Family-friendly things to do at Mottisfont
With plenty of space to run, jump and play there's lots to keep children of all ages busy at Mottisfont. Challenge yourself in our Wild Play area, try some of the '50 things to do before you're 11¾' challenges and play a game of Pooh sticks from one of the wooden bridges. Enjoy A Christmas Journey to the North Pole with the whole family from 25 November - 7 January.
Planning your family visit
Here's all the information you need at a glance, to make the most of your family day out at Mottisfont:
- Baby-changing facilities in access-friendly toilets are located at the welcome centre, stables, lower corridor in the house and kitchen garden
- Pushchairs are welcome everywhere except inside the house. There are gently-sloping areas and wide pathways around much of the grounds. Pathways are uneven in some places so sturdy, all-terrain tyres are recommended
- Drinks, snacks and light lunches with family-friendly options are available from the café and additional outlets, with indoor and outdoor seating areas and picnic benches around the grounds
- Breastfeeding is welcome anywhere around the property.
Peak arrival times are between 11am and 2pm. If you arrive at 10am you might find the grounds a little quieter, or if you arrive after 2pm, there’s still time to enjoy all that Mottisfont has to offer. If you have the flexibility, a weekday visit is generally quieter than a weekend, even during school holidays. If you can only visit over the weekend, Saturdays are usually less busy than Sundays.
What do you need to know when visiting the garden?
- Toddler push-along bikes operated by a parent/guardian are welcome, but please be aware that bikes, trikes and scooters are not allowed
- There are areas of open water around the garden and grounds so close supervision is strongly advised
- Please don't bring windbreakers, gazebos, pop-up tents, parasols or barbecues.
A Christmas Journey to the North Pole
25 November 2023 - 7 January 2024 (whole property closed 24 and 25 December)
Grounds open from 10am, house open from 11am. Property closes at 4pm (last entry 30 minutes before closing)
Enter the house to find richly-decorated trees, piles of beautifully-wrapped presents and extravagant floral arrangements created by Mother Christmas herself. Father Christmas’s study is piled high with letters, and children sleep in decorated bedrooms...
Follow their festive dreams to board the ‘Christmas Express’ into the North Pole, arriving just in time to join the glittering, snow-white polar bear’s ball. Experience the wonder of the northern lights over a towering tree sparkling with baubles.
Outside, our family activity trail invites you to become an honorary elf for the day, helping to deliver Christmas wishes. Peek inside a postbox to discover the mechanism and magic behind the Christmas Postal Service. Play, explore and experiment in the elves' 'invention realm', help create stocking designs and test your stocking-stuffing skills.
There's no need to book your visit. Normal property admission price (free for National Trust members, Art Fund members and under-fives), plus £3 per trail. If you’re with a carer or essential companion, they visit for free.
February half term
10 - 16 February, 10am-5pm (last entry 30 minutes before closing)
Pick up from a choice of activity packs to explore Mottisfont at your own pace, whether you want to discover art, the garden, or the natural world. Younger children (5 and under) can enjoy a simple, seasonal spotter trail.
Property admission applies (free entry for National Trust members and under 5s), plus £2 per activity pack.
More family-friendly things to do in the garden
Our Wild Play area includes three large wooden structures built for climbing, balancing and exploring. Duck and dive through multiple entry and exit points to play together. The play area is very muddy due to recent storms, so come dressed for mess.
Wooden bridges and a rushing river make Mottisfont one of the country's top destinations for playing Pooh sticks – challenge your family to a game when you visit. Ball games and frisbees are welcome on the paddock areas.
'50 things' activities
Why not try some of the '50 things to do before you're 11¾' challenges? From rolling down a hill to making friends with a bug, there's something for every young explorer to do.
25 November 2023 - 7 January 2024: follow letters to Father Christmas on a magical journey to the North Pole, from children dreaming in decorated bedrooms to a polar bear’s ball, and experience the wonder of the northern lights.
Enjoy every season at Mottisfont, with its ancient trees and babbling brooks, from rich autumn foliage and the scented Winter Garden, to spring bulbs and, of course, the world-famous Rose Garden.
Explore Maud Russell’s 1930s neo-classical interiors, in an 18th-century house with medieval origins and enjoy changing art exhibitions in the spacious gallery.
The shop, plant centre and bookshop at Mottisfont are packed with great gift ideas. Why not treat yourself to a snack and drink at one of the cafés after a wander in the garden?
There are lots of things to do when you visit one of our family-friendly places. Find inspiration for days out and discover a range of activities for everyone.
Fancy running free in the fresh air, learning new skills and trying new things? Grab your gear and start your adventure.