Top-secret places to visit with curious children

If your kids are curious things, they will love uncovering the secrets of some of the places we look after. We dare any child (or grown-up) to resist exploring these fascinating places, where all is not quite as it seems. As an especially inquisitive youngster once said: 'curiouser and curiouser'.

The tunnels at Uppark House and Garden, West Sussex

Find twisted tunnels 

Dark burrows, winding tunnels through trees and shafts that seem to go to the centre of the earth – are you brave enough to enter these places of little light? Some tunnels are scarier than others, but all are well worth a visit.

Children opening a door at Allan Bank, Cumbria

Discover secret doors 

Doors are curious things. They have been known to lead to private rooms, hidden gardens and even other worlds. Can you find the door disguised as a bookcase? Sometimes they don’t lead to anything much at all, but it’s always great fun trying to spot them when they’re dressed like a chameleon.

Father and son in the yew tree maze at Cliveden, Buckinghamshire

Meander mysterious mazes 

Now here’s a challenge. How quickly can you make your way to the centre of these labyrinths? Race your family, race the clock – just make sure you remember the way back out. Some of these puzzles are made from laurel bushes, one is inside a rhododendron forest and another even features gates, bridges and a tower.

Surveying the caves

Explore curious caves 

From mysterious grottos to beach caverns that only appear at low tide, there are many adventures to be had when exploring caves. Where will you discover next?

Child looking at a flower in Trerice, Cornwall

Explore real secret gardens 

What could be more exciting than discovering a secret garden - a garden within a garden to play in and explore?

The Priest's Hole, showing the doorway open at Oxburgh Hall, Norfolk

Discover priest holes 

These hiding places were created to conceal priests during a time when Catholics were persecuted. Under Queen Elizabeth I, priests were often imprisoned, tortured and even killed. Priest holes were specially disguised within a house to baffle search-parties. Wriggle into a hideout and stay as quiet and still as possible to imagine what it must have been like for these men.

Girl holding a geocaching GPS device

Uncover buried treasure 

Geocaching is a treasure hunt for the digital generation. At many of our places you can hire a GPS to track down the caches. At others you’ll need to bring along your own smartphone.