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Things to see and do at Calke Explore

Image shows a child jumping off tree logs in the woodland
Child playing in the natural play area at Calke Explore | © National Trust/Rod Kirkpatrick

Calke Explore is open all year round, offering lots of opportunities to get outdoors and active at Calke Abbey, with easy access to walking and cycling routes, cycle hire facilities, natural play areas and a refreshments kiosk. Find out more about outdoor adventures at Calke Explore here.

What is Calke Explore?

Nestled into a peaceful woodland area away from the house and gardens, Calke Explore is the perfect base to start your outdoor adventures at Calke Abbey.

With a car park, toilet facilities, a Changing Places toilet and refreshments kiosk, Calke Explore offers easy access to the wider parkland. Step straight onto walking and cycling routes, discover exciting natural play areas in the woods, and find new spaces for relaxation and reflection in the wetlands.

Walking and cycling at Calke Explore

Situated in the heart of the parkland, Calke Explore has access to lots of walking routes, allowing you to explore a little further.

Jump straight on the Tramway Trail from the car park – a family friendly, multi-use route with hard paths, making this a great wet-weather route. You can also use this path to find the once-industrious Limeyards at Calke, or wander across the meadows to discover ancient woodland. Take a photo of the map at Calke Explore to find your next adventure.

Bike rides and cycle hire

From Saturday 2 March – Sunday 3 November, cycle hire will be available at Calke Explore every weekend, bank holiday and school holiday, from 10am to 4.30pm (last hire 2.30pm).

For cyclists, head over to the Tramway Trail to find Calke’s multi-use path. With hard surfaced paths, a relatively flat terrain and figure-of-eight route, it’s ideal for beginner cyclists and anyone seeking a picturesque ride through the countryside.

Prices: £10 per adult bike, £7 per child bike (under 18s), £7 per trailer (including dog trailers). Bikes are available to hire for two hours. Balance bikes are free of charge.

Images shows a family cycling away from the camera along a double track beneath a canopy of autumn leaves at Calke Abbey, with a child in the foreground and other cyclists further ahead
Cycling the Tramway Trail at Calke Abbey | © National Trust Images/Chris Lacey

Things to do for families

Families are invited to come out and play at Calke Explore, where you’ll find a natural outdoor play area tucked away in the woodland – open all year round. Explore inside the human-sized badger sett, balance on big tree trunks and make your own den from fallen branches.

If you’re looking to tick off some of your '50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾', Calke Explore is full of hidden places to explore. Follow the board walk to find a giant bug hotel or peek inside the bird hide to spot some wildlife.

During school holidays, there are lots of great activities taking places on the meadow at Calke Explore. Join us to get outdoors and active on your next visit.

Accessibility at Calke Explore

Everyone is welcome at Calke Explore, and we’ve been looking at creating solutions for accessibility so that you can enjoy the parkland fully. You'll find 10 accessible parking bays next to the facilities, a disabled access toilet, and an adult Changing Places facility if you have additional needs.

Calke Explore is a great way to enjoy the outdoors, with a short trail suitable for wheelchairs and mobility scooters, as well as direct access to the Tramway Trail – a flat, circular route with a hard surface. Families can be inspired by nature in the human-sized badger sett, which is wheelchair accessible.

If you'd like more information about access, get in touch or speak to a member of the team when you arrive. We'll be happy to help.

Getting to Calke Explore

If the car park is full at Calke Explore, it’s a 10–15-minute walk from the main car park. Either follow the driveway back to Calke Explore (please be aware of cars) or pick up the yellow waymarked path from the main car park. Go past the ponds, through a wooded area and turn left when you reach a sloping track. Carefully cross the driveway and follow the footpath into Calke Explore.

A view of the west side of the house and  a glimpse of the Pleasure Grounds through trees on a sunny day at Calke Abbey

Discover more at Calke Abbey

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

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