100 Amazing National Trust Days Out With Children
We love National Trust days out here at Mini Travellers and we were surprised to learn the other day that some people still don’t think their properties are suitable for children. The National Trust has put children at the heart of a lot of their properties over the last few years and if your last experience of a visit was when you were a child then you need to go back, as things have changed a lot!
Whether you are visiting simply for some fresh air, to ride a bike or to play in one of the many adventure playgrounds we are sure you will find a local National Trust property that you love.
We’ve split this post up into the areas below so you can jump straight to where you live, or where you are intending to visit if you’d like to.
Devon & Dorset
Somerset & Wiltshire
Buckinghamshire & Oxfordshire
Berkshire, Hampshire & Isle of White
Kent, Surrey & Sussex
East of England
North West & Lakes
Cotehele house is an “architectural hotch-potch”. There are four floors of history where you can see the quirky tastes of the Georgian Edgcumb family, who have owned the estate for 600 years. As well as the house, there is 1300 acres to explore including a mill and the quay. Iona, from Redpeffer says: “We looked around inside the house and it’s quite an impressive place-plenty of things to entertain the children including a special room with access only suitable for those aged 18 and under. Needless to say my two loved sneaking in and out of that. And there was the chance to hold some impressive swords!”…read more
Lanhydrock is a magnificent Victorian mansion which stands in 1000 acre estate. Inside the house you will find every nook and cranny filled with all the mod cons of 1881, there is even an entire suite of rooms dedicated to the family’s children. Outside you will find the formal gardens where you are free to wander the paths and enjoy a picnic on the benches provided. The rest of the Lanhydrock estate,which is made up of park land, woods and riverside paths are dog friendly so all the family can have an enjoyable day. Claire, from Tin Box Traveller, and her family had a wonderful time on their visit, her daughter especially enjoyed the indoor and outdoor trails which kept her eager to find all the clues…read more
St Michaels Mount is accessed by the causeway at low tide or by boat for a small cost. There are subtropical gardens and medieval pathways to explore. Remember to pick up your trail quiz first. Be warned that the castle is up a steep climb, so get your baby carriers out if you plan to take small children with you. Stephanie, from A Cornish Mum says: “We looked for the heart stone on the way up, it’s harder to spot than I’d imagined, and there are few fake ones dotted around to try to trick you. In Cornish legend, the heart belonged to Cormoran, a giant killed by Jack the Giant Killer who was a local. Apparently, if you listen hard enough you can still hear his heart beating”….read more
Saltram‘s magnificent Georgian mansion lies just minutes from Plymouth’s city centre. The gardens and woodlands offer up plenty to keep children occupied. From building dens to finding the fairydoors in the trees and following the clues of the garden trail. Saltram also puts on themed activities throughout the year. Claire, from Tin box Traveller, says: “Saltram has a wooden adventure playground at its entrance which you can use even if you are only visiting the estate for walk in the grounds. Tin Box Tot and Baby loved going down the slide and jumping across the tree stumps”…read more
Trelissick House is far from your usual country house experience. Set in over 300 acres of countryside, woodlands and beautiful gardens, the house is partly furnished with some of the original furniture obtained by the trust and boast a contemporary art gallery and a lovely cafe. Claire, from Tin Box Traveller, says: “The combination of children’s treasure trails, wide open spaces and houses packed full of curiosities has been a winning one as our girls start to explore the world around them”… read more
Kynance Cove is best visited around low tide so the family can fully explore the hidden parts of the beach and the caves. Be sure to keep an eye on the tide so you don’t get stuck though! Wendy, from Daisies and Pie, says: “A truly magical place especially for children the stunning white sandy beaches, the endless caves and rocky corridors, the numerous fabulous rock pools teaming with sea creatures make it a natural playground”…read more
Devon & Dorset
Arlington Court is an intriguing regency house with Peacocks roaming the picturesque gardens. There is plenty here for children to enjoy, from the hands on carriage museum to the forts and mudslides in the outdoor play areas. Louise, from A Strong Coffee, says: “The flyers just talk about the carriage museum. We didn’t even make it there as the grounds were so lovely. Peacocks roamed around the gardens and we went on a long trail. Best of all was the children’s playground area. Woods stepping stones, ropes to climb up hills. We could have stayed here for hours”….read more
Brownsea Island is the largest of the islands in Poole harbour and is famous for it’s diverse habitats and amazing wildlife, especially the red squirrels. The island is perfect for budding bird watchers with five bird hides, most of which are accessible for wheelchair and pushchair users. Louise, from The Life of Spicers, says: “With the recent bad weather, there were some trees that had been felled, and chopped up after falling. It gave the children lots of opportunity to climb and explore between the trunks. Some of the larger trees were stamped with their dates of approximate planting and fallen date”…read more
Burton Bradstock is the ideal place to enjoy a variety of outdoor activities. Children will love following the jurassic trail, building dens or simply enjoying a picnic on the beach. Kara, from Are We Nearly There Yet? visited Burton Bradstock during the annual Spring Tide Festival. She says “No trip to Burton Bradstock would be without exploring the delights of the beach and we spotted a break in the clouds and some glorious sunshine that we had to take advantage of, so wandered down to explore the almost empty beach. The kids enjoyed a spot of stone throwing and wave chasing before deciding they wanted to build a stone tower which was soon converted into a mermaid, complete with sea weed hair and stone jewels”…read more
Corfe Castle is a thousand years old castle which has been shaped by warfare, the outer walls still bear the scars from the English civil war. The surrounding countryside offers walks suitable for everyone, from gentle strolls to all day treks. Amy, from Everything Mummy says “The girls were given a trail card to complete as we arrived, it was free and something easy and fun for them to focus on as we walked around. We had to find the Knights shields and answer the questions”…read more
Castle Drogo offers a perfect day out for all the family. There are walking trails, with free spotter sheets available, or why not try out a bit of orienteering (maps can be downloaded and printed off before hand). The castle itself is under renovation but tours are available during the school holidays. Emily, from Confessions of a Slummy Mummy says: “We haven’t been yet this Spring and it was so lovely to see the flowers out and the building looking so much closer to completion “…read more
