Have an awesome autumn half term with the National Trust

Autumn at Anglesey Abbey1 ©National Trust Images Richard ToddWhether it’s enjoying a stroll in a spectacular landscape ablaze with colour or spending time with friends and family jumping in fallen leaves, there are plenty of reasons to love this time of year.

Autumn is here for you to enjoy with all its colour, conkers, orchards full of apples and hedgerow fruits just right for picking. So why not take a family walk this autumn, discover some special places on foot and take part in some of our ‘50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾’ events this half term.

Take a walk on the wild side and track a woodland creature, build a bug hotel or hold a scary beast. If that’s not enough there’s tree climbing, wild art and conker competitions to keep the kids entertained in the great outdoors.

Here are the National Trust’s top half term events to tick off this autumn:

South East

Standen, West Sussex
Spooky Woodland Art , 29 October, 11am – 2pm
If you’re feeling brave, explore the woodland and wider estate at Standen and create some spooky woodland art for Halloween. Get creative in the outdoors with local artist Bleau Hudson, and tick off number 18 on the ‘50 things’ list. Bleau will show you how to create some eerie wild art inspired by trees and woodlands around you. If you can, collect some art materials beforehand and bring them with you – cones, twigs, leaves, bark, leaf litter and other woodland materials will all come in handy when creating your masterpiece.
Price: £3 (normal admission fee applies)
For more information, please call 01342 323029

New Forest Northern Commons, Hampshire
Forest Play, 28 October, 10.30am – 1pm
This beautiful sprawling wilderness offers opportunity for both retreat and adventure this autumn. Join some of the rangers in the New Forest for a day of lighting campfires, building dens and woodland craft. Foxbury, near East Wellow, is a safe enclosure with space to play and learn and the basecamp is the ideal place for wild play, with rustic seating and a readymade fire pit perfect for marshmallow toasting and hot drinks. The rangers will show you the best ways to build and light a fire, help build dens, plus there’ll be woodland craft activities.
Price: Adult £2.50, Child £5 (booking essential)
For more information, please call 01794 344020

Tree climbing at Mottisfont - ©National Trust Images Arnhel de SerraPolesden Lacey, Surrey
Big Tree Climbing, 27 October, 10.30am – 4.30pm
Climb in the canopy of the big tree in Preserve Copse with the supervision of highly skilled and friendly instructors and get a bird’s eye view of Polesden Lacey and beyond, and if you’re brave enough take the zip wire back down again. If you fancy stretching your legs and getting your feet firmly back on the ground there are acres of the estate to explore and perfect spots to sit back, relax and enjoy the views.
1 hour sessions limited to 7 children per session. Suitable for children from age 6 years and over (no height restriction) Full tuition, safety equipment and harness will be provided.
Price: £15.50 per hour session (free entry to grounds for participant, plus one accompanying adult if child is under the age of 16) – booking essential. Normal admission fee applies
For more information, please call 0800 0556760


Anglesey Abbey, Gardens and Lode Mill, Cambridgeshire
Awesome Autumn Adventures, 25 October – 2 November, 10.30am – 5.30pm
Come and see Anglesey Abbey change colour with a range of self-led awesome autumn activities. The gardens and wildlife area provide a great place to catch brightly coloured leaves as they fall off the trees. Enjoy a game of conkers, create beautiful wild art, build a den and find many more adventures hidden in the grounds.
Price: Normal admission fee applies
For more information, please call 01223 810080

Children building a den from twigs and branches, in the grounds of Allan Bank, Grasmere, Cumbria.

Hatfield Forest, Essex
Deer Rut Walk for Families, 28 October, 4pm – 6pm
Explore Hatfield Forest in the Essex countryside this autumn, once a favourite place for royalty to show off their hunting prowess. Join the ranger team for an evening journey into the secretive world of the fallow deer during their rutting season. Learn how to track and stalk in silence and remember to bring your camera for those majestic shots.
Price: £10 (Ages 8 and over only, booking essential) Normal admission fee applies
For more information, please call 01279 870678

Ickworth, Suffolk
Out and about Wednesdays, 29 October, 11am – 3pm
It’s awesome autumn and Ickworth is a grand place to see the changing colours of autumn. Set your creativity free and make some wild art with nature’s bounty scattered around the estate. Dive into mountains of leaves and then catch as many as you can falling from the trees. Discover the magnificent horse chestnut trees and choose your winning conker to join the great conker competition. Have a great day out in the Suffolk countryside and complete numbers 10, 18 and 33 of your ‘50 Things’ challenge.
Price: Normal admission fee applies
For more information, please call 01284 735270


Croome, Worcestershire
Tree Climbing, 27 October, 10.30am – 4.30pm
If there’s one ‘50 thing’ you should do this autumn it’s climbing a tree and taking in the colourful landscape around you at the top. Spend an hour with two with highly-skilled instructors who will teach you how to use ropes, knots, carabineers and harness to climb to the top of the tree and zip wire back down again.
Run by the Great Big Tree Climbing Company.
Price: £15.50 (for ages 4 and over, booking essential)
For more information, please call 0800 055 6760

Child climbing a tree in the garden at Quarry Bank Mill, Wilmslow, Cheshire.

