Have a summer holiday adventure with the National Trust

Press release
Child pond dipping
Published : 25 Jun 2019

The summer holidays are here, with weeks of freedom to fill. Why not gather the family together to explore your local patch with the National Trust’s 50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾ ? It’s crammed with inspiring ideas to get outdoors and closer to nature.

Or, keep the kids entertained with a visit to a National Trust place. There are plenty of events and activities to make the most of the 40 days of summer– from camping on a remote island to learning bushcraft skills, immersing yourself in a children’s book festival or experiencing life as a knight at a medieval castle.

What’s more, every single visit helps support the National Trust’s work as a charity looking after special places for ever, for everyone. Make it a summer holiday to remember with these family-friendly events:

South West

Corfe Castle, Dorset
Medieval village
24 Jul - 19 Aug, 10am - 5pm
Travel back in time to the 12th century and learn the skills you'd need to become a noble knight. Visit and help the siege engineer constructing additional defences for the castle, or practise your medieval penmanship with a quill and ink. You can even have a go at firing a few crossbow bolts. A favourite haunt for adults and children alike, all ages are captivated by Corfe’s romantic ruins and breathtaking views across Purbeck.
Price: Free event, normal admission applies.

Snowshill Manor, Gloucestershire
Summer family fun
20 Jul - 2 Sep, 11am - 5pm
Follow the family trails to discover the secrets of Snowshill, a Cotswold manor house packed with extraordinary treasures collected over a life time by Charles Paget Wade. From tiny toys to Samurai armour, musical instruments to fine clocks, thousands of objects are laid out for you to see. Get involved with summer activities, including wand making or settle down and listen as a storyteller weaves a tale or two.
Price: Normal admission applies

Trerice, Cornwall
Summer of sport - archery
Sundays, Tuesdays & Thursdays between 28 Jul - 3 Sept, 11am - 3pm    
An intimate Elizabethan manor, Trerice remains little changed by time. Are you up to the challenge of defending this Cornish gem? Discover your inner Robin Hood and have a go at hitting the bullseye with a bow and arrow. Trerice’s volunteers will be on hand to give you a few top tips. 
Price: Normal admission applies

London and South East

Stowe, Buckinghamshire
Stowe Secrets: The Garden Time Forgot
20 Jul - 4 Sept, sessions between 10am – 4.30pm, see website for details.
If you’re a fan of mind games and escape rooms, why not take on a twist on these classic challenges at Stowe this summer? Travel back in time to solve the mysteries of an abandoned garden before it is lost forever. Will Stowe survive in your hands?
The challenge should take between 1.5 - 2.5 hours to complete.
Price: £5 per group. Booking essential

Bodiam Castle, East Sussex
Summer holiday fun
24 July – 4 September, 10am – 4pm
There’s plenty to keep who whole family busy at Bodiam this summer. Why not follow the summer i-Spy trail, have a go at some of the 50 Things to do before you’re 11¾ activities, or even unleash your medieval alter-ego and have a go at archery? Inside the castle little ones can learn all about medieval life from child-sized character illustrations, or settle down and listen to tales of old from the storytellers.
Price: Normal admission applies. Archery £3 per session

Mottisfont, Hampshire
Beano Time Travellers! exhibition and outdoor trail
20 July – 8 Sept, 11am – 5pm
Travel through famous comic Beano's history of mischief and mayhem in this vibrant and exciting new exhibition, devised especially for Mottisfont. You'll find rooms dedicated to some of the Beano’s most famous characters: Dennis and Gnasher, Minnie the Minx and the Bash Street Kids.There’ll also be plenty to keep the kids occupied, from craft activities to comics to read, and outside an exclusive activity trail created by the comic’s designers.
Price: Normal admission applies

Polesden Lacey, Surrey
Meet a Polesden Ranger
6 July, 3 August, 7 Sept, 11.30 – 1pm
On the first Saturday of the month through the summer come and drop in and meet the ranger team and have fun exploring some of the tools and machinery they use. Climb on board their tractor and even help with some fun child-friendly jobs. While you’re here, why not take a family stroll along Admirals Walk to discover the new coffee stop and snack hut – the perfect place to take a rest while the kids enjoy the new tree swings nearby.
Price: Normal admission applies


Anglesey Abbey, Cambridgeshire
Design your Own Adventure
26 July – 1 September, 9.30am – 5.30pm
Kick off your summer of family fun and pick up a booklet packed full of activities to help you design your own adventure. Complete the flow chart in the booklet to find out whether you’ll be constructing a woodland hideout in Hoe Fen, discovering how many different types of flower there are in the wildflower meadows, creating your own bejewelled cross in the House or trying something else new and exciting.
Price: £2.50 per booklet. Normal admission applies

