Great play areas

‘It’s a great place to play - and so good for confidence building - all in a safe environment.’
- Jennifer Stokes, mum

Our places have lots to offer for families, including many brilliant play areas for kids of all ages. From woodland obstacle courses to secret hideouts, pick your picnic spot and let your young explorers go wild while you enjoy the view.

Check out some of our brilliant places to play.

    The Vyne, Hampshire

    ‘We love the new playground. It’s added that extra element of fun into our visits and it’s brilliant to play imaginative games with my son. His favourite part is the stream!’
    - Rachael Kitchen, mum to Peter, aged 3

    A long forgotten area of walled garden at The Vyne has been transformed into the Hidden Realm – a brilliant adventure play area based on the fantasy landscapes of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth, including jungle, mountain and stream. Kids will love exploring the network of tunnels with sound tubes, the ‘Iron Age’ wooden fort and the bridge, wide slide, trickling stream and large sandpit. Check out the fun with our Hidden Realm film.

    Young adventurers can then follow the quest trail around the estate with an ancient, Tolkien-style map.

    Gibside, Tyne & Wear

    ‘We've loved visiting Gibside ever since it opened Strawberry Castle. We often come for an hour after school when it’s sunny as it’s just so different from most of the playgrounds we've been to.’
    - Sam, Jack (10 and 7 years old) and Jane Hawthorn

    Strawberry Castle at Gibside is one of the biggest outdoor play areas in Tyne & Wear, designed by kids and themed around the mystery of Gibside’s lost Strawberry Castle folly. Kids, from toddlers to 11 year olds, will love the zip wire, adventure castle, wildlife hides, slides and team swings.

    For older kids, there is the woodland ropes challenge in an old quarry and there is also a nature playscape with log bridges and trees for children aged 3-10.

    Lyme Park, House and Garden, Cheshire

    ‘This place is amazing, the kids really enjoy climbing the rope walk and the fireman’s pole, and I like going down the slide with them.’
    – Steven Leggatt, dad

    The kids can let off steam in Crow Wood playscape with its giant slide, badger den and rope walks for children aged 5-12. There is also a high level walkway, a cradle swing, sandpit and a tree house with a fireman’s pole. Some elements of the play equipment have been designed for children with limited mobility and for adults and children to play on together.

    For wildlife enthusiasts, there are great views of Lyme Park’s deer from the top.

    Arlington Court, Devon

    ‘The new play area is great – Jack who’s 9 climbed to the top of the perch, and his sister Ella, 6, loved the rope bridge. I loved seeing my children so excited, as I used to be exploring the outdoors as I was growing up.’
    - Jane Shill, mum

    Monkey Puzzle Mania is tucked away in the great woodland at Arlington Court. The play area contains ropes and logs to balance along, a fort to defend and look out from, steeping posts and a rope bridge. There is also a fallen tree to walk along with a perch to climb and sit on, a picnic area and some games to play, including noughts and crosses and wooden blocks to stack.

    Belton House, Lincolnshire

    ‘It’s a great place to play - and so good for confidence building - all in a safe environment.’
    - Jennifer Stokes, mum

    One for the brave at heart and our largest play area, Belton's activity area includes zip wires, cargo nets, musical boards, an adventure fort and some incredibly high slides. For those who prefer to stay closer to the ground, there’s a miniature railway and great picnic areas nearby.

    There is also a playhouse, bouncy chairs, swings and more for children under 6 and an indoor adventure play area with all of Belton’s best bits in miniature, as well as a café.

    Castle Ward, County Down

    Castle Ward’s adventure and woodland playground will keep the children occupied for hours. Older children can enjoy thrilling rides on the zip line, fly down the mega slide and relax on the bucket wing while the younger children enjoy the woodland playground. Bring along a picnic and enjoy lunch right beside the playgrounds.

    The kids will also love the barn and the Victorian playroom in the house; both have dressing up, games and activities.

    Fountains Abbey, North Yorkshire

    ‘It’s really fun to bounce up and down on the wobbly bridges and hanging upside down on the climbing frame is really cool.’
    - Erin Phillips, aged 10

    Kids can come and test their jumping, balancing, swinging and climbing skills in the timber play area at Fountains Abbey. Try out the timber tangle, join friends in the nest swing and climb up the net to the suspension bridge and tower. There is plenty of fun for little ones too, with the slide, rocking snail, wobble dish and wooden horse and cart. There’s also a new natural play areas logs to clamber on and den building.

    Nostell Priory and Parkland, West Yorkshire

    ‘We absolutely loved the adventure playground. Right balance between risk and safety and we all played on it! Loved the wobbly bridge, rubber strip thing and the big ramp. Fab!’
    - the Kendall family

    It’s big, it’s bold and it’s bouncy, hidden amongst the Nostell woodland so it feels like a wild adventure. The brave can swing with friends in giant cradles, scramble on nets, wobble along suspension bridges, balance on a log maze play Tarzan on hanging tyres and abseil on an obstacle frame.

    Little ones can play in the climbing cottage, bounce on horses and bouncy boards, sit in wobble dishes and slide down slippery slopes. There’s a picnic area overlooking the playground to refuel after all that play.

    Cragside, Northumberland

    Swing across the monkey bars, whizz down the spiral slide, climb the nets or burrow through the tunnels. There’s even an area for under 5s to explore and a picnic area to relax in.

    Take time out for a bit of nature watching in the wildlife hide at Cragside. Will you spot a red squirrel? There is also Nelly’s Labyrinth, a network of winding paths and tunnels cut out of a vast area of rhododendron forest. Named after a reputed local witch, the labyrinth is a great place to play hide-and-seek, play on the turtle drum, sit in the storyteller’s chair and discover Nelly’s den in the centre.

    Wimpole Estate, Cambridgeshire

    Wimpole has double the fun, with two great play areas for children to explore this working farm estate. Set amongst the trees past the paddocks of cattle, sheep and chickens, Home Farm’s adventure woodland is full of slides, towers, wobble boards, tyres and swings and surrounded by a cool assault course. There is also lots of dens and cosy hide-outs in the surrounding woods to explore.

    At the farm, the kids can have a go at being mini farmers in the playground there, moving things around with tractors and trailers.