Golden Cap get’s it’s name from the golden colour of the cliff faces. The unspoilt countryside contains miles of coastline and footpaths, there are walks suitable for all abilities. Enjoy a bit of orienteering or geocaching while you explore. Hayley, from Devon Mama, says:”The estate is basically a huge expanse of cliff top that can be walked via various different paths. It’s worth a visit if you want to do some coastal walking with stunning views”…read more
Killerton At a whopping 6,400 acres there is plenty of room to stretch your legs. There’s plenty on offer around the estate to keep the children entertained with den building, swings and a fantastic play area build around a huge fallen red oak tree! Jo, from Organised Jo says: “Another nice touch was the wooden garden toys that were scattered around the garden for anyone to play with. My two had a fab time after our picnic playing on the wooden hobby horses pretending they were their princess steeds”…read nore
Kingston Lacy‘s 8,500 acre estate a staggering 72 miles of footpaths, cycle trails and bridlepaths! Kids will be in their element building dens and searching for bugs, plus there’s plenty of room for running around or even flying a kite. Kara, from Chelsea Mama, visited so her childen could take part in the annual easter egg hunt, she says: “All the eggs were made with materials from the gardens which they were positioned in and the kids had to identify what they were made from which helped them learn about the world around them.”…read more
Knightshayes is a quirky, 19th century Gothic revival house set in acres of stunning gardens and parkland. There are trails to follow both inside the house and outside as well as activities laid out to keep kids entertained. Louise, from A Strong Coffee says:”To keep the boys interest when walking around we purchased a tree rubbing sheet for 50p each. The boys spent time finding the correct trees to take rubbing off and it certainly helped keep their interest on our walk. Their prize at the end was a badge. There was a small playground but the boys were tired so we didn’t get to see this”…read more
Ringstead Bay is on the jurassic coast. The unspoilt beach and the cliffs really are a hidden gem of Dorset’s coastline. The beach is perfect for a family day out, with plenty of space to picnic, swim, throw pebbles into the sea. There is also a geocache hidden for your little treasure hunters to find. Alice, from New Young Mum says: “We spent about two hours walking about and Amelia throwing stones into the water and attempting to throw some giant rocks! I love that this keeps her entertained, I think this will be something that I tell her in years to come when she’s asking for expensive things and super expensive days out”…read more
Studland Bay‘s sandy beaches makes it perfect for both leisurely summer days in the sun as well as winter walks. The nature reserve offers plenty to keep children entertained, like searching for wildlife and following the nest box trail. Kate, from Dark Tea says: “On calmer days, the water can be surprisingly clear so you can often see fish without a snorkel, just looking down into the water, this means children with a net can catch all sorts of sea life. This summer B caught crabs, small fish, sea eel and shrimps”…read more
Somerset & Wiltshire
Bath Skyline not only offers a stunning view of the Bath’s Georgian architecture but also a two mile stretch that is loaded with activities to keep children entertained. You can search for fairies and hunt for geocaches as well as expelling plenty of energy in the woodland play area. Christine, from A Family Day out says: “Whilst the Bath skyline walk is perfect for older children, those with younger kids may find some parts too hilly. However the National Trust have produced a separate Family Discovery Trail leaflet for a flat two mile stretch of the walk around Claverton Down”…read more
Coleridge Cottage is a humble Georgian home that witnessed the birth of one of the greatest movements is English literature. Global Mouse Travels says: “This is a wonderful place to bring children, unlike many National Trust properties this is very much a ‘please touch’ house. They tell you to rummage through the drawers and pick up his (recreated) letters and even have a go at using a flint to start a fire. Ours loved having a go at writing with a quill”…read more
Fyne Court has plenty for children to see and do. Paddle in the stream, conquer fallen trees and discover the play trail, all in a beautiful little hamlet. Laura, from Side Street Style says: “Fyne Court is a stunning and free National trust estate with a courtyard that houses a cosy little cafe, lots of walks and woodland to explore, a folly, boathouse and lake and was the perfect place to run off some steam before our car journey home. In the court yard was a large tree that had been cut down and the tree and stump made a great natural climbing frame.”…read more
Stourhead has plenty to keep your family entertained. Outside this the perfect setting for a game of hide and seek, there are trails to discover and even a cave waiting to be explored. In the house’s basement there is dressing up and traditional games for a bit of indoor fun. Hayley, from Devon Mama says: “The lake then dictates a pathway around the estate, leading you through temples and grottos with hidden statues and beautiful views at every turn. There are cottages, statues and towers dotted amongst a variety of flora and fauna meaning that there’s always something to see, especially in the spring as the garden comes to life and in the autumn when it blazes out”…read more
Tyntesfield is a spectacular Gothic revival house set in 540 acres of rolling parkland. There are four fantastic play areas for children including a den building village in the woodlands, balance beams and parallel ropes in the orchard and playbarns down on the farm. Donna, from What The Redhead Said, says: “LP and Little Man loved playing on the tractor and there was an assault course made from apple crates and wood. It was one of the most eclectic and interesting play areas I’ve seen in a long time and the children loved it – a great place to pass the time”…read more
Brockhampton is a medieval manor house that sits in a traditionally farmed estate. Children will love following the natural play trail with almost a mile of adventures to discover. The meadow and orchard has plenty to introduce the smaller ones into natural play with willow tunnels and a stump circle. There is also plenty for children to discover inside the house too. Global Mouse Travels says: “We absolutely loved our visit to the house at Lower Brockhampton, learning of the servant’s medieval role to de-flea their mistress’s hair, discovering the vital role of the kitchen in the house and exploring the 1950s lounge complete with contemporary radio programmes playing quietly and clocks gently ticking. It’s wonderfully evocative”…read more
