Join the National Trust Coast campaign launch #lovethecoast

A Message from The National Trust:

2015 is a big year for the National Trust as we’re celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Neptune Coastline Campaign, one of the longest running environmental campaigns in western Europe.

As a result we are able to care for 775 miles of coast in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, equating to over 10% of the UK’s coastline.

On Monday July 13th, our new advertising campaign will launch featuring stunning coastal landscapes and the first verses of a poem written and spoken by Punk Poet, Dr. John Cooper Clarke. This will then kick off a summer-long participatory campaign that will ask the nation to share their coastal memories with us which will help Dr. John Cooper Clarke curate the ‘Nation’s Ode to the Coast’ – a collaborative poem written by and for the people of the UK. See a sneak preview from behind the scenes here.

We’d love your help to spread the word and get people involved!

How do you get involved?

  • Please share your coastal memories – this can be in the form of a Tweet, Facebook post, Instagram upload, Pinterest board, recording of a coastal sound or penning a few lines and sharing them with us at2015 is a big year for the National Trust as we’re celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Neptune Coastline Campaign, one of the longest running environmental campaigns in western Europe.

    As a result we are able to care for 775 miles of coast in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, equating to over 10% of the UK’s coastline.

    On Monday July 13th, our new advertising campaign will launch featuring stunning coastal landscapes and the first verses of a poem written and spoken by Punk Poet, Dr. John Cooper Clarke. This will then kick off a summer-long participatory campaign that will ask the nation to share their coastal memories with us which will help Dr. John Cooper Clarke curate the ‘Nation’s Ode to the Coast’ – a collaborative poem written by and for the people of the UK. See a sneak preview from behind the scenes here.

    We’d love your help to spread the word and get people involved!

    How do you get involved?

    • Please share your coastal memories – this can be in the form of a Tweet, Facebook post, Instagram upload, Pinterest board, recording of a coastal sound or penning a few lines and sharing them with us at #lovethecoast and where possible, our tag @nationaltrust.

We look forward to seeing your #lovethecoast and making this summer beside the sea as big and exciting as possible.

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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.

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/

Have a magical day out this Christmas with the National Trust

Great Hlla Polesden Lacey xmas Tree credit James Day‘Tis the season to be jolly and Father Christmas is making some extra special stop-offs in his hectic festive schedule this winter.

Enjoy a magical day out with all the family at some picturesque National Trust places where you can get into the Christmas spirit by writing letters, exploring enchanting trails and making decorations, all with the help of Santa’s little helpers.

Celebrating festive traditions, the Trust is helping Father Christmas prepare for the season with some special locations for his grottos. From Victorian homes and ancient castles to lighthouses and cosy stables, a visit to see Santa will fill the whole family with Christmas cheer.

Every single visit this Christmas will support the Trust’s work as a charity looking after special places for future generations to enjoy. Here are the National Trust’s best grottos and activities to get into the festive spirit:

Santa’s Grottos

Belton House, Lincolnshire
Santa in the Stables, 5 – 7, 12 – 14, 19 – 21 December, 12pm – 3pm
This year, Santa is hiding out in the beautifully decorated Belton House stables with the Christmas elves. If you’ve been good all year, you’re sure to receive a festive gift from Santa and afterwards you can enjoy breakfast with the man himself in the Ride Cafe.
Price: £3.50 (including gift from Santa, normal admission fee applies)
For more information, please call 01476 566116

Lacock Abbey

Brimham Rocks, North Yorkshire
Santa’s Winter Wonderland, 20 – 21 December, 11.30am – 2.30pm
Explore Brimham Rocks, and have a great day out at nature’s playground this Christmas. Have you been good boys and girls? Visit the land of fairy tales and follow the frosty Christmas trail through the moorland rocks to meet Santa in his snowy winter wonderland.
Price: £4 (includes gift from Santa, booking essential)
For more information, please call 01423 780688

Souter Lighthouse and The Leas, Tyne & Wear
Santa at Souter, 6 – 7, 13 – 14, 20 – 21 December, 11am – 4pm
This year Santa is returning to Souter in style at the first lighthouse in the world designed and built to be powered by electricity. Post your letter and join the elves in their workshop for Christmas craft making before seeing Santa in his Victorian Grotto where he’s giving out presents – but only if you’ve been good! A hot chocolate with all the trimmings will warm you up on your way home. Santa will try his best to reply to everyone so keep checking the post!
Price: £10 per child (booking essential)
For more information, please call 0191 5290909

Gingerbread house at Ightham Mote, Kent.