Eyam Hall and Craft Centre, Derbyshire
Plant it, grow it, eat it, 25 – 26 October, 11am – 3pm
Roll up your sleeves as bring out your inner gardener as you get ready for another ‘50 things’ challenge at Eyam Hall nestled in the Peak District. Join the gardeners to harvest the apples and start to prepare the ground for more crops with number 41 on the list: Plant it, grow it and eat it. Lend a hand and plant your own seeds ready to harvest early next year and see how tall they can grow. Just like you, fruit and vegetables need a bit of time to grow but they’re definitely worth the wait. It all takes time but later next year you can enjoy eating your home grown produce.
Price: £3 (includes garden and craft activities) Normal admission fee applies
For more information, please call 01433 639565

The Weir, Herefordshire
Build A Bug Hotel, 30 October, 2pm – 4pm
Even bugs need to get away from it all once in a while so why not come along and build a bug hotel at this riverside garden. Bring the family along and join the gardener to learn more about creepy crawlies that make their home in the grounds. Once you’ve built your masterpiece take it home and put in your own garden and see who comes to stay.
Price: £3 (booking essential) Normal admission fee applies
For more information, please call 01981 590509

North West

Buttermere, Ennerdale and Whitehaven Coast, Cumbria
Buttermere Family Adventure Trail, 25 October – 2 November, 11.30am – 3.30pm
Escape with the family from the hustle and bustle of modern life and discover dramatic fells, farms, woodland and three lakes to explore. Have a change of pace as you follow the trail towards Buttermere lakeshore where you can skim a stone or make a splash as you jump over the waves. There are lots of ’50 things’ activities you can try out here; have a go at building a den in the woods or climb a tree with your friends. Who can find the best twig for a game of pooh sticks in one of the becks? Challenge your family to a race, so choose your stick wisely and take on the challenge.
Price: £1.50 per trail map
For more information, please call 017687 74649

Dunham Massey, Cheshire
Family Rut Walks, 27 & 30 October, 11am – 12pm, 1pm – 2pm & 2.30pm – 3.30pm
Whether it’s kicking up leaves, collecting acorns, or having fun at the log pile, autumn is an ideal time for families to explore the great outdoors at Dunham. Discover the autumn rituals of Dunham’s deer revealed in a family guided walk during the rutting season.
Price: Normal admission fee applies
For more information, please call 0161 941 1025

Children squirrel-spotting on Brownsea Island©National Trust Images

Formby, Liverpool
Squirrel Cycle Tour, 25 October, 10.30am – 1pm
The National Trust have teamed up with the ‘Visit’ project so you can get on your own bike or hire one for our cycling events. Formby is famous for its red squirrels, natterjacks, and prehistoric footprints – there’s plenty waiting to be discovered. Take a tour on two wheels and see if you can spot some of Formby’s famous red squirrels. The ride will make a stop at Ainsdale Sand Dunes National Nature Reserve for refreshments and to learn some more about the conservation of these fantastic creatures. This route will take you across the landscape using paths and roads into Southport from where you can make your way home or get the train back to Formby.
Price: £4 with your own bike or £6 with a hire bike (Normal admission fee applies and the ride will take around 3 hours)
Booking Essential on-line – registration from 9.30am for a 10am start
For more information, please e-mail formbyevents@nationaltrust.org.uk

South West

Glendurgan Garden, Cornwall
Wild Art Week, 25, 26, 28, 29, 30 & 31 October, 1 & 2 November, 10.30am – 4.30pm
Have fun creating some amazing wild art in the tropical Glendurgan Garden this autumn.
Have a go at making a colourful crown of autumn leaves or maybe a pebble picture at Durgan beach, or even a magnificent masterpiece by the maze. If you fancy a natural puzzle, take a stroll around the cherry laurel maze and see if you can reach the middle first. On your way back stop off at the Giant’s Stride rope swing for some spinning adventures.
Price: Normal admission fee applies
For more information, please call 01326 252020

Child with a handheld GPS at Wicken Fen National Nature Reserve, Cambridgeshire.

