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Family-friendly things to do at Nostell

Young visitor and family meeting Father Christmas by the open fire at Nostell
Meet Father Christmas as he relaxes by the open fire at Nostell | © National Trust Images/Annapurna Mellor

Nostell is the perfect place for a family adventure. Spend some time zipping though the trees in the woodland play area, visit the wildlife on the lake, cycle through the woodland or build a den. Whatever you do when you visit, here's what to expect from your family day out.

Planning your family visit

  • The main car park is around 800 metres from the main entrance
  • There are baby-changing facilities and toilets in the courtyard
  • There are accessible paths and you'll find mostly even terrain in the gardens but, some of the parkland paths can be uneven and muddy in wet weather so pushchairs might struggle
  • Bikes and scooters are welcome in the parkland but we ask that you leave all bikes, trikes, balls and scooters at the garden entrance
  • If you have a dog, you might find this information useful.

Playground adventures and nature exploring

  • Jump, swing and slide in the woodland adventure play area. Feel the wind in your hair as you zoom between the trees on the zip wire - it's a whopping 30 metres long
  • Go nature exploring and spot the resident wildlife, including swans, herons and geese
  • Take an easy stoll down to the middle lake, following accessible route markers for mobility scooters, wheelchairs and pushchairs.

Explore the parkland on two wheels

Bring your bikes and enjoy a traffic-free adventure on one of our family-friendly woodland cycle trails. Head out into the parkland along the Carriageway path and up to Obelisk Lodge. You can turn left for the green trail, which is great for little legs, or right to whizz around a few more twists and turns on the blue trail. Both sections are for bikes only and are approximately 1km long. Find out more.

Children on the swings in the play area at Nostell
Adventures in the woodland play area | © National Trust Images/Arnhel de Serra

Visit a world of fabulous Folklore and Fairy Tales at Nostell

1 December until 2 January *

A magical experience in the house

Come and visit our authentic (and very popular) Father Christmas who will be in the house during December (except 4/5 and 11/12 - and his last day will be 23 Dec). This is a drop in experience, and we don't take bookings. You'll find him on the ground floor, next to the open fire as he relaxes before the big day. Come and have a chat with him and listen to his enchanting anecdotes and stories. He's always happy to pose for photographs.

Please note, this is not a bookable experience and there is no additional charge to see Father Christmas. In fact, during December you can buy a ticket for garden entry and you will get into the house for FREE.

Continue on your journey into the Housekeeper's Room where you'll find a stunning gingerbread village - take a deep breath and inhale the sweet scent of Christmas. There will also be free Christmas crafts for children of all ages to get involved with.

Explore a bit further and you will find Nostell's exquisite doll's house which is decorated with all the Christmas trimmings. Watch out for the playful fairies who have invaded this miniature house. The fairies are not just in the doll's house, they are everywhere! Younger visitors will have fun spotting the tiny fairies hiding in all the rooms of the house.

The theme for the house decorations this year is Fairytales with each of the rooms decorated with a nod to the classics like Cinderella, Rapunzel and Beauty and the Beast.

*Please note that the house will be closed 24, 25, 26 December.

Visit the enchanted gardens

The woodland fairies have made their homes at Nostell for the winter. Wrap up warm and enjoy a stroll around the gardens and hunt for magical fairy doors in the ancient woodland around the adventure playground.

Our folklore theme continues throughout the gardens with ethereal nymph and fairy sculptures which have been crafted from wire, find them all and learn about their characters and stories.

*The gardens will be closed 25 December.

Planning for a rainy day?

The Damage Detective Trail in the house is the perfect activity for a rainy day, explore the rooms to find out about all the pests and things that can cause damage to an old house like Nostell.

Avoid a passing shower with a swift retreat into the second-hand book shop or cosy up with a hot drink or sweet treat in the cafe. The playground is under the woodland canopy which offers some shelter but, of couse, you can just bring your wellies and enjoy a good old splash in the puddles and stomp in the mud.

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