Westwood Manor is only open a few days each week during the summer season, due to the live in tenants. But It really is a treat if you can get there. The gardens are filled with unusual topiary sculptures and the kids will love to search for the rare great-crested newts in the garden pools. Jenny, from The Gingerbread House says: “It’s a small house, just right for my 4 and 6 year old, who were kept busy with a quiz. The house isn’t recommended for under 5’s but my little 4 year old had fun. What’s not to love about exploring someone else’s house and asking questions about what’s a chamber pot for”…read more
Woodchester Park is great for a nice family walk in the countryside. There are three trails of varying lengths to follow. The woodland trail being the shortest and includes a play trail. Paper trails can also be found at the carpark and the mansion. Sarah, from Craft Invaders, says: “the valley is wonderful for foraging; I’ve seen wild strawberries, wood sorrel and wild garlic there among other things. On this occasion we opted for the shortest walk as we wanted to check out the children’s trail. This trail is steep in places, so I’d advise anyone thinking of walking here to wear appropriate footwear”…read more
Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire
Chastleton House and Gardens has lots of activities for children both inside the house and out in the gardens. Make sure you plan your visit though as the property is only open during the afternoons and the house tours are by timed tickets only. Mary, from Over 40 and Mum to One says:”We got to measure tables, search for squirrels in the plaster work of the ceilings, look for hidden key holes in a bed frame and mystery doors”…read more
Cliveden Hall itself is now a hotel, although there guided tours available on certain days of the week. The gardens are filled with everything needed for a perfect day out with the kids. Cathy,from Mummy Travels says:”The grounds stretch out high above the Thames, with some fabulous views over the parterre’s formal garden towards the woods and you can even wander down to the river itself to spot the boats”…read more and Donna, from What the Red Head Said, says: “We spent most of the day in the gardens, the maze and the play area where there was a lovely cafe and so many picnic tables creating the perfect place for lunch. The play area was full of beautifully carved wooden climbing frames, animals and toadstools to name a few things that the children could have spent all day on”…read more
Greys Court is a family home, set in an idyllic estate. Children can let off steam in the play area or build a den in the woods. There are even resident fairies to hunt for among the trees. Donna, from What the Red Head said, says:”After the gardens we found the flat maze that the children loved exploring and Greys Fort was also perfect for their ages with the main fort to climb up and a slide as well as the trees everywhere to climb over”…read more
Hughenden has lots to offer families looking for a great day out in nature. There are trees to climb and hills to roll down and seeds to help plant in the gardens. Events are run throughout the year, especially during the school holidays. Jenny, from The Gingerbread House, visited at Halloween, she says: “you can visit part of the house, gardens, and extensive grounds. They also run some really fun events for families. Last year we went along to one of their Apple Days, this time we wanted to go pumpkin carving! read more
Stowe offers acres of space for kids to run around and stretch their legs. There are three different discovery trails, the goodies, the baddies and the heroes, which offer varying difficulties of walks. Plus each month Stowe offers a different theme for you to discover and explore nature. Mary, from Over 40 and Mum to One says:”With map in hand he set off in search of his first animal track. We weren’t sure what to expect but these tracks were easy to find as they were laminated sheets stuck up in various locations. read more
Waddesdon Manor is a magnificent house and gardens in the style of a 16th century French chateau. There’s plenty of space for family picnics and The Stables offers a family friendly place to have a delicious lunch. Louise from Pink Pear Bear says:” The outdoor play area. It is so amazing! All set onto a hill, as you walk up, you discover more and more areas. There are the standard swings and slides but there are also some really really cool extras like a massive tunnel slide that pops the children out much further down the hill, (small boy went down before we’d even caught them up, big girl bottled it, it is age 6+ though!), a zip wire and my personal favourite, an area for den building”…read more
Berkshire, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight
Basildon Park, which was the set for downton Abbey, is an 18th century house that was refurbished into family home in the 1950’s. The 400 acres of parkland has four walks, suitable for varying abilities, and plenty of space for children to play. Halina, from Vie Choufleur says: “We had a lot of fun. Stomping through the woods, running up and down muddy paths, play-fighting with sticks. Eventually our trail led out on the road and back up to the house. It was the perfect length for a pair of little legs.”…read more
Hinton Ampner‘s parklands offer over 700 years of history to discover and explore. There are trails to follow and walks suitable for varying abilities. Inside the house there is eclectic collection of Georgian furnishings brought together after a devastating fire in 1960. Amy, from Everything Mummy says: “For all the toys the own and exciting (usually expensive) days out they can go my girls love nothing more than running around outside and having some freedom”…read more
Mottisfont offers wild play areas, including Boggy Climbing and Pump, Pool and Paddle. There is also plenty of space just to run jump and play. Claire, from Tin Box Traveller visited at Chistmas, she says:”At the stables there was a beautiful Christmas tree, surrounded by all sorts of things for TBT to explore and try out. Everything was very hands on, which was a relief for us as parents of an inquisitive toddler”..read more and Donna, from What the Red Head Said, says:”We then carried on walking to the water play area where children could pump water, build dams and watch the water move along a reservoir. It was both fun and educational and the children loved it”…read more
The Vyne isn’t the largest of properties, with only nine hectares of gardens. But there is still plenty for families to enjoy. Daisy, from Dais Like These, says: “The kids were delighted to find a little enclosure with ride on tractors, push along lawn mower toys and bouncy cows. They had a great time riding around and pushing each other along, they didn’t want to leave”…read more and Donna, from what The Red Head Said, says:”Eventually finding ourselves in the walled kitchen garden which was lovely to look at and spend time in but also had a section of lawn dedicated to children – with tractors to ride on, bouncy animals to hop along on and toy lawn mowers. The children could have easily spent all day in this area. read more
Kent, Surrey & Sussex