Stonehenge Landscape, Wiltshire
Geocaching – give it a go!, 28 October, 2pm – 4pm
Try a geocaching treasure hunt among the woods and fields on King Barrow Ridge this half term. If you’ve never tried geocaching before, you’re missing out on all the fun and ticking off number 49 on your ‘50 things’ list. Try your hand at treasure hunting and we’ll lend you a GPS device for the afternoon. Geocaching is about finding ‘caches’ that have been hidden by other ‘geocachers’ – some, like ours, include small toys and trinkets. Bring something with you to swap for something in the cache.
Price: £4 (booking essential)
For more information, please call 01980 664780

Tyntesfield, Bristol
50 Things activity – Hold a scary beast with our bug specialist, 29 October, 11am – 12pm & 1pm – 2pm
Tick off number 30 on your ’50 things’ list at this Victorian Gothic Revival house just outside of Bristol. A local bug specialist will be visiting Tyntesfield with a variety of his creepy crawlies for you to see and touch. Learn about what they eat, where they live and even try holding one if you dare.
Price: £3 (booking essential) Normal admission fee applies
For more information, please call 01275 461900 ext.138

Child making a picture from twigs and leaves in the garden taking part in a Family Fun event at Plas Newydd, Anglesey, Wales

Yorkshire and North East

Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden, North Yorkshire
Bug Box Making, 28 – 30 October, 10am, 11am, 1pm & 2pm
Discover breath-taking views across the magnificent twelfth-century abbey ruins and the beautifully landscaped Georgian water garden this autumn. As winter approaches we’re not the only ones wrapping up warm in preparation for the chill. Our creepy crawly friends are also looking for somewhere to bed down and you can help them out by making them a brand new home. Roll up your sleeves and come and make a wooden bug box for your garden.
Price: £5 per bug box (booking essential) Normal admission fee applies
For more information, please call 01765 643176

Allen Banks and Staward Gorge, Northumberland
Activity Day, 29 October, 10am – 2pm
Struggling for things to do this half term? Why not join the Hadrian’s Wall Country Group team as they host a day of fun filled activities for all the family. Join in with pond dipping, mini beast hunts, bush craft, geocaching and much more – it’s the perfect way to work through your ’50 Things to do before you’re 11 3/4′ list.
For more information, please call 01434 321888

Nostell Priory and Parkland, West Yorkshire
Conkers Bonkers, 30 October, 11am – 3pm
Only a stone’s throw from Wakefield lies Nostell, built on the site of a medieval priory it offers landscaped parkland and gardens. Visit this half term for self-guided, guided and themed walks. Stroll around the estate or speak to one of the rangers to find out exactly where the best trees are to find a winning conker. Remember, it’s not always the biggest conker that wins. 50 things tip: put some conkers in a bucket of water; all those that sink to the bottom are winners, those that float are losers.
Price: Normal admission fee applies to gardens
For more information, please call 01924 866841

Child playing in the autumn leaves; NT Images John Millar (1)

Northern Ireland

Crom, County Fermanagh
Nocturnal Nature Tour, 23 – 24 October, 7pm – 10pm
One of Ireland’s most important nature conservation areas, Crom’s ancient woodland and picturesque islands are home to many rare species. Take a tour in the jeep and discover what lurks among the trees and foliage of Crom estate after darkness falls.
Price: Adult £10, Child £5 (booking essential)
For more information, please call 028 6773 8118

Mount Stewart, County Down
Festival of Light, 31 October, 6pm – 10pm
A Magical event not to be missed is returning for a Halloween spellbinding special at Mount Stewart as the woodlands come alive with lights and music. Bring the whole family for an unforgettable, fairy-tale experience with an illuminated lake walk and log fires in the tipis.
Price: Adult £10, Child £7.50 (5-17 years), Family £30 (2 adults and 2 children) (booking essential)
For more information, please call 0844 249 1895


Plas yn Rhiw, Gwynedd
Autumn Adventures, 25 October, 11am – 3pm
Come and have an autumn adventure at Plas yn Rhiw, a manor house that has views from the gardens across Cardigan Bay. Play Halloween games, explore the woodland and complete some of your ’50 things’ activities by creating wild art and building a home for a wild creature – there’s plenty to do.
For more information, please call 01758 780 219

Visitors enjoying one of Bristol Astronomical Society's stargazing evenings at Tyntesfield, North Somerset.Craflwyn and Beddgelert, Gwynedd
Craflwyn Night-time Ramble, 29 October, 6pm – 9pm
The foothills of Snowdon are a great place for a night-time ramble in the woods in the heart of Snowdonia. Tick off some more of your ‘50 things’ and go for a nature walk at night, discover star-gazing and cook on an open fire.
Booking advisable
For more information, please call 01766 510120

Stackpole, Pembrokeshire
50 Things autumn challenge, 28 October, 12pm – 3pm
Visit this beautiful stretch of coastline with sandy beaches, wooded valleys and lily ponds this autumn where you can do as many of the ‘50 things’ activities as possible, including kites on the courtsite, cooking on a campfire, snail racing at the stone seat, and all things autumnal.
Price: £2 (Normal admission fee applies)
For more information, please call 01646 661425

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