Be an ‘Eggsplorer’ with National Trust and Cadbury

Children enjoying their chocolate eggs after completing the Easter Egg Trail event at Kedleston Hall, DerbyshireCadbury teams up with the National Trust to offer families a cracking Easter weekend

It’s almost that time of the year again when Cadbury teams up with the National Trust to offer families the ultimate day out with their popular Easter Egg Trails.

This year, the Cadbury Eggsplorers Easter Egg Trail (3-6 April) will be inviting families to unleash their inner explorer with adventurous trails taking place across the country.

From spring woodlands and craggy coastlines, to historic houses and enchanting castles, there are over 250 Cadbury Easter Egg Trails to choose from across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, guaranteeing a fun-filled Easter for everyone.

What’s more, all Eggsplorers will receive a delicious Cadbury chocolaty treat at the end of each completed trail, and every single Cadbury Easter Egg Trail will help support special places looked after by the National Trust for future generations to explore.

The National Trust has over 250 Cadbury Easter Egg Trails to choose from across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. To join in with the fun and find a Cadbury Easter Egg Trail near you, visit www.eastereggtrail.com

Make a splash by the coast

Sheringham Park, Norfolk

Cadbury Easter Egg Trails, 3 – 6 April 2015, 10am – 4.15pm*

Wander through Sheringham Park this Easter and discover a woodland garden with miles of stunning coastal views. Follow the Cadbury Easter Egg Trail amongst the early flowering rhododendrons and camellias and look for signs of spring. Once you’ve eggsplored the park and solved all the clues you can collect your yummy Cadbury chocolate Egghead prize.

Price: £2.30

For more information, please call 01263 820550

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/sheringham-park/

Children taking part in an Easter egg trail event on the Ashridge Estate, Hertfordshire.

Studland Beach, Dorset

Cadbury Easter Egg Trails, 3 – 6 April 2015, 10.30am – 3.30pm

Celebrate Easter at Studland with a Cadbury Easter Egg Trail along the beach and through the nature reserve. Studland village was the inspiration for Toytown in Enid Blyton’s Noddy books, while the sandy beach, heathland and dunes are home to many fantastic creatures, including rare reptiles, deer and seabirds. This year the Easter bunny has also paid a visit, so why not follow the bunny footprints and solve the clues to find your Cadbury chocolate Egghead prize? Have fun with all the family this Easter on the sheltered, sandy and safe four miles of unspoilt beaches which are ideal for making sandcastles and enjoying some watersports.

Price: £2.50

For more information, please call 01929 450500

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/studland-beach/

Enchanting forests and wild woodlands

Ashridge Estate, Hertfordshire

Cadbury Easter Egg Trails, 3 – 6 April 2015, 10am – 4pm

Ancient woods, rolling hills and wiggly footpaths make Ashridge Estate the perfect place for exploring this Easter. Follow the clues on the Cadbury Easter Egg Trail and see if you can answer the questions to earn yourself a yummy Cadbury chocolate Egghead reward. Exercise your eggsplorer skills and don’t forget to look out for lots of exciting wildlife along the way.

Price: £3

For more information, please call 01442 851227

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/ashridge-estate/

Opening a chocolate egg following an Easter egg hunt at Tyntesfield, North Somerset.

Gibside, Tyne & Wear

Cadbury Easter Egg Trails, 3 – 6 April 2015, 11am – 3pm*

Gibside is so close to Tyneside but a million miles from city life, and this Easter there’s plenty planned for all the family.  A real wildlife haven, the estate is home to some very rare animals, including red kites and red squirrels. Who knows, you might even spot these incredible creatures and their friends whilst exploring on the Cadbury Easter Egg Trail. With big open gardens and parklands to explore, you might also find some Cadbury chocolate Eggheads at the end of the trail.

Price: £2.50 (normal admission fee applies)

For more information, please call 01207 541820

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/gibside

Hidden historic houses

Kingston Lacy, Dorset

Cadbury Easter Egg Trails, 3 – 6 April 2015, 10.30am – 4pm*

From Iron Age forts, to colourful heathland, water meadows and even a Roman road, there’s a lot to see on the Kingston Lacy estate. With acres of beautiful gardens and parkland to explore including a kitchen garden with resident pigs, you can have a great family day out. See if you can solve the riddles and clues on the Cadbury Easter Egg Trail and claim your very own Cadbury chocolate Egghead. Don’t forget to pop by the restaurant to try out the home-made cake and prize-winning scones to feed the little eggsplorers at the end of the day.

Price: £2.50 (normal admission fee applies)

For more information, please call 01202 883402

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/kingston-lacy/

Boy playing in a tree at Tyntesfield, North Somerset.

Attingham Park, Shropshire          

Cadbury Easter Egg Trails, 3 – 6 April 2015, 10am – 4pm

Set alongside the rivers Severn and Tern and surrounded by stunning views of the Shropshire Hills, Attingham’s Easter egg trail takes families on an exciting adventure through the grounds. The Deer Park, walled garden and acres of wooded parks around Attingham House are home to loads of exciting wildlife. Come and meet them all this weekend on a wild and wonderful Cadbury Easter Egg Trail with eggscellent family activities and solve the clues to win your Cadbury chocolate Egghead prize.

Price: £2.50 (normal admission fee applies)

For more information, please call 01743 708162

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/attingham-park/

Glorious gardens to explore

Mount Stewart, County Down

Cadbury Easter Egg Trails, 3 – 6 April 2015, 12pm – 4pm

As one of the Trust’s the most inspiring and unusual gardens, there’s a surprise around every corner at Mount Stewart. This Easter, the Cadbury Easter Egg Trail takes families on a hunt through the beautiful woodland areas and Lake Walk. Find out more about Edith, Lady Londonderry who created the garden and discover more about her passion for the outdoors as you journey through the different worlds she designed. Along the way uncover the secrets of Mount Stewart Gardens before collecting your yummy Cadbury chocolate Egghead prize.

Price: £1 (normal admission fee applies)

For more information, please call 028 4278 8387

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/mount-stewart/

An Easter Egg Trail day at Charlecote Park, Warwickshire.

Nymans, West Sussex

Cadbury Easter Egg Trails, 3 – 6 April 2015, 10.30am – 3.30pm*

There’s no better way to explore this romantic house, garden and ruins, with beautiful woodland set in High Weald than taking part in the Cadbury Easter Egg Trail. Discover hidden corners and secret paths of the beautiful spring garden; just don’t forget to claim your Cadbury chocolate Egghead at the end of the trail.

Price: £2.50 (normal admission fee applies)

For more information, please call 01444 405250

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/nymans

Characterful castles

Chirk Castle, Wrexham

Cadbury Easter Egg Trails, 3 – 6 April 2015, 11am – 4pm*

Step back in time and discover 700 years of mystery and intrigue whilst following the Cadbury Easter Egg Trail at Chirk Castle. Crammed with surprises along the way, the trail will lead families down into the dungeons and everyone will need to have their wits about them to avoid being put in the stocks before claiming their Cadbury chocolate Egghead prize.