Bodiam Castle‘s towering walls and ruined interior offers a glimpse of 14th century splendour. There are often activities and volunteers in full character dress to immerse you into the history of the site. Cathy, from Mummy Travels says:”It was just one of the many examples of the way the National Trust has made the castle quite so family-friendly. Yes, there’s plenty for adults on medieval life, history, its place in everything from the Wars of the Roses to the Second World War, but at every corner there’s something to entertain and educate kids too”…read more
Box Hill offers an almost endless list of things to see and do. Kids can even borrow a kite or a tracker pack, which includes all the ingredients for little adventurers to explore the natural world around them. Ting, from My Travel Monkey says: “During the year there are also particular events from sledging during snowfall, or you’re even able to borrow kites! Kids are encouraged to obtain ‘tracker packs’ to spot all the wonderful foliage and wildlife that is abundant in the area”…read more
Chartwell was the home of Winston Churchill. He even build a small playhouse for his daughter which is open for children to visit, although there isn’t a miniature working aga now! There are also plenty of areas to play areas dotted around that will be sure to keep little ones occupied. Gretta, from Mums Do Travel, says:”In another part of the woods is the Canadian Camp. Canadian soldiers were stationed here during WWII in order to guard Chartwell. One of their tasks was to camouflage the lakes and swimming pool with brushwood so that they couldn’t be identified from the air. The recreated Canadian Camp today has hammocks and a campfire and is great for kids to play in. read more
Claremont Landscape Garden has plenty of hidden surprises for children to discover and explore, just like the real Dukes and princesses who have played and visited there over the last 300 years. Ting, from My Travel Monkey, says: “We then saw a trail leading to the Thatched Cottage and its Georgina Playroom. Set back in its own little area, Monkey headed straight inside to find lots of different activities from a dress up box of old costumes (Monkey refused to try any on!) to hobby horses, yo yos and wooden swords. They even had pretend rugs and wooden picnic food for children to play with”…read more
Dapdune Wharf has boat rides taking passengers on a 40 trip through the tranquil countryside. There is also plenty to see and do on land, with an old barge to explore and trails to discover. Ting, from My Travel Monkey, says: “Dapdune Wharf is not only full of history about one of our oldest waterways, but it’s also a great day out. Monkey may have been too young to appreciate the facts, but nevertheless this picturesque area nestled in the centre of Guildford is alive with colour, and is a great starting point for exploring the River Wey” read more
Hatchlands Park has an adventure playground as well as huge spaces to wander, run and explore. Donna, from What The Redhead Said, says: “After the adventure playground we followed the Sylvanian Families Nature Trail which had questions to answer and took you on a route through the woods. There were carved Sylvanian figures at different points and Little Man loved finding the signs as we went along”…read more
Ightham Mote always has something on offer to keep all members of the family happy, from meandering strolls to quizzes, trails and adventure playgrounds. There are usually extra activities on offer during the holidays too. Emily, from Emily and Indiana, says: I think adding anything man made would spoil it. Indie loved jumping, climbing, exploring and even got muddy (much to her disgust haha). I think this is so much more fun for children, as they are free to use their imagination. There was no waiting for a swing or climbing up the slide. Indie just got stuck in, and when we finally encouraged her out, she left with a stick magic wand to carry on the fun”…read more
Knole has over 1000 acres for visitors to explore. There are geocaches to discover, dens to build, wildlife to watch and trees to climb inside, yes inside! Ting, from My Travel Monkey, says: “Top Tip: If you come to Knole on Mondays during school holidays, a wide range of family-friendly activities are on offer including arts and crafts suitable for ages five to 12. All these events are free”…read more
Nymans has gardens and woods that are just waiting to be explored.There’s a family trail that takes you around the gardens and the woods has seasonal spotter activities for you to discover and enjoy. Ting, from My Travel Monkey, says: “He then found a huge giant redwood, which we were all in awe of – craning our necks just to see the leaves, and then played hide ‘n’ seek in the topiary. We also made ‘tea’ in the Round House, a huge den that attracted several youngsters, not before running all the way to the Log Stepping Stones”…read more
Petworth House houses the National Trust’s finest art collection and during the holidays your children can become budding young artists with the many creative activities on offer. As well as the house, with kitchens that served 30,000 people in 1829, there is also 700 acres of deer park to explore. Bring your bikes if you want to see it all! Ting, from My Travel Monkey , says: “Filled with ramblers, families, art lovers, history fans and dog walkers, Petworth Park has something for everyone. It would be impossible to feel claustrophobic wandering the grounds – there’s just so much space for all to enjoy”… read more
Polesden Lacey is one of the National Trust’s most popular properties and it is easy to see why. Children will love spotting wildlife with the binoculars that are free to borrow. There is over 1400 acres to walk, so plenty of room for a picnic, and also an adventure playground for anyone who needs to burn off a bit more energy. Ting, from My Travel Monkey, says:”Now that Monkey is older, he loves visiting the Squirrel’s Corner Adventure Play Area, which has a mini assault course with nets, stumps, tyres and climbing frames. And around the orchards there is a large chess board, plenty of picnic tables and best of all, plenty of places to get ice-cream”…read more
Scotney Castle is a great place to visit with children. There’s a buggy friendly nature trail with fallen trees to play on and a wilderness camp. A discovery room where children can see what the inside of a mole hole looks like. There’s also a trail that leads you through the estate to the working hop farm. Ting, from My Travel Monkey says: “Our favourite part of the trip was just walking around the estate and soaking in the stunning views of the old castle surrounded by the glistening water”…read more
Sheffield Park Gardens is a real family friendly property. The majority of paths are buggy friendly Kate, from LesBeMums says: ” The majority of the paths are flat (gain, buggy friendly) and there’s a nice variety of grassland that disappears into hidden trails if you’re dog walking. I would also certainly have a picnic here”…read more and Hannah, from Make Do & Push took some stunning photos of her family day out: read more
Morden Hall Park has 125 acres for you little adventurers to explore, purchase an orienteering map for a real adventure. There is plenty of wildlife to discover with the I Spy leaflets available are adventure play areas to let off a bit of steam. There are regular family friendly activities on offer too. Cathy, from Mummy Travels, says: “we could tick another of our 50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾ off the list by playing Pooh sticks – quite a few games in fact. Then Minnie decided the river, so clear that we could see the bottom, was home to crocodiles, many of whom needed feeding with pebbles”…read more
