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Family-friendly things to do at Wimpole

A father and son enjoying a game of croquet on the lawns of Wimpole Estate, Cambridgeshire
A father and son enjoying a game of croquet on the lawns of Wimpole Estate, Cambridgeshire | © Tom Soper

Wimpole Estate is full of adventures waiting to happen. Whether your children are fascinated by impressive architecture, want to get up close to animals on a working farm or just need to let off steam in the great outdoors, families can have a lot of fun together, whatever the weather.

Planning your family visit

Here's the information you need at a glance to make the most of your family day out at Wimpole:

  • Baby-changing facilities are available at the visitor centre, the hall, the Old Rectory restaurant, the stables and Home Farm
  • Scooters, bikes and ball games are welcome in the parkland, but not beyond the entrance to the garden
  • The path from the car park to the stables, garden and Home Farm is accessible for pushchairs
  • Children’s lunchboxes are available in the Old Rectory restaurant
  • The new farm playground is open same time as Home Farm

Family-friendly events

Festival of Archaeology

13 - 28 July

Embark on a journey through time at Wimpole Estate during the Festival of Archaeology, running from July 13 to 28. Enjoy a free family archaeology trail and watch the experts from the Cambridge Archaeology Field Group (CAFG) unearth history with on-site excavations throughout the week. On the weekend of July 20 and 21 be sure to join us for our Festival of Archaeology celebration, where CAFG will have some of their discoveries for you to take a closer look at. There will also be a fascinating 'Have-A-Go' excavating family activity, as well as the opportunity to go beneath the surface in the archaeology store in the house's basement. Usually closed to the public, this is the perfect place to delve deeper into the different archaeological methods used to discover Wimpole’s past.

Find out more

Summer of Play

13 July - 1 September

Hop, skip and jump as you make your way around the estate before challenging your family to a game of giant Jenga or croquet on the lawns. A great place to escape the mid-day sun, explore Wimpole Hall not with your eyes, but with your ears. Take note of what you can hear on your way as part of the new listening trail. When you're finished, pull up a pillow and enjoy a puppet show or, head to the stable block for story time outside the second hand-bookshop every Tuesday 10.30 - 11.30.

Find out more

Cycle Hire

23 July - 29 August (selected dates only)

New for 2024, hire a bike and see the sights on a ride around the wider parkland at Wimpole Estate. Enjoy a family day out riding around the beautiful countryside, passing ancient woodland and important arable farmland, catching glimpses of the impressive 17th-century Georgian mansion on your way.

Pedal and e-bikes are available to hire on selected days through our partner Outspoken Cycles' website now.

Book your bikes

Stories in the stables

20 July - 23 August (Tuesdays Only)

Every Tuesday this summer be sure to join us for story hour in the stable block. A chance to rest little legs and refuel during your visit, each week we'll be bringing a new tale to life, so pull up a cushion and prepare to be transported into enchanting worlds filled with adventure, magic, and wonder.

Stories in the stables

The Sunset Series at Wimpole Estate

Selected dates during July & August

This summer, experience the magic of an open-air performance set against the backdrop of the setting sun at Wimpole Estate. From timeless theatre classics to exciting debuts, join us for a series of captivating twilight shows in the picturesque surroundings of the parkland. Pull up a picnic blanket and settle in for an incredible evening of entertainment in the warm glow of sunset with the family.

See what we've got in store for families below:

26 July - The Railway Children

All aboard! Tethered Wits invites you to embark on a magical journey filled with fun, music, and heartwarming storytelling.

Meet the Waterbury children: Roberta, Peter, and Phyllis. They are ordinary children living in an ordinary house, until one day, a mysterious event changes their lives forever. Forced to move to the countryside, they move near a bustling railway, where every passing locomotive brings new mysteries, friendships, and discoveries. Our young heroes find themselves in the midst of a true adventure.

Bring your friends and family together, on a journey that celebrates the timeless power of love, community, and the unbreakable bonds of family.

Book your tickets

27 July - The Secret Garden

Join Mary, Colin and Dickon as they tell you the story of their favourite place in the world - The Secret Garden.

A brand new re-imagining of the classic Frances Hodgson Burnett book brought to you by The Plandits. Suitable for anyone aged 6+ who loves literature and the great outdoors, this heartfelt, energetic show is full of original music, puppetry, interaction and laughs. As the three characters discover the transforming power of being active, the magic of nature and the joy of play, we’re sure you’ll leave this performance with a renewed enthusiasm for the world around you!