Price: £2.50 (normal admission fee applies)

For more information, please call 01691 777701

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/chirk-castle

Children on an Easter egg trail at Sheffield Park, East Sussex, sponsored by Cadbury, Reading, Berkshire, during March

Wray Castle, Cumbria

Cadbury Easter Egg Trails, 3 – 6 April 2015, 10.30am – 4pm

This Easter make a splash and visit Wray Castle nestled on the shores of Lake Windermere and discover turrets and towers fit for a knight in shining armour. Have fun exploring this quirky building, solving clues along the way in order to claim your Cadbury chocolate Egghead prize. Or for the really adventurous, head out into grounds and track down the clues hidden around the estate.

Price: £2 (normal admission fee applies)

For more information, please call 01539 433250

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/wray-castle/

A little out of the ordinary

Wimpole Estate, Cambridgeshire

Cadbury Easter Egg Trails, 3 – 6 April 2015, 10:30am – 4.15pm*

Wimpolena, the Wimpole goose, heard that there were some Cadbury chocolate Eggheads to discover around Wimpole Home Farm. She was in such a hurry to find them that she lost some of her feathers in the gardens. Help her find her feathers to spell out the magic word, and she might let you have some of the Cadbury chocolate Eggheads she’s looking after.

Price: £2 (normal admission fee applies)

For more information, please call 01223 206000

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/wimpole

Children on an Easter egg trail at Basildon Park, sponsored by Cadbury, Reading, Berkshire, during March

Lacock Abbey, Fox Talbot Museum and Village, Wiltshire

Cadbury Easter Egg Trails, 5 – 6 April, 10.30am – 4pm

Lacock Abbey, with its cloisters and woodland grounds is an ideal place to explore and at this year’s Cadbury Easter Egg Trail you can explore the stars too. Famous resident Fox Talbot, who is best known as the inventor of the photographic negative, loved gazing at the planets. You will be following in his footsteps as you hunt for egg shaped planets and discover fascinating facts about other worlds before collecting your Cadbury chocolate Egghead prize.

Price: £1.50 (normal admission fee applies)

For more information, please call 01249 730459

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/lacock/

Biddulph Grange Garden, Staffordshire

Cadbury Easter Egg Trails, 3 – 6 April 2015, 11am – 5pm

Run around a garden full of exotic plants collected from around the world, hunting high and low, under rocks and in trees for the hidden eggs. This year’s Cadbury Easter Egg Trail will take you on a global journey from Italy to the pyramids of Egypt, a Victorian vision of China and a re-creation of a Himalayan glen. Discover them all and you can find the Easter bunny who will be waiting with your delicious Cadbury chocolate Egghead as a prize.

Price: £2 (normal admission fee applies)

For more information, please call 01782 375 533

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/biddulph-grange-garden/

Visitors having fun at Tyntesfield, North Somerset.

Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal, North Yorkshire

Cadbury Easter Egg Trails, 3 – 6 April, 11am – 4pm

Families will have to work together and leave no stone unturned in the search for giant eggs at this Yorkshire World Heritage Site. Hunting for giant eggs around the magnificent ruins, getting your face painted then eating a chocolatey Cadbury Egghead prize is all in a day’s work for a busy Eggsplorer on this exciting adventure.

Price: £2, with a shorter route for little legs this year (normal admission fee applies)

For more information, please call 01765 608888

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/fountains-abbey/

Easter eggs at Tyntesfield, North Somerset.

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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

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/fountains-abbey/

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

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/brownsea-island/

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

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/quarry-bank/

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

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/sheringham-park/

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

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/gibside/

 

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

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/clumber-park/

 

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

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/sissinghurst-castle/

 

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

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/springhill/

 

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)

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/batemans/

 

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

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/dinefwr/

 

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
www.nationaltrust.org.uk/mottisfont

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

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/calke-abbey/

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

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/tyntesfield/

 

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

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/cotehele/

 

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)

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/petworth-house/

 

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

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/allen-banks-and-staward-gorge/

 

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

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/dyrham-park/

 

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

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/belton-house

 

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

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/knightshayes/

 

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

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/ickworth

 

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

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/bodiam-castle

 

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

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/ashridge-estate/

History Comes to Life at English Heritage Properties this May Half Term

kenilworthknight99History will come to life across the country this summer, as English Heritage launches a season of spectacular events that tell the story of England, from Roman times to the Twentieth Century.

Over the late May bank holiday weekend and the half term week, visitors are invited to step into history and witness dramatic displays and re-enactments, meet historic characters, get hands-on with activities from times gone by, and enjoy a great family day out!

In this centenary year of the First World War, visitors can discover what places were like in this time of conflict, as English Heritage recreates events that happened on the home front 100 years ago. Brodsworth Hall in South Yorkshire will host a Wartime Wedding – reliving a real life event from the time – while Richmond Castle in North Yorkshire will host Boots, Bayonets and Brasso, bringing the castle to life with a look back at soldiers representing the British Army through both World Wars.

Wrest Park in Bedfordshire will relive its wartime role in both major conflicts in Wrest at War, including the chance to find out more about its role as a First World War convalescent hospital. Dover Castle in Kent will commemorate later conflict with the family favourite WWII Weekend, a dramatic and explosive event including reconstructions, military encampments, displays and live music.

Further back in time, the Romans will return to Wroxeter Roman City, Shropshire, with displays from the world-famous Ermine Street Guard and their siege machines, while the popular Hadrian’s Wall Festival returns with a week of Roman themed events. Highlights include Roman food and cooking at Birdoswald Roman Fort, the return of Roman cavalry to Chesters Roman Fort, and a Roman Soldier School for kids at Housesteads Roman Fort.

For those in search of medieval knights, there is plenty of chivalry on display to reflect this colourful era. The thrilling Clash of Knights returns at Scarborough Castle, North Yorkshire, as teams of knights battle it out in the ultimate contest of skill and strength, while the Knights’ Tournament will visit Old Sarum in Wiltshire, as participants compete for individual glory. Visitors to Kenilworth Castle, Warwickshire, will find a weekend of mischief, merriment and family activities, as it hosts, Medieval Mayhem!

There’s plenty more to take you through to the modern day too, with the chance to meet historic figures and get hands-on with history across the country. Queen Victoria herself will welcome visitors to Osborne, Isle of Wight, for a celebratory fete complete with sideshow stalls and games, Victorian music and entertainers. At Audley End House and Gardens in Essex, Sonnets and Swords will celebrate the royal visit of Queen Elizabeth I, with merry-making including minstrels, music and military displays.
If you’re stuck for how to entertain the kids over the half term week, there’s plenty going on for families too. Children are invited to attend Soldiers’ School at Wrest Park, Bedfordshire, meet Charles Darwin and explore evolution at Down House, Kent, and discover the gruesome side of history at Framlingham Castle in Suffolk. And of course, there are always the simple pleasures of climbing up castle walls, exploring hidden corners and imagining yourself as part of history!

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Full event details can be found below; to find out more please visit www.english-heritage.org.uk/events, or call English Heritage customer services on 0870 333 1181.

