Top-secret places for curious children

If your kids are curious things, they will love uncovering the secrets of some of the places we look after. We dare any child, or grown-up for that matter, to resist exploring these fascinating places, where all is not quite as it seems. As an especially inquisitive youngster once said: 'curiouser and curiouser'. If you manage to unravel any of these secret spots, we’d love to hear from you. Do share what you have found on Facebook or Twitter.

The tunnels at Uppark House and Garden, West Sussex
Explore the tunnels at Uppark house and Garden, West Sussex National Trust Images / Andrew Butler

Find twisted tunnels 

Dark burrows, winding tunnels through trees and shafts that seem to go to the centre of the earth – are you brave enough to enter these places of little light? Some tunnels are scarier than others, but all are well worth a visit.

Children opening a door at Allan Bank, Cumbria
Where will opening the door take you? National Trust Images / Paul Harris

Discover secret doors 

Doors are curious things. They have been known to lead to private rooms, hidden gardens and even other worlds. Can you find the door disguised as a bookcase? Sometimes they don’t lead to anything much at all, but it’s always great fun trying to spot them when they’re dressed like a chameleon.

Father and son in the yew tree maze at Cliveden, Buckinghamshire
Cliveden Maze National Trust / Clare Kendall

Meander mysterious mazes 

Now here’s a challenge. How quickly can you make your way to the centre of these labyrinths? Race your family, race the clock – just make sure you remember the way back out. Some of these puzzles are made from laurel bushes, one is inside a rhododendron forest and another even features gates, bridges and a tower.

Surveying the caves
Dolaucothi Gold Mines National Trust Images / David Levenson

Explore curious caves 

Some of these caves are so well hidden that you have to walk through waterfalls to get to them. Others only appear at low tide and one cave in Yorkshire is said to be home to the queen of the fairies. Whichever cave you decide to visit there are many adventures to be had en route.

Child looking at a flower in Trerice, Cornwall
Can you find our secret gardens? National Trust Images / John Millar

Find secret gardens 

What could be more exciting than discovering a secret garden - a mini world to play in and explore? Hunt down the walled garden, stumble upon a little Wendy house and be one of the first to walk amongst flowers that have been shut away for decades.

The Priest's Hole, showing the doorway open at Oxburgh Hall, Norfolk
Can you find the priest holes? National Trust Images / Mark Fiennes

Discover priest's holes 

These hiding places were created to conceal priests during a time when Catholics were persecuted. Under Queen Elizabeth I, priests were often imprisoned, tortured and even killed. Priest holes were specially disguised within a house to baffle search-parties. Wriggle into a hideout and stay as quiet and still as possible to imagine what it must have been like for these men.

Girl holding a geocaching GPS device
Tick geocaching off your 50 things to do before you're 11 ¾ list at Ickworth National Trust Images / John Millar

Uncover buried treasure 

Geocaching is a treasure hunt for the digital generation. At many of our places you can hire a GPS to track down the caches. At others you’ll need to bring along your own smartphone. Geocaching is one of our 50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾.