Get there a mere forty minutes after they open and park in one of the last remaining parking spaces in the main car park. Join the mile long queue to go in. Discover that you have inadvertently turned up on Knights Weekend, when most of Bristol have also turned out to join in the revelry. After ten minutes, send other half to the book shop to prevent spontaneous combustion. After fifteen minutes, send the children to join him. On nearing the front of the queue, admire the shiny sign that says, "Members only this side". Walk a hundred metres back to the end of the correct queue and spend some time hoping that the book shop is really interesting.
Finally herd family through the correct door. Despite having a free voucher, part with a nice fat chunk of cash for having an extra child and for the privilege of joining the Egg Hunt. Join the queue for the Egg Hunt stuff, leaving other half outside to befriend other eggxasperated men of a certain age.
Once you have three Egg Trail cards, passports, free pith helmets, a map, membership leaflet, information leaflet, two separate receipts, Knight's Day schedule and all of the children you started with, you're good to go. Once you've queued for the toilets.
Spend the next hour trotting round behind supercharged egg-hopeful boys, lugging the world's heaviest picnic, five large drinks bottles, a large blanket and three pith helmets. Snap away randomly as you jog to keep up. Something to remember the magic of the day by.
Find some yew, a favourite thing. Try to find someone to share the excitement. Fail. But look, fifty-seven yew trees!
Give in to popular demand and crack open the picnic. At least it'll be less to carry now. Narrowly avoid being too slow to get a vegetarian sausage roll. Spend the next six minutes focusing hard on the food. It's eat or be eaten now, kill or be killed. Not a time to lose concentration.
Re-pack the bag, which mysteriously appears to weigh exactly the same as before. Decide to tackle the house while the children are lulled into a slight post-prandial stupour.
The morning room. Where the lady of the house used to sit in the morning to do a little needlework or correspondence and give the housekeeper the day's instructions. Sigh. You would have been so good at that kind of thing.
Once deep into the bowels of the house, you will need to retrace your steps to find a toilet. All the way back out. Against the tide of people behind you. It will take a while. The queue for the two toilets is approximately twenty people long. Send the person in question alone into the gents instead. Loiter very close to the door. Look through the door every time it opens. Try not to catch anyone's eye or be offended when the door is closed to prevent viewing. Edge a little closer to the door. Wait. Listen at the door. Smile reassuringly at anyone who appears to find your behaviour unusual or worrying. Finally, you're back on track. Back to the house to find the rest of the party. Anyone with you will slip through the crowds with ease. You will not be so lucky, so at this point you will be separated from everyone. Shove past the hoards, like some classless fishwife with no interest in history or culture. But hold your head up high anyway.
Find the rest of the fam. Your other half may be grilling a hapless guide about the unsympathetic replacement of the glass in the windows. It was done in 1870, so not strictly his fault. Press on through the house. By this time the children will be getting a bit lively, it's no time to dawdle or a game of tag may break out.
Fresh air. Space. Cookies and a sit down.
All the food is now gone. Everyone is fully fuelled, but it's important to leave enough time to get home before they turn feral. Three egg clues remain. Onwards.
A really fast turn about the walled gardens, greenhouses and kitchen garden.
This may be your favourite bit, but don't falter now, the egg is in sight. Back towards the house.
On the croquet lawn there's a medieval scrap. Knights hacking at each other with swords, axes and hammers. Be sure not to miss this, small boys love this stuff. So many new ideas for their arsenal of deadly moves. Stand behind them and watch them absorbing the information with utter relish.
Run through first aid procedures with other half and ensure you both know the opening hours of the local Minor Injuries Unit and the quickest route to Children's Hospital.
Explore the Medieval village.
This is especially recommended as any boys you happen to have with you will be allowed to hold any weaponry they may choose, thereby getting a feel for the weight of it and the amount of cut and thrust required to disembowel, main and decapitate.
Back at the start, queue for an egg. Feel an unreasonable jubilation at scoring the penultimate three eggs before a certain wait for a new batch to be brought by the Easter bunny.
Success is yours my friend.
Wishing you a very Happy Easter.