Dyrham Park, Gloucestershire
Christmas in the park, 6 – 7, 13 – 14, 20 – 21 December, 10am – 4pm
With far-reaching views of the Severn Valley, Dyrham is the ideal place to escape the crowds this Christmas. Explore the great outdoors, wrap up warm and take part in the deer trail in the historic park to find Rudolph and his friends. Enjoy seasonal refreshments in the tea-room and pick up those last minute Christmas presents from the shop. Enjoy music and get hands on with crafts near the house and don’t miss Father Christmas who will be at Old Lodge to wish you a Merry Christmas.
Price: Free event (normal admission fee applies)
For more information, please call 0117 9372501

Cotehele, Cornwall
At home with Mother and Father Christmas, 20 – 23 December, 1pm – 3.30pm
The Tudor house of Cotehele is perched high above the River Tamar in the Cornish countryside and Mother and Father Christmas are waiting in their grotto before they return to the North Pole to start their Christmas deliveries. Make sure you catch them before they leave and let them know your Christmas wishes.
Price: £2 (includes a gift from Santa, normal admission fee applies)
For more information, please call 01579 351346

Kedleston Hall, Derbyshire
Breakfast with Father Christmas, 6 – 7, 13 – 14, 20 – 21 December, 9.30am – 10.30am
This Christmas, satisfy your appetite and experience an extra special Christmas breakfast with Santa in the old kitchen restaurant of Kedleston Hall. Intended as a ‘temple to the arts’ this impressive mansion oozes glamour. Enjoy the cosy space to relax and meet the man himself over a slice of toast!
Price: Adult £7.50, Child: £10 (includes a gift from Santa, normal admission fee applies, booking essential)
For more information, please call 01332 842191

Quarry Bank, Cheshire
A Victorian Christmas, 6 – 7, 13 – 14 December, 11am – 3pm
Join the festive fun with a traditional Christmas weekend at one of Britain’s greatest industrial sites. Meet Victorian characters and find out more about customs from the past and the people that used to work in the cotton mill. Tell Father Christmas what’s on your Christmas list and enjoy Christmas carols, stories, last-minute shopping, and finish your day with a warming mince pie.
Price: Free event (normal admission fee applies)
For more information, please call 01625 527468

Dining room dressed Polesden Lacey credit Eddie Hyde

Trerice, Cornwall
Tudor Father Christmas, 13 – 14, 20 – 21 December, 11am – 4pm
Visit this fine manor house in the Cornish countryside and add a touch of grandeur to Christmas this year. Come and meet a special Tudor Father Christmas, hear his tales and go home with a very special paper package tied up with string. This is a magical opportunity to hear stories of Christmas past with five performances throughout the day, lasting 30 minutes each.
Tickets are available from reception for 11.30am, 12.15pm, 1.30pm, 2.30pm and 3.15pm.
Price: Adult £2, Child £3 (normal admission fee applies)
For more information, please call 01637 875404

Speke Hall, Garden and Estate, Liverpool
Victorian Christmas Weekends, 29 – 30 November, 6 – 7, 13 – 14 December, 11am – 4pm
Visit this stunning black and white house on the bank of the River Mersey and see it decorated for a traditional Victorian Christmas. There will be lots of festive family activities with Christmas carols in the Tudor Great Hall and Father Christmas will be waiting in the wings to hear your Christmas list.
Price: £3 to visit Father Christmas (normal admission fee applies)
For more information call 0151 427 7231.

White Peak, Derbyshire
Countryside Christmas at Ilam Park, 7 December, 10am – 4pm
Escape to the countryside and visit the Peak District for hands on festive activities in Ilam Park. Meet Santa, toast marshmallows over the fire, build a wooden reindeer and bird box, make a Christmas wreath or create some decorations for your tree.
Price: Free event and entry
For more information, please call 01335 350503

Croft Castle and Parkland, Herefordshire
Santa’s workshop, 6 – 7, 13 – 14, 20 – 21 December, 11am – 4pm
Croft Castle sits deep in the heart of Herefordshire countryside surrounded by acres of historic woodland and Santa has stopped off to make those last minute Christmas gifts. Follow the reindeer trail to find Santa in his workshop and get an extra early Christmas gift.
Price: £4 (normal admission fee applies)
For more information, please call 01568 780246

