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Family-friendly things to do at Rufford Old Hall

A young family sit on the grass in the sunshine with the house in the background at Rufford Old Hall, Lancashire
Relaxing in the garden at Rufford Old Hall | © National Trust Images/Chris Lacey

Rufford Old Hall offers plenty to see and do for all the family. Borrow a balance bike, explore the beautiful garden and surrounding woodland, discover the dedicated area for nature play and set your imagination free inside the house.

What's On? - Summer of Play (20 July - 01 September)

Come out to play with your friends and family this summer. Run wild in the natural play area, enjoy a picnic and outdoor games in one of the paddocks, try on suits of armour in the Great Hall and tuck into your favourite treats in the Victorian tea-room.

Every day during summer opening times (Fri-Tues) enjoy an abundance of garden games and self-led activities. Escape to the Orchard Paddock and take part in free sports activities including cricket, rounders, tennis, soft archery, croquet and more. From the Coach House you can collect a sports day kit box which includes instructions, skipping ropes, hula hoops, race markers, beanbags and more.

Summer of Play sponsored by Starling Bank.

Normal admission charges apply.

Rainy day fun at Rufford Old Hall

It’s not always sunshine during the Great British summer, but don’t worry there’s lots of ways to keep the kids entertained whatever the weather.

  • Join a guided tour of the house* (10.45am – 11am).
  • Play pretend in the Great Hall where you will find magnificent suits of armour, parts of which can be tried on.
  • Embark on a trail around the house and see what objects you can find.
  • Take shelter in the North Woods and explore the dedicated area for nature play.
  • Enjoy a warm drink, slice of cake or savoury treat in the Victorian tea-room.
  • Browse the second-hand book shop and take a seat whilst you read your chosen novel.
  • If wet weather is your thing, don your waterproofs, splash in the puddles, admire the beautiful summer flower displays and why not draw some stormy weather or you might even spot a rainbow with our ‘Drawn on the Lawn’ drawing pack – located in the Coach House.

*Please note guided tours depend on staff/volunteer availability.

It doesn’t always have to be glorious sunshine to make memories and spend special time with your family and friends.

Planning your family visit

  • You'll find toilets and baby-changing facilities in the Courtyard.
  • The Victorian tea-room offers tasty kids' lunchboxes containing sandwiches, fruit, a treat and juice or water. Indoor and outdoor seating is available.
  • You're welcome to bring a picnic. There are plenty of picnic tables, benches and spots to lay out a blanket. Please use the bins provided when you're finished.
  • Dogs are only allowed in the North Woods, North Paddock and Courtyard. They aren’t allowed in the formal Garden or Orchard and Orchard Paddock.
  • Buggies may not be taken inside the house. You can leave them in the Coach House but please be aware this at your own risk.
  • You’re welcome to bring balance bikes and small bikes with stabilisers, but large wheeled bikes are not allowed as the paths around the gardens and grounds are too narrow.

Play pretend in the Great Hall

The Tudor house is filled with treasures and fascinating stories. Inside the Great Hall, you will find magnificent suits of armour that will really get children's imaginations flowing. They can even pretend to be Tudor ladies and gentlemen for the day.

Children dressed up as knights at Rufford Old Hall, Lancashire
Children play fighting as knights at Rufford Old Hall, Lancashire | © National Trust Images/John Millar

Get set to ride a balance bike

Balance bikes are the perfect way to help your future cyclists learn how to ride in beautiful, traffic-free surroundings. The balance bikes are located at the Coach House, free to use, and can be borrowed on a first come, first served basis – so just turn up and get going.

There are plenty of paths to follow through the garden and the wide-open space of the Orchard Paddock makes it a great place to ride around.

Get creative with nature in the woodland

Venture into the woodland to discover the dedicated area for nature play. There are plenty of natural materials to play with here, all collected by the garden team. Make a wild crown out of twigs and leaves, go on a bug hunt or simply play hide and seek amongst the trees.

Family sitting around picnic table in spring
Family enjoying picnic in spring at Rufford Old Hall, Lancashire | © National Trust Images/James Dobson

'50 things to do before you're 11¾'

Rufford's garden and woodland are the perfect places to tick some activities off your list of '50 things to do before you're 11¾'. Which of the fun-packed things will you try? Do your favourite activities over and over again, or try all 50 – the choice is yours.

You can pick up a leaflet from the Coach House for more information.

Two visitors are walking past a bright green lawn which has decorative bushes planted on it, towards the house at Rufford Old Hall, Lancashire, on a bright sunny day.

Discover more at Rufford Old Hall

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

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