Children & Young People at Gibside

School children on minibeast hunt

When children & young people feel uninspired, log off their devices, change up their surroundings and step into the woodlands. By reconnecting with nature and learning new skills, you'll revive their love of learning.

Activities we offer

Whether you’re looking to spark creativity, build confidence, encourage problem solving skills or fill your lungs with fresh air, we have everything you need for a group visit immersed in nature.

You can choose from a variety of self-led activities below or request to use the woodlands for your own activities. We welcome all formal groups of young people to Gibside; schools, universities, Brownies, Scouts etc.

Minibeast safari

Minibeasts are hiding in the woods, meadows and all around us, itching to be discovered. Using simple keys, you can hunt them down and learn how to identify them.

(Adaptable for EYFS, KS1&2)

Hunting for bugs

Art in nature

With dried up sticks and crunchy leaves, squidgy moss and bark from trees, creating sculpture is as easy as (mud)pie. Using natural materials, textures, colours and shapes, you can get your creativity flowing and find inspiration everywhere.

(Adaptable for all ages)

Low ropes course

The talents of a true adventurer are balance, strength and stamina. If you’re not afraid of muddy knees and ready to take on a challenge, you can build these skills and see your self-confidence soar higher than the trees.

(Suitable for KS2)

Ropes are good for balancing
Ropes are good for balancing
Ropes are good for balancing

Map skills & orienteering

From basic map skills to a full orienteering course, you and your team can navigate the estate, keeping eyes peeled for waymark signs along the route.

(Suitable for KS2)


Using GPS devices, you can explore the estate and take part in cross-curricular activities at each geocache you find.

(Suitable for KS2&3)

Shelter building

Many years ago, our ancestors learned how to protect themselves from nature’s elements by building shelters. Using natural materials, you can do the same.

(Adaptable for KS1+)


Den building
Young boy building a den with branches in a wood
Den building

Out of Your Senses stroll

In a place where gentle breezes whisper in the trees and spicy wild garlic tickles your nose, embark on a sensory, interactive trail through Gibside to appreciate nature and all the benefits that come with being outside.

(Suitable for KS2&3)

Marshmallow toasting

Gloopy marshmallows roasted over a crackling campfire make a delicious snack between activities. Join a volunteer and learn how to toast them to perfection.

Please note that this is not a fire lighting activity, the fire will already be lit when your group arrive and you will receive a safety talk on arrival. We estimate that this will take around 30 minutes depending on the size of your group.  You will be asked to visit the campfire area in small groups, so please plan another activity to take place in the woods with the rest of your group.

(Suitable for KS1+)

Enjoy gooey marshmallows fresh from the campfire
Children toast marshmallows on a campfire
Enjoy gooey marshmallows fresh from the campfire

How to book

Groups visits must be booked in advance. They're either self-led or can be supported by the helping hand of National Trust volunteers.

If you are looking to use any woodland areas or the low ropes course, please check availability at the time of booking as space is limited to one group at a time.  Please note that self-led fire lighting is not currently permitted by groups for safety and conservation reasons. If you would like extra support for your visit you can also hire volunteers to assist with the above activities subject to availability.

Once you decide which activities you’d like to do, email the Children and Young People (CYP) team to on to check availabilty and prices. Once booked, you’ll be sent a PDF session and instruction plan and any equipment you need can be collected on arrival.

Activities offered by our partners

Throughout 2021 we will be developing different partnerships to offer new and exciting experiences at Gibside.  Please check in throughout the year to find out what new opportunities are available. If you are interested in building a partnership with us, please contact us on

Stomping Grounds Kindergarten

A fully outdoor play-based learning environment for children aged 3-7 years, effortlessly covering and going beyond the Early Years Foundation curriculum. An alternative to traditional nursery school, offering a wide range of exciting nature-based experiences, learning directly from the seasonal changes and the natural world. The opportunities for imagination to flow are endless.

For more information and to book, please visit:


Gibside Stables Bunkhouse

As a result of the covid-19 pandemic Gibside Stables Bunkhouse has closed. Unfortunately we no longer accomodate overnight stays. We’d like to thank you for all your support in staying over the years and the many happy memories of smiling, excited children and young people.

 Schoolchildren working in the garden at Greenway, Devon

Education Group Membership 

Education Group Membership is specially designed to allow education groups free entry to most places owned by the National Trust. It is for not-for-profit groups or home educators whose members, pupils or students are in full-time education.