English Heritage is the custodian of over 400 historic monuments, buildings and sites through which we bring the story of England to life for over 10 million visitors each year.
www.english-heritage.org.uk

Event listings

Prices as follows:

Members: Adult / Concession / Child / Family
Non-Members: Adult / Concession / Child / Family

WWII Weekend
Dover Castle
Sat 24 – Mon 26 May 2014
10am-5pm
Dover Castle’s popular WWII Weekend is back with a bang! Witness an explosive battle and soak up the atmosphere as the castle returns to the 1940s. Walk through military encampments and get up close to a full size replica Spitfire.
Step inside Mr Smith’s bombed out shop and discover the austerity of the war years from the Ministry of Food. Experience the German field hospital, get tips on the latest period fashion, and witness the firepower display. With live music from the 40’s and plenty of hands-on activities for children, it’ll be a day to remember for all ages. M: £1 / £0.90 / £0.60 / £2.60
NM: £18.50 / £16.70 / £11.10 / £48.10
Booking required: Recommended
Price notes: Some additional charges may apply for activities

Wrest at War
Wrest Park
Sun 25 May – Mon 26 May 2014
10am-6pm
Get ready to take cover as this explosive action-packed weekend propels you into wartime Britain. From the Tommy in the trenches of WWI to the Trooper of the WWII D-Day landings, prepare yourself as you’re drawn into the theatre of war from all quarters at Wrest Park.
Fall into step at soldiers school, scramble into a replica biplane and relive Baron Lucas’ life as a fighter pilot in WWI, and be blown away at the spectacle of the explosive arena show. From the sadness and injury of the battlefield to the make-do-and-mend lifestyle of the homefront, we’ll tell the stories behind the battles that shaped the world as we know it.
M: Free
NM: £10 / £9 / £6 / £26
Booking required: Not Necessary

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Victoria’s Fabulous Fete
Osborne
Sat 24 – Mon 26 May 2014
10am-5pm
Come and celebrate Queen Victoria’s birthday with a fabulous fete at her favourite home by the sea. Join the party with traditional Victorian music, entertainers and sideshow games, take a stroll on the private beach, laugh out loud at Punch and Judy and ride the seaside swingboats. Enjoy the spectacle of the soldier’s parade and marvel at exhibits of the Victorian inventor. Kids can make and fly a colourful kite, then play princes and princesses down at Swiss Cottage. Get your portrait taken at the Victorian Photobooth for a souvenir of a fabulous family day you’ll never forget.
M: £1 / £1 / £0.70 / £2.70
NM: £14.90 / £13.50 / £9 / £38.80
Booking required: Recommended
Price notes: Additional charges apply for some activities.

Brodsworth at War – Wartime Wedding
Brodsworth Hall and Gardens
Sat 24 – Mon 26 May 2014
11am-5pm
Charles and Constance Thellusson cordially invite you to attend the wedding of their chauffeur, George, and their cook, Martha, at Brodsworth Hall.
Witness the story of the happy couple, from George’s proposal, to Martha’s preparations while the country is at war. Meet the happy pair, and discover the impact of war and the kindness of the Master and Mistress of the Hall. Don your best hat and raise a glass to the newlyweds. Cheers!
M: Free
NM: £11 / £10 / £7 /
Booking required: Not Necessary

Medieval Mayhem!
Kenilworth Castle and Elizabethan Garden
Sat 24 – Mon 26 May
11am-5pm
Polish your armour and dust off your tiara – it’s time to become the hero of your own medieval adventure. Mischief and merriment rule the day as you play the king, knight, princess or fool of the castle. Well, if the crown fits…
M: £2.10 / £1.90 / £1.30 / £5.50
NM: £11.40 / £10.30 / £6.50 / £29.70
Booking required: Not Necessary

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Knights Tournament
Old Sarum
Sun 25 & Mon 26 May
11am-5pm
Marvel at our noble knights as they take on the ultimate medieval tournament. Swords will be wielded, archery skills tested and helmets battered. Soak up the sights and sounds of medieval encampments and laugh out loud at our silly jester.
M: £1.50 / £1.40 / £0.90 /
NM: £5.50 / £4.50 / £3.30 /
Booking required: Not Necessary

Romans Invade!
Wroxeter Roman City
Sun 25 & Mon 26 May
11am-5pm
Witness the might of the Roman Army as it invades Wroxeter Roman City! Tremble in the face of the formidable Ermine Street Guard and their fearsome siege machines. Budding young centurions can hone their skills in a series of drills and games.
M: £1.50 / £1.40 / £0.90 / £3.90
NM: £6.90 / £6.30 / £4.10 / £17.90
Booking required: Not Necessary

Clash of Knights
Scarborough Castle
Sat 24 – Mon 26 May 2014
11am-5pm
Chain-mailed and adrenalin-fuelled, massed ranks of knights meet head-on. Feel the heat of the battle as they fight with shield and club in this genuine contest of skill and strength. Medieval combat just got personal.
M: Free
NM: £6 / £5.50 / £3.50 /
Booking required: Not Necessary

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Sonnets & Swords: Elizabeth at Audley
Audley End House and Gardens
Sun 25 May – Mon 26 May 2014
10am-6pm
Prepare your bow and perfect your curtsey as you meet Queen Elizabeth I on her royal progress to Audley End. Join in the merry making with minstrels, music and military displays.
M: £1.60 / £1.40 / £1.20 / £4.40
NM: £17 / £15.30 / £10.20 / £44.20
Booking required: Not Necessary

Boots, Bayonets and Brasso
Richmond Castle
Sun 25 & Mon 26 May 2014
11am-5pm
Set in the centre of Richmond town, surrounded by breathtaking views, is a castle with a fascinating war story. For one weekend only, soldiers representing soldiers of the British Army through both World Wars will bring to life the history of the castle.
M: Free
NM: £6 / £5.50 / £3.50 /
Booking required: Not Necessary

Warriors at Beeston
Beeston Castle and Woodland Park
Sun 25 & Mon 26 May
11am-5pm
Experience the sights, sounds and smells of life as a 13th Century warrior as the Garrison set up camp at Beeston. Meet the mighty armoured soldiers as they train for war with spear, shield and bow!
M: Free
NM: £6.60 / £6 / £4 / £17.50
Booking required: Not Necessary
Price notes: Car parking charges apply

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Pirates Invade!
Dartmouth Castle
Sun 25 & Mon 26 May
11am-5pm
Arr me hearties! The castle is under attack from a fearsome bunch of pirates from the famous ship La Grand Derriere. Hear the bang of muskets and see history brought to life as the pirates show off their weapons and weave fantastical tales of shameless skulduggery.
M: Free
NM: £5.50 / £5 / £3.30 / £14.30
Booking required: Not Necessary

Medieval Fighting Knights
Ashby De La Zouch Castle
Sun 25 May – Mon 26 May 2014
10am-5pm
Marvel at our noble knights as they take on the ultimate medieval tournament. Swords will be wielded and helmets battered – who will reign supreme and become champion?
M: Free
NM: £4.70 / £4.20 / £2.80 / £12.20
Booking required: Not Necessary

Hadrian’s Wall Festival: Roman Food & Cooking
Birdoswald Roman Fort – Hadrian’s Wall
Sat 24 May – Sun 1 Jun 2014
11am-5pm
Birdoswald Roman Fort will become a centre of Roman food and cooking. Enjoy samples of food you never knew existed and be surprised by traditions that stem from our Roman ancestors. Tantalize your taste buds and pick up tips and traditions in this one-off surprising event. Check out the events at Chesters & Housesteads Roman Fort too.
M: Free
NM: £5.60 / £5 / £3.40 /
Booking required: Not Necessary

Hadrian’s Wall Festival: Here comes the Cavalry!
Chesters Roman Fort and Museum – Hadrian’s Wall
Sat 24 May – Sun 1 Jun 2014
11am-5pm
Join us as we celebrate Roman traditions during a week of ancient festivities. Charming Chesters, once home to many horses and riders, welcomes the return of the Roman Cavalry.
M: Free
NM: £5.60 / £5 / £3.40 /
Booking required: Not Necessary

Hadrian’s Wall Festival: Roman Soldier School
Housesteads Roman Fort – Hadrian’s Wall
Sat 24 May – Sun 1 Jun 2014
11.30am-4.30pm
Join us as we celebrate Roman traditions during a week of ancient festivities. At Housesteads, little soldiers will become a part of the Roman military!
M: Free
NM: £6.40 / £5.80 / £3.80 /
Booking required: Not Necessary

Squire School
1066 Battle of Hastings, Abbey and Battlefield
Sat 24 May – Sun 1 Jun 2014
10am-5pm
Put your skills with sword and shield to the test in this fun challenge for kids. A knighthood awaits the brave and noble who complete a series of tasks set by the King. Have you got what it takes to make it through Squire School?
M: Free
NM: £8 / £7.20 / £4.80 / £20.80
Booking required: Not Necessary

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Wild Week at Belsay
Belsay Hall, Castle and Gardens
Sat 24 May – Sun 1 Jun 2014
11am-5pm
The Wildman character was of great importance to the Middleton family, so we’re inviting adventurous families to imagine what Wild Belsay was really like. Join artist den-builder, Chris Harman and build your own den.
M: Free
NM: £8 / £7.20 / £4.80 / £20.80
Booking required: Not Necessary

A Monk’s Life
Whitby Abbey
Sat 24 May – Sun 1 Jun 2014
Performances at 11.30am, 1.30pm and 3.30pm
For the school half term we return Whitby Abbey to its medieval origin. Children can dress in monk’s and nun’s robes and, under the instruction of Brother John, can discover the lives of novices, monks, lay brothers and nuns.
M: Free
NM: £6.60 / £5.90 / £4 / £17.20
Booking required: Not Necessary

Brodsworth at War – Skittles, Hoops and Whistles – Edwardian Children’s Games
Brodsworth Hall and Gardens
Tue 27 May – Sun 1 Jun 2014
11am-5pm
Tell the kids to leave their computer games and mobile phones at home, and let them get their hands on some traditional Edwardian games.
M: Free
NM: £9.70 / £8.70 / £5.80 /
Booking required: Not Necessary
Price notes: All children are welcome to take part in this event. An additional £1 will be charged on standard admission for every non member child to help us fund this entertainment activity.

Cavaliers and Roundheads
Carisbrooke Castle
Tue 27 May – Sun 1 Jun 2014
10am-5pm
The country is divided, brother against brother. Discover what it took to be a soldier of the English Civil War. Test your agility in the kids’ battle and learn to master your weapon in our soldiers drill. Pikes at the ready!
M: £0 / £0 / £1 / £0
NM: £8 / £7.20 / £5.80 / £0
Booking required: Not Necessary

Kings & Queens Academy
Audley End House and Gardens
Tue 27 May – Fri 30 May 2014
10am-6pm
Put on a right royal welcome at Audley End as we teach you to avoid the pitfalls of palace life and impress your regal rulers.
M: Free
NM: £15.40 / £13.90 / £9.20 / £40
Booking required: Not Necessary
Price notes: All children are welcome to join in these events. An additional £1 will be charged on standard admission for every child, member and non member, to help us fund this entertainment activity.

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The King Recruits
Bolsover Castle
Tue 27 May – Fri 30 May 2014
10am-6pm
Pikes at the ready! Aim your muskets! Be put through your paces as you fall into step and defend Bolsover Castle against Cromwell’s cronies.
M: Free
NM: £9.50 / £8.60 / £5.70 / £24.70
Booking required: Not Necessary
Price notes: All children are welcome to join in these events. An additional £1 will be charged on standard admission for every child, member and non member, to help us fund this entertainment activity.

Gruesome Goings On
Framlingham Castle
Tue 27 May – Fri 30 May 2014
10am-5pm
Ghastly gallows, horrific hangmen and terrifying torture – travel back in time and discover the painful punishments your history teachers were too timid to tell you!
M: Free
NM: £7.70 / £6.90 / £4.60 / £20
Booking required: Not Necessary
Price notes: All children are welcome to join in these events. An additional £1 will be charged on standard admission for every child, member and non member, to help us fund this entertainment activity.

Discover with Darwin
Home of Charles Darwin (Down House)
Tue 27 May – Fri 30 May 2014
10am-5pm
Join the man himself – Charles Darwin – and explore evolution at its birthplace as you delve daringly into the mysteries of science.
M: Free
NM: £10.30 / £9.30 / £6.20 / £26.80
Booking required: Not Necessary
Price notes: All children are welcome to join in these events. An additional £1 will be charged on standard admission for every child, member and non member, to help us fund this entertainment activity.

Soldiers’ School
Wrest Park
Tue 27 May – Fri 30 May 2014
10am-6pm
Attention! Right you ‘orrible lot, it’s training time. Become a Home Front hero and be put through your paces at Wrest Park.
M: Free
NM: £9 / £8.10 / £5.40 / £23.40
Booking required: Not Necessary
Price notes: All children are welcome to join in these events. An additional £1 will be charged on standard admission for every child, member and non member, to help us fund this entertainment activity.

Framlingham Castle. Photo by Richard Marsham for English Heritage

Framlingham Castle. Photo by Richard Marsham for English Heritage

National Trust Properties are the Places to be in May!

A family admire the peacocks at Brownsea Island, Poole harbour, Dorset

A family admire the peacocks at Brownsea Island, Poole harbour, Dorset

With spring flowers in full bloom, warmer weather on the way and those extra days off to enjoy, May is the ideal time to get outdoors and discover some amazing coast and countryside locations.

The National Trust looks after beautiful gardens and some remarkable places. This May you can go back in time and relive history, get back to nature or learn to use a telescope and search for the stars. And that’s not all, there’s a raft of activities for all the family with trampolining, archery, tree climbing and ‘50 things’ adventures.

Spend half term and some long weekends and with the Trust and explore some unforgettable places. What’s more, every single visit helps support the charity’s work looking after special places for ever, for everyone.

