Winter Family Fun at Hardwick

Have fun in the great outdoors, take part in Percy the Park Keeper Winter Adventure Trail, find our favourite objects in the Hall or try some of our '50 things to do before you're 11¾'.

Winter family adventures

The magic of Nick Butterworth’s children’s stories is brought vividly to life this winter. Join Percy the Park Keeper and his animal friends at Hardwick Hall. Our grounds and gardens take a lot of looking after, so we need you and your family to be Percy’s helpers for the day. Help care for nature this winter from collecting leaves to making sure the rabbits haven’t eaten everything in our Herb Garden!

Follow the clues from Percy to find lost items along the way and look out for signs of other furry friends hidden in the garden! At the end of the trail, take a family selfie with Percy before collecting your prize for all your hard work. Why not get a festive shot alongside our sleigh and willow reindeer? If you share your picture on social media, don't forget to tag us  #NTHardwick

The trail costs £2 (please note normal admission prices apply) and can be bought from our visitor welcome building. From 4 December to 3 January whilst stock last. 

Percy's Saturday Stroll and Story

Meet Percy the Park Keeper in person at Hardwick on Saturday 4th,11th and 18th December. Percy will lead a stroll around the garden for his Hardwick helpers and finish with Story Time in his very festive Potting Shed.

Times for Percy's Saturday's Stroll and Story are 10.15AM, 11.15AM, 12.30PM, each Stroll and Story lasts approximately 45 minutes. Places are limited to 15 people. Please book your place with Visitor Reception when you arrive at Hardwick. 

Places allocated on a first come first serve basis.Suggested donation of £2 per child.

Take part in Percy the Park Keeper's winter wander trail
Percy the Park Keeper
Take part in Percy the Park Keeper's winter wander trail

Some of our favourite 50 things to do at Hardwick 

1. Get to know a tree

There are an abundant variety of trees at Hardwick, from different species to different sizes and shapes. With a variety of different walks to go on such as Lady Spencer's walk across the 2,500 acres you'll be spoilt for choice to get to know a tree.

Get to know a tree
Children climbing a tree in the grounds of Mottisfont, Hampshire.
Get to know a tree

4. Build a den

One of the staples of childhood imagination and fun, create a temporary home in nature with the branches you can find. Go to Lady Spencer's wood where you will find lots of naturally fallen branches for you to collect and build your own den.

6. Go welly wandering

Don't let a bit of rain keep you away, grab those wellies and your waterproof jacket and get splashing in some puddles. At the park centre, around the millers pond or along the woodland walk, they'll be many an opportunity spot. After your outdoor, wet weather adventure, visit the cafe to warm up with a hot chocolate.

Have fun on a rainy day
Child in red wellies splashing in puddle
Have fun on a rainy day

25. Join nature’s band

From beautiful birdsong to the rustle of leaves on the tree, discover the mixture of sounds within nature’s band. Listen closely to the rhythm and pitch then join in. Clap your hands, whistle or knock sticks against each other, it all counts so be sure to give it a go.

30. Go on a scavenger hunt

See what wonderful treasures you can find. Explore new colours, sights and smells and get to know nature’s variety of plants, seeds, prints and animals within Hardwick. Our top tip is to take a photo of your favourite things.

31. Make friends with a bug

A woodlouse? A caterpillar? A beetle? Which bug will you choose to make friends with? There are a huge variety of bugs in so many sizes, colours and shapes, all of which play an important role in our world. Look closely and discover how marvellous these mini-beasts are.

Getting hands on with some bug hunting at Hardwick
Child hunting for bugs at Hardwick park
Getting hands on with some bug hunting at Hardwick

44. Watch a bird

Take time to watch a bird go about its day, listen to it sing, watch it fly and notice its colours. At Hardwick we are home to a wide variety of birds and can be seen all over the estate, from the windows of the house where you can see the birds soar in the sky, to the gardens where you can see them scurry for worms.

 Visitors enjoying an autumnal walk beneath the autumn trees on the estate at Hardwick, Derbyshire

Autumn activities for all the family 

There is still time to experience the vibrant colours, bold trees and rich harvests of autumn. Whether you're after family fun or some quiet time alone at our places or at home, explore the best experiences this season has to offer with this range of autumnal activities.