Wicken Fen, Cambridgeshire
Summer holiday fun
Daily, 10am – 5pm
Summer at Wicken Fen is a feast for the senses. Take a family wander along the boardwalk too look out for wildlife, hire a bike to explore on two wheels, or even take to the water with a boat trip along the fens. Listen out for cuckoos calling, snipe drumming, and the gentle buzz of dragonflies on the wing, or just pause and take in the vibrant colours of the fen’s wild flowers.
Pond dipping
2, 5, 16, 19 & 28 August, 45 minute slots between 10.30am – 3.15pm
Dip for pond creatures in the pond and find out more about the underwater animals that live here.
All children must be accompanied by an adult.
Price: £4.25. Booking essential. Normal admission applies.

Blickling Estate, Norfolk
Children’s Literature Festival
6 July, 10am – 4pm
This summer the breath-taking Jacobean mansion will be hosting a mini festival with six of Britain’s best loved authors and illustrators, including CBBC’s Dr Jess French. All made possible thanks to the Trust New Art programme and in partnership with The Book Hive Bookshop in Norwich. Come along to listen to talks, or get your favourite books signed by the authors.
Price: Normal admission applies

Oxburgh Hall, Norfolk
War of the Roses re-enactment
10 & 11 August, 11am – 4pm
Have you ever wondered what it was like to be a medieval soldier in the 15th century: how they ate, dressed and worked? Why not head along to Oxburgh Hall, which was built during the Wars of the Roses, to meet the soldiers encamped there and discover what life was like during the infamous wars between the house of York and Lancaster.
Price: Normal admission applies

Melford Hall, Suffolk
Beatrix Potter Day, 31 July, 12noon – 4pm
Beatrix Potter was a cousin of Lady Hyde Parker, and made several visits to her relation at Melford Hall. This special day will celebrate all things Beatrix Potter, offering little ones the chance to make some character crafts to take home, follow a trail round the garden, and even see an original model or Jemima Puddle-duck.
Price: Free event, normal admission applies
Beatrix Potter story readings
20, 27, 31 July, 10, 17, 24 August, 1pm – 3pm
Get carried away by the magical adventures of Peter Rabbit and his friends as written by Beatrix Potter and narrated by one of Melford Hall’s storytellers.
Price: Free event, normal admission applies

Ickworth, Suffolk
Bush Craft for Beginners
14 & 28 August, 10am – 1.30pm
Want to learn new skills and get back to nature? Why not spend a fun-packed morning with bushcraft experts at Ickworth to pick up the basics of woodland survival, from den building to fire lighting, orienteering and tracking animals. Perfect for older children who want to get a more in-depth look at surviving in the wild.
Price: £15 per child. Normal admission applies. Booking essential



Longshaw, Derbyshire
Mini-Orienteering & Adventures
Fridays between 2 - 30 Aug, 10.30am - 2.30pm
Are you a budding adventurer? Being able to navigate is a key skill for all explorers, and orienteering is a great way to practice. Longshaw’s orienteering course is a great way to the basics in the grounds of the Moorland Discovery Centre. Soon you’ll be a master of the map and compass.
Price: Free event
Summer of Sport – Aiming and Archery
Tuesdays between 6 - 27 Aug, 10.30am - 2.30pm
Are you the next Robin Hood? Join in some target practice and other family challenges in the grounds of the Moorland Discovery Centre. You can also have a go at badminton, swingball and other games to test your aim.
Price:  Free event

Berrington Hall, Herefordshire
Boating on the Lake
Weekdays between 5 - 30 Aug, 12noon - 4pm
See Berrington's landscape from a new perspective from our glorious lake. Hire a boat for a 30-minute trip around parts of the lake, and see some of the hidden spaces in the 'Capability' Brown designed water habitat.
Price: Adult £6, child £3. Booking essential. Normal admission applies


Wray Castle, Cumbria
Hoist the sails
Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, 23 July – 30 August, 9.30am – 4pm
For a real Swallows and Amazons-style adventure, why not set sail across Windermere using a boat from Wray Castle? It’s the perfect adventure for families with young children, and there’s even a separate boat suitable for older children (aged 7 – 16) to have an adventure without their parents. Both trips are led by a guide, who will take you out for about an hour of guided sailing.
Price: Adult £12. Child £6. Booking essential via 0344 249 1895. Normal admission applies

