  5. RobinWire says:

    I wonder if you’ve see my own diary. And my list of places visited: http://visitinghousesandgardens.com/index-houses-gardens-visited/

    • cboyle71 says:

      Wow, that’s some list! Looks like there’ll be plenty to keep me occupied once I’ve exhausted the NT’s property estate.

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