Osterley Park and House is a stunning Georgian country estate in west London. There are parklands and lakes to explore and lawns for picnicking. Cathy, from Mummy Travels, says: “It’s easy to wander around with a pushchair here (and the park outside is free, so was swarming with parents and buggies enjoying some brief autumn sunshine) but that’s not all that’s surprisingly family-friendly.A new natural play trail, created from a single fallen tree, is ideal for climbing, scrambling and generally burning off energy”…read more
Sutton House not only shows you the stunning Tudor designs expected from a National Trust property, but also has rooms showcasing the fact the house was inhabited by squatters during the 80’s. Lucy, from Project: Urban Wildling, says: “Most of the rooms were surprisingly toddler-safe, with very few breakable objects to be threatened. In fact, the whole house was very child-friendly – there were toys stashed away in some of the chests downstairs and upstairs we found tents set up in two of the rooms”…read more
East of England
Anglesey Abbey has a wildlife discovery area designed especially for children. They can explore the story circle and cupboard, wildlife and art cabin, dream dome for toddlers, double floored tree house and the willow and stick woven tunnels. Sonia, from Mummy Constant, says: “we had a picnic lunch near the tree house and then spent the entire afternoon wandering around. We made it to the mill and around that way, the gardens are so pretty and the children had a lovely time. I still cannot believe we spent 6 hours there, it went so quickly and was the perfect day for it”…read more
Felbrigg Hall Emily, from Emily and Indiana, says: “we stopped to play with the provided outdoor games. Hula hoops, cones, balls and plastic rackets – I can imagine these are hugely popular in the summer months. We all enjoyed them though and even had a mini game of frisbee before we had to leave”…read more
Sutton Hoo offers a great day out for all the family, especially if you mini archeologists in the family. There is plenty to see and do with adventure playgrounds, activity and tracker packs and seeing a king laying in state, surrounded by his treasures. Trish, from Mums Gone To… says: “Children can try on typical Anglo Saxon clothes, peep inside a full size replica of a burial chamber and listen to taster talks by the cheerful, enthusiastic Sutton Hoo Society guides. Most people come here to see the famous mask and although it is only a replica, there is something quite arresting about it”…read more
Sheringham Park has 1000 acres of landscape park and woodland gardens to explore. Children’s tracker packs are available and regular activities are held throughout the year, especially during the school holidays. Emily, from Emily and Indiana, says: “We jumped in the mud, crunched in the fallen leaves and found and explored nearly every little nook and cranny Parker and Indie found. Parker explored so far at one point he got stuck, and Jack had to go in and rescue him”…read more
Belton House has lots of family fun on offer no matter the weather. There’s an outdoor adventure playground, an indoor play area and a discovery centre that is open at weekends. Amanda, from Ana Mum Diaries, says: “It’s the perfect setting to spend time together as a family. With playgrounds, cafes and shops lots to do and see. We bought a football whilst we were there at the gift shop, which is definitely something to remember for other NT trust weekends we go on”…read more and Donna, from What The Redhead said, says: “LP and Little Man loved climbing up the steps to the house – and down them again. They had a great time playing hide and seek with lots of bushes to hide behind! The gardens are the perfect place for little adventures”…read more
Calke Abbey is an unstately home sat in a stunning estate. Instead of being restored to its former glory,the rooms have been preserved as they were when handed over to the National Trust in 1985. There is a time capsule of stories to discover inside and plenty of space to run and climb outside Penny, from Parentshaped says: “Watching your kids completely absorbed in playing, no fights, no need for help or explanation. They know exactly what to do outdoors”…read more
Clumber Park has 3,800 acres of park, heath and woodlands to explore so you really could spend an entire day and still go home with plenty more to see next time you visit. Jane, from Maflingo, says: “As there’s so much to see at Clumber park, we organised an itinerary to make the most of our day. We decided to start our day with a bike ride, followed by a visit to the Walled Kitchen Garden. After lunch, the kids were keen to visit the Woodland Play Park and the Discovery Centre”…read more
Sudbury Hall‘s museum offers you the chance to experience childhood through the ages, You can visit a victorian schoolroom and reminisce over the toy collections. There is also plenty of outdoor space to discover and explore. Amanda, from Ana Mum Diary, says: “Fun, laughter, picnics, learning new things, tree climbing, jumping and even more laughter that’s what our day at Sudbury Hall was all about”…read more
Attingham Park has plenty of parkland to run and play. Michelle, from Mummy From The Heart, says: ” The play field is just as it sounds, a massive fenced and gated area with swings, slides, climbing equipment, natural hills, a fort kind of area, concrete table tennis tables and loads more. It is perfect for imaginative play and there is so much there for the kids to do. We managed to bag a bench and table as there were quite a few dotted around for the adults but also lots of families had taken a large area with blankets and such on the floor for a fun picnic”…read more
Charlecote Park has plenty for children to see indoors, including the working kitchen. Outside the landscaped parkland is the perfect place to picnic, explore and watch the fallow deer. Holly, from Little Pickles Mom, says: “There’s something about a good walk in the fresh air, it’s so restorative! We laughed our way around”…read more and Emma, from Bubbablue and Me, says:”We were more interested in the servants quarters which were also open up and set up as they would have been years ago. In the kitchen N helped get the logs for the open fire, looked at the food in the cupboards, and had a chat with the cook dressed in clothes of the time”…read more
Croome‘s wild play area is the perfect spot for children to play and reconnect with the natural world. There is plenty to see and do on the park and seasonal activities are available throughout the year. Head indoors to learn about the house which was once home to a catholic school and hare Krishnas! Danielle, from Someone’s Mum, says: “There are various trails and activities that you can follow while exploring, including spotting the giant bird sculptures hidden in several huge trees as you make your way through the park”…read more and Natalie, from Plutonium Sox, says: “Today was all about being outdoors, but had the weather not been so great, there were plenty of beautiful things to look at indoors as well”…read more
