'50 things to do before you're 11¾' at Hardwick

Children den building in the park

Have fun in the great outdoors and enjoy all that nature has to give by trying our '50 things to do before you're 11¾'. Here are some of our favourite 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. Inside the stableyard, opposite The Great Barn Restaurant we have just the materials you’ll need in an open grassy space to do this. If you’re feeling a little more adventurous, Lady Spencer's wood has lots of naturally fallen branches for you to collect and build your own den.

9. Eat a picnic in the wild

Sit back and relax with a view of the magnificent Elizabethan Hall while enjoying a picnic in the gardens or in the stableyard where we have lots of picnic benches. Fancy a treat alongside your picnic? Head to The Great Barn Restaurant and enjoy a selection of meals and cakes.


24. Go barefoot

Slip off the socks and feel the sensation of going barefoot. For a fascinating foot feeling, our top tip is to walk over the rush matting within the Hall on the top floor. This natural carpet protects the old flooring preserving it for years to come. The lawns within the Stableyard, outside The Great Barn Restaurant are also a spot to go barefoot and feel the grass between your toes.

Go barefoot
Children sitting in a field with bare feet
Go barefoot

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 in the natural environment. 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. Our top tip is to head to the Ornamental Orchard in the garden, you’ll know it from the tall grass which is kept long to support their habitat.

Make friends with a bug
Hunt for bugs
Make friends with a bug

33. Go cloud watching

Relax and unwind after exploring Hardwick by lying on the grass or sitting on a bench and watching the clouds float by in the sky. What different shapes can you see?

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.