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A family day out at Dunham Massey

A woman and a child throwing leaves in an autumn woodland at Dunham Massey
Enjoying the fallow deer at Dunham Massey | © ©National Trust Images/Paul Harris

When the need for a family day out calls, Dunham Massey answers with beauty, history and wildlife. A short drive from Manchester and on the edge of rural Cheshire, Dunham is the ideal day out for families living in or visiting the North West.

From the many miles of paths amongst roaming deer that welcome prams and pushchairs of all types, to baby change points and snacky lunch boxes, families love a day out at Dunham Massey.

Planning your family visit

  • Arrive ready for the weather - families love a walk amongst fallow deer and ancient trees.
  • Kids become nature champions when you find out about the fallow deer and medieval park before you arrive. Help us keep our deer wild and well by not feeding or touching them.
  • The vast majority of the paths in Dunham Massey are flat and accessible for buggys and pushchairs.
  • Toilet and baby-changing facilities are available at the Stables and Visitor Centre.
  • Bike riding is only for children aged under five inside the park. Older cyclists may want to take advantage of the bike park areas in the car park and by the North Park. The Trans Pennine Trail is under a mile from Dunham Massey.
  • The Cafe in the Visitor Centre and Stables Restaurant in the Stables building carry child-friendly meals and snacks, catering to a variety of dietary requirements. Check specifics via phone 0161 941 1025 or email
  • Don't miss the Dunham Massey shop - one of the National Trust's largest with a great selection of children's books, toys and treats.

Memorable family fun this Christmas

Dunham Massey is the place to enjoy family days and nights out this Christmas.

Follow Jolly Robin’s Winter Walk to encourage little legs to embrace wintery nature. For the perfect fun and festive family event, check out Seasonal Stories - Jolly Robin’s Christmas Party. This is a magical and merry interactive storytelling adventure that kids will love, with a creative goody bag to take home.

The iconic evening trail Christmas at Dunham Massey brings lights, music and wonder as far as the eye can see. A must-see event for families looking for special moments to make memories that last a lifetime.

Spot the fallow deer through the wintery landscape of the park, and enjoy a pre-booked Christmas Lunch in the beautiful surrounds of the Stables Restaurant.

A mother and young daughter on a small wooden bridge crouch and look through the slats with autumn leaves on the ground. An older couple walk in the background to the left
Visitors enjoy the garden in autumn at Dunham Massey | © National Trust Images/Paul Harris

Visiting with younger children

Dunham is a young explorer’s dream. Waterbirds are often the first wildlife to welcome little ones as they approach the moat, the view of the house across the water is a highlight for parents and carers.

Deer spotting

Inside the parkland, nature is all round and little faces light up in awe as they spot deer in the distance. Dunham’s herd of fallow deer have lived here for almost 1000 years and happily share the park with all ages. Remind your little ones that being a friend to nature means not feeding or stroking these wild animals and set their path towards being a conservation champion early in life!

In the gardens

Displays of intriguing flowers open out to waterways, mini bridges and interesting structures in the gardens. The Orangery offers a moment of rest when little legs tire – grab a book and a bean bag in the Book Nook, overlooking the historic house, or picnic on the lawn to refuel before the next adventure.

Trails and events

Seasonal trails and tailored events for children are frequent at Dunham Massey, as is the tendency for kids to beg to return to this much loved, wildlife-rich landscape. Ask at the Visitor Centre to find out what’s on and coming up.

Two deer graze beneath autumn trees with autumn leaves covering the ground
Fallow Deer in the park in autumn at Dunham Massey | © National Trust Images/Paul Harris

A day out with older kids

Older children enjoy sharing space and time with free-roaming deer in the ancient parkland. Bring their history studies to life with a visit to the historic buildings.

A site of special scientific interest

Dunham’s many miles parkland paths weave through this special place, known for its precious deadwood ecology and mass of ancient trees. Most of these wooden giants grow happily, while others have fallen. Fallen trees and branches by the side of well-trodden paths are perfect for amateur climbers and aspiring den builders.

A walk around the parkland reveals mysterious buildings and structures, almost frozen in time. Challenge older kids to take on the pathway around the edge of the parkland and consider what these buildings may once have been?

The Log Pile

The adventure continues in this hidden gem of a place in Dunham’s lesser-frequented North Park. Huge fallen trees are perfect for clambering and carefully placed stumps act as steppingstones.
*Please support your children to recognise their own ability.

The House and Historic Buildings

The Dunham Massey House holds an extensive collection that spans the history of the estate. Open from March through to October, children are encouraged to step into the past, and discover the stories of the Booths and the Greys. Find out more about the history of Dunham Massey before you visit.

Top tips

You may wish to encourage those with very little legs to visit the Stables facilities before entering the gardens or venturing far out into the parkland as there are no facilities in these areas. And perfect picnic spots can be found in the gardens on the lawn or in the North Park. No picnics in the parkland please as leftover food and wrappers can harm the deer herd.

'50 things to do before you're 11¾'

Get close to nature and see how many '50 things' you can tick off your list at Dunham Massey or at home. Here are some recommendations:

Deer resting on the lawn at Dunham Massey, Cheshire

Discover more at Dunham Massey

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

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Two people sit on a bench inside a wooden shelter to the left, on the right there are autumn trees

Things to do in the garden at Dunham Massey 

Stroll past historical landmarks and breathe in seasonal scents with a visit to Dunham Massey's ever-evolving and extensive gardens. Crunch through leaves on a woodland walk and watch as the gardens unveil their vibrant shades of red, orange and yellow this autumn.

Servants bells, above the door to the study, for Lord Grey's room and dressing rooms at Dunham Massey

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When the house reopens to visitors in March 2024, you can explore the traditional country house at Dunham Massey and see the extensive collection inside, which shows how the family lived and tells the stories of those who served them.