A Christmas pudding wrapped in a muslin cloth

Biddulph Grange Garden, Staffordshire
Santa in his Christmas cottage, 7, 14 & 20 – 23 December, 12pm – 3pm
Santa is flying into Biddulph Grange Garden to open his magical Christmas Cottage. Follow the trail to discover the festive Cottage hidden deep in the garden, inside you will find Santa and his helpers, Christmas trees and fairy lights all waiting for you. Bring your Christmas present wish list with you to give to Santa or write one at Santa’s very own writing desk.
Price: Free event (normal admission fee applies)
For more information, please call 01782 517999

Mount Stewart, County Down
Santa at the Temple, 4 – 7, 10 – 14, 17 – 23 December, 3pm – 7.30pm
Catch the festive ‘Santa Express’ bus to Temple of the Winds within the picturesque grounds of this country estate. Explore the hidden grotto, meet the elves in their workshop and enjoy festive refreshments before meeting Santa, Mrs Claus and the magic elf. Hear their story, join in the fun and take home a lovely present.
Price: Adult £7 Child £15 (booking essential)
For more information, please call 028 4278 8387

A Christmas choir in the Central Hall at Wallington, Northumberland.

Chartwell, Kent
Father Christmas at Chartwell, 6 – 7 December, 11am – 3pm
Explore the family home and garden of Sir Winston Churchill this Christmas and meet Santa Claus who will be giving out a gift to good girls and boys and then helping the elves to make Christmas crafts.
Price: £7 per child (normal admission charges apply, booking essential)
For more information, please call 01732 861159

Ickworth, Suffolk
Family Christmas sparkle at Ickworth, 6 – 7, 13 – 14, 20 – 22 December, 9.30am – 4.30pm
Brighten your Christmas with a visit to Ickworth for a festive family weekend in December with Santa, gifts and much more. Visit the Georgian mansion in the heart of the Suffolk countryside for a celebratory family Christmas making decorations, crackers and treats. Sit next to the Christmas tree to hear festive stories and collect a special gift from Father Christmas.
Price: £8 (booking advisable to see Santa) Normal admission charges for the park, garden and house for accompanying adults.
For more information, please call 0844 249 1895

Dyffryn Gardens, Glamorgan
Christmas fair and Father Christmas grotto, 6 – 7, 13 – 14 December, 10am – 4pm
It’s time to get festive at some magical gardens just outside of Cardiff. Come along to Dyffryn to meet Father Christmas, make some pomanders and get your Christmas shopping off to a great start. Pick up some truly local and unique gifts for your loved ones and have a crisp winter walk amongst the gardens scattered with a sprinkling of frost.
Price: Free event (normal admission fee applies)
For more information, please call 02920 593328

Christmas 2011 015 NT Nick King

Oxburgh Hall, Norfolk
Meet Father Christmas, 13 – 14 December, 11am – 4pm
This moated manor house looks like it has popped straight out of a fairy-tale and it looks even more magical at Christmas. Come along and find Father Christmas hiding out in his grotto in a corner of the festive Hall. Discover his secret location and tell him what you would like for Christmas and you’re sure to receive a special gift.
Price: £5
For more information, please call 08442 491 895

Castle Ward, County Down
Santa’s House, 30 November – 22 December (Wednesday to Sunday only)
Mrs Claus welcomes you to help waken Santa as he sleeps by an open fire. Join Mrs Claus for some festive shortbread and mince pies, listen carefully to Santa’s story about Christmas at Castle Ward and collect a treat and a beautiful toy.
Price: Adult £7 Child £15 (booking essential)
For more information, please call 028 4488 1204

Visitors enjoying Christmas at Wallington, Northumberland.

Fun Festive Activities

The Vyne, Hampshire
Fun in the Cracker Factory, 13 – 14, 22 – 23 December, 12pm – 3pm
The mansion’s rooms are decorated for a vintage Christmas, full of nostalgia, warmth and magic. The Vyne’s elves are still hard at work with their preparations for Christmas and you’re invited to help them out in the bustling Cracker Factory, where you can make your own crackers with a bang to take home.
Price: £3 (normal admission fee applies, booking advisable)
For more information, please call 01256 883858

Bateman’s, East Sussex
A Kipling family Christmas, 29 November – 23 December, 26 – 31 December, 11.30am – 3.30pm
The family home of Rudyard Kipling is decorated for Christmas, with all the sights, sounds and scents of the festive period, with a special Christmas trail for the children leading to the elves special workshop. Stop off for a leisurely lunch in the Mulberry Restaurant and a spot of Christmas shopping in the gift shop to end the day.
Price: Free event (normal admission fee applies)
For more information, please call 01435 882302

