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Things to see and do for families in Mottistone Gardens

Visitors in the garden at Mottistone, Isle of Wight
Explore Mottistone Gardens as a family | © National Trust Images/John Millar

Mottistone Gardens are a magical place for little ones to explore and we've lots of ways to keep them entertained. In the sheltered valley, mini explorers can discover the wonders of nature as they burn off some energy making dens in the Wild Woods, or try some ’50 things to do before you’re 11¾’ activities. We've ever-changing trails too, that mean visiting in any season brings something new to discover.

Planning your family visit

  • There is a free car park located next to the gardens. From here there is a short, 2 minute walk to Visitor Reception along a gravel path and down a few steps.
  • Baby changing facilities are available in the accessible toilet which is located by the entrance barn.
  • When tummies start to rumble, the tea garden makes a good pit stop. Here you’ll find sandwiches, soups, cakes and tasty treats.
  • Highchairs are available in the tea garden.
  • In the tea garden there is water to help-yourself to and child-friendly glasses.
  • There are lots of great spots for picnics around the gardens – the grassy lawns of the orchard are a favourite, and toddlers can run around here too, or there are plenty of benches and deckchairs dotted high and low around the grounds.
  • Pushchairs are welcome but there are some gravel paths and steps.
  • Dogs on leads are welcome throughout the gardens and there are water bowls for four-legged friends outside the shop and in the tea garden

Coming the summer........

Warrior, the war horse, trail

Each day 27 July – 1 September, 10.30am-5pm

Free but normal admission charges apply.

Summon up your courage and join Warrior – a real life War Horse – on an adventure at Mottistone Gardens.

Jack Seely – politician, soldier, equestrian and adventurer – was Mottistone Manor’s most daring resident. But Jack met his match in 1908, when his favourite horse gave birth to a daring young foal. Jack called this spirited young horse ‘Warrior’. However, it wasn't until Jack saw Warrior's courage first-hand on the battlefield that he realised what an exceptional horse he was.

Follow Warrior and Jack on an adventure across five activity points in the gardens – through wardrobes and water, battles and birthday parties – and discover the incredible story of a real-life war horse.

Little explorers can dress-up as General Jack Seely, create a unique piece of art inspired by Warrior, solve clues using a cavalry soldier’s kit, race their own space hopper horse across the finish line and then complete the trail by celebrating Warrior’s birthday with a tea party, including pin the tail on the horse, horseshoe pitching, and the horse disco.

Family-friendly things to do in the gardens

If you head to the area just behind the potting shed you’ll find the Wild Woods. It’s perfect for slightly older children aged between 8 and 12 years. Hidden in amongst the trees, you could build a den, make a trail with sticks or even climb as high as you can in one of the trees. It's great for hide-and-seek too.

The grass lawns of the orchard provide a safe and secure environment for little ones to run around in. Here they can fly a kite, roll down the hill or kick off their shoes and feel the grass tickle their toes.

White you're in the organic kitchen garden, you could try out our 'Tune in to the birds'. Press the buttons and discover the song each bird sings. Listen carefully as you head round the gardens and you might hear them in the trees and bushes.

In the tea garden you can even turn yourself into a giant butterfly. Stand in front of the human-sized wings and take a selfie. Don't forget to tag us if you share on social.

A boy stands amongst many tree branches as he climbs a tree at Wallington, Northumberland
Climb a tree in the Wild Woods | © National Trust Images / Arnhel de Serra

'50 Things to do before you're 11¾'

We’ve plenty of ways for you to tick off some off your ‘50 things to do before you’re 11¾’ at Mottistone Gardens. Climb trees or discover bugs to make friends with in the Wild Woods, roll down a really big hill or take a barefoot walk in the orchard, or just lie on the grassy lawns and watch the clouds go by. 50 things activities are great for those aged 5-12 years but all the family can join in.

Visitors in the garden at Mottistone, Isle of Wight

Discover more at Mottistone Gardens and Estate

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

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