Out of the ordinary

Ickworth, Suffolk
Climbing wall and bungee trampolining, 4 May, 11am – 4pm
Climb and bounce as high as the Rotunda, well almost, for great fun and great views with Barracudas’ climbing wall and bungee jumping system. You’ll be harnessed onto the wall and the automatic belay system will hold your weight whilst you bounce up and down. Along with the wall there’ll be a trampoline bungee system for the children under the age of eight to enjoy and jump as high as they can. These fantastic bungees will have you jumping great heights and allowing you to do flips and turns whilst in the air. After all the excitement take a walk around the Italianate garden, and spot the spring flowers and young lambs around the tranquil parkland.
Price: Tickets £10 (Unlimited climbing), Tickets £2 (1 climb), Tickets £5 (3 climbs)
Normal admission fees apply
For more information, please call 01284 735270

Knightshayes Court, Devon
Victorian circus workshops, 24 May – 1 June, 11am – 5pm
The Victorian period saw a surge in the popularity of the circus, so why not come along and give it a go yourself at Knightshayes. From juggling to plate spinning, and a whole lot more, it’s the perfect way to keep the kids occupied this May. Afterwards you can explore the acres of glorious parkland, fine gardens and Gothic revival house.
Normal admission fees apply
For more information, please call 01884 254665

St Agnes to Padstow, Cornwall
Sun and stars at Carnewas, 31 May, 7pm – 10pm
Join the National Trust rangers and Kernow Astronomers for some stargazing at this stunning cliff-top location, recently awarded Dark Skies status. As the sun, our nearest star, sets slowly into the sea, you may see sunspots and flares on its surface with a special solar scope. The moon will follow close behind. Look for ‘seas’, mountains and craters through telescopes. Thousands of stars of various colours and brightness will gradually appear and local astronomers with telescopes will guide you through the amazing Cornish sky.
Free event.
For more information, please call 01208 863046

Tyntesfield, North Somerset
Shiver me timbers, pirates ahoy! 31 May – 1 June, 10am – 4pm
Come and experience life on the ocean waves as Tyntesfield is invaded by a motley band of pirates and their cannon. There will be loud bangs and Jolly Roger japes throughout the weekend. Lose those sea legs and become a land lover for just long enough to uncover the pirate’s treasures around the Tyntesfield estate.
Normal admission fees apply
For more information, please call 01275 461 900

Family discover a den built on the Natural Play trail at Box Hill, Surrey.

Uffington White Horse, Oxfordshire
White Horse Hill – chalking the horse, 4 – 5 May, 10am – 3.30pm
Get hands on and help keep the wonderful historic Horse white for future generations. Every year, hours are spent scouring the White Horse of weeds and moss and then re-chalking it. Come and get stuck into this peculiarly satisfying task, and play your part in this dramatic monument’s history, helping to keep it visible for miles around. Protective gloves and a hammer are provided. While you’re there, why not tick off some of your ‘50 things’ challenges, by flying a kite, climbing a hill and rolling back down again.
Booking essential, free event
For more information, please call 01793 76220

Cherryburn, Northumberland
Folk in the farmyard, 4 May, 1pm – 3pm
Bring a picnic and enjoy a toe-tapping afternoon of folk music in Cherryburn’s traditional Northumbrian farmstead. Find out more about the birthplace of Thomas Bewick, perhaps one of Northumberland’s greatest artists at this cottage and farmyard with glorious views over the Tyne Valley. There’s lots for all the family to enjoy, you can take a picnic on the lawn, see historic fruit trees in the orchard, vegetables growing in the allotment and farm animals on the paddock walk.
Normal admission fees apply
For more information, please call 01661 843276

May Day family fun, 5 May, 11am – 3pm
Join in the fun this May and dance around the Maypole and watch the crown being placed on the May Queen at Cherryburn. Enjoy live music, face painting, Thomas Bewick’s whistling competition and much more.
Normal admission charges apply
Booking not needed.
For more information call 01661 843276

Bewick’s boredom busters, 26, 27, 29 & 30 May, 11am – 3pm
Enjoy Cherryburn as Thomas Bewick did as a young lad with free outdoor art and nature adventures every day during half term.
Normal admission fees apply
For more information, please call 01661 843276

50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾

Aberdulais Tin Works and Waterfall, Neath Port Talbot
50 things to do before you’re 11¾ – Launch Weekend, 24 – 26 May, 11am – 4pm
Aberdulais Tin Works are kicking off a summer of hands-on outdoor adventure and fun. Tick off number 45 and 47 of your ‘50 things’ by learning to find your way with a map and compass and cooking on a camp fire and then eating the results. There are lots of family activities, including pooh stick races, making daisy chains and discovering geocaches. Explore the famous waterfall and this fascinating industrial site set in a steep gorge with all the family this May.
Normal admission fees apply
For more information, please call 01639 636674

Carrick-a-Rede, County Antrim
50 Things, 5 May, 10am – 12pm
Join the Rangers and explore this rocky island connected to the cliffs by a rope bridge for a morning of fun and adventure. Have a go at completing your ‘50 things’’ with den building, hunting for bugs and much more.
Normal admission fees apply
For more information, please call 028 2076 9839

Croome, Worcester
‘50 Things’ challenge trail, 24 May – 1 June, 10am – 4.30pm
Croome is one of the best places in the country to get stuck into the challenge of completing your ‘50 things.’ Take the outdoor challenge trail this half term and receive a prize. Head to the natural play area beyond the RAF themed playground and make your own adventure with balance beams, a wooden throne and den building materials.
Price: £1.50 per child
Normal admission fees apply
For more information, please call 01905 371006

Children and bunting in the grounds at Mottisfont, Hampshire.

Dunstable Downs, Chilterns Gateway Centre and Whipsnade Estate, Bedfordshire
50 things activities, 4 May, 2pm – 3pm
Bring the kids to explore these extensive chalk grasslands in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty this May. On the first Sunday of the month you can get outdoors and try something new with ‘50 things’ activities.
For more information, please call 01582 500925

Gibside, Tyne & Wear
May bank holiday family fun, 5 May, 11am – 3pm
Visit Gibside this May and discover a stunning landscape garden and a haven for wildlife. It’s just the right place to enjoy a bumper batch of family activities including den building, campfires, family sports, storytelling, face painting and lots more.
Normal admission fees apply
For more information, please call 01207 541820

May half term family fun, 26 – 30 May, 11am – 3pm
Visit Gibside for fine Derwent Valley views and refreshing open spaces for the kids to run around in this May. With free family activities and outdoor adventures on offer every day of half term, it’s the perfect place for all the family to explore. There’s a lot to do with explorer Monday, foodie Tuesday, wildlife Wednesday, adventure Thursday and fab Friday.
Normal admission fees apply
For more information, please call 01207 541820

Glendurgan Garden, Cornwall
50 things fun at Glendurgan, 24 May – 1 June, 10.30am – 4.30pm
Glendurgan in Cornwall is a subtropical garden full of fun, natural beauty and amazing plants, and there are lots of activities to keep you entertained this May. You can have a go at skimming a stone on Durgan beach or spot some crazy creatures in the rock pools. Make a trail with sticks through the garden for your family to follow or hunt for bugs in the bushes and long grass.
Normal admission fees apply
For more information, please call 01326 252020