Children visiting Santa ©National Trust Images Arnhel de Serra

Formby, Liverpool
Narnia, 18, 19, December, 2pm – 4.30pm & 20 December, 11am – 3.30pm
Visit Formby this Christmas and walk through the magical story of Narnia where the Spirit of Christmas is all about giving. What can you bring to share some magic this festive season with those in need? Guides will walk you through the woodlands where you’ll discover the magical story of Narnia. Santa will be waiting to collect your gift to give to those less fortunate this Christmas.
Price: £3 (booking essential, normal admission fee applies)
For more information, please call please e-mail formbyevents@nationaltrust.org.uk

Montacute House, Somerset
Huskies at Montacute, 13 – 14 December, 11.30am – 3pm
Montacute is a place of beauty and wonder and is even more magical at Christmas. Watch a team of huskies pull a wheeled rig up and down the west drive and get up close to one of man’s most enchanting and fluffy best friends. Meet Santa in his Grotto at weekends from 6 – 21 December, 12pm – 3pm.
Price: Free event (normal admission fee applies)
For more information, please call 01935 826 294

Children visit Santa at Lacock Abbey, Wiltshire ©National Trust Images, David Levenson

Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden, North Yorkshire
Dear Father Christmas, 29 & 30 November, 6 – 7, 13 – 14, 20 – 21, 22 – 23, 26 – 31 December, 1 – 4 January 2015, 11am – 3pm
The magnificent ruins of Fountains Abbey look even more magical during the winter months with a sprinkle of frost in the air. It’s nearly Christmas and the elves are waiting at their twinkly post office to receive some very special letters. If you’ve said your pleases and thank-yous this year, be sure to write to Santa to tell him how good you’ve been. There will be paper, pens, envelopes and stamps at the ready – all that’s left is for you to write your wish list, become the elf postmaster, and send it off to the North Pole. If you drop in after Christmas, make sure you write to Santa to thank him for your presents.
Price: Free event (normal admission fee applies)
For more information, please call 01765 608888

Petworth House and Park, West Sussex
The Gingerbread Snowman, 26 December – 2 January 2015, 10.30am – 3pm
Join a festive trail around the country house and park in the Sussex countryside this Christmas. The Cook has dropped all the ingredients for her gingerbread recipe in the Pleasure Grounds; can you find them and write them down to make your very own Gingerbread Snowman at home?
Price: £3
For more information, please call 01798 342207

Allan Bank and Grasmere, Cumbria
Notes to Santa, 1 – 21 December, 10am – 4pm
There’s no better place to put pen to paper than at Allan Bank in Cumbria, once home to William Wordsworth. Write your note to Santa with all your Christmas wishes and leave it in the big sack ready to be delivered. Wait to see your letter sent up the chimney and to make sure Father Christmas gets your message.
Price: Free event (normal admission fee applies)
For more information, please call 015394 35143

Blickling hall - Christmas interior. please credit National Trust Images

Uppark House and Garden, West Sussex
Stir up Sunday 30 November, 11am – 3pm
Join in the tradition of Stir up Sunday at this tranquil house perched on the South Downs ridge. Take turns to come and stir the Uppark Christmas pudding and to make a festive wish. A bag of spices and a real sixpence will be yours to take home to add to your very own pudding.
Price: 50p (normal admission fee applies)
For more information, please call 01730 825 415

Stowe, Buckinghamshire
Christmas Angels – Family make and take at Christmas, 29-30 November, 6 – 7, 13 – 14, 20 – 22 December, 10am – 4pm
Visit Stowe this Christmas and discover a vast landscape with over 40 historic temples and monuments each with their own story. Every Christmas tree shouldn’t be without its very own angel, so have a go at making a handmade one this festive season. Don’t forget to add a pinch of glitter to add that extra special sparkle to their wings.
All craft materials, decorations and instructions are provided.
Price: Free event
For more information, please call 01280 817 156

Coleridge Cottage, Somerset
A Georgian Christmas, 13 December, 4.30pm – 8.30pm
Add a sprinkle of romance to Christmas with a visit to home of poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Get into the festive spirit with a candlelit evening of carol singing, fireside stories and a festive present for every child.
Price: Adult £5, Child £3 (booking advisable)
For more information, please call 01278 732662

Visitors taking part in Christmas baking activities at Attingham Park, Shropshire.

