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Geocaching for families

A child in a meadow holds up a GPS device with a mansion and church in the background
Child geocaching at Claydon, Buckinghamshire | © National Trust Images/Elle Horder

Geocaching is like a treasure hunt for the digital generation, where you can enjoy the freedom of being outside and discovering new places. More and more people are discovering how much fun it is, and all you need is a handheld GPS and a sense of fun.

Try geocaching for free

Geocaching is an exciting outdoor adventure for the whole family. Many of the places we care for have GPS devices available for you to try geocaching for free. All you need to get going is a sense of adventure, and the coordinates to find the treasure.

What is a geocache?

A geocache or ‘cache’ is a small waterproof treasure box hidden outdoors. Geocachers seek out these hidden goodies guided by a GPS-enabled device which uses coordinates, or ‘waypoints’ downloaded from the website. Alternatively, you can download a free geocaching app for Android or iPhone.

So once you’ve found the treasure box – what will you find inside? The satisfaction of finding the box is a reward in itself, and most caches have a logbook for you to leave a message in. You’ll also often find a strange array of trinkets that people have left to swap. If you take a treasure out of the box, you should leave another trinket in its place, so come prepared.

Whether on the side of a windswept mountain or on an expanse of beach, there are geocaches hidden across the UK including hundreds on land we look after.

Get started with geocaching

  • You'll need a GPS device (or smartphone) – don't forget batteries
  • Find a cache near you on (you’ll need to sign up)
  • Choose a cache and enter the co-ordinates into your GPS
  • Follow your GPS towards the location – then use your wits to find the exact spot
  • Fill in the logbook and return the cache to its hiding place
  • Log your find on and pick your next one!

Here are some of the best National Trust places to go geocaching:

Three people in a meadow in summer cluster round a box
Visitors finding a geocache box of 'treasure' at Wicken Fen National Nature Reserve, Cambridgeshire | © National Trust Images/John Millar
Acorn Bank
Within 180 acres of woodland and parkland, there are a wide variety of trees along the woodland paths, hidden views – and six geocaches to discover.Try geocaching at Acorn Bank
Bembridge and Culver Downs, Isle of Wight
Call upon your best detective skills and track down the geocaches that are hidden up here on the downs at the eastern tip of the Isle of Wight.Try geocaching at Bembridge and Culver Downs
Brimham Rocks, North Yorkshire
There are geocaches hidden away along two separate trails. around the rocks, moorland and woodland of Brimham Rocks, one for novices and the other more challenging.Try geocaching at Brimham Rocks
Cadover Bridge, Devon
Enjoy views of Dartmoor and beyond here on the rugged moors. As well as geocaching, you could try letterboxing, a classic Dartmoor activity.Try geocaching at Cadover Bridge
Clent Hills, Birmingham
There are four caches hidden around this countryside haven in the heart of the busy Midlands, with miles of footpaths, bridleways and trails offering panoramic views over the Cotswolds, Shropshire Hills and Welsh borders.Try geocaching at Clent Hills
Danbury Commons and Blakes Wood
As well as a wealth of natural life to discover, young and enquiring minds will love the challenge of geocaching using the codes and clues on our special GPS units.Try geocaching at Danbury Commons and Blakes Wood
Durham Coast, County Durham
What will you discover among the rare flora and fauna on this coastline, and at Blast Beach, the beautifully restored site of a former colliery?Try geocaching at the Durham Coast
Flatford, Suffolk
Beside the beautiful River Stour, search for the correct coordinates to seek out the Flatford Mill series of geocaches.Try geocaching at Flatford
National Trust staff member leading a geocaching session at the Malham Tarn Field Centre, Yorkshire Dales.
Staff and visitors geocaching at the Malham Tarn Field Centre | © National Trust Images/Ben Selway
Fowey Estuary, Cornwall
Seek out the modern treasures along dramatic stretches of the South West Coast Path that weave through woodlands and around creeks on both sides of the estuary.Try geocaching at Fowey Estuary
Godrevy, Cornwall
Wander miles of beach, and clifftop walking routes across wild heathlands to track down the geocaches here.Try geocaching at Godrevy
Golden Cap, Dorset
Enjoy spectacular views in all directions from the highest point on the South Coast, as you focus on finding the geocaches.Try geocaching at Golden Cap
Hatfield Forest, Essex
The best surviving example of a medieval royal hunting forest is home to 14 hidden geocaches, here to find between April and October.Try geocaching at Hatfield Forest
Lansallos, Cornwall
On this quiet stretch of Cornish coastline, near the popular fishing village of Looe, see how many geocaches you can find.Try geocaching at Lansallos
Mount Stewart, County Down
Discover the biggest cluster of geocaches in Northern Ireland. With over 40 to seek out, finding some of them is fairly straightforward, while you'll need to solve puzzles to uncover others.Try geocaching at Mount Stewart
The Needles Headland and Tennyson Down, Isle of Wight
Take in panoramic sea views as you track down the geocaches located on the open downland and sheer chalk cliffs – and there’s even one hidden within the exhibits in the Old Battery.Try geocaching at The Needles Headland and Tennyson Down
Penshaw Monument, Tyne & Wear
Solve a few puzzles to find a special geocache hidden at this striking landmark of the North East.Try geocaching at Penshaw Monument
Polperro, Looe and Whitsand Bay, Cornwall
Crack the clues to find the geocaches secreted in this corner of South-east Cornwall.Try geocaching at Polperro, Looe and Whitsand Bay
Wray Castle, Cumbria
Go geocaching through the woodland in the grounds of this mock-Gothic castle by Lake Windermere, on the hunt for eight medium-sized caches which end up with a puzzle.Try geocaching at Wray Castle
Two children peer through a summer play installation

Enjoy some family fun

Looking for places the whole family will enjoy? Discover family-friendly cycling trails, places to get closer to nature and historic buildings where you can learn about the past.

You might also be interested in

Family in the garden at Sizergh with a pushchair, Cumbria

Family-friendly walks 

Go on a family-friendly walk with these trails suitable for buggies and children. Go wild in natural play areas and compete in woodland den building.

A family of four are strolling through woodland at Rowallane Garden, County Down, where the leaves on the trees have turned yellow. The family is looking at something out of the shot.

Enchanted forests to visit with the family 

Looking for magical days out with the family? Discover our best enchanted forests where children can let their imaginations roam.

A family exploring the Adam Tower at Chirk Castle, Wrexham.

Family-friendly castles to visit 

Looking for enchanting family days out? Look no further than these fairy-tale castles, perfect for days out with little knights and dragon-slayers.

Prehistoric rocks tower above a far-reaching view of the Yorkshire countryside

Discover more with the National Trust Podcast 

Go on a modern-day adventure at the 320-million-year-old Brimham Rocks, Yorkshire in our podcast episode, 'A beginner's guide to geocaching'. You can also find more episodes from series seven, filled with nature and history.