Lydford Gorge, Devon
Den building, 3 – 5 May, 10am – 5pm
Visit the deepest gorge in the South West with a spectacular 30m waterfall this May. Tick off an activity from your ‘50 things’ list with this self-led event enabling everyone to have a go at building their own den. Materials and inspiration will be provided as you learn how to build your own magical or practical natural outdoor shelter.
Normal admission fees apply
For more information, please call 01822 820320

Lyme Park, House and Garden, Cheshire
The Lyme Park ’50 things’ challenge, 24 – 26 May, 11am – 4pm
Lyme Park is nestled on the edge of the Peak District and is the perfect place for ’50 things’ activities. This half term they are offering 26 of the ’50 things’ activities. It was voted as the top spot in the UK for den building, so see how many activities you can tick off over the bank holiday weekend or even in one day.
Normal admission fees apply
For more information, please call 01663 762023

Overbeck’s, Devon
50 Things to do before you are 11 ¾, 1 May – 30 September, 11am – 5pm
There’s lots of excitement to be had at Overbeck’s this May. Collect your ’50 things’ scrapbook at reception and you’ll be well on your way to having lots of fun at this hidden paradise with subtropical gardens in the Devonshire countryside. Be an adventurer and discover bugs around the garden or walk barefoot and feel the grass between your toes. Never mind the weather – run around in the rain and see if you can catch a falling leaf to complete another task in your scrapbook.
Normal admission fees apply
For more information, please call 01548 842893

Costumed interpreters in Victorian dress at Quarry Bank Mill, Wilmslow, Cheshire.

River Wey and Godalming Navigations and Dapdune Wharf, Surrey
Let’s go fly a kite, 4 May, 11am – 3pm
Come and make a kite and test its build quality by flying it high on the meadow at Papercourt and tick the box in your ‘50 things’ handbook. Afterwards you can explore this tranquil waterway running for nearly 20 miles through the heart of Surrey.
Price: £2.50
For more information, please call 01483 561389

Shalford Mill, Surrey
Have a go at geocaching, 4 May, 11am – 4.30pm
With lots of caches hidden near the watermill, why not try your hand at geocaching?
Bring your smartphone or GPS, or borrow one of the GPS handsets and follow the co-ordinates to go off and hunt.
Normal admission fees apply
For more information, please call 01483 561389

Saltram, Devon
Wild in the wood, 30 May, 10am – 2pm
Saltram is the perfect family day out: close to Plymouth and yet in a world of its own. Join the Forest School leader for a creative day of woodland activities and games.
All children must be accompanied by an adult.
Booking essential
Price: Child £7.50
For more information, please call 01752 333500

50 things activity day, 24 May, 12pm – 3pm
Tick off lots of your ‘50 things’ wish list this May at Saltram and have some outdoor fun in the park. Free guided activities include pond dipping, wild art and bird spotting. The Garden Team will be showing how to plant it, grow it and eat it with plants you can take away and grow yourself. There’s a wide range of self-led activities including den-building, tree climbing, crafts and much more.
Normal admission charges apply
For more information, please call 01752 333500

Things with wings, 29 May, 11.45am – 12.15pm
Tour the magnificent Georgian House and children will discover some of Saltram’s winged inhabitants and a side of Saltram’s decor that adults don’t notice. Meet cranes, griffins and more mythical, winged creatures that hide in Saltram’s sophisticated decoration.
Suitable for children aged 5-12 years.
Normal admission fees apply
For more information, please call 01752 333500

Sheffield Park and Garden, East Sussex
50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾: Plants & planting week, 26 – 30 May, 11am – 12pm & 2 – 3pm
Tick off number 41 of your ‘50 things’ at the beginning of the growing season and take home your very own potted seed to nurture into a full-grown plant. There’s lots to explore in the acres of landscaped gardens and woodlands as well as the flood meadow and river Ouse that form a haven for wildlife in the area.
Price includes pot, soil & seed: £2.50
Normal admission fees apply
For more information, please call 01825 790302

Stackpole, Pembrokeshire
May holiday ‘50 Things to do before you’re 11¾’ challenge, 29 & 30 May, 11am – 3pm
There’s nothing quite like fresh air, exercise and family time. You can’t beat the fun you’ll have in the great outdoors whilst creating memories that will last a lifetime. Visit Stackpole this May and encourage the kids to get mucky, discover their wild side and most of all enjoy what Mother Nature has to offer. Explore the beautiful stretch of coastline and wooded valleys and complete as many of the ‘50 things’ activities as you can. Parents and older brothers and sisters are welcome to join in too.
Price: £2
For more information please call 01646 661425

Children with a costumed interpreter learning how to scrub the table clean in the Kitchen at the Apprentice House at Quarry Bank Mill, Styal, Cheshire

Standen, West Sussex
May-hem, 24 May – 1 June, 11am – 4pm
Visit Standen, a beautiful Arts and Crafts family home with hillside garden this May and have some ‘50 things’ family fun. There’s a lot to do with walks and trails in the garden and woodlands as well as special activity days with ‘Batty about bats’, ‘Go bird watching’ and a ‘Fantastic photography workshop’.
Normal admission fees apply
For more information, please call 01342 323029

Wray Castle, Ambleside
‘50 Things’ activity days, 27 & 29 May, 10am – 4pm
Visit Wray Castle this May and tick off more ‘50 things’ activities with a little help from the friendly ranger team. Catch a falling leaf, roll down a really big hill, run around in the rain, climb a tree or build a den – which will you try? There’s plenty to do outdoors with rope swinging, den-building and trails, in the family-friendly gardens and grounds.
For more information, please call 015394 33250

Get back to nature

Blickling Estate, Norfolk
Blickling spring fair, 24 – 26 May, 10.15am – 5pm
Step back in time to the early days of the Blickling Estate when knights showed their skills and jesters entertained the crowd in the Norfolk countryside. With cameos from many eras of Blickling’s history and a modern day craft and plant fair, there is something for everyone this bank holiday weekend. The landscape, with its narrow hedges and tree lined lanes, woodlands and red brick buildings is little changed over the centuries. Hire a bike, or grab a map of way-marked walks and head out into the park with all the family.
Ticket: £3 admission to craft and plant fair and entertainments, children under 14 are free.
Normal admission applies to rest of house and garden.
For more information, please call 01263 738030

Clumber Park, Nottinghamshire
Gourd seed sowing, 5 May, 12pm – 3pm
Visit this beautiful expanse of parkland, heath and woods this May and discover a haven for wildlife in an idyllic setting. Children can get stuck into seed sowing whilst parents can explore the walled kitchen garden that grows hundreds of varieties of fruit, vegetables and herbs. The gourd plants will be used to form a ‘gourd tunnel’ in the kitchen garden over the summer.
Normal admission fee applies
For more information, please call 01909 544917