Book your tickets

10 August - The Secret Diary of Henry VIII

The Three Inch Fools present an essential guide on how to keep your head in the Tudor Court. Unexpectedly thrust into the limelight, young Henry navigates the ups and downs of courtly life, and all whilst fighting the French (again) and re-writing religion. The Fools hit the road with this brand new comedy - a mad-capped take on Britain’s most epic monarch, and those infamous wives.

Book your tickets

17 August - Beauty & the Beast

When an arrogant prince is cursed to live as a hideous beast, his only hope is a kindly young woman in search of a rose. Presented with lively original music and sparkling humour join Chapterhouse Theatre Company for a rollicking new adaptation of Beauty and the Beast that is perfect for all the family!

Book your tickets

23 August - Five Children & It

The five children - Cyril, Anthea, Robert, Jane, and their baby brother, known as the Lamb - are playing in a gravel pit one morning when they uncover a rather grumpy and sometimes tricky Psammead, a sand-fairy with the ability to grant wishes. Join them on their adventures as they learn what it is to be careful what you wish for!

Book your tickets

Big Tree Climbing

28 August - 30 August

Using ropes and a harness, ascend into the treetops and experience an exhilarating adventure at new heights this May half-term. We expect tickets for these sessions ot sell out so book early to avoid disappointment.

Book your tickets

Christmas at Wimpole

22 November 2024 - 1 January 2025

Tickets for Christmas at Wimpole are on sale now! Discover neon trees, larger-than-life flowers and an amazing two colour pea-lit tree, surround yourself with sparkle within long glowing tunnels and immerse yourself in all the colours of the rainbow. Created by award-winning, internationally acclaimed light trail producers and firmly positioned within the UK’s seasonal calendar, Christmas at Wimpole, Cambridgeshire has everything you need for an unforgettable time with friends and family, including a magical glimpse of Father Christmas along the way. Book early to avoid disappointment.

Book Christmas at Wimpole tickets

A child plants a seed at Little Acorns pre-school group at Wimpole Estate, Cambridgeshire
A child plants a seed at Little Acorns pre-school group at Wimpole Estate, Cambridgeshire | © Elliot Neale

Little Acorns pre-school group

Little Acorns at the farm café

10 September - 3 December

Wimpole's popular pre-school group for 2-5 year olds is back for a second term. Come and get creative with craft activities, painting, messy play and learn a little bit about the animals on Home Farm. Run by Wimpole staff and volunteers it will include stories, songs and activities to develop those all important social, communication and fine motor skills. Sessions will run in the Farm Cafe on Tuesdays from 10:30am – 12:00pm and are free but must be booked in advance as spaces are limited. Usual admission to Wimpole Estate applies (National Trust members free.) Treats and refreshments available from Farm café and hot drinks are 25p off if you bring a re-useable cup!

Younger siblings are welcome but activities may not be suitable and children must be supervised at all times.

Book your ticket

Little Acorns in the gardens (Harv'Fest special sessions)

12 - 26 September

Come and explore the wonders of nature in the gardens as Wimpole's popular pre-school group heads into the great outdoors. Join us for a fun-filled morning of digging, planting, and crafting activities, and learn about the various plants and wildlife in the beautiful walled garden. The event will be run by a team of experienced Wimpole staff and volunteers, and will include exciting stories, catchy songs, and outdoor adventures for all ages! Younger siblings are welcome but activities may not be suitable and children must be supervised at all times.

These sessions are very popular, if you are unable to attend a session please notify us so we can release your ticket.

Book your ticket

Family-friendly things to do in the garden and estate

Visit our new farm playground

A space for our younger visitors to explore and play in an new, safe and stimulating way, all nestled within the picturesque surroundings of the estate’s Home Farm. Designed and crafted with an emphasis on fun and sustainability, the new play area features large climbing frames, an adventure trail, and accessible swings made of natural materials, surrounded by hardwood chip safety surfacing.

The new equipment compliments the existing small farm play items with plenty of picnic benches for supervising family and friends to relax and enjoy hot and cold drinks, light lunches and snacks from the nearby Farm Cafe.

Explore the Estate

With acres of parkland and miles of paths to explore, families can easily while away a day at Wimpole. Wander the garden paths and discover the explorer path, navigating a winding route through the pleasure ground. The walled garden, with its high brick walls and gates has a secret garden feel that children will love to explore or peek into the glasshouse to see what’s growing. In the summer, you'll be able to play garden games such as croquet and giant jenga on the lawns.

