Families looking for somewhere different to go this summer should think about a visit to The Vyne, near Basingstoke, particularly if you're National Trust members, because then you get in for free!
This tudor mansion is undergoing once in a lifetime' major roof repairs, which have taken 3 years of planning. Grab a high-viz jacket and take the lift (or climb the 74 steps) to the roof and inspect the work in progress to see history revealed. To add to the fun, there are 11 Lego figures and 2 dinosaurs to find on your way round. I only spotted two!
Leave your mark
Sponsor a tile in the daily tag-a-tile workshops so you can leave your mark for future generations to discover. For a suggested donation of £5, you can write a message or draw a picture on a terracotta tile, which will then go on the roof as part of the repairs.
Explore the house
The ground floor of the house is open to visitors on timed tickets. Because much of the furniture in the house has been put away for safety reasons while the roof work is carried out, there is currently a selection of furniture and ceramics on display as you enter the house. It's a great opportunity to see these precious items up close. As you move further on, the story of Henry V111 and Anne Boleyn's visit is told on storyboards and large video screens. After exploring all the ground floor rooms you come to the chapel, which is brought to life with a clever audio illusion of a tudor lady mass. As you move into the chapel it appears that different voices are singing beside you, but there is no one there¦..!
Explore the grounds
Look for the hidden realm play area, the walled garden and greenhouse (with produce for sale), play pooh sticks on the bridge, picnic on the lawn by the lake and pop into the unusual brick summer house. For those with the geocache app, there are tudor-themed geocaches to find.
The Vyne has a cafÃ© and shop, a second hand book shop, deck chairs to use on the lawn, a motorised buggy to drive you up to the house if needed, a regular programme of children's events and outdoor theatre.
If using your sat nav, the postcode listed on the website, RG24 9HL, will only take you as far as the village Sherbourne St John, but you need to continue on another 2 miles or so before arriving at The Vyne.
Find out more at nationaltrust.org.uk/thevyne