Evening owl walk, 27 May, 5pm – 6.30pm
Join this hands-on owl walk where you can be up close and personal to some wonderful birds of prey in the beautiful woodland of Clumber Park.
Booking essential, all tickets £10
For more information, please call 01909 544917

Cotehele, Cornwall
May half-term fun, 27 – 30 May
Visit Cotehele for some half-term family fun this May. You’ll be able to tick off some great stuff in your ‘50 things’ scrapbook with plant it, grow it and eat it on Tuesday, hunting for bugs on Wednesday and pond dipping on Friday.
Normal admission fee applies
For more information, please call 01579 351346

Child playing with a kite at Stowe ©National Trust Images John Millar

Nostell Priory and Parkland, West Yorkshire
Bat watch, 3 May, 7pm – 9.30pm
Join a bat expert to discover more about the different species of bats the make Nostell their home. Take a walk and use a bat detector to track them feeding after dusk and see if you can spot them whizzing above your head.
Price includes supper and a walk: £10
Normal admission fee applies
For more information, please call 01924 863892

Polzeath to Port Quin, Cornwall
Marine discovery day, 29 May, 11am – 4pm
The National Trust, Cornwall Wildlife Trust, Cornwall Council and Polzeath Marine Conservation Group among many others are joining forces to bring you a Marine Day you will never forget. Come and celebrate the seas in Polzeath, a rugged coastline with an abundance of wildlife this May. You can go rock pooling with marine experts, create beach sculptures, take part in an arts and crafts animation, and learn how to save dolphins with marine life rescue experts.
For more information, please call 01208 863046

Powis Castle and Garden, Powys
Pond dipping & bug hunting, 17 & 18 May, 11.45am – 3pm
Visit Powis Castle for an action packed afternoon looking for mini-beasts and micro-monsters in the world famous Powis gardens. What’s the creepiest crawly you can find whilst looking under rocks and logs in the Powis wilderness? Try a spot of pond dipping and catch dragonflies, skaters and waterboatmen, and discover what else lurks beneath the surface of the stable pond.
Normal admission fee applies
For more information, please call 01938 551929

Stowe, Buckinghamshire
50 Things to do before you are 11 ¾, from 24 May – 30 September, 10am – 6pm
Pick up a Stowe explorer map where you can do 34 of the possible ‘50 things’ activities and see how many you can tick off in one day. Join in with an adventure and use a range of natural materials to build a den in the parkland on the 24th May. There are lots of things to do on your ‘50 things’ list in the surrounding parkland from taking a bike ride to hunting for bugs.
Normal admission fee applies, parkland free of charge
For more information, please call 01280 817 156

Sensing spring – family activity, 24 April – 24 May, 10am – 6pm
Discover Stowe in a new way and use your senses to experience things you might usually miss. Stowe’s vast gardens and huge temples often catch our eye, but there is more than meets the eye. Pick up a bag and pencil from our visitor welcome area and make your way to the garden to discover Stowe with your other senses. You can collect blades of grass, leaves, and bird feathers, taste the herbs from our farmhouse garden, listen to the bird song, and draw what will remind you of your walk. Close your eyes and imagine the people visiting the gardens in the eighteenth century as you walk in their footsteps.
Normal admission fee applies
For more information, please call 01280 817 156

Studland Beach, Dorset
Explore this vast area of sandy beaches which are ideal for water sports and the heathland which is haven for wildlife this May. You can get closer to nature and learn about birds, go bug hunting and track wild animals.
Wildlife explorer: go birding, 26 May 11am – 12.30pm & 27 May, 2pm – 3.30pm
Wildlife explorer: bug hunt, 26 May, 2pm – 3.30pm & 28 may, 11am – 12.30pm
Wildlife explorer: track wild animals, 27 may, 11am – 12.30pm & 28 may, 2pm – 3.30pm
Booking essential
Price: individual tickets £3, family £10
For more information, please call 01929 450500

Children on a bug-hunt at Sheffield Park, East Sussex.

Wicken Fen National Nature Reserve, Cambridgeshire
Pond dipping and mini-beast hunt, 27 May, 10.30am – 3.15pm
Wicken Fen, one of Europe’s most important wetlands, supports an abundance of wildlife. There are more than 8,500 species, including a spectacular array of plants, birds and dragonflies. Come and discover the minibeasts that live here with a 30 minute pond dipping session, followed by a mini-beast hunt.
Booking essential
Price: Child £2.50
For more information, please call 01353 720274

Get active

Attingham Park, Shropshire
Game On! : Attingham’s big sports weekend, 3 – 5 May, 11am – 4pm
Visit Attingham this May and explore the beautiful parkland and mansion set in the heart of this great estate between Shrewsbury and the River Severn. There’s a packed bank holiday weekend of sports activities for the whole family in the play field where you can meet local sports groups, try taster sessions and challenge your friends and family to a game or two.
Additional charges will apply for some activities: please see visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/attingham-park/ nearer the time for more details.
Normal admission fee applies
For more information, please call 01743 708148

Brimham Rocks, North Yorkshire
Family outdoor climbing day, 26 May, 10am – 4pm
Have a go at weaselling, bouldering, roped climbing and abseiling at these dramatic moorland rock formations with Harrogate Climbing Centre. This amazing collection of weird and wonderful rock creations makes a great day out for families, climbers and those wanting to enjoy the simple pleasures of fresh air and magnificent views over Nidderdale.
No previous experience necessary and a maximum of two children per booked adult.
Booking essential
Price: all tickets £50
For more information, please call Harrogate Climbing Centre on 01423 815024

Castle Ward, County Down
Game of Thrones archery experience, 4 & 17 May
Have a go at archery in the very place where the BAFTA award winning TV show was filmed, also known as ‘Winterfell.’ Stand in our recreated Game of Thrones archery film set, dress in some Game of Thrones style costumes and take aim.
Booking essential, please call 028 4372 3933

Sea Safari Sightseeing Boat Trip, 25 & 31 May
Everyone loves this sightseeing boat tour of Strangford Lough with its abundance of nature and wildlife. See the SeaGen, Angus Rock Lighthouse, surface whirlpools and some of the many seals at Cloughy Rocks Nature Reserve. You might even see a pod of porpoise or even a basking shark. Suitable for age 3 years plus.
Trips leave from Strangford Pier.
Booking essential, please call 028 4372 3933

Lizard Point and Kynance Cove, Cornwall
Kayaking at Mullion, 17 May, 9am – 1pm
Take to the water at Mullion on this guided kayak trip exploring caves, coves and the island. Spot seals and basking sharks and if you’re feeling lucky have a go at fishing for your dinner. Novices to experts are welcome and children over eight years.
Price: all tickets £40
For more information, please call 01326 558424

Polesden Lacey, Surrey
Big tree climbing, 4 May, 10.30am – 4.30pm
Climb in the canopy of the big tree in Preserve Copse with the supervision of highly skilled friendly instructors and get a bird’s eye view of Polesden Lacey and the Surrey Hills beyond. If you’re brave enough, take the zip wire back down to the woods below.
Hourly from 10:30am – 4:30pm each day
1 hour sessions limited to 7 children per session. Suitable for children from age 6 years (no height restriction)
Full tuition, safety equipment and harness will be provided.
Price: £15.50 per hour session. Free entry to Polesden grounds for participant (+ 1 accompanying adult).
For more information, please call 0800 0556760

Children sitting on the sand at Knoll Beach, Studland, Dorset.