Set on top of a hill in the 300 acres of ancient parkland is the gothic folly, a ruined tower straight out of a fairy story. Cross the Chinese bridge and climb to the top of the hill to enjoy the views over the roof of the hall below. Wander around the lake and see if you can spot the resident swans and ducks gliding around.

Home Farm

Home Farm is one of the UK’s largest rare breed centres and a working farm with horses, sheep, pigs, goats and more. Meet the gentle giants, the shire horses, in their stable block or spot piglets in the piggery. The cheeky Bagot goats can be found in their paddock, and you’ll always find donkeys and rabbits in the farmyard.

Follow the new Home Farm trail and learn about the animals we care for and the day-to-day goings on at the farm. Explore the farm buildings and collect the eight special brass rubbings at each station.

We also offer some immersive Shire horse experiences on selected dates, such as carriage rides around the estate and experience days.

'50 things to do before you're 11¾'

There are lots of '50 things to do before you're 11¾' activities to tick off during your visit. Here are a few recommendations:

  • No. 1 Get to know a tree: The parkland at Wimpole is home to many fascinating trees – big, small, old and new. Some trees have spaces big enough to get inside while others can be climbed. Many have vibrant summer flowers or colourful leaves to catch. Get to know a tree and see what creatures they’re home to

  • No. 6 Go welly wandering: A spot of rain doesn’t need to dampen your spirits! Pull on some wellies and explore the adventure woodland, pleasure gardens and parkland. See if you can find the secret laurel tunnel or upside down trees in the Victorian stumpery

  • No. 11 Explore on wheels: Get on your bikes and head out into the wider estate as a family on our new multi-use trail. Our new, circular 5.5 mile route is off-road, safe and provides children with the opportunity to grow their confidence on wheels and get outdoors

  • No. 28 Climb a huge hill: Cambridgeshire may not be famous for its hilly landscapes but the path up to the ruined folly is steep enough for little legs, and the views from the top are definitely worth the effort.

The south front of Wimpole Hall, Cambridgeshire with sheep in the foreground

Discover more at Wimpole Estate

Find out when Wimpole Estate is open, how to get here, the things to see and do and more.

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Children on Home Farm at Wimpole Estate, Cambridgeshire

Explore Wimpole Home Farm 

Built in 1794, Home Farm is the only in-hand farm of its kind in the National Trust. Unique to Wimpole Estate, it is a model for sustainable farming practices. A must see on your next visit, it is home to many rare-breed animals and the species of flora and fauna that make the estate an agricultural champion.  

A couple enjoys tea in on the lawns outside the Old Rectory at Wimpole Estate, Cambridgeshire

Eating at Wimpole Estate 

Stop for a bite to eat at one of the cafés or in the Old Rectory Restaurant at Wimpole.

Families exploring the garden at Wimpole Estate, Cambridgeshire

Visiting Wimpole Garden 

Discover Wimpole’s gardens and visit the Parterre, walk through the Pleasure Grounds meandering your way to the Walled Garden, with herbaceous borders and fruit trees.

Sun over the Hall, Wimpole Estate, Cambridgeshire

Visiting Wimpole Hall 

Step inside Wimpole Hall and discover how previous owners made their mark on this complex house.

Sheep grazing in parkland with the Gothic Folly in the background at Wimpole Estate, Cambridgeshire.

Explore the parkland at Wimpole 

Explore the acres of parkland at Wimpole, abundant with wildlife, flora and fauna; stroll across the open space, or head across the Chinese bridge to visit the Gothic folly.

Two children peer through a summer play installation

Family-friendly places to visit 

Find the best family-friendly places to visit and discover the fun-filled activities on offer as part of our Summer of Play, sponsored by Starling Bank.

Girl playing with a football on Brownsea Island, Poole Harbour, Dorset in summer

‘50 things to do before you're 11¾’ 

Fancy running free in the fresh air, learning new skills and trying new things? Grab your gear and start your adventure.

Members of a family take part in pond dipping at Wicken Fen National Nature Reserve, Cambridgeshire

Family-friendly places in Cambridgeshire 

With gardens, countryside and historic buildings across Cambridgeshire, discover a selection of places to enjoy a great family day out, rain or shine.