Enchanted forests

We’ve picked our top 10 most enchanted forests for you and your family to explore. Keep a look out for fairies, boggarts and other creatures of the wild woods…

‘My children loved this place. It was like visiting a fairy tale,’ says Diana, of her family’s visit to Shanklin Chine, near Borthwood Copse on the Isle of Wight. ‘They imagined fairies dancing in the waterfalls and trolls under the bridge. It was a safe and magical environment that brought back a bit of the child in me too.’

Kids can also let their imaginations run wild at our fairytale castles and magical mansions and gardens.

Young boy exploring inside the hollow trunk of the ancient Ankerwycke Yew
Visit the oldest tree we look after National Trust Images / John Millar

Runnymede, Surrey 

Explore Runnymede and you and the kids can discover the story of the oldest tree looked after by the National Trust - the 2,500-year-old Ankerwycke yew.

Visitors and dogs at the Whitelady Waterfall at Lydford Gorge, Devon
If you go down to the woods today, there's lots to explore at Lydford Gorge National Trust Images / John Millar

Lydford Gorge, Devon 

Among the ancient trees of Lydford Gorge, Devon, are the spectacular White Lady Waterfall and the Devil's Cauldron. Visit with your family to discover its secrets.

View of Aira Force waterfall and bridge through the trees, Aira Force and Ullswater, Cumbria.
Aira Force waterfall and bridge through the trees, Ullswater ©National Trust Images/Paul Harris

Ullswater, Cumbria 

A family stroll through Ullswater, Cumbria leads you to Aira Force, a breathtaking waterfall. And that's not the only thing to look out for. Will you see the resident red squirrels?

Children enjoying the trees in Hatfield Forest, Essex
There are thousands of trees that are ideal for exploring at medieval Hatfeld Forest National Trust Images / Britainonview / Rod Edwards

Hatfield Forest, Essex 

A well-preserved example of a medieval royal hunting forest, visit Hatfield Forest in Essex with your family and you'll be among some trees that are 1,200 years old.

Visitor enjoying an autumnal walk through woodland at Ashridge, Hertfordshire
Ashridge, Hertfordshire National Trust Images / Chris Lacey

Ashridge Estate, Hertfordshire 

Ashridge Estate, Hertfordshire, starred in the Disney film Maleficent. Bring the kids and their imaginations and you’ll soon see why this fairy tale forest was the perfect backdrop.

Oxbow lakes and River Tywi, Dinefwr Park, Carmarthenshire
Dinefwr is full of myth and legend National Trust Images / Andrew Butler

Dinefwr, Carmarthenshire 

The mystical forest at Dinefwr has some of the oldest trees in Britain, and is home to modern day mini-dragons. Well, freshwater dragonflies at least.

Children playing on a tree by Burbage Brook at Longshaw, Derbyshire
Are you brave enough to search for the boggarts? National Trust Images / Joe Cornish

Longshaw, Derbyshire 

Legend has it that Longshaw in Derbyshire is home to mythical creatures called boggarts. Be sure to go on the boggart hunting trail with your children, to see how many you can spot among the ancient trees.

Children playing in woodland
There are old tales about a dragon here in this wood National Trust Images / John Millar

Shervage Wood, Somerset 

A family day exploring Shervage Wood will reveal the mysterious story of how the Quantock Hills were formed. The fire-breathing dragon should really capture the kids’ imaginations!

Visitors at Acorn Bank Garden, Cumbria
Have an outdoors adventure National Trust Images / Paul Harris

Acorn Bank, Cumbria 

Hidden doors, a hollow tree and a wild play area await children who are looking for an adventure at Acorn Bank, Cumbria. Who will be the first from your family to find a pixie house?