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Top natural play areas for kids

Two boys playing in The Log Stack wild play area at Dyffryn Gardens, Vale of Glamorgan
Children in the play area at Dyffryn Gardens | © National Trust Images/James Dobson

Splashing through streams, climbing up tree houses and building a woodland den – there’s nothing quite like playing outdoors. We’ve picked some of our favourite natural playgrounds for children at the places we look after. You may also be able to cross some of the '50 things to do before you’re 11¾' off your list during a visit.

Anglesey Abbey, Cambridgeshire
Discover Anglesey Abbey's natural play area at the end of a woodland path. There's a tree house, swings, spots for birdwatching and plenty of opportunities to run around and get closer to nature.Come and play at Anglesey Abbey
The Argory, County Armagh
Explore the playground at The Argory, where the local team has created an interactive environment that feels like part of the landscape. Or why not try a balance bike, available to hire for free from the Visitor Reception?Come and play at The Argory
Belton House, Lincolnshire
You could spend hours exploring our largest natural play area at Belton House. Climb and swing your way through more than 30 play features, including tree houses, towers, rope swings, climbing nets and zip wires.Come and play at Belton House
Brownsea Island, Dorset
Learn to leap, balance and play – just like the resident red squirrels – on climbing frames, seesaws and obstacles at the squirrel-inspired natural play area on Brownsea Island.Come and play at Brownsea Island
Calke Abbey, Derbyshire
When you go down to the woods you'll discover Calke Explore – a base for outdoor family adventures, including a natural play area. Venture inside the human-sized badger sett, balance on tree trunks and make your own den from fallen branches.Come and play at Calke Abbey
Chartwell, Kent
Head out into the wider estate for woodland adventures at Chartwell. Explore the tree house, see how high you can go on swings and seesaws and discover a Canadian camp, where troops once camped during the Second World War.Come and play at Chartwell
Playing on tree branches in the Hoe Fen Wildlife Discovery Area at Anglesey Abbey, Cambridgeshire
Playing on tree branches in the Hoe Fen Wildlife Discovery Area at Anglesey Abbey, Cambridgeshire | © National Trust Images/Antonia Gray
Chirk Castle, Wrexham
Explore Chirk Castle's outdoor play area at Home Farm and keep the whole family entertained. It's also conveniently located next to the refreshment kiosk.Come and play at Chirk Castle
Dyffryn Gardens, Vale of Glamorgan
Covering half an acre of wild play area, The Log Stack at Dyffryn Gardens has plenty of space for games. Why not balance on enormous trees, jump along stepping stones and have a picnic on hand-carved stumps?Come and play at Dyffryn Gardens
Emmetts Garden, Kent
Explore the wild play area at Emmetts Garden, just past the Old Stables tea-room, complete with giant wind chimes and balance beams. Wind your way up the climbing frame, tell stories in the fairy ring and race each other on the ball run.Come and play at Emmetts Garden
Erddig, Wrexham
The Wolf's Den at Erddig, built entirely from resources found on the estate, offers nearly two acres of wild play space. Take budding explorers to try out the balance beams, let loose on rope swings or have a go at den building.Come and play at Erddig
Fountains Abbey, North Yorkshire
Hop, skip and jump as you play with chimes, a speaking tube, skittles and a ball roll in Fountain Abbey's play area. There are things to wobble on and climb over, from scramble nets to a rope bridge, and a long zip wire too.Come and play at Fountains Abbey
Kingston Lacy, Dorset
Have adventures in not one, but two play areas at Kingston Lacy. Head to the woodland trail for a playground that encourages children to connect with nature. Explore the Kitchen Garden play area next, where you can take a ride on a wooden cow, plant wooden veg in the mini greenhouse and relax on the buddy swing.Come and play at Kingston Lacy
A child on climbing equipment in the play area at Mottisfont, Hampshire
The Wild Play area at Mottisfont, Hampshire | © National Trust Images/James Dobson
Mottisfont, Hampshire
Mottisfont’s Wild Play play area has climbing apparatus suitable for all ages. Three large wooden structures, set in a less formal part of the garden, have been specially designed to encourage climbing, balancing and exploring. Elsewhere, Mottisfont's wooden bridges over the river make it a great place for playing Pooh sticks.Come and play at Mottisfont
Mount Stewart, County Down
Discover the natural play area at Mount Stewart, themed around the adventures in The Magic Inkpot by Edith, Lady Londonderry. Don't forget to check out the Squirrel Hide for a chance to spot some of Mount Stewart's red squirrels.Come and play at Mount Stewart
Penrhyn Castle, Gwynedd
Head to the Cwt Ogwen woodland play area at Penrhyn Castle to test your climbing skills. Find a playmate for the seesaw, balance carefully along beams and discover the nearby wooden hide, where you can enjoy views across the river Ogwen.Come and play at Penrhyn Castle
Polesden Lacey, Surrey
Explore the play area at Polesden Lacey, which has a giant bird's nest, burrows to clamber through and lots of swings to choose from. The Bird's Nest, which has a wheelchair-accessible ground level, is a great place for sensory play.Come and play at Polesden Lacey
Sizergh, Cumbria
Head out into Sizergh's woodland trail for hours of family fun. Follow the clues to reach the end, taking on a climbing wall, balance beams and stepping stones along the way. This natural play area was made by the talented ranger team and is roughly a mile long.Come and play at Sizergh
Tyntesfield, Somerset
Look out for the enchanted tree house in the woods at Tyntesfield, where there's also a rope swing and plenty of places to play hide and seek. Can you spot the giant guano bird and other sculptures? See how many you can find.Come and play at Tyntesfield
Wallington, Northumberland
There's not one, but four play areas to explore at Wallington, so there's something for children of all ages. Fly through the air on the zip line in the adventure play area, become ruler of the play fort, take a journey on the play train or get closer to nature in the Little Acorns nature play space.Come and play at Wallington
Wimpole, Cambridgeshire
Discover this new space for younger visitors to explore and play, nestled within the surroundings of the estate’s Home Farm. The play area includes climbing frames, an adventure trail and accessible swings made of natural materials.Come and play at Wimpole
Children exploring the pond in the Italian Garden at Mount Stewart

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