Five reasons to visit Calke Abbey for half term

Natural play areas at National Trust Calke Abbey in Derbyshire

There's plenty of exploring to be done at Calke Abbey, whatever the weather. Here are our top five reasons to visit this half term...

1) Squirt's Stable is open for business

Packed full of family activities, Squirt’s Stable has everything you need to keep the kids busy this half term. Dress up in costumes and discover what it was like to live at Calke, play in Sir Vauncey’s study where there’s lots of old books, or have a go at some seasonal activities.

From Sat 15–Sun 23 Feb, join us in Squirt's Stable for some nature-themed activities, from 10.30am–4pm.

Unfortunately, Squirt's Stable is not open for business this half-term due to flooding, however, the Riding School will be open from 11am–4pm with loads of activities for kids.

2) There are lots of things to take photos of

From the red deer with their spectacular antlers, to snowdrops popping up around the estate – there are lots of things to take photos of at Calke Abbey!

Join our team of volunteer photographers for a creative walk in the park, where you’ll pick up lots of handy tips and tricks for taking photos. We’re setting off from outside the Ticket Office on Tues 18 Feb at 10.30am. Don’t forget to bring a camera and an adult with you. 

Brush up on your photography skills at Calke
Children photographing snowdrops at Calke Abbey, Derbyshire
Brush up on your photography skills at Calke

3) There are over 600 acres of playground

How big is your back garden? Ours is over 600 acres! With woodland walks, wide open meadows and plenty of pathways, you can have loads of fun exploring the parkland here at Calke Abbey.

Don’t forget that Calke Explore is open all year round for a family adventure in the woods. With natural play, including a human-sized badger sett, a giant bug hotel and lots of things to climb on, the kids can go wild in nature while you relax with a cuppa. 

In the rest of the estate, Serpentine Wood is a popular, winding woodland route, while the Tramway Trail is ideal for family bike rides. For some inspiration, download one of our popular winter walks below. If you prefer to step off the beaten track, pick up a park map and have your own unique half-term adventure.

A waterfall along one of Calke Abbey's trails, Derbyshire

Winter Walks at Calke

Enjoy crisp, winter walks at Calke and explore seasonal highlights around the estate.

4) There’s loads of weird and wonderful wildlife

Fancy finding out a bit more about the creatures that live at Calke? Bring the family for a 1-mile stroll around Betty's Pond on Weds 19 Feb, and discover how plants and animals survive in winter. We'll be setting off from Calke Explore at 1.30pm – don't forget to bring some wellies and wear warm clothes.

Sadly, the weather forecast for Weds means we've had to cancel this walk. Fingers crossed for some sunshine soon!

If you're embarking on a self-led walk, go wildlife spotting and look out for red and fallow deer in the Deer Park, or keep an eye to the skies in search of birds who visit throughout the year. The bird hides are the perfect place to spot lots of our regular winged visitors – you’ll find one in the main car park near the Deer Park, and another down at Calke Explore.

5) You can tick off lots of your '50 things' list

How many challenges have you tried on your '50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾' list? At Calke, there are loads of things you can have a go at.

Explore inside one of Calke's huge ancient trees, build a brilliant den in the woodland (Serpentine Wood is an excellent den spot) or enjoy a really long bike ride along the Tramway Trail. If you're new to '50 things', pick up a scrapbook from Squirt's Stable and get started this half term.

Let us know what you get up to this half term @NTCalkeAbbey and don't forget to tag us #YourCalke.