Winter family adventures at Mottisfont

Children in coats and boots running across the lawn at Mottisfont, Hampshire

There’s plenty of space to run, jump and play around Mottisfont, and always something for families to do. Test your limits in our Wild Play areas, explore the grounds with seasonal trails in school holidays, and enjoy a family-focused exhibition every summer.

From 20 January - 29 March, you can experiment and play around the grounds with a Heath Robinson-inspired family trail. Known as "The Gadget King", Heath Robinson was famous for his hilarious drawings of over-complicated inventions, some of which will be on show in an exhibition in our gallery.

The inventions trail introduces his quirky imagination, with gadget-themed activities. You'll even get the chance to make your own curious contraption - and we're running a competition for the best designs. £1 per trail.

Family fun around the grounds

We think it’s important to explore nature and get grazed knees and grass stains, so we’ve created this play trail to test your limits in the wild.

Try out your balancing acts in the Climbing Bog and make a splash with our Pump, Pool and Paddle. Please note that while they’re welcome elsewhere in the grounds, four-legged friends aren’t allowed in these areas, to make sure it’s a safe environment for all to play.

Get messy in our climbing bog
Children splashing in muddy puddles at Mottisfont, Hampshire

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!

A hand-drawn map of Mottisfont, Hampshire, highlighting areas to enjoy with your family, including Wild Play areas

Take a look at our Wild Play map to discover the best places for families to explore at Mottisfont. Where would you like to play?

Want to know a secret? The nearby Spearywell Woods on our estate are fantastic for den building, riding your bikes and running wild. Ask our team how to find it when you next visit.

A family lunch

Our on-site cafés cater for all the family to make your visit as easy as possible. Children's menus are avilable from both the Old Kitchen and Coach House cafés, as well as highchairs and baby food warming facilities. Or, if you've packed your own lunch, there are plenty of picnic spaces. 

Family friendly checklist

  • Free entry for under 5s.
  • Two play areas and places suitable for ball games and frisbees.
  • Baby-changing facilities in access friendly toilets.
  • Pushchairs admitted around the grounds and in all catering outlets, though not in the house due to space restrictions.
  • Hip-carrying infant seats available for loan in the house.
  • Pocket money gifts and children's books available in the shop. There are children's books in our second-hand bookshop, too.

Hints and tips

Help us keep Mottisfont special – our gardens and house are hundreds of years old, and if you follow these tips you can help us look after this place forever, for everyone.

  • We have over 35 different species of tree in our grounds. They’re beautiful to look at but please don’t climb them: take up the challenge in Boggy Climbing on the Wild Play trail instead.
  • We’re surrounded by water – it’s the reason people settled here over 800 years ago. Our waterways are very old and fragile, so instead of paddling here head to our Pump, Pool and Paddle area. It's perfect for splashing around and cooling down in warm weather.
  • There are some great spaces around the grounds for playing with frisbees, balls and running around. We welcome families to bring tricycles and balance bikes to enable children to learn to ride along our wide gravel paths. Standard bicycles (with pedals) are not permitted in the grounds. This helps us to make sure Mottisfont is a safe environment which all visitors to enjoy.
  • Younger children are welcome to explore the grounds on push/kick scooters. Battery powered scooters and hoverboards are not permitted in the grounds.