Get outside and discover nature this February half term with the National Trust

NAT TRUST LOGOHalf term is upon us, and there are lots of activities to get kids back in touch with nature at the National Trust. It’s the perfect opportunity for the whole family to create special memories at places springing to life after the winter months.

Take a walk on the wild side and track a woodland creature, build a bird box or go on a nature walk at night. If that’s not enough, there are spring trails and den building to keep the kids entertained in the great outdoors.

Along the way you will be able to tick off a few of the ‘50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾’ by discovering geocaches in glorious gardens and testing out your bush-craft skills in wild woodlands.

Here are the top activities for a fun day out this half term:

Nature detectives

Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden, North Yorkshire

February half term fun: bird detectives, 14 – 22 February, 10am – 4pm

There’s lots to explore at this breath-taking place, from the massive ruins of the medieval abbey to the elegant beauty of the Georgian water garden and the grand old trees of the deer park. Know your goldfinches from your chaffinches? Tackle a trail to become a bird detective as you search for the clues to discover some of the birds that call Fountains home, then call into Swanley Grange to make a fluttery, feathery bird mobile from paper and card. See what you can spot from the bird hide and like a true wildlife spotter be sure to note down your sightings. Tuesday to Thursday in half term week you can help feathered friends by making a bird box home for your garden (17-19 February, 10am, 11am, 1pm & 2pm).

Price: Free event (normal admission fee applies).

Booking required for Bird Box making, price £5 per child.

For more information, please call 01765 608888

Brownsea Island, Dorset

Get adventurous with nature, 14, 15, 21 & 22 February, 10am – 4pm

Brownsea Island is dramatically located in Poole Harbour, with spectacular views across to the Purbeck Hills and is famous for its red squirrels, wildlife and scouting. Visit during February half term and make the most of the natural play area with new pine cone shy, obstacles and more. Created by expert rangers and a team of volunteers, children will be able to explore and have fun in this exciting island environment.

Price: Free event (normal admission fee applies)

For more information, please call 01202 707744

Quarry Bank, Cheshire

Wild animals, 16 – 20 February, 12pm – 4pm

Deep in a Cheshire valley by the River Bollin, Samuel Greg built Quarry Bank – one of Britain’s greatest industrial heritage sites. Join in the fun and make a ‘wild animal teller’ you can take outside to identify animals from their footprints and poo! To enjoy more ‘50 things’ activities borrow a tracker pack and explore the gardens to see what you can find.
Price: Free event (normal admission fee applies)

For more information, please call 01625 527468

Sheringham Park, Norfolk

Wild animal tracking, 17 – 18 February, 10.30am – 12.30pm

Foxes, badgers and deer live in the Sheringham Park but are seldom seen. Learn how to follow the trails these animals make and spot the tell-tale signs they leave behind. Tracking wild animals is one of the ‘50 things to do before you’re 11 and ¾’ and this half term you can make a plaster cast print of the footprints animals leave behind. Then take a walk around the grounds to look for animal tracks, feeding signs and their poo. At the end of the day you can take a look at the camera trap to see if there’s been any animal activity from the night before.

Price: Adult £2.25, Child £4.25 (normal admission fee applies, booking essential)

For more information, please call 0844 249 1895

Gibside, Tyne & Wear

Red kite ramble with a ranger, 19 & 22 February, 2.30pm – 3.30pm

Discover fine Derwent Valley views, winding paths and refreshing open spaces while exploring elegant buildings and ruins at Gibside this half term. Join a local Red Kite expert to discover the secrets of Gateshead’s favourite bird of prey, how they were reintroduced to the Derwent Valley, and how the National Trust helps them thrive today.

Price: Free event (normal admission fee applies)

For more information, please call 01207 541820


Clumber Park, Nottinghamshire

Evening owl experience, 18 February, 5pm – 6pm

Visit this beautiful expanse of parkland and get hands on or up close and personal to some beautiful birds of prey. Please note the birds you will be handling are not wild birds, but captive birds brought to Clumber Park by Hawks of Steele. Why not make a day of it and explore Clumber – it’s a great place to explore on foot and by bike and there are plenty of fantastic places to play and have adventures.