Brockhampton Estate is made up of over 1700 acres of woodland, parkland, gardens and orchards so there’s plenty of space to stretch your legs and get up close and personal with nature. Follow the natural play trail for almost a mile of adventures to discover and explore. Natalie, from Plutonium Sox, says: “Brockhampton is just an ideal place to go on a sunny day like today. There are six walks of varying degrees of difficulty. We did the yellow walk, which was a nice, gentle walk a mile and a half long. It incorporated a big hill that Libby could tick off in her activity book. There was also a pond, open fields and some beautiful woodland, complete with bluebells”…read more
Dudmaston is a beautiful country house set in over 3000 acres of unspoilt countryside. The house is still a family home, it isn’t perfect and pristine, but is well loved and cared for. There are trails inside and out for the children to discover secrets as they explore. Emma, from Mrs Shilts, says: “There’s a great wooden playground for children to let off some steam within the Orchard. There’s a slide, big rope swings, a wooden play house and balance beams to hop over. Olly loved playing on the slides and we had so much pretending to play shops in the wooden play house. It’s a great space for children”…read more
Hanbury Hall is a stunning country house just waiting to be explored and there is always something exciting to discover outside in the gardens and surrounding parkland. Sarah, from Taming Twins, says: “It has everything you need for parents and children, wide open spaces, kids pedal tractors, a playground that’s the stuff three year old dreams are made of, oh and some super scones. read more
Packwood House is surrounded by beautiful gardens and countryside. It is the perfect place to spend a day whatever the weather. Cathy, from Mummy Travels, says: “everywhere you look, there’s a treasure to find, from Jacobean and canopied beds slept in by Queen Mary to chinoiserie. And one of the extra lovely touches for children is to find the handful of Dalmatian statues dotted around the rooms. Even Minnie, at two, had huge fun with trying to spot the ‘spotty doggies’ – as well as being the perfect height to see one of the best concealed ones”…read more and Emma, from Mrs Shilts, says: “The wood at Packwood is a great place for little ones to explore nature. The boys were given a worksheet each to discover leaves and birds around the Packwood which made their visit more exciting”…read more
Upton House has a fascinating history and the whole family will love to explore and discover it’s past. Outside there are walks to get the most out of the beautiful countryside and a woodland area with tree stumps to climb and tunnels to explore. Becky, from Pinks Charming, says: “Ava was really fascinated by the vintage typewriters, though she struggled to press the buttons. We weren’t sure if she’d like looking round the house, but she did, albeit in quite a quick fashion”…read more
North West & Lakes
Aira Force & Ullswater offers more than just a beautiful waterfall. There are also trails to explore, a play area and plenty of choice for picnicking spots. Joanne, from Kids Days Out Reviews, says: “Aira Force is pretty accessible actually. There’s a lot of steps both up and down and it looks like it could get muddy in wet weather, but there is a clearly defined, maintained path, and places to take some great pics”…read more and Deb, from My Boys Club, says: “On a clearly marked path we crossed small bridges, explored the woods, the boys paddled in streams, we climbed stone staircases, stopped to take in the breathtaking views across the lake and took the highest path to the falls as we approached from above”…read more
Dunham Massey is a house and gardens that is filled with history. Keep an eye out for the deer, explore the log pile, build a den and wander through the ever changing secret garden. Jane, from Hodge Podge Days, says: “We like Dunham because it’s great for “family” walks, meaning it’s flat and well paved, perfect for bikes, scooters and the wobbly legs of small children”…read more
Hilltop was Beatrix Potter’s farmhouse and is kept as a time capsule of her life. Inside the house everything is kept exactly as she wanted, right down to what pages she wanted books opened on, when she gifted her home to the National Trust. You can even visit Mr McGregor’s garden on your visit. Hannah, from Make Do And Push, says: “We had such a wonderful time at Hill Top Farm. The staff inside the house are incredibly knowledgable and very friendly, and the lengths they go to to preserve all of her items and her house are admirable”…read more
Lyme Park holds a glorious house, surrounded by gardens, moorlands and a deer park. Here’s what we thought: “if you are a 6/7/8 year old then this [adventure playground] is amazing for both adult and child. If you have 3/4/5 year olds like we do then it was amazing for the kids, but it did involve quite a lot of adult participation as some of the towers and rope bridges were quite adventurous and a little scary”…read more and Jane, from Hodge Podge Days, says: “We scrabbled around the woods, exploring, hiding, searching for bear caves and bears as well as keeping our eye out for the Gruffalo”…read more
Rufford Old Hall is a beautiful Tudor manor house. Follow the trail through the house, hunt for bugs in the garden or let off steam in natural play area. Hayley, from Hayley From Home, says: “The woods aren’t too big so perfect for little legs but there is still lots to see on the circular route. We headed over wooden bridges and looked out for the trolls underneath and checked out the dens that had been built in the woods”…read more
Speke Hall is a stunning tudor house set in a picturesque estate. There are woodland trails to follow, nature trails to explore and tracker packs available to hire. Here’s what we had to say: “My three love the adventure playground in the woods, particularly the zip wire and we must have played in here for a good hour or so, with parents stationed at either end of the zip wire to get them on and off! A trail that links the two playgrounds is a fantastic idea and we will definitely end up back here a number of times over the Summer”…read more
Tatton Park has plenty of space to stretch your legs with 50 acres of landscape gardens and 1000 acres of deer park to explore. Kids will love the 30 rides available in the play area and visiting the rare animals in the farm. Here’s what we had to say: “After wrenching the kids away from the HUGE adventure playground we followed our map of exciting adventures and made our way into the Courtyard of the Stables”…read more and Hayley, from Hayley From Home says: “We parked up and had our picnic in the area by the car park. We discovered there was a little train to take you down the farm which is a bit of a walk if you have little ones”…read more
