Skip to content

No. 23 Get up for the sunrise

Summer sunrise at Whitesheet Hill, Wiltshire
Summer sunrise at Whitesheet Hill, Wiltshire | © National Trust Images/John Miller

There’s something magical about watching the beginning of a new day. Try getting up early with the birds to see the sun peek above the horizon and the skies fill with rich colours. It's one of our ‘50 things to do before you’re 11¾’.

Set your alarm clock

To see the sun rise you’ll need to wake up early in the morning. Check what time the sun is expected to rise where you live. Then set your alarm clock.

If you’d like to see a colourful sky, full of oranges, reds and pinks, you’ll need the right conditions. Check the weather forecast - you’re looking for a ridge of high pressure and light winds to keep pollution levels low.

Lastly, try to find a clear view to watch the sunrise, such as from the top of a hill or on a beach. You’ll want to be facing east, which is the direction that the sun rises.

What can you see and hear?

When the sun peeks above the land, you’ll notice the sky change colour. Look up and describe all the colours you can see.

Birds are often very loud at this time of day, particularly in spring. This is called the dawn chorus. In summer in the UK, the dawn chorus can start as early as 4am. What sounds can you hear?

Be inspired

Many famous poets, writers and artists have been inspired by sunrise. Could you follow in their footsteps? Draw a picture or write a poem inspired by the sunrise.

You could even go back to the same place later in the year to see if the sunrise looks the same. How does an autumn sunrise compare to a spring one?

Fun fact

Sunrise happens at different times around the world. People in Australia see the sun rise many hours before us while people in America see it many hours after us. Because the earth rotates as it travels around the sun, there is always one side facing the sun and one facing away from it. That means there is always a sunrise happening somewhere in the world.

Two girls exploring the woodland trails at Quarry Bank Mill, Cheshire

‘50 things to do before you're 11¾’

Have fun exploring nature and the great outdoors with our list of ‘50 things to do before you're 11¾’.

You might also be interested in

Visitors exploring the parkland in winter at Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden, Yorkshire

Safety information for ‘50 things to do before you’re 11¾’ activities 

To ensure you can complete your ‘50 things to do before you’re 11¾’ activities safely, here are some top tips to help you complete your challenges with safety in mind.


‘50 things’ activity list 

Download the full ‘50 things to do before you’re 11¾’ activity list.

Admiring fossils in the Geological gallery at Biddulph Grange, Staffordshire

No. 26 Hunt for fossils and bones 

Search for clues to the life of animals and plants from the past. Fossil and bone hunting is mammoth family fun – and it's No. 26 of our ‘50 things to do before you’re 11¾’.

Visitors in silhouette at sunset at Sutton Hoo, Suffolk

No. 49 Watch the sunset 

Watching the sunset is no. 49 of the National Trust’s ‘50 things to do before you’re 11¾’ list.