Price: £12.50 (normal admission fee applies, booking essential)

For more information, please call 01909 544917


Sissinghurst Castle, Kent

National nest box week, 18 – 19 February, 1pm – 2.30pm

Visit this Elizabethan, pink bricked manor house in the Weald of Kent and find out how to build your own nest boxes and bird feeders for your garden. Afterwards explore the bird hide and grab a young explorer pack from reception for your very own adventure.

Price: £6 (booking essential)

For more information, please call 01580 710700


Springhill, County Londonderry

Bird box day, 15 February, 12pm – 5pm

Visit this half term and help the team rejuvenate Springhill’s bird boxes. Learn how to build your own nest and make some bird feeders to take home. Watch while staff and volunteers demonstrate how to make a bird box from scratch. Boxes will be available to buy at the event.

Price: Adult £3.50, Child £1.50, Family £8.50

For more information, please call 028 8674 8210


Bateman’s, East Sussex

Family winter garden trail, 14 – 22 February, 11am – 3pm

Follow the winter spotter trail and learn more about what’s happening over winter in the Bateman’s garden. Some animals love winter, others hibernate, some plants flower in the winter, some rest. Behind the scenes, lots of animals and insects are busy preparing for the spring. Discover who is out and about and who is yet to make an appearance. Pick up a trail sheet at visitor reception and find out more about nature.

Price: Free event, (normal admission fee applies)


Dinefwr Park and Castle, Carmarthenshire

Dinefwr deer feed, 13 & 20 February, from 12pm

Dinefwr Park and Castle is an iconic place in the history of Wales and it even has its very own medieval deer park. This half term get up close and see the Rangers feeding the beautiful herd of fallow deer that roam the parkland.

Price: Free event (normal admission fee applies)

For more information, please call 01558 824512/823902


Trails and adventures


Mottisfont, Hampshire
Picture trail and snowdrop sightings, 14 – 22 February, 10am – 5pm
Visit Mottisfont this February for a special half-term experience for all the family. There’s crafty fun for kids on the ‘Get the Picture’ trail, inspired by Mottisfont’s new photography exhibition. Take a picture frame around the gardens to ‘capture’ some ideas, and then recreate them using the craft materials available in the learning and community space. One of the prettiest things to search for in the garden at this time of year is the hundreds of tiny snowdrops that litter the river banks of this ancient former priory.
Price: £1 (normal admission fee applies)
For more information, please call 01794 340757

Calke Abbey, Derbyshire

Kids with cameras walk, 19 February, 1.30pm – 2.30pm

This half term explore the tranquil park that plays host to some of the oldest trees in Europe and let the kids discover some local wildlife. Take part in the special photography walk for children where they will learn some handy tips and discover the best places in the park to take pictures. Children, please bring a camera and an adult along with you.

Price: Free event (normal admission fee applies)

For more information, please call 01332 863822

Tyntesfield, Bristol

Future Camp: woodland survival, 16 & 18 February, 10am – 12.30pm & 1pm – 3.30pm

Head to Tyntesfield for some half term fun at this Victorian Gothic Revival house just outside of Bristol. It’s the distant future, boys and girls, adults and grownups have retreated out of the city and back to the woods. Enjoy a day out in Tyntesfield’s beautiful woodlands for this survival adventure. You’ll learn how to perfect your den building skills, follow clues left by other woodland survivors and create your very own survival suit.

Price: Adult £1.50, Child £5 (booking essential)

For more information, please call 01275 461 964


Cotehele, Cornwall

Bushcraft for kids, 17 – 19 February, 10am – 12pm & 1.30pm – 3.30pm

The Tudor house of Cotehele is perched high above the River Tamar in the Cornish countryside. This half term come and build a shelter, learn how to safely light a fire and practice some handy survival skills. This activity has been specially designed by the Serious Outdoor Skills company to be fun, informative and hands-on where you will learn some survival, bushcraft and wilderness skills. There will be lots of outdoor activities to keep you engaged, active and entertained.