Quarry Bank Mill is a museum with a difference. the whole 400 acre estate is full of historical features from the early years of the industrial revolution, including a working mill, workers cottages and the apprentice house where the children who worked in the mill lived. There is also a children’s play area and family trails to keep your little ones happy as they explore. Ting, from My Travel Monkey, says: “Fascinating and steeped in history from the Industrial Revolution, this National Trust site is really worth a visit – we spent several hours here and could have done a lot more had it not been for an excitable little fella who is a terrible fidget”…read more
Wray Castle is a real life fairy tale castle with everything in place for a great day out with children. There’s a Peter Rabbit adventure, dressing up and craft rooms, castle building and more! Rachel, from the Ordinary Lovely, says: “When it comes to keeping children entertained, Wray Castle is a very precious jewel in the National Trust’s golden crown. It is an absolute joy to spend time in and at. The castle building is a young child’s dream. It’s the castle of fairy tales and story books”…read more and Hannah, from Make Do and Push, says: “Nick and his Dad had a great time building castles inside, whilst Busby, Nick’s Mum and I explored the bluebells outside.”…read more
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Beningbrough Hall is set in stunning gardens and is home to National Portrait Gallery paintings. Children are encouraged to be creative with crafts and workshops dotted around. There are also play trails to explore and a great wilderness play area to let off some steam. Nicky, from Yorkshire Wonders, says:”There are several ride on trikes and bikes which the children can ride and then leave wherever takes their fancy. This becomes a bit of a treasure hunt for the children as to who finds a bike first. It’s a massive relief if they find them at the same time”…read more
Brimham rocks is a dramatic moorland rock formation surrounded by stunning scenery and wildlife. There’s nothing but good old fashioned fun here with rocks to climb ans and scramble over and plenty of space for a great game of hide and go seek. wellies are a must here, especially if it’s been wet. Joanne, from Kids Days Out Reviews, says: “it is gorgeous, and a great place for an explore in the dirt and little hidey holes. Brilliant for kids of all ages who can climb”…read more
Fountains Abbey‘s remains are the most complete Cistercian abbey ruins in the country. There is plenty of space to play and climb and picnic. There are regular activities and trails throughout the school breaks too. Cat, from Here Come The Hoopers, says: “The park was a big success with lots of wooden bits to climb, zip wires and den building section. It was a bit damp but they went off anyway and were happy enough”…read more
Nostell Priory is an 18th century house that was built on the site of a medieval priory. There is lots to explore and discover in the gardens and woodlands, with baby carriers and hip seats available to hire. Cathy, from Mummy Travels says: “outdoors includes a huge kitchen garden, adventure playground with zipwire, walks around the lake and activity sheets to take along, plus formal gardens, woodland… you could probably come every week and not run out of areas to explore for a few months”…read more
Cherryburn cottage and farmhouse is the birthplace of Thomas Bewick. There is a toy corner for the children to enjoy as well as a family trail to encourage them to explore. Helena, from Babyfoote, says: “Outside there is a small number of live stock including donkeys, llamas and chickens. The chickens were apparently recent additions to Cherryburn, having been taken from Bede’s World, which sadly closed recently. We found a little nature hunt activity in the school room and set out looking for the birds, though we were much too noisy and didn’t spot any”…read more
Cragside is an extraordinary Victorian house set in stunning gardens and woodlands. Make sure to check out the labyrinth, barefoot trails and adventure playground. Sam at North East Family Fun writes “The labyrinth has it’s own car park but we decided to walk from the play area. It’s just under one mile on easy terrain and you are rewarded with spectacular views of the countryside. There are 4 ‘trim trails’ along the way too which help to break up the journey – they are basically mini obstacle courses….It is such a lovely place for a family walk.”…read more.
Gibside has plenty of space to run wild and three different play areas which are sure to be a big hit. Play knights in the wooden fortress, explore caves in the nature playscape and build a den in the woodland area. Sam from North East Family Fun writes “The Strawberry Castle play area which was the main reason for our visit [is] fantastic with mock castles and houses, a giant sand pit, water play (when in operation), rope swings, zip wires”…read more
Penshaw Monument is a great space to spend a few hours out in the open air. The views from the monument are stunning and the woods in a great place to explore and discover nature. Helena, from Babyfoote, says: “Standing on top of the hill, there’s a fantastic panorama of the North East. If it’s a clear day you might be able to see as far as the Cheviot Hills 50 miles away, or spot the spire of Durham Cathedral to the South. At the top of Penshaw Monument, on weekends only between Easter and September, you can climb up a hidden staircase in one of the pillars and get even higher, for even more spectacular views”…read more
Seaton Delaval has lots of wide open spaces too burn off some energy and some secret spots for a quiet family picnic, there is also a great adventure playground, trails to explore and the opportunity to do a bit geocaching. Sam, from North East Family Fun, says: “Steve and I then had a seat while the kids rolled down hills and generally ran about playing hide and seek in the formal gardens. Then we ended our day via the natural play area on our way back to the car”…read more
Wallington Hall is a fascinating historical house set in a stunning 13,000 acre estate, so there definitely plenty of space to stretch your legs! Sam, from North East Family Fun, says: “We spent approximately four hours at Wallington and enjoyed some proper outdoor family fun. There is so much to see and do and we only just touched on some of the activities on offer”…read more and Cat, from Here Come The Hoopers, says: “We headed back via the Adventure Playground and Play Fort which they really enjoyed. Imogen loves a good set of monkey bars at the moment and Abigail enjoyed the zip wire”…read more
Washington Old Hall is the home of George Washington’s ancestors and walking through the rooms feels like you are walking through history. The gardens are beautiful and there is a family trail to help you explore. Sam, from North East Family Fun, says: “The garden’s are beautiful and a joy to explore – we will definitely return in the Summer with a picnic. There is plenty of room for children to run about plus lots of little corners to quietly sit which is nice. The garden is a real haven for wildlife too with beehives, bird hides, ponds and various flowers growing in the grounds”…read more
Bodnant Garden is world class and home to botanical collections from around the world. There’s an adventure trail and even a ‘take your time’ leaflet for those less able to walk. Colette, from We’re Going On An Adventure, says: “Bodnant Garden is literally one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen, even in the throes of Winter, so I can only imagine how stunning it must be in the Summer! Dave and I gasped and ooohed with every corner we turned”…read more
