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John Burningham exhibition and trail at Mottisfont

An illustration of Mr Gumpy by John Burningham
An illustration from Mr Gumpy's Outing, by John Burningham | © John Burningham Estate

20 July - 29 September: our summer holiday exhibition and activity trail celebrates the world of John Burningham. Discover over 60 original illustrations in a family-friendly, interactive exhibition. Outside, there's an energetic trail with games and activities to complete.


Art gallery open 11am-4.30pm daily (last entry 4pm).

Discover over 60 original illustrations in our fun, family-friendly exhibition, including favourite stories and characters such as Mr Gumpy, Avocado Baby, and Oi! Get Off Our Train!

There are comfy reading zones for kids to snuggle into with a book, colourful blown-up scenes for family photos, and dressing up inspiration. Look out for the life-size ‘magic’ bed that transports young imaginations to far away worlds, inspired by Burningham’s classic story The Magic Bed.

Sketches and personal items, including the artist’s paint palette, reveal how Burningham created his much-loved stories.

Outside, the Beech Circle in Mottisfont’s gardens will be transformed into an outdoor garden gallery, decorated with images from Come Away from the Water, Shirley.

An illustration from Come Away From the Water Shirley by John Burningham
Come Away From the Water Shirley, by John Burningham | © John Burningham Estate

Activity trail

Gardens open 10am-5pm daily (last entry 4.30pm).

Outside, an energetic activity trail weaves through Mottisfont’s spacious gardens, introducing families to more characters, with games and challenges to complete. Play a game of Would You Rather, and step bravely onto a pirate ship like Shirley. £3 per trail.

Planning your visit

The exhibition is included with normal property admission (free for National Trust members, Art Fund members and under 5s).

There's no need to book, but Mottisfont may get very busy during school holidays and bank holidays. Mornings tend to be busier than afternoons. 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.

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
Visitors in the walled rose garden at Mottisfont, Hampshire

Discover more at Mottisfont

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

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Family-friendly things to do at Mottisfont 

From activity trails in the garden to playing pooh sticks on the bridge, there's something for every young explorer to do at Mottisfont.

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Eating at Mottisfont 

Treat yourself to a snack and drink at one of the cafés after a wander in the garden.