May half-term events

Visitors in the woodland at Nostell Priory, West Yorkshire

As the days get warmer and evenings become longer, May half-term is the perfect time to head outdoors and get closer to nature. From hunting for bugs and planting seeds, to whittling wood and building secret dens, there’s so many adventures to be had.

Our gardens, woodland and beaches are great places to let the little ones loose. What’s more, every half-term adventure helps us care for these special places for years to come. 

Here's just a few of our top picks for May half-term: 

Eight fallow deer grazing in the deer park at Attingham Park

Attingham Park, Shropshire 

Deer Park Safari, 29 May

It might not be the Serengeti, but there are still plenty of opportunities to spot wildlife on a tractor and trailer Safari through Attingham Park. Keep a special eye out for the fallow deer herd - there are around 200 of them in the park, and it won’t be long until this year’s fawns are born and join the herd.

A child looks for bugs under flowerpots

Calke Abbey, Derbyshire 

Minibeast Safari, 30 May

This half-term is all about nature at Calke Abbey. Join the insect hunt and seek out the hidden creatures that live here; tucked away in burrows, hiding under logs or above your head among the tree branches. You might even have some of these mysterious animals living near your home, so once you’re done exploring why not head on over to Squirt's Stable to make something special for your garden wildlife?

Children fascinated by taxidermy at Cragside, Northumberland

Cragside, Northumberland 

Ultimate STEM challenge, 26 May - 3 June

Cragside has always been a place at the cutting edge of scientific innovation – its owner William Armstrong was a great scientist and inventor who made Cragside the first house to be powered by hydroelectricity. This May half-term follow in his footsteps and have some serious fun with STEM challenges (science, technology, engineering and maths). Get your brain cells ticking as you learn to generate your own electricity or try other experiments at the home where modern living began.

Children play in the stream at Florence Court

Florence Court, County Fermanagh 

Country Fair, 27 May

What better way to celebrate half-term and the early days of summer than a traditional country fair? Florence Court’s annual fair is a feast for all the senses with live music, crafts stalls, food and livestock show classes. Why not spruce up your faithful family pooch to see if they can win the pet dog show? After all the fun, take a stroll along the pretty Yew Tree Trail or through over 8,000 acres of forest park.

Make a mud pie

Knightshayes, Devon 

May half-term havoc, 26 May – 3 June

With warmer weather and maybe even a bit of sunshine, half-term at Knightshayes is the perfect chance to give the kids a bit of wild time. As they explore the garden they’ll be able to try out some of our 50 Things activities during the trail, like creating some wild art, enjoying outdoor play at Four Oaks or spotting spring birds. And if it rains? Well, there’s always squelchy mud pies to be made.

Children enjoying the outdoors at Lanhydrock

Lanhydrock, Cornwall 

Children's activity trail, 26 May - 3 Jun

With deep, ancient woodlands, winding riverside paths and wide open parkland, Lanhydrock is the perfect place to get out and about in the fresh air. Why not gather the whole family this half-term to try the special activity trail through the estate? There’ll be plenty to see and do along the way from smelling fragranced flower blooms to seeking out fungi and tiny bugs on the woodland floor, or hearing birdsong filling the sky.

Cooking on a campfire

Llanbedrog Beach, Gwynedd 

Shipwrecked, 27 May

Tucked away on the wild Llŷn Peninsula, the golden sweep of Llanbedrog beach is the perfect place to practise your survival skills. This May half-term you can join a crew of other shipwrecked souls to learn the basics, from building dens for shelter and rafts to surf the waves, to cooking over a crackling campfire. You might get wet and a bit muddy, but by the end you’ll be all set to survive on a desert island.

Children den building in the woods

Oxburgh Hall, Norfolk 

Woodland Wednesday, 30 May

If you go down to the woods today, you'll meet one of Oxburgh’s team of nature lovers who will show you all the best ways to enjoy Britain’s woodlands. Have a go at building a den out of sticks, or search for bugs hiding under tree bark and on the woodland floor. There’s plenty to discover at this drop-in event, so you can stay for as little or long as you like.

Children playing beside a tree at Petworth

Petworth, West Sussex 

Incredible Inventions trail, 5-24 May

Elizabeth Ilive was one of the most remarkable women to live at Petworth. She was both a painter and amateur scientist, and even set up her own laboratory a Petworth. Now you can tread in her footsteps by following the clues around the gardens, which will help you piece together an ingenious tool. Will you solve the puzzle and become an inventor extraordinaire?

Children learning new skills at the Apprentice House

Quarry Bank, Cheshire 

Survival story, 28 May - 1 June

Life could be tough as a mill apprentice in the 1800s, with long working hours and low wages. Sometimes apprentices used to run away in search of something better – but they needed the skills to survive. Now you can take the challenge to see if you’d be able to live as a runaway apprentice: creating a shelter and playing hide and seek as you try to stay out of the clutches of the mill manager.

Family peering into the moat at Scotney Castle

Scotney Castle, Kent 

Children of Scotney guided walk, 26 May – 3 June

Following the recent discovery of Edward Windsor Hussey’s childhood diaries, young explorers will now be able to experience some of the wild adventures and experiences he and his sisters used to have at Scotney. Join our estate guides for a wander and try to build the perfect den at the Wilderness Camp, go in search of butterflies, or see how high you can go on the big tree swing. You’ll also hear about Edward’s more unusual childhood experiences, like firing the canons and climbing the clock tower.

Wicken Fen - Group of people going to take part in pond dipping

Wicken Fen, Cambridgeshire 

Half term events, 26 May - 2 June

As a National Nature Reserve, Wicken Fen is full to bursting with all sorts of wildlife. Look out for herds of Konik ponies and Highland cattle grazing among the high grass, or birds of prey soaring overhead. May is also the best time to hear Cuckoos calling, so why not join come along to try your luck and join in with some Cuckoo-themed games and crafts? On selected days you can also have a go at pond dipping and a mini beast safari, cook up a storm in the mud ovens or try some of the 50 things to do before you’re 11¾ activities.