Chirk Castle offers a real family day out, with giant games in the garden, play areas and den building. The Castle has lot’s of activities and dress up to keep children entertained while they follow the trail too. Here’s what we had to say: “There was also a family room at the top of a tower where the girls could do some colouring, make jigsaws (of knights naturally) and build a castle. I was incredibly impressed that at every turn there was something else for them to do. In places like this there is usually only a ‘token’ child activity. This seemed to have been designed with children in mind”…read more
Dinefwr Park is a site of special scientific interest and a the only parkland National Nature Reserve in Wales. The estate holds an historic house, and 18th century landscape park and a medieval deer park. There are regular activities held through the school holidays which are sure to be a hot with the kids. Laura, from Side Street Style, says: “One our way back to the car we spotted some of Dinefwr rare white cattle which Me A loved and then we stopped at the little nature inspired play park as well as having a spot of ice-cream”…read more
Dolaucathi Gold Mines is a fascinating place to spend a day, retrace the steps of Roman and Victorian gold miners pan for your own gold or take a walk in the beautiful countryside and woodlands. Be warned that children need to be over 95cm or in a hooded pushchair to go on the tours. Alan, from Here Come The Hoopers, says: “With a little bit of time to fill in we had a quick look around the site and spotted the panning for gold sections. There were three troughs and a stack of pans, to allow you to pan as freely as you wished read more
Dyffryn Gardens offers plenty to discover with over 55 acres of formal and informal gardens. Inside, the rooms that have been refurbished so far have been designed for everything to be touched and played with, so no need to panic when venturing here with small children! Laura, from Side Street Style, says: “When we arrived at the Gardens we were given a little I-spy treasure map for the kids of different sights to spot along the way, something we all join in with, we didn’t find everything but that just means we have an excuse to go again next week”…read more and Ali. from We Made This Life took some stunning photos of her day at the Open Doors event: see more
Erddig is a much loved family home set in a 1,200 acre estate. There are teddies to spot and a cuddly bug trail follow around the house.Outside is plenty of space to run around and stretch your legs and a play area that spans nearly two acres! Here’s what we had to say: “The gardens are stunning even at this time of year and we spent ages just pottering round, playing with the old hats and having a snack in a lovely little cottage at one end of the gardens. They were all having such a good time, but then we found the Wolf Den! When we went in the gentleman who scanned our cards, told us to head straight there and how right he was. At first glance this area is just a collection of cut down trees, but they have done a fantastic job. We literally spent 2 hours just in this area”…read more
Mwnt is a beautiful secluded bay, with a lovely sandy beach. There are the most amazing views across the sea to Ireland. Penny, from Parent Shaped, says: “We missed Penbryn, the beach before it, also owned by The National Trust, and ended up at Mwnt. I think it was fate, this was one of the best days, made even more special by the tiny kiosk selling home made barabrith and Welsh cakes, and by the tiny chapel, and the breathtaking views from the top of the hill above the chapel”…read more
Penrhyn Castle looks like a real life fairytale castle! There are quizzes/trails to follow both inside and out. There is also a great play area to let of some steam. Mummy M says: “The girlies enjoyed the entrance and main hall, as they could explore freely, and sat on the chairs that were once sat on by the original owners. But as we got further in, the red ropes appeared, and they didn’t like not being able to explore and touch. Our girlies are little explorers. We did the activity that gets the kids to spot things around the house, as in the eyes of the resident dog. And they even saw a bed that was made for Queen Victoria”…read more
Tredegar House has seen it’s fair share of dark days and golden ages over the years. Inside you are completely immersed into the history of the house with a hands on, interactive experience. Outside there is 90 acres of parkland to explore and a great playarea for the kids. Ali, from We Made This Life says: “Visiting Tredegar House was utterly fascinating and it’s history was brought alive by the amazing staff who guided us through the various rooms. They were brilliant with the children too…There was a huge box of dressing up which the children loved and they were even encouraged to brush the hats in the butler’s pantry”…read more
Carrick-a-Rede‘s coast has some of Ireland’s most stunning coastal trails and is home to basking sharks, dolphins and porpoises. Will you be brave enough to cross the rope bridge which is suspended almost 100ft above sea level? Stacey says: “There are some steep ledges and drop offs at Carrick-a-Rede and we made sure the kids stayed on the inside of the paths and away from any drop-offs, but most areas had rails and more dangerous paths were marked” You can read more about Stacey’s visit to both the Giant’s Causeway and Carrick-a-rede here.
Downhill Demesne and Hezlett House will give you a day of beautiful walks across the cliffs and through the gardens to discover dovecotes and temples. Amazing ruins to explore and Bishops Play Trail, with it’s spiders web,climbing frame and much more! Debs, from Super Busy Mum, says: “We really had such a lovely day, it was a cold one and it took us about two days to warm up! Nevertheless, the kids are asking to go back again”…read more
Giant’s Causeway offers the chance to see some spectacular rock formations. From the Grand Causeway, to the Giant’s boot, they all have a mystical tale of Finn the giants surrounding them. Monika, from Inspiroo, says: “The tide was coming in, so it was fun watching as people trying to get the perfect picture were getting soaked by the occasionally rising waves. Gradually it became quieter as the last shuttle time was approaching. The kids were really happy playing in nature’s playground, so I decided we’d stay to watch the sunset” Stacey, from Strollering the Globe, says: “My kids took a few tumbles climbing on the Causeway rocks, but to them it was just a big playground to climb on and they loved it”
White Park Bay is an ancient and peaceful beach full of fossils and wildlife. Monika, whose family took part in a Ranger walk says: ” We started walking down to the beach, stopping intermittently as our ranger, spotted something interesting in the bushes to point out, or was asked by one of the kids about a bug they had caught” You can read more about Monika’s visit to both the Giant’s Causeway and White Park Bay here.
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