Activities for families at Polesden Lacey

Did you know there are at least 50 things you can do at National Trust places before you're 11 and 3/4? From rolling down a hill to making friends with a bug, there's something for every young explorer. Here are all the '50 things' activities you can do at Polesden Lacey (and elsewhere) this spring.

A young girl inspects a tree in winter. Snowdrops on the ground.

No. 1: Get to know a tree

If trees could talk, can you imagine what stories they might tell? Perhaps a future king or queen once climbed its branches, or a playwright sat against its trunk awaiting inspiration... Get to know a tree throughout the seasons and search for clues in its roots, bark and branches to uncover its story. Who knows – if you ask, it may tell you.

A girl rolling down a hill at Polesden Lacey, Surrey.

No. 2: Roll down a really big hill

Now, we're quite proud of our hill rolling. We even broke the Guinness world record for hill rolling in 2014, when 570 people rolled down the hill on the South Lawn in one hour. Why don't you see how many hill rolls you can get under your belt?

A young boy puts the finishing touches on his den in the woods

No. 4: Build a den

Collect some branches, leaves, maybe some mud and find a flat spot in the gardens at Polesden Lacey, out on the estate or near your house. Find a good tree to start. Look for a sturdy tree with lots of nooks and nobbles, or a low branch. This will help keep your sticks in place when you start building.

Two young children in rain coats and wellies splash in puddles

No. 6: Go welly wandering

When it's pouring with rain, what could be better than chucking on your wellies and waterproofs and zooming around in the puddles, soaking up all the watery fun?

Young boys in coats walking through woodland carrying sticks

No. 12: Have fun with sticks

When it comes to sticks, the possibilities are endless. Use them to create a trail for people to follow; make a magic wand, create a home for a small animal or an insect, or create some wild art. There are tons of sticks on the estate at Polesden Lacey, or try Preserve Copse if you'd rather not venture too far.

A family using grass to make trumpet sounds beneath a tree

No. 25: Join nature's band 

Find a quiet spot in the gardens at Polesden Lacey (try along Nun's walk or even out on the estate) and stop and listen for a minute. It won't take long to notice the music of nature and the longer you listen, the more you'll hear - like birds singing, woodpeckers tapping, and trees rustling. You're part of nature too; why don't you create your own music? Imitate an animal, stomp your feet, or - make a grass trumpet.

Children bug hunting in the woodland

No. 31: Make friends with a bug

You can find all sorts of creatures lurking around the gardens at Polesden Lacey. You'll need to be prepared though: looking for bugs is fun, but you might need to be fast, and some creatures like centipedes and millipedes move quickly (it must be all those feet!) so you'll need to keep your eyes peeled like a real nature detective if you want to see them. Don't forget to check out the insect hotel and beehives in Home Farm Orchard.

A young boy drawing in a notebook

No. 48: Keep a nature diary

The beginning of the year is a great time to begin a diary but you can start at any time. Decide how you’ll record your nature experiences: will you use words, pictures, sounds or a mixture of everything? You could even write a poem or a story about your adventures. Find a diary, a scrapbook, or a sound recorder – and begin to note down all the things you’ve seen and done in nature, whether it’s a picnic in the wild, rolling down a huge hill or getting to know a wild animal.

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50 things to do before you're 11 and 3/4 - the full list 

You can download the full list of '50 things to do before you're 11 and 3/4' here.

Map image of Polesden Lacey

A map of the property 

You can download a small map of the gardens at Polesden Lacey here. You'll be able to pick one of these up at reception when you arrive, with more information on what you can see and do on your visit.