Summer holidays at Nostell

Children playing in the Rose Garden at Nostell, near Wakefield

Whether you've mini makers ready to get creative or outdoor adventurers looking to explore (or a little bit of both!), make special family memories at Nostell this summer.

Just so you know...

This article was created before the coronavirus crisis, and may not reflect the current situation. Please check our homepage for the most up to date information about visiting.

Come rain or shine, join in activities from Monday 22 July to Sunday 1 September. Activities are free, admission and parking charges apply (National Trust members free). Thinking of joining? Chat to our team when you arrive.

Messy Play

Mondays, 11am - 3pm (except 26 August)

Mud pie and messy mash anyone? Little chefs, inventors, explorers and dreamers love getting stuck into outdoor sensory play and with ingredients like clay, water and mud on the menu, it’s no wonder!
Under sevens adore this activity but all ages are welcome to roll up their sleeves and join in.

Wildlife Heroes

Tuesdays, 11am - 3pm

Is it a bird? Is it a crane? No – it’s a Wildlife Hero!  Bring your hands-on helpers to make fab habitats for wild animals and get stuck into creature crafts, from bug mugs to wooden pendants.  
Fantastic fun for nature superstars 5 years and over, but all ages are welcome. Very little legends may need a touch of extra help.

Family cycling at Nostell
Family cycling at Nostell
Family cycling at Nostell

Cycle Skills

Wednesdays, 11am - 3pm (except 24 July)

Whether you dream of winning the Tour De France or free-wheeling without a wobble – Nostell’s the perfect place to learn cycling skills and love life in the saddle this summer.
Enjoy a pedal around the parkland with friends and family or brush up on all-things bicycle and join guided rides with Wakefield District Cycle Forum. Bring your own bike or borrow one  - please bring your own helmet if you have one. All ages and abilities are welcome.

Dovetail, Biscuit, Splat!

Thursdays and Fridays, 12noon - 3pm

Thomas Chippendale created a magical world in the State Apartment, with mythical birds and beasts inspired by the East and a mystical pier glass mirror. Let Chippendale's Chinese designs spark your imagination and head to the Workshop to craft a masterpiece. Decorate your own picture frame and create a collage starring your own magical creatures.

All ages are welcome to get crafting (with the same activity on both days, rotating each week). Whilst you're designing and creating, see if you can guess what Dovetail, Biscuit, Splat means.

In the workshop you can put your design skills to good use.
Family taking part in a craft workshop at Nostell, West Yorkshire.
In the workshop you can put your design skills to good use.
Bird mosaic by artist Laura Barnes

Book onto a summer workshop

Make a mosaic masterpiece with artist Laura Barnes on 10 or 28 August or join Cuckoos Egg Theatre Company to either create and perform a piece of theatre inspired by the North Bedrooms on 14 August or craft some creative writing around the magical Menagerie Garden on 24 August. All £15 per session.

Summer of Sport

Thursday to Saturday, 12noon - 4pm

Run, jump, laugh and come out to play on the vista. It doesn’t matter if you’re a world-cup wonder, hula-hoop hero or bat-and-ball beginner; we’ve got games galore for all the family to enjoy. Why not challenge dad to a sack race, bowl aunty over with a spot of cricket, or grab a goalball with grandad? 
All activities are free but we do ask for a £1 donation if you’d like a special medal to remember your day.

Make your own adventures, any day

Summer is a magical time to explore outdoors, whether it's with suncream and shades or wellies and macs.

  • A visit (or three!) to the play area is a must for little legs, with swings, slides, wobble dishes, wooden playhouses and a whopping 30 metre zip wire.
  • Download the geocaching app and head out on a digital treasure hunt - we've 22 caches at Nostell.
  • Bring your bikes and explore the parkland trails through ancient woodland and wildflower meadows.
  • Head to Joiner's Wood to build a den - your wooden hideaway is a great place to listen for the birds.
  • Pick up wildlife ID sheets to help you spot bees, butterflies and beautiful flowers in the gardens.
  • Go for a parkland walk or run along the grey (short), orange (medium) or purple (long) waymarked routes
Family walk through the Menagerie Garden at Nostell
Family walk through the Menagerie Garden at Nostell
Family walk through the Menagerie Garden at Nostell

Explore the treasure house, Wednesday - Sunday, 11am - 4pm

  • Discover the secrets that we've found hidden behind Chippendale's pier glass mirror for nearly 250 years.
  • Pick up the treasure trail to help you explore the Interior Worlds that Thomas Chippendale helped to create.
  • Dress up like a Georgian lady or gent on the ground floor.
  • Visit the State Apartment to hear exotic birds tweeting and flying around the wallpaper. Can you tell which are real species and which are imaginary?
  • Drop by Obelisk Marbling on weekends to see colourful demonstrations of traditional marbling techniques.
  • See Nostell's very special dolls' house - can you spot the mini mouse?
  • Craft a peg doll in the Butler's Pantry
  • Don’t miss Nostell’s famous clock, which is over 300 years old and made by John Harrison, the son of the estate carpenter.
Take a closer look at the minute detail in the dolls' house
Bedroom in Nostell's Georgian dolls' house
Take a closer look at the minute detail in the dolls' house

Planning your visit 

Want to top up your picnic or pick up a snack and get exploring? Remember the Bite to Eat café sells sandwiches, cakes and drinks to grab and go.

If you need a longer rest after all those adventures, you’ll find a wide range of hot and cold summer dishes in the café, with a great pick and mix menu for mini explorers. Make sure you visit the Kitchen Garden to see where lots of our ingredients grow.

Fuel up for family adventures in the cafe
A family eating in the cafe at Nostell, Wakefield
Fuel up for family adventures in the cafe

We’ve a Changing Places toilet in the courtyard and there's a baby change and accessible toilet in the house.

Get ready to stretch those legs and spotting summer flowers as soon as you arrive, as it's a ten minute walk from the car park to the courtyard and facilities. There's a blue badge car park near the stables courtyard and a lift in the house to access the first floor.

Thinking of bringing a child-minding group? Please get in touch with us in advance so we can ensure your little ones have tonnes of fun!

Upcoming events

Outdoor Theatre: A Midsummer Night's Dream

Thu 07 Jul 2022
Join us for a summer evening of theatre on the Vista and enjoy Duke’s Theatre Company's new adaptation of 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' on the 6 & 7 July. Use promo code FRIENDSOFNOSTELL for an exclusive 15% off.

Behind the scenes tour of the stableyard at Nostell

Thu 21 Jul 2022
Take a sneak peak behind closed doors in the stables of some of our spaces not open to visitors, with volunteer expert Jim.

Wakefield District Cycle Forum Event

Wed 27 Jul 2022
Bring your bike and join the Wakefield District Cycle Forum event on the vista every Wednesday in the school holidays