50 Things in the East of England

Children climbing a tree in the grounds of Mottisfont, Hampshire.

This summer fill your days with challenges and adventures and become the explorer you were meant to be.

With hours of sunlight on your side and the National Trust’s list of 50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾ to get stuck into, the summer holidays will be a whirlwind adventure. With everything from rolling down hills to catching crabs, here’s our top places and activities to try.

Some of our favourite activities
Bridge Cottage, Flatford

Best bridge for playing pooh sticks – Flatford, Suffolk 

Can you find the best bridge in the region for playing pooh sticks? Big hint – it’s at Flatford. Pick a winning stick, head to the bridge and watch those sticks go. Why not make a journey stick of your day, collecting any leaves or feathers you find and weaving them onto your stick when you get home?

A young girl at the 2014 Dunstable Kite Festival, on the Dunstable Downs, Bedfordshire.

Let’s go fly a kite – Dunstable Downs, Bedfordshire 

Well it is the highest point in the East of England, so it's the perfect spot for kite flying. Learn how to make a kite and then fly it on Dunstable Downs and watch it soar. Why not join us at our 50 Things club, which runs on the first Sunday of every month?

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

Catch a crab – Blakeney Quay, Norfolk Coast 

Find the best place for spotting crabs on the Norfolk Coast. Crabs can look pretty crazy when they’re scuttling sideways, but have you ventured up close to a crab? Best to use a bated net to catch a crab, but remember to carefully put them back where you found them.

Den building Killerton Devon

Build a den – Hatfield Forest, Essex 

An ancient forest can be the perfect place for a den building adventure. Explore the coppice and you'll find plenty of sticks for den building. Be creative, and once it's up, crawl in and have fun.

A family pond dipping

Track wild animals – Dunwich Heath, Suffolk 

Your secret mission is to track a wild animal. Look out for footprints, feathers, fur and even poo and you might find something sooner than you think. Tracking smaller animals can be fun – will you be brave enough to lift the door on the bug basement?

Girl holding a GPS unit used for geocachine

Find a geocache – Wicken Fen, Cambridgeshire 

Who’s up for some hi-tech hide and seek? Enjoy our geocaching trail for beginners, as you explore Wicken Fen in search of three hidden geocaches. The three-mile long trail takes around 1.5 hours to complete. You can even borrow a GPS receiver with pre-loaded co-ordinates.

Cycling at Wicken Fen National Nature Reserve, Cambridgeshire

Go on a really long bike ride – Blickling Estate, Norfolk 

This summer take a really long bike ride on the new trail created around Blickling Estate. Cycle through the woods and parkland landscape on a route suitable for little legs, all safe in the knowledge that it will be traffic free.

Fun down on the farm at Wimpole

Visit a farm - Wimpole Estate, Cambridgeshire 

At Wimpole Home Farm, you can explore the traditional farmyard with the noisy modern piggery, cattle sheds and some rare bread animals. Have a go at becoming a young farmer when you visit and try your hand at grooming the donkeys, drive a mini tractor or see how you get on at milking.

Girl in field looking through binoculars

Go bird watching – Orford Ness, Suffolk 

If you're visiting Orford Ness this summer, remember to bring your binoculars, as there’s plenty of birds to spot on this nature reserve. To be a successful bird watcher, you'll need to be as quiet as a mouse while you keep a look out for our feathered friends.

Going on a bug hunt in the woods

Make a home for a wild animal - Sutton Hoo, Suffolk 

At Sutton Hoo you can collect everything you need to make a bug hotel out of twigs and stones. There are lots more self-led activities to choose from at Sutton Hoo, all of which can be enjoyed on a walk through the woods and around the burial mounds.

A bat with its wings spread

Go on a nature walk at night - Sheringham Park, Norfolk 

Thought nature walks were just for the daytime? Think again. Join the National Trust team for a night time nature walk, and see the skies over Sheringham full of bats and nocturnal birds for you to spot.

Autumn Children Hoe Fen

Hunt for bugs - Anglesey Abbey, Cambridgeshire 

There's so much to see in the natural world, why not head to Hoe Fen Wildlife Discovery Area at Anglesey Abbey to hunt for bugs? Here you'll not only find a treehouse, but a wildlife watch hut and insect hotel.

50 things girl making daisy chain

Make a daisy chain - Felbrigg Hall, Norfolk 

Making a daisy chain is a perfect summer activity when the sun is shining at Felbrigg Hall. All you need is a patch of grass with daisies and you're ready to start making chains.

Girl jumping over waves

Jump over the waves – Brancaster Beach, Norfolk 

Do you love the seaside? Don’t be shy, the water might be a bit cold, but a paddle can still be fun. Try jumping over the waves as they wash into the shore. How many can you jump over in a row?

 Children using blades of grass as whistles in the garden

Make a grass trumpet – Ickworth, Suffolk 

Just one blade of grass can create the most amazing sound, when you put it between your thumbs and blow - have you tried it yet? Pay a visit to Ickworth’s inspiration station near the children’s play area this summer for more ideas.