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

East

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

Midlands

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

Wales

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

A summer full of ‘50 things’ adventures with National Trust

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A summer full of ‘50 things’ adventures

This summer holiday fill your days with challenges and adventures. The National Trust is encouraging 200,000 children to show nature they care by getting them up off the sofa, jumping into the great outdoors and having lots of fun discovering the natural world.

National Trust research reveals that over half of today’s children (54 per cent) spend less than an hour outside each day compared to their parents who spent an average of 2 hours 34 minutes outside each day as children.

The Trust cares for hundreds of places perfect for families to enjoy this summer; from barefoot walks on the coast, to climbing trees and looking out for wildlife, every visit can forge children’s connection to nature and helps the conservation charity continue to protect places for future generations to explore and enjoy.

With an extra hour of sunlight on your side and hundreds of adventurous ideas for all the family to enjoy, including rolling down hills, bike rides and even snail racing, here’s the Trust’s top 25 activities and events to get you started on the ‘50 things’ list:

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/visit/families/50-things/
http://www.50things.org.uk

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

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

1. Climb a tree
Croome, Worcestershire
Tree Climbing, 22 August, 20 September, 27 October 10.30am – 4.30pm
Spend an hour with two highly-skilled instructors who will teach you how to use ropes, knots, carabineers and a harness to climb to the top of a tree and zip wire back down. While you’re up there take a look at the view from the top over the landscaped park. Afterwards let the children run wild, have fun and make their own adventures. There are lots of spaces to run around and miles of interesting walks and follies to discover with the whole family.
Activity led by the Great Big Tree Climbing Company.
Booking essential
Price: £15.50
Suitable for 6+ years
For more information, please call 01905 371006 or email adam@bigtreeclimbing.co.uk
Watch our YouTube video here: http://bit.ly/1dKenCB

2. Roll down a really big hill
Sissinghurst Castle, Kent
50 things Fridays: Adventure walk, 22 August, 1pm – 3pm
Tick off some items on your ’50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾’ list at Sissinghurst Castle this summer. Test your mettle with this fast paced adventure walk; there’ll be trails, barefoot walks and rolling down hills. To really pick up speed rolling down the hill, lie on the grass, make your body into the shape of a sausage and roll down the hill sideways. After your adventure why not stop off for an ice cream outside the shop and finish the day with a treat.
Booking essential
Price: £6
Normal admission fee applies
For more information, please call 01580 710700
Watch our YouTube video here

Child building a den in the grounds at Wray Castle, Cumbria.

Child building a den in the grounds at Wray Castle, Cumbria.

3. Build a den
The Vyne, Hampshire
Build a den 15 August & 29 August, all 12pm – 1pm
Visit The Vyne this summer and see if you can build one of the biggest dens you’ve ever seen. The Vyne’s outdoors team are holding special woodland workshops where kids can pick up top tips on how to make a brilliant hideaway. Spend some time collecting together branches, twigs and leaves to make a cosy den to play in. After you’ve built your lair explore the woodlands and see if you can spot any woodpeckers, jays and rare waterfowl.
Price: Suggested donation £2
Normal admission fee applies
For more information, please call 01256 883858
Watch our YouTube video here

4. Skim a stone
Fell Foot Park, Cumbria
All England Stone Skimming Championships, 16 August, 11am – 4pm
Situated at the very southern tip of Lake Windermere, Fell Foot Park is a great, family friendly location to play, explore and relax in. The stone skimming championships is an extravaganza of entertainment for the whole family in conjunction with South Cumbria Rivers Trust. Have a skim yourself to tick off one of your ‘50 things’ activities and see how many bounces you can make.
Competition entry fees and parking charges apply.
For more information, please call 015395 31273
Watch our YouTube video here

5. Run around in the rain
Ickworth, Suffolk
Out and about Wednesdays, 27 August, 11am – 3pm
Ickworth are hoping for rain … but even without it, there are plans to make a really big splash this summer. They’ll be games on the lawn and there’s lots of fun to be had on the obstacle course. See who can get round in the fastest time? Explore the play area, willow maze and wildlife area before having a lovely picnic overlooking the impressive Rotunda. Normal admission fee applies
For more information, please call 01284 735270