Studland Beach, Dorset
Paddle boarding for teenagers, 28 May 10.30am & 28 May, 1.30pm
Studland Beach is a glorious slice of natural coastline in Purbeck featuring a four-mile stretch of golden, sandy beach, with gently shelving bathing waters and views of Old Harry Rocks and the Isle of Wight. Get outdoors this May and have a go at this popular new activity.
Booking essential
Price: all tickets £12
For more information, please call 01929 450500

Relive the past

Bodiam Castle, East Sussex
Medieval merriments, 3 – 5 May, 11am – 4pm
Visit Bodiam this May and celebrate the arrival of spring with some medieval games and music. This evocative castle is one of Britain’s most romantic and picturesque, set in the heart of a historic landscape. The medieval household will be on hand to show you how life was never dull in the castle in days gone by. To celebrate the arrival of spring they will be demonstrating and encouraging you to join them in playing some medieval games and enjoying medieval music from the Wondering Mistrals, Portcullis.
Normal admission fee applies
For more information, please call 01580 830196

Borrowdale, Cumbria
Force Crag mine open day, 31 May, 10.30am – 3pm
With an air of the ‘Wild West’, Force Crag was the last mineral mine to be worked in the Lake District. Join a guided tour to explore the processing mill and other remains revealing the history of mining at Force Crag.
Tours available throughout the day, Adult £5
Not suitable for children under the age of ten.
For more information, please call 017687 74649

Dunster Castle, Somerset
Siege and surrender experience, 5 May & 27 May, 11.30am – 1pm & 2pm – 3.30pm
Journey back in time with our Civil War soldiers to the siege of Dunster Castle. Dramatically sited on a wooded hill, a castle has existed here since at least Norman times, with an impressive medieval gatehouse and ruined tower giving a reminder of its turbulent history. Hear tales of sixteenth-century surgery, meet the camp cook, and feel the weight of a 400 year old cannonball.
Normal admission fee applies
Booking essential
Price: Adult ticket £3.50, Child £2
For more information, please call 01643 821314

Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal (Water Garden), North Yorkshire
World Heritage weekend, 3 – 5 May, 10am – 5pm
Fountains Abbey is a World Heritage Site, Georgian water garden and medieval deer park set in the beautiful Yorkshire countryside and they’re having an all-singing, all-dancing World Heritage weekend. You’ll be able to see Fountains’ ages brought to life by medieval crafts, dance and cookery as well as elegant Georgian costumes and fan-making activities for the children to enjoy.
Normal admission fee applies
For more information, please call 01765 608888

Speke Hall, Liverpool
Tudor May Day Festival, 4 – 5 May, 12pm – 4pm
Celebrate spring in Tudor style with sixteenth-century dancing, musicians and children’s crafts at Speke Hall, set on the banks of the River Mersey in glorious gardens. Try your hand at archery, discover the historic display of Tudor weaponry and armour and join in with some Morris Dancing.
Normal admission fee applies
For more information please call 0151 427 7231

Trerice, Cornwall
Medieval village, 31 May & 1 June, 10.30am – 4.30pm
Explore the tented Medieval Village at this Elizabethan manor and see what life would have been like around 1471. Come and see how archers would have used their bow and arrows in the archery demonstrations and be delighted by the medieval fashion show. Speak to the cook, fletcher, herbalist, spinner, box weaver among others; all brought to life through living history enthusiasts who give a real window into the past.
Normal admission fees apply
For more information, please call 01637 875404

Tudor Merchant’s House, Pembrokeshire
A Tudor May Day, 5 May, 11am – 4.30pm
You’ll find the Tudor Merchant’s House on Quay Hill, a narrow alley overlooking Tenby Harbour. The merchant had a shop at the front of the house, opening onto the street. Discover how the merchant and his family would have spent May Day back in 1500. Explore the merchant’s shop and working kitchen on the ground floor. The first-floor hall is newly transformed for this year with colourful wall hangings and replica Tudor furniture.
Normal admission fees apply
For more information, please call 01834 842279

Family at Clumber Park, Nottinghamshire ©National Trust Images David L - Copy

East London’s V&A Museum of Childhood

v&aThe Fableists recently hit up the Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green. It’s great to have such a fab museum on the right side of town! Parents rest assured, it is literally steps from Bethnal Green station – and it’s free. For locals, it is an ideal place to take kids on a rainy day. There is plenty to keep their attention but also several interactive and play areas that allow them to roam free and get stuck in.

The Museum of Childhood houses the Victoria and Albert Museum’s collection of childhood-related objects and artefacts, spanning the 1600s to the present day. The building was purpose built as a museum and was opened by the Prince of Wales as the Bethnal Green Museum in 1871. It was built as a second, East London outpost of the Brompton-based museum that had been opened some years earlier to house the Department of Practical Arts and the collections of the Museum of Manufacturers, the School of Design and items from the Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of all Nations of 1851.v&a 4

Although it was meant to promote awareness of Britain’s cultural heritage to the East End, it had no specific purpose. Members of the royal family began housing excess items in the building and it was then closed during the Second Word War to keep those items safe.

When the museum re-opened, the curator noticed that it was often full of noisy (and bored) children. So he began to fill it with items to amuse them. Queen Mary (the wife of King George V) donated several of her own toys, as did other people who were interested in the project. Slowly, the collection of childhood-related items grew until, in 1973, it became the Museum of Childhood.v&a 2

I arrived with two tired kids, so I wasn’t sure how long we’d last. They immediately perked up at the large, welcoming space. There is plenty of space for kids to explore on their own and anything they can’t touch is behind glass. Phew!

There is currently an exhibition in the entrance area called ‘Confiscated Cabinets’, a display of artefacts confiscated in 150 London schools over the last three decades and collected by artist and teacher Guy Tarrant. The homemade games, keepsakes, toys, weapons and other forbidden objects fascinated my kids and fired my nostalgia. The display opened at the V&A Museum of Childhood on 9 November 2013
and runs until 1 June 2014. It’s well worth the visit.v&a 3

Upcoming events include Daydreams and Diaries: The Story of Jacqueline Wilson, Daydreams and Diaries: The Story of Jacqueline Wilson and Toy Stories, which looks at the role and function of toys in the lives of children around the globe.

The benugo Café is located at the heart of the open-plan space. Fresh, healthy meals are served with lots of kid-friendly items on offer. There is an area outside with picnic tables, if you bring a packed lunch. The Museum also features a quiet room, buggy park and free WiFi throughout the building.

There are daily free activities, including arts and crafts, storytelling and treasure hunts, so it’s definitely worth checking out the times before heading out. The museum has a private party space available for hire as well as a shop.

Open from 10-17:45 daily. Free of charge. Bethnal Green tube. www.museumofchildhood.org.uk

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