Visiting The Vyne with your family

A young child holds an autumn leaf next to their family

Exploration and adventure await at this Hampshire gem. Grab your adventure passport for £1.50 from the Visitor Welcome Hub to complete six challenges. Connect with nature on the Autumn garden trail, look out for mysterious objects on the Treasures house trail. In the woods you can try out the Woodpecker walking challenge. And from 22 October to 1 November, there’s a daily Halloween bat trail running through the gardens 10am-4pm. This includes a £2 trail sheet and prize. Feel free to bring along a picnic. You can refuel in the Brewhouse tea-room and there's a shop for you to browse.

Autumn garden trail 
Running Monday 6 September to Sunday 31 October 10am-5pm, then Monday 1 November to Sunday 21 November 10am-4pm this sensory journey through a Hampshire hidden gem will help all ages to connect with the outdoors. Nature-thirsty eyes can drink in the sight of an autumnal landscape flecked with copper leaves. Gazing up at open skies, clouds drift overhead, soft and white or else dark and heavy. As well as the calming sound of birdsong and rustling leaves, families are encouraged to notice the sensation of the wind on their faces and smell the autumnal scent in the air.

Treasures house trail
Available Monday 6 September to Sunday 31 October then weekends only Saturday 6 to Sunday 21 November 11am-3pm. On this trail young imaginations can ignite while hunting for a treasure-trove of curiosities on the ground floor of this family home. Look out for magical discoveries such as mysterious ancient wood carvings, jewel-bright gothic windows, and a treasure box lavishly decorated with semi-precious stones.

 Visitors enjoying an autumnal walk beneath the autumn trees on the estate at Hardwick, Derbyshire

Autumn activities for all the family 

Vibrant colours, bold trees and rich harvests... explore the best experiences of the season with our range of autumnal activity packs. Whether you're after family fun or some quiet time, there's something to enjoy for all ages and tastes.

Adventure Passport

Complete six challenges in an Adventure Passport available for £1.50 each from the Visitor Welcome Hub:

House trail: ‘What’s the story?’ 
While the house team have been busy conserving all the books in the library, you can wander the mansion and hunt for Victorian adventure stories.

Garden trail: A day in the life of Ranger Rabbit
As you look out for Ranger Rabbit on his (signposted) adventures around the gardens, you can find out how our rangers are giving nature a helping hand.  

The walled garden bug quiz
Test yourselves with this multiple-choice quiz and learn how some of the world’s smallest species have such a large impact on our lives.

I spy in the house
Look out for the eight things listed in the passport that you can find in the house.

I spy in the garden
Look out for the eight things listed in the passport that you can find in The Vyne’s gardens.

Count the bats
See if you can spot all ten cartoon bats hidden in the passport.

Once you’re done, just head back to the Visitor Welcome Hub and the team will stamp each of your completed challenges. As well as the stamped activities, the passport also contains a wordsearch and some crafty detective questions for you to find the answers to during your visit.

The woodpecker walking challenge
This season, you can enjoy a trail in the woodlands along the yellow walk. Having collected your trail sheet from visitor reception, start at the exit to the gardens, on the corner by the lake and follow the yellow way marked route. Keep a look out for painted woodpecker signs as you uncover what the Ranger team do in the woods to look after and maintain this ancient haven. There is a letter of the alphabet on each woodpecker that you need to write down and then you can use the code-breaker on your trail sheet to decipher the names of our two oldest species of tree. 


Have fun with 'Get set, go' cards at a place near you
Have fun with 'Get set, go' cards at a place near you
Have fun with 'Get set, go' cards at a place near you

Get Set, Go activity cards
If the family are stuck for ways to enjoy the outdoors, our free Get Set Go cards offer inspiration in the form of simple activities designed boost your connection with nature. Ask for them at visitor reception and see how many you can get through.

Halloween bat trail 
Running Friday 22 October to Monday 1 November, 10am-4pm, you can collect your £2 trail sheet to try out this outdoor trail. Our bats have been inspired by the splendour and style of centuries past and have dressed themselves up in historic costumes. As you explore the gardens, keep your eyes peeled for 10 signs featuring cartoon bats. Afterwards you can collect a prize.

Don't forget your wellies.
Wellies splash through puddles
Don't forget your wellies.

To get you started, here are a few ideas from our list of 50 things to do before you're 11 and 3/4. These are the self-led activities you can do at The Vyne:

Play pooh sticks
The best bridge for pooh sticks is just past our reception kiosk, on the left. Make sure your sticks are evenly sized and that everybody starts at the same time! 
Go bird watching
If you’re quiet enough you should spot some amazing bird life from our purpose-built bird hide.
Track wild animals
Don’t forget to bring your walking boots for a healthy amble around Morgaston Woods. Keep your eyes peeled for animal tracks – foxes, badgers and deer often pass through this natural habitat. 
Hunt for bugs
There are all sorts of places at The Vyne where you can spot creepy crawlies. Try looking under stones in the woods or peering into the foliage on your way to the bird hide.

Have fun amongst the autumn leaves
Children throwing fallen autumn leaves into the air at a National Trust site
Have fun amongst the autumn leaves

Useful information for a fuss-free day out

Toilets and baby changing
These are on your left after you get through visitor reception and by the Brewhouse tea-room.

Access for pushchairs
The gardens have hard gravel pathways, just bear in mind the dirt tracks through the wider estate can get muddy. Also in some parts of the woods, tree roots cross the path, and to get from the gardens into the wetlands, you need to go down some steps so you might prefer to use a child carrier if you’re planning on going further afield.

Because the Brewhouse tearoom is a bit snug, you’ll need to leave your buggy or pushchair outside. In the house, we’ve got slings for you to carry small children in. Again, you’ll need to leave your buggy or pushchair outside and any items such as bags are left at your own risk.

Picnic areas
On dry sunny days, the north lawn by the lake is a particularly popular spot. We’ve also got benches between the north lawn and the bird hide and dotted around the site.

Food for children
The Brewhouse tea-room has childrens’ lunch boxes which have sandwiches, wraps, small vegetable bags, fruit, mini cheeses and cartons of drink in them. If you need to warm up milk, there’s a microwave in the ground floor seating area.

Play area
Currently we have a natural play area for very young children just off the Lime Avenue.

Bear in mind that the house, shop, tea-room and children’s play areas are just for humans and guide dogs. That said, wagging tails are welcome in the gardens and out on the estate. 

Lovable as they are, it’s good to remember not everyone feels comfortable around dogs and while your four-legged friend certainly needs exercise, The Vyne isn’t the place for this. We ask that you keep your dog on a short lead throughout your visit and use the bins provided.

This way everyone can enjoy their visit and wildlife can thrive. Thanks for your cooperation.

Ball games, Frisbees, scooters, bikes and drones
Unfortunately we can’t have these on the estate because in the past they’ve caused damage to the house and grounds. Instead, you can pitch your child’s expectations in advance and line up an alternative activity such as a trail or woodland walk. Thanks for your understanding.