Get playful with '50 things' at Calke Abbey

A boy climbing a tree at Calke Abbey in Derbyshire

Plot an outdoor exploration, get creative in nature and explore over 600 acres of green space as part of your '50 things to do before you’re 11¾' adventure at Calke Abbey. We’ve picked out the best spots to get you started.

No. 1 Get to know a tree

You’ll find amazing trees around every corner at Calke, and some of them are over 1000 years old! Feel the rough bark under your fingers, explore the insides of a tree, or take a closer look at some of the deadwood at Calke – it’s home to lots of important minibeasts. What will you spot?

No. 2 Roll down a really big hill

The Pleasure Grounds outside the house are ideal for rolling down. Simply lie back in the grass, give the clouds a wave – and roll! Great fun for everyone.

Roll down a really big hill at Calke Abbey
Children enjoying the Pleasure Grounds at Calke Abbey in Derbyshire
Roll down a really big hill at Calke Abbey

No. 4 Build a den

It’s time to get hands-on! Head over to Serpentine Wood, collect some great big sticks and build yourself an awesome den. All in a day’s work!

No. 9 Eat a picnic in the wild

Everyone loves a picnic, so pack up those blankets, sarnies and sausage rolls, and head over to Calke for a lunchtime treat.

Ragg’s close, the open space beyond the park entry hut, is a popular spot for picnickers. We’ve also got plenty of picnic benches close to the main car park.

Enjoy an al-fresco lunch at Calke Abbey
Picnic at National Trust Calke Abbey, Derbyshire
Enjoy an al-fresco lunch at Calke Abbey

No. 11 Explore on wheels

Feel the wind in your hair on a family bike ride along the Tramway Trail, Calke’s relatively flat, circular cycle route.

No. 16 Wear a wild crown

Time to get creative! Keep your eyes peeled for nature’s best materials, such as fallen leaves, sticks and flowers. The woodland is a great spot for crown crafts.

No. 24 Go barefoot

The Walled Garden is a great open space to kick off your shoes, run free and feel the long grass between your toes.

No. 31 Make friends with a bug

Calke is home to lots of bugs, beetles and butterflies – you’ll be able to spot lots near the ponds or in the Flower Garden.

Hunting for bugs at Calke Abbey
Calke Abbey, Midlands, Calke Explore bug hunting
Hunting for bugs at Calke Abbey

No. 44 Watch a bird

The best place to see our regular winged visitors is in the bird hide at the far end of the main car park. Take a seat and see who’s popping in for a bit of food.

No. 50 Take a friend on a nature adventure

Had a great adventure at Calke? Share the fun and enjoy your favourite challenges over and over again. The adventures never need to end!