Beningbrough Hall, Gallery & Gardens, Yorkshire
Let’s Celebrate Bees
17 & 18 August, 10.30am – 5pm
Bees might be small, but they’re a vital part of keeping our gardens looking lovely – not to mention pollinating plants that produce food for us to eat. Why not celebrate these special insects with a day in their honour at Beningbrough Hall? Find out what’s involved in being a bee keeper, have a go at buzzy art and craft activities, or test some bee-made products.
Price: Normal admission applies

Lyme, Cheshire 
Mini rangers, 19 – 23 August, 10am – 3pm
Ranger in training, 29 July – 2 August, 10am – 12 noon & 1 – 3pm
Teen rangers, 21 & 23 August, 10am – 1pm
Have you got what it takes to be a National Trust ranger? This summer, join the experts to have a go at some of the key skills needed to look after Lyme’s landscape and wildlife. There’ll be plenty of activities to try, suitable for mini rangers right the way up to teens – all perfect for getting your hands mucky and exploring the great outdoors.
Mini rangers: Normal admission charges apply plus £1 per child. Suitable for under 5s.
Junior rangers: Normal admission charges apply plus £5 per child. Booking essential. Age 6 - 12
Teen rangers: Normal admission charges apply plus £5 per teen. Booking essential. Age 13+


Erddig, Wrexham
Busy Bee Trail
11 May – 30 June, 10am – 5pm
Bees have long been an important part of life at Erddig – without them the gardens wouldn’t bloom and no apples would grow for the annual harvest. Throughout the summer you can celebrate this special insect by following the sensory busy bee trail through the walled garden or having a go at some crafts.  On Saturdays and Mondays you can even join Erddig’s experts to find out all about beekeeping.
Price: Normal admission applies

Tredegar, Newport
Scavenger hunt
20 Jul – 1 Sept, 10.30am – 4pm
Gather the family and head to Tredegar House, one of the architectural wonders of Wales. Discover the beautiful gardens and parkland on a scavenger hunt this summer. Pick up a map and go exploring through the gardens on a quest to see try some of the ‘50 things to do before you’re 11¾’ activities. Will you build the perfect den, or get to know a tree?
Price: Normal admission applies

Colby Woodland Garden, Pembrokeshire
Busy Bees: pollinators trail
Daily from 25 May to 1 Sept, 10am – 5pm
It’s a hive of activity at Colby Woodland Garden this summer. The resident bees are on a pollination mission to keep the gardens looking their best, and it’s the perfect time to celebrate all their hard work. Why not take on the nature trail around the Walled Garden and Wildflower Meadow to learn more about the important role these creatures play in the environment? Complete the whole trail and earn yourself a prize.
Price: £1.50 per trail, normal admission applies.

Northern Ireland

Portstewart Strand, County Londonderry
Orchid Hunt
15 June, 2 – 4pm
Portstewart Strand’s amazing sand dune system is home to a range of rare orchids, including Bee and Pyramidal Orchids, which can be seen growing in their natural habitat. Come on a dune adventure with a National Trust ranger to discover why these special flowers grow so well here, along with other fascinating facts about this special beach.
Price: Adult £2 Child £1. Booking essential via 028 7083 6396

Murlough National Nature Reserve, County Down
Ragwort Challenge
29 June, 10.30am – 1pm
Fancy having a go at being a National Trust ranger for a day? Then head along to the beautiful surroundings of Murlough NNR, and get stuck in to the Ragwort challenge. Ragwort is a native species but it can easily take over if it’s not kept under control. If you’d like to help keep the coast looking beautiful, then why not get the whole family involved and see who will be crowned the champion ragwort remover?
Price: Free (donations welcome). Booking essential via 028 4375 1467

Downhill Demesne, County Londonderry
Kite Festival
29 July – 4 August, 12noon – 5pm
Downhill’s high-flying spectacle returns for another year, offering fun for all the family as a kaleidoscope of kites of all shapes and sizes take to the skies over this stunning coastal estate. Award winning kite displays, quad pod rides and a speciality food and drink market mean this is an event not to be missed.
See website for daily programme details
Price: Normal admission applies.

Strangford Lough, County Down
Salt Island Camping
10.30am 15 August - 2pm 16 August
Ready for an island adventure? Get the family together and set sail for a night on a remote island off Killyleagh. There’ll be a campfire to keep you warm, and you’ll even get to have a go at some bushcraft activities with the help of National Trust experts.
Suitable for children aged 8 years upwards with accompanying adult.
Price: £30 per person. Booking essential via 028 4278 8387


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