50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾ at Knole

Play in the natural surroundings of Knole Park, Kent.

Discover the top things to do at Knole as part of 50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾. Get outdoors, tick off some exciting activities and don’t forget to share your photos with us!

1. Track wild animals
How many different animal species can you find at Knole?

Knole is home to a huge range of wildlife from deer to bugs, badgers and birds. See how many you can find while completing No.34 on your list of 50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾. The 350 wild deer are the best loved animals in the park and are descendants of those hunted by Henry VIII.

Where’s the best place to spot them? Everywhere! Try around Echo Mount (the highest point at Knole) or along the Gallops (the wide grassy path leading up to the south eastern end of the park). Although they look lovely, wild deer can be dangerous and have sharp antlers and hooves. Please do not feed or pet them.

Other Knole wildlife includes a world of bugs and insects living among the bracken and undergrowth. Get down on the ground to discover their habitats. Can you spot any rare dung beetles or slimy slugs? Both love a delicious meal of deer poo! Look out for the hundreds of ant hills around the park, especially on the Gallops. Each one is home to between 800 and 14,000 crawling critters.

If you would like to learn more about the park’s wildlife, join us for a guided park walk every Thursday, Saturday and Sunday at 2pm.

Spot the wild deer herd at Knole Park, Kent.

2. Build a den
Do you want to make the world’s best ever den?

Build an epic den and tick off No.4 on your list of 50 things to do before you are 11 ¾. There are some existing dens at Knole to the left of the Gallops (the prehistoric river bed and wide grassy path leading up to the south eastern end of the park). Add your own touch to one of these or build a new one using any natural materials you can find – old branches and sticks for the den itself and leaves and bracken for roofs and insulation or to provide a soft carpet inside. One of the easiest dens to build is a simple tipi by leaning all your branches in to one central point. Try building a den that could house you and your family or friends or make a smaller one which could provide shelter for a wild animal. Be sure to share your photos with us!

Build a den in Knole Park, Kent.

3. Create some wild art
Use nature to make a masterpiece

Who needs pens and paper? Let your imagination run free and create some wild art by using natural materials to complete No.18 on your list of 50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾. Knole’s varied vegetation provides endless materials from moss, sticks, twigs and tree bark to the foliage and ferns of the open grasslands. Choose things to provide a variety of colour and texture to create a self portrait or ‘write’ your name on a piece of bright card using a mix of flowers, grasses and twigs. Leaves provide lots of options – leaf rubbings can make beautiful patterns or make a collage using as many different kinds as you can find. Don’t worry if it’s wet; mud can be a wild artist’s best material for hand or foot prints or bold finger paintings.

Create some wild art with natural materials in Knole Park, Kent.

4. Go on a really long bike ride
Ready for some off-road fun?

Coast along paved boulevards, pedal grassy paths or whizz through wooded trails: Knole’s diverse terrain makes for a really fun bike ride. One of our favourites is to pedal up Broad Walk (the wide paved path leading to the southeastern tip of the park) then reward yourself with an exhilarating freewheel down the Gallops back to the house. There’s loads to explore on two wheels while enjoying No.11 of the 50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾ but remember to stick to the paths as the ground can be uneven and bumpy. Finish with lunch at the outdoor picnic area or in the Brewhouse Café where there are cycle racks to keep your bike safe.

Embark on a bike ride to explore Knole Park, Kent.



5. Go bird watching
Want to become an amateur ornithologist?

Ever seen a jackdaw building its nest? Or watched a fledgling learning to fly? Knole is home to an amazing variety of birds making it a great place for bird spotting. Some of the birds you may see while completing No.44 of  your 50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾ include green woodpeckers, yellowhammers,  jackdaws, blackbirds, wagtails, thrushes, pipits, winter finches, nuthatches and redstarts. In spring look out for jackdaws (recognisable by their black coats and piercing blue/grey eyes). They can often be seen with stick laden beaks for nest building and they even pluck the fallow deer’s furry winter coats to make a cosy nest lining! Discover more about the park’s bird population by joining a guided walk every Thursday, Saturday and Sunday at 2pm.

Explore the natural surroundings of Knole Park, Kent.

6. Explore inside a tree
Examine the inner life of trees

Crawl inside a hollow tree trunk and find out what really goes on in there. Knole is full of fabulous fallen trees, some hundreds of years old. Many fell in the Great Storm of October 1987 and most remain where they fell to be used as a habitat for wildlife. They also happen to make brilliant natural climbing frames to explore while doing No.22 of your 50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾. The gentle tangle of tree roots and branches right in front of the Brewhouse Café is especially good for little ones or explore the woods to find undiscovered tree hollows. Which insects live there? What sorts of vegetation thrives there? Can you see any fungi? Knole is a designated Site of Specific Scientific Interest as a thriving habitat for a range of wildlife, flora and fungi so there is lots to discover.

Explore inside a fallen tree in Knole Park, Kent.



7. Find your way with a map and compass
Want to improve your navigation skills?

Never get lost again by learning some basic navigation skills and explore the park with a map and compass while completing No.45 of the 50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾. How can you tell which way is north, south, east and west with and without a compass? Walk to each corner of the park and see how different they are in terms of vegetation and landscape. 

Find your way with a map and compass in Knole Park, Kent.

8. Make a trail with sticks
Want to lay an awesome trail for your friends to follow?

Invent your own trail code and lay a stick trail for your friends and family to follow. It could be two crossed sticks, arrows or simple stakes in the ground but make sure you place them in clear areas so they are easy to spot. Most importantly make sure your trail finishes somewhere fun such as the Brewhouse Café for an ice cream! Then you can tick off No.12 of 50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾.

Make a trail with sticks found in Knole Park, Kent.

9. Fly a kite
Want to be a high flier?

Knole’s flat, open spaces are perfect for kite flying to experience No.7 on your list of 50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾.  Head for the highest points in the park such as Echo Mount in front of the house or the grassy paths of the Gallops, which was once a glacial river bed.

Learn to fly a kite in Knole Park, Kent.

Click here to find out more about the National Trust’s 50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾, download the app and set off on an adventure.