Summer holiday activities at Mottisfont

A Beano illustration of Dennis reading comics in a treehouse

There’s plenty of space to run, jump and play around Mottisfont, and always something for families to do. There's fun for all over the summer holidays with a Beano exhibition and trail.

Beano Time Travellers! takes place from Saturday 20 July – Sunday 8 September 2019, 10am (exhibition opens at 11am) - 5pm. Normal property admission price only (please note that peak price applies for non-members for the August bank holiday), plus £1 per trail.

Beano Time Travellers! exhibition

Travel through Beano's history of mischief and mayhem in this vibrant new exhibition upstairs in the gallery, with fun for all the family.

For visitors unable to access the second floor gallery, which is accessible via stairs only, we have digital versions of exhibitions on iPads which are available on lower levels.

From black-and-red beginnings to the full-colour capers of today, Beano Time Travellers! explores the heritage of the longest running children’s comic in Britain. On show are colourful covers and special editions, showing the timeline of Beano from its first beginnings up to the present day.

There are rooms dedicated to favourite characters: Dennis and Gnasher, Minnie the Minx, and the Bash Street Kids.It’s an exhibition for all ages, with detailed information for anyone who wants to delve into the history of the comic, as well as dressing-up costumes and fun photo opportunities.

There'll be original artwork and sketches on show
A pencil sketch of Dennis the Menace for the Beano comic
There'll be original artwork and sketches on show


Family trail

A giant frieze on the walls of our visitor reception building reveals what happens when Beano kids visit Mottisfont on a school trip... You can take part in the story with our outdoor trail, designed by the comic.

The notorious Beano characters create a time machine to experience some of Mottisfont’s 800 year-old history for themselves, but it breaks down, scattering pieces throughout the grounds. Help them search around the grounds to piece it back together so they can return to the 21st century. 

There’s an exciting opportunity for children to create their very own comic strip at the end of the trail too, using a specially designed Beano template. Designs can be entered into a competition to win a unique Beano prize: to enter, just post them into the red-and-black striped postbox in the comic-making room.

The trail takes place outside, so come prepared for the weather.

Visiting with your family

As well as these summer activities, there's plenty of space to play at Mottisfont.

There are lots of natural features you can play with all around the grounds, and plenty of opportunities to tick off some of your 50 things to do before you're 11 ¾ activities. With wooden bridges and a rushing river, we're one of the country's top destinations for playing pooh sticks - challenge your family to a game when you visit.

Get stuck into our wild play areas: try out your best balancing acts in the Climbing Bog, and splash around with the Pump, Pool and Paddle.

Please note: the wet play area is dependent on the water levels from the surrounding river and streams. In particularly dry weather conditions there may be limitations to how much water can be drawn or pumped.

Here's what you need to know...

  • Free entry for under 5s.
  • Baby-changing facilities in access friendly toilets.
  • Pushchairs welcome around the grounds and catering outlets. There are gently-sloping areas and wide pathways around much of the grounds; pathways are uneven in some places so sturdy tyres are recommended.
  • Hip-carrying infant seats available for loan in the house.
  • Highchairs, baby food warming facilities and children’s menus available in the Old Kitchen and Coach House Cafés.
  • Ice cream parlour open on sunny/busy days, with a wide range of scoop ice cream.
  • Picnic spaces around the grounds.
  • Breast feeding welcome anywhere around the property.
  • Pocket money gifts and children's books available in the shop. There are children's books in our second-hand bookshop, too. 
  • Ball games and frisbees welcome, though please not on the formal lawns in front and behind the house, or in the walled rose gardens.
  • Bikes, scooters and trikes are not allowed anywhere on site, due to vehicles operating onsite at all times, unfenced waterways, gravelled paths and visitor feedback. We only allow toddler push-along bikes, operated at all times by a parent/guardian.
  • Areas of open water around the garden and grounds - close supervision strongly advised at all times.