Are we nearly there?: Manor-house outings for children

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The Independent Travel
Penshurst Place and Gardens, Penshurst, Kent (01892 870307). A stroll around this medieval manor-house includes a visit to the Barons Hall, complete with tapestries, ancient portraits and armour. Also indoors is a toy museum with exhibits from well before the days of Toys R Us. If the weather's good, there are extensive Tudor gardens to be roamed around and, for children, a nature trail and adventure playground. The house is open daily until 30 September, noon-5.30pm; the grounds are open 11am- 6pm. Tickets to house and grounds pounds 5.50, children pounds 3. Entry to grounds and toy museum only pounds 4, children pounds 2.75.

Harewood House and Bird Garden, Harewood, Leeds (0113 2886331). Find out what a Chippendale really is inside National Heritage's "Best Museum of Fine and Applied Arts 1996". Alongside older masterpieces is a modern art gallery, and beyond the house are lakeside bird gardens, an adventure playground, woodland walks and boat trips. During the summer a series of events for children has been planned. Open daily until 26 October, 10am-6pm (house 11am-5pm). Entrance to house and grounds pounds 6.50, children pounds 4.50, family (2+3) pounds 20. Grounds only pounds 4, children pounds 2.

Chatsworth House, Bakewell, Derbyshire (01246 582204). The home of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire is stuffed with antiques and works of art but the gardens are equally beautiful - complete with fountains and a maze. Those looking for something more active should head for the farmyard and woodland adventure playground. Open daily until 2 November, 11am-4.30pm. Admission to house and grounds pounds 5.90, concessions pounds 5, children pounds 3, family pounds 16. Gardens only pounds 3.50, concessions pounds 3, children pounds 1.75, family pounds 9. The farmyard is an extra pounds 2.30 a head but an all-inclusive family ticket costs pounds 24.

Wimpole Hall and Home Farm, Arrington, near Royston, Hertfordshire (01223 207257). Queen Victoria spent two nights in this 17th-century hall, which is now decorated in the comfy style of the last owner. The basement servants' quarters may be of most interest to young visitors but the setting is also bound to appeal: a landscaped park with lakes, folly and arboretum. The rare breeds farm has an adventure playground. Wimpole Hall is open Tuesday to Sunday, 1pm-5pm; the farm is open daily 10.30am-5pm. Tickets for hall, farm and gardens pounds 7, children pounds 3.50.