Summer holidays at Smallhythe Place

Children climbing on a wooden gate at Smallhythe Place

This article was created for our summer 2019 programme and is now finished. This summer holiday get involved at Smallhythe Place and discover new exhibitions, the history of the house and our kids craft activities on offer. Wander through the garden in its summer glory, or treat yourself to an evening of theatre with open-air performances and productions in our historic Barn Theatre.

Activities for your little ones

Wednesday Arts and Crafts

Across the summer holidays, we are running nature-themed arts and crafts for our younger visitors. Shelter under the cow byre and get creative in the beautiful summer garden with our volunteers. Materials will be available every Wednesday (24 July- 28 August), 2-4pm to keep your little ones busy. Parental supervision is required.

A boy making a bug house at Smallhythe Place

A-Z Nature Scavenger Hunts

There's new nature scavenger hunt activity sheets available from visitor reception across the summer holidays. What will you discover on your way around the garden? Can you find something beginning with every letter? Take on the nature challenge and explore your surroundings.

Our top '50 Things' activities

Get stuck in to '50 Things' activities at Smallhythe Place this summer. Here are some of our favourite:

#1 Get to know a tree - wander through the apple orchard and nuttery and find your favourite tree. Can you guess how old it is? What colour are its leaves? What makes this one different to the others in the garden?

#13 Make a mud creation - find a muddle puddle or bank and build a mini sculpture.

#17 Set up a snail race - in damp dark areas of the garden, can you find some shiny shelled friends to race?

#18 Create some wild art - go foraging for fallen petals from our apple blossom trees, acorns from the oak trees and greenery and twigs from our hedges. What masterpiece can you create from bits around the garden?

#22 Find some funky fungi - they like to shelter from the sunlight in cool, damp ground, will you find any on your nature quest around Smallhythe?

#31 Make friends with a bug - our bug hotels, log piles and rockeries are a great place to hunt for bugs and hold a scary beast. How many will you find on your nature hunt around the garden?

#35 Discover what's in the pond - explore the banks of our recently rejuvenated pond. Full of life and colour, it's the perfect spot for all sorts of wildlife to bask in the sun or make a home. Why not make a list of all the wildlife you see there today?

#44 Watch a bird - follow our resident swallows swooping in and out of the Theatre Tea-room and across the bright spring skies. You can also watch them feed their hatchlings and peak inside their nest on our new wildlife camera in the Tea-room.

Children making daisy chains at Smallhythe Place

Discover Smallhythe's History

Smallhythe Place is full of hidden secrets, history and unique artefacts. Grab one of our House, Property or Shipbuilding quizzes from Visitor Reception and see what you can learn as you explore the house and grounds. For our littler visitors we have an interactive spot sheet, let your young ones lead you around the rooms and see what they can find.

Children doing the tour quiz at Smallhythe Place

Something for everyone


Explore our new exhibition ' The Gift of Smallhythe Place'

In 2019 we will be celebrating the 90th anniversary of the creation of the Museum and the 80th anniversary of it being bequeathed to the National Trust by Edith Craig. Edith Craig had created a shrine in memory of her famous mother the great Victorian Actress Ellen Terry but her artistic temperament and lack of business sense proved something of a disaster. We look at the stories behind the creation of the Museum, the Theatre and its eventful journey to the National Trust.

Find out more here.

A hidden gem in the Kent countryside
Smallhythe Place, in Tenterden Kent. Former home of victorian actress, Dame Ellen Terry
A hidden gem in the Kent countryside

Step inside an Actresses wardrobe and join us for a costume tour

Delve into the store for a peek of the delicate and lavish costumes once worn by Ellen Terry and her actor friends. With fascinating stories attached to each garment, costume tours are an opportunity to discover a rich theatrical history. Find out more here.

Close view of part of one of the costumes worn by Ellen Terry at Smallhythe Place, her home from 1899 to 1928, in Kent

Tai Chi in the garden

Join us for gentle exercise, mental relaxation and fresh air with an hour of Tai Chi promoting harmony of body and mind. Find out more here.

A Tai Chi class in the garden at Smallhythe Place

Picnic O'Clock

Picnics in the garden are welcome at Smallhythe. Enjoy the sunshine and fill your hamper with your favourite goodies from home, relax on our new picnic benches by the pond or get comfy on a blanket and take in the views. Or you can treat yourself to something tasty from our Theatre Tea-room, serving hot and cold refreshments from 11am-4.30pm. From sandwiches and platters to delicious cakes and ice creams, perfect to cool you down on those hot summer days.


A family having a picnic in the gardens at Smallhythe Place

Theatre for all the family

The Barn Theatre hosts a diverse array of productions throughout our open season, including open-air shows. Join us for an evening of theatre this summer, and relax in the tranquil gardens with a picnic before the show.