Price: £6 (booking essential)

For more information, please call 01579 351346


Petworth House and Park, West Sussex
All at Sea craft workshops,
16 – 20 February, 11am – 2.30pm
Come along to Petworth House this half-term to join a craft workshop and create your very own 3D ‘seascape’ choppy masterpiece to display at home. Be inspired by one of Britain’s most treasured artists, Joseph Mallord William Turner, who stayed at Petworth in 1827 and was famous for his paintings of ships and the sea. You can see some of his original seascapes when you visit, and an exhibition of his painting runs from January to March.
Price: £3 (normal admission fee applies)


Allen Banks and Staward Gorge, Northumberland

Stargazing, 18 February, 7pm – 9pm

Take a walk on the wild side at Allen Banks and Staward Gorge this half term, one of the largest areas of ancient woodland in Northumberland. Enjoy an evening of astronomy and look up to the skies in search for stars at a new Dark Sky Discovery Site with the help from the professionals. Members from the Northumberland Astronomical Society (NASTRO) will deliver a talk on various aspects of astronomy and provide demonstrations with different types of telescopes. A stargazing session will commence weather permitting and will include a laser guided tour of the night sky plus a number of supervised viewing telescopes. Location: At Ridley Hall, next to Allen Banks.

Price: £7 (booking essential)

For more information, please call 0844 249 1895


Dyrham Park, Gloucestershire

Launch of the new family discovery trail, 14 – 15 February, 10am – 5pm

Come and try the new family trail through the park and discover far-reaching views of the Severn Valley. Use the trail sheet to find your way, with fun activities along the route and a new natural play zone in the wood pasture. Finish the day up at Old Lodge which has been expanded for more family fun and chances to play.

Price: Free event (normal admission fee applies)

For more information, please call 0117 9371333


Belton House, Lincolnshire

Friday 50 things challenge, 20 February, 12pm – 3pm

With delightful gardens, a luxuriantly planted orangery and lakeside walks, Belton is a pleasure to explore all year round. Visit this half term and challenge yourself to complete one of the ‘50 things’ activities. Meet the Play Team who will be inspiring families to take part in different activities each day of the school holidays and then get a sticker for your scrapbook.

Price: Free event (normal admission fee applies)

For more information, please call 01476 566116


Knightshayes Court, Devon

February half-term fun, 14 – 22 February, 10am – 5pm

Run off some of that excess energy by visiting Knightshayes this half-term. Grab a trail from reception and discover a country estate on a grand, gothic scale. Go on a hunt for one of the geocaches hidden around the gardens, explore the house and meet the resident chickens in the kitchen garden – there’s plenty to keep the kids busy this February.

Price: 50p (normal admission fee applies)

For more information, please call 01884 254665


Ickworth, Suffolk

Half term hobbies and adventures, 14 – 22 February, 11am – 4pm

Enjoy a variety of children’s craft activities in the cosy comfort of the West Wing gallery of this Georgian mansion in the heart of the Suffolk countryside. Enjoy a week of half term activities where you can make and take home some fun spring time items. And of course you can always head outside and enjoy the play and den building area and become a nature detective with a nature pack.

Price: Free event (normal admission fee applies)

For more information, please call 01284 735270


Bodiam Castle, East Sussex

Shrovetide fun: half term trail, 14 – 22 February, 11am – 4pm

Set in the heart of an historic landscape, with spiral staircases and battlements, sits Bodiam Castle. Come and celebrate Shrovetide this half term where the castle is coming back to life after the long winter period. They’d love you to come and help, whether it’s helping the cooks to prepare a feast or having a game of mob football with the servants. Take part in the castle trail where you will find lots of things to see and do.

Price: £2 (normal admission fee applies)

For more information, please call 01580 831324


Ashridge Estate, Hertfordshire

Ashridge spring trail, 16 – 20 February, 10am – 4pm

Come and walk the springtime trail through the beautiful ancient woodlands at Ashridge in the Chiltern Hills. Visit this half term and create your own hand-crafted and decorated lantern which will enable you to go on a nature walk at night – one of the National Trust’s ‘50 things to do before you’re 11 3/4.’ Visit on Friday 20th February for a candle lit walk through the woods. (£1 per person). Bring your home made lantern along to help light your way.

Price: £1

For more information, please call 01442 851227

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