Family activities at Calke Abbey

Calke Explore natural outdoor play area at Calke Abbey, Derbyshire

Summer is here at last, and we're ready to get outdoors and active at Calke Abbey all summer long. Find inspiration for family adventures in the woods, picturesque picnics and outdoor play here.

Run free in the Garden of Imagination

This summer holiday, the walled kitchen garden has been transformed into the Garden of Imagination, where you can play games, perform on the theatre and be explore the grassy meadow with all your senses!

There will be lots of activities to inspire your imagination, so kick off those shoes, roll out the picnic blanket and enjoy endless summer days of family fun. 

Alongside your favourite play elements, head for the special summer pavilion of play – a world of lofty lookouts, giant ear trumpets and periscopes – developed by Wild Rumpus and new for this year.

The Garden of Imagination is open every day of the school holidays from Sat 9 July to Sun 4 Sept, 9.30am–5pm. 

Family time in the Garden of Imagination
Family enjoying garden games at Calke Abbey, Midlands
Family time in the Garden of Imagination

Get set, go! 

Need some inspiration to keep the kids entertained during your summer holiday visit? Pick up a 'Get set, go!' activity sheet and set the kids off on some nature-themed challenges. 

Look out for handy hints and tips for completing your challenges in the garden and at Calke Explore. There are even some activities you can do at home or on your next day out. 

Activity sheets are available for free from the ticket office and at Calke Explore, from Sat 10 July to Sun 5 Sept. 

If you go down to the woods today...

... you'll discover an exciting natural play trail at Calke Explore! Nestled into the woodland, Calke Explore is the perfect base for family adventures in the outdoors, open all year round. 

With easy access to walking and cycling routes, along with natural play and nature-themed activities, it's the perfect place to burn off some of that summer energy.

Follow the signs on the driveway to park at Calke Explore, where you'll also find a refreshments kiosk, toilets, Changing Places facility and plenty of picnic benches. 

Children enjoying the natural outdoor play area at National Trust Calke Abbey in Derbyshire

Get outdoors at Calke Explore 

Calke Explore is open all year round, offering more opportunities to get outdoors and active in Calke Abbey’s inspiring parkland.

Perfect picnic spots

Is there anything more summery than a picnic in the countryside with the family? Whatever you've got planned for your day out at Calke, there are loads of picturesque places to enjoy your al-fresco lunch.

Fron picnic benches near the car park to secluded spots in the parkland, we've listed our best picnic spots here: 

Unlimited summer fun

Looking forward to a family day out in our summer play areas? Why not make the fun last all month?

For just £11.15 a month, you can enjoy unlimited summer adventures at Calke. Ask a member of the park entry team for details about a National Trust family membership when you arrive, and start making a year's worth of amazing memories with your little ones.

When you come out and play, it helps us to look after nature so that it can be enjoyed by generations to come. Thank you for your support. 

Small boy cutting out pastry

Family activities to do at home 

We've got plenty of fun activities for you to do wherever you are this summer. Grab your apron and follow a recipe video to make some delicious ham and cheese baked eggs. Plus, find lots more to keep little hands busy with crafts and playful ideas to try at home.