Kids' indoor activities for rainy days

Exploring the outdoors can be great for spotting wildlife, stretching your legs and letting the little ones run wild, but the sky can suddenly go from blue to grey. Though splashing around in wellies can be a fun activity, your plans might be disrupted by the rain. When the weather turns, we’ve got a few ideas up our sleeves for some adventures for rainy days.

Fun in the barn at Castle Ward, County Down

Castle Ward, County Down 

Know any budding young farmers? Why not bring them down to the farmyard at Castle Ward where they can practise driving mini tractors around the barn or dress up as farmyard animals. Whatever the weather, there'll be plenty to keep them occupied - even farm-themed board games.

A family peer at rocks in a collector's cabinet in the saloon at Calke Abbey

Calke Abbey, Derbyshire 

Uncover secret messages, crocodile skulls and strange collections at Calke Abbey. Over in Squirt's Stable, children can get hands-on with their exploration of the country estate’s story in themed bays through the ages. Investigate Sir Vauncey’s study to discover books, butterflies and lots of rocks. Or try on some costumes and enjoy an afternoon of traditional games and crafts.

Items of scientific curiosity in the Electrical Room at Cragside, Northumberland

Cragside, Northumberland 

Find Lord Armstrong’s Electrical Room tucked away in the house at Cragside. It's a place of magic, mystery and electrical experimentation. See some of his experiments recreated before your eyes as our installations bring the space to life and make the air crackle with electricity once again.

Visitors and costumed interpreter in the kitchen at Ickworth, Suffolk

Ickworth, Suffolk 

Why do you think the Earl Bishop threw spaghetti out of his window? You’ll have to discover the secret back stairs at Ickworth to find out. Learn about the life of a 1930s servant in the basement of the classical Rotunda.

Trying on Tudor clothes at Lavenham Guildhall, Suffolk

Lavenham Guildhall, Suffolk 

Discover history at Lavenham Guildhall, where you can check out the spooky old prison cell. You can learn more about the people who used to work and live here, like the evacuees who used it as a place to stay during the Second World War. After filling your head with fascinating facts about our past, fill up on a slice of cake in our Tudor tea-room with a warm drink to go with it.

Father and his son look at toys through the ages at the Museum of Childhood in Derbyshire

Museum of Childhood, Derbyshire 

Do you dare to crawl into a chimney or venture down a mine tunnel? At the Museum of Childhood, you’ll have the chance to experience what life was like for children who worked through the ages. You can explore the amazing toy collection of Betty Cadbury, discover an upside-down child’s bedroom and go back to school in our Victorian classroom. Sit up straight, it’s time to play.

Children scrubbing in the Apprentice House kitchen

Quarry Bank Mill, Cheshire 

There’s something magical about exploring the huge mill at Quarry Bank, hearing the working machines clatter and feeling the ground shake under your feet. Even if the rain keeps you inside, you can still see the giant waterwheel in action or or discover the amazing steam engines in the Power Galleries. Join a tour of the Apprentice House to see how the mill’s child workers used to live and find out if you would have been fit to work, or sent back to the workhouse.

The Great Kitchen at Tredegar House, Newport, South Wales

Tredegar House, Newport 

Step back in time within the distinctive walls of Tredegar House, a red brick mansion designed to impress and entertain. Twirl beneath the painted ceiling of the dazzling 17th-century Gilt Room, hunt for lions, griffins or even kings among the intricate carvings of the Brown Room, or walk in the footsteps of the household staff as you explore below stairs. With centuries of stories to choose from, our House Hosts have plenty of tales to inspire and amaze.

Visitors looking out of the lantern room at Souter Lighthouse

Souter Lighthouse, Tyne & Wear 

Climb the 76 steps to the top of Souter Lighthouse and look out on the foaming North Sea. This was the first lighthouse in the world designed and built to be powered by electricity. Opened in 1871, Souter remains an iconic beacon, dramatically hooped in red and white, and standing proud on the coastline midway between the Tyne and the Wear.

Visitors in the Billiard Room at Polesden Lacey, Surrey

Speke Hall, Liverpool 

If it's raining outside there are few better ways to while away the afternoon than by playing billiards – and few better tables to play the game on than the wonderfully restored table at Speke Hall. Everyone is welcome to have a go. There are even special cues for children, and a box to stand on if you can't reach the table.

A closer look at the dolls' house at Uppark

Uppark, West Sussex 

The 18th-century dolls’ house is one of Uppark’s highlights. Dating between 1735 and 1740, this remarkable creation has never been remodelled or redecorated and features incredible attention to detail. You’ll find four poster beds with silk damask hangings, hallmarked silver and even miniature candle scones – just like a real Georgian house.

Latest visiting update 

Our gardens, parks, cafés, shops, countryside locations and many houses are open. You no longer need to pre-book at many places. Some still require booking ahead, so please check the property webpage before you travel.​