No. 24 Go barefoot

It’s no wonder that going barefoot is one of our top '50 things to do before you’re 11¾'. It's the perfect activity to get mucky, explore the outdoors, and make a lasting connection with nature.

So, peel off your stinky socks and let your bare toes wiggle free. Clamber up beach dunes and feel the warm sand on your soles, dance on soft wet grass in your garden, or listen to the squelchy loveliness of wet mud squishing under your feet.

Don't forget to take a towel for afterwards, and keep your eyes open for glass or other things that might poke your feet.

 Rock pooling at Birling Gap and the Seven Sisters, East Sussex.

Birling Gap and the Seven Sisters

The beach at Birling Gap is a rather unusual barefoot experience. It’s a shingle beach so children can walk across pebbles, chalk boulders, flint and maybe even find the odd fossil.

‘There are so many different textures to feel underfoot on this beach. You can dip your feet in rock pools, walk across the shingle and jump over the waves. Just make sure you visit when the tide is out because when it’s in the beach disappears.' - Zara Luxford, staff member.

Brancaster Beach

Brancaster beach

'Brancaster Beach is perfect for barefoot walking because it has three miles of beautiful golden sand. As well as walking barefoot, the beach gives children loads of wide open space for playing and building sandcastles.’ - Alex Green, learning officer at Brancaster Estate.

Please note there are no life guards on Brancaster Beach, so use caution when swimming in the sea.

Close up of child's bare feet amongst grass

Godolphin

'We all had muddy feet after our barefoot trail at Godolphin last week, absolutely great fun for me and the kids.’

Godolphin is our first ever dedicated barefoot trail. Here your feet can feel everything from smooth slate, to tickly fir cones, the balancing log and soft sand. In fact there are over 20 textures to explore. All you have to do is follow the foot print signs.

Mother and young daughter walking barefoot on a lawn

Hidcote

The Great Lawn at Hidcote provides children with a flat expanse of lawn for a spot of barefoot walking. Little explorers can feel the manicured grass against their feet, as parents take it easy.

‘The Great Lawn is a lovely place for parents to sit and relax with a picnic, whilst children go barefoot and explore the intricate little gardens that surround the lawn.’ - Lisa Edinborough, staff member at Hidcote.

The Garden, Killerton
Walking trail

Killerton 

This mini toddler and buggy walk is ideal for pushchair passengers, who can even go barefoot through the park and into the hillside garden. Let your little ones run wild on the Dragon Play trail and discover our resident dragon, Dolbury, who's lived at Killerton for hundreds of years.

Killerton isn't just about walks - there are hills to roll down, dens to build and trees explore as you enjoy the great outdoors.

Path winding to the summit of Roseberry Topping

Roseberry Topping

Mud, mud glorious mud, nothing quite like it for a barefoot walk…Most children relish the chance to get ankle deep in some good old-fashioned dirt. Well, for such children there are muddy opportunities galore at Roseberry Topping.

‘The paths through the woodlands can get really squelchy so are great fun for a barefoot walk. Depending on the levels of squelch you want, time your visit for just after a rainy spell.’ - Gareth Wilson, ranger at Roseberry Topping.

Visitor on the beach looking towards Lindisfarne Castle, Northumberland

Lindisfarne Castle

Walking across Pilgrims’ Way is a real adventure. Your bare feet can tread in the footsteps of ancient pilgrims and monks, who used to walk from the mainland to the castle on Holy Island.

Kids love the fact that they are walking on sand that will be enveloped by the sea later that day. Make sure you check the tide times before you set off though: you don’t want to turn up when Pilgrims’ Way is underwater.

Close up on a pair of bare feet stretched out on the grass

Lyme Park

Lyme Park is stuffed full of lovely grassy areas for freeing your feet. With over 1,300 acres of estate you won't be short of places to explore. There is even an adventure playground, called Crow Wood Playscape, with a giant slide, badger den and rope walks.

Barefoot walking
Walking trail

Strumble Head to Cardigan 

At Strumble Head the whole family can experience a range of textures underfoot: soft peat, small stones, rocky outcrops, heather and gorse. The Pen Anglas headland walk takes you from Goodwick, across rugged coastal heath, reaching the volcanic rock formations at Pen Anglas headland and with views across Cardigan Bay.

Playing in the sea

Portstewart Strand

Portstewart Strand isn’t just about sand. You can paddle in the waves, wind your way through the long grass of the dunes and then dip your toes in the water at the Bann Estuary.

The Strand combines barefoot walking with a nature trail. Keep your eyes peeled for butterflies, whales, otters, dolphins and seals. If you’re lucky you might even spot the Cinnabar moth. This day-flying insect can look scary because of its vibrant red spots and lines.

" I love barefoot walking as it helps you feel all the different surfaces on your feet. I like walking in mud, on beaches and over rocks at the seaside. In the winter we even walked barefoot in the snow and left footprint trails."
- Kai Bickley