Family in the grounds at Castle Ward, Northern Ireland.6. Fly a kite
Brancaster Estate, Norfolk
Wild Wednesdays 20 & 27 August. All 10am – 12.30pm & 2pm – 4.30pm
Join the team on the Brancaster Estate for a day of ‘50 things’ themed family fun on the Norfolk Coast. There’s lots to do from kite flying to stone skimming, tracking a wild animal or making some coastal wild art. You can visit for as little or as long as you like and you can dip into activities throughout the day. So grab your scrapbook and start ticking off your ‘50 things’ and have some summer adventures.
Booking essential
For more information, please call 01263 740241

7. Make a mud pie
Wicken Fen National Nature Reserve, Cambridgeshire
Mud Glorious Mud 13, 22 August, 10.30am – 12.30pm & 2pm – 4pm
The perfect recipe for a mud pie is mud and more mud. This is your chance to get really dirty at Wicken Fen, an important wetland landscape with an abundance of wildlife and all important mud. Explore the finer qualities of mud, for throwing, painting, building and cooking (mud pies for the worms) and tick off number 13 on your ‘50 things’ list.
Booking essential
Price: £4.75
For more information, please call 01353 720274
Watch our YouTube video here

Child making a daisy chain on a visit to Trerice, Cornwall

Child making a daisy chain on a visit to Trerice, Cornwall

8. Make a daisy chain
Basildon Park, Berkshire
50 things – Create some wild art 14, 21 & 28 August, 10am – 5pm
Get creative with twigs, leaves and flowers you can find in grounds at Basildon Park. You can find lots of daisies around the garden and parkland. Pick a few and make a beautiful chain for the summer time. While you’re there follow the new wild wood walk up to the house. There’s lots to explore, including stepping stones a woodland tunnel and a bridge.
Price: £3
Normal admission fee applies
For more information, please call 0118 984 3040

9. Set up a snail race
Heigham Holmes, Norfolk
Heigham Holmes Open Day, 10 August, 11am – 4pm
Visit this wonderful nature reserve and remote island in the Norfolk Broads for a great day out. Only open once a year via a swing bridge at Martham Ferry you can come and learn about its special history, its importance for wildlife and the landscape of the Broads. This family event includes live pictures from the barn owl camera, face painting, pond dipping and the highly dramatic snail racing at 2.30pm.
Light refreshments available. There are no toilets or tearoom – bring a snack if you want to.
Access via floating swing bridge at Martham ferry.
For more information, please call 07885 581070
Watch our YouTube video here

Child with a snail on the beach at Portstewart Strand, Co Londonderry, Northern Ireland

10. Create some wild art
Allan Bank and Grasmere, Cumbria
Wild Art Wednesdays 13, 20 & 27 August, All 11am – 4pm
Set your creativity free and find lots of materials that vary in colour and texture from around the grounds once owned by William Wordsworth. Create some wild art using the natural materials found in the woodland. With ranger tips and activity sheets available you’re sure to create a masterpiece.
Normal admission fee applies
For more information, please call 015394 35143

11. Play pooh sticks
Morden Hall Park, London
Morden Hall Park is a green oasis in the city. It used to be a deer park and is one of the last remaining country estates in South London, lining the River Wandle. Surrounded by meadows, trees and the gentle sounds of birdsong and running water, the park offers a rare sense of discovery and is the perfect place to play pooh sticks. The park has several bridges where you can challenge your family to a race, so choose your stick wisely and take on the challenge.
For more information, please call 020 8545 6850

Children at Stowe Landscape Gardens, Buckinghamshire.

Children at Stowe Landscape Gardens, Buckinghamshire.

12. Jump over waves
Borrowdale, Cumbria
Derwent Water Regatta 2014, 9 & 10 August, 11am – 4pm
There’s nothing quite like messing about on the water so why not come and enjoy a raft of activities in the spirit of King Pocky’s Derwent Water Regatta. Spectators can watch the antics on the lake from Crow Park whilst enjoying a traditional summer fair with rides, side stalls, refreshments and competitions. There will also be the chance to tick off some of your ‘50 things’ with jumping over waves, making mud pies, stone skimming or even canoeing down a river.
For more information, please call 01768 774649

13. Visit a farm
Wimpole Estate, Cambridgeshire
Visiting a farm is one of the best places to get up close and personal with some new furry friends. Wimpole is a unique working estate, with an impressive mansion at its heart. At Home Farm, you can explore the traditional farmyard with the noisy modern piggery, cattle sheds and some rare bread animals. Have a go at becoming a young farmer when you visit and try your hand at grooming the donkeys, drive a mini tractor or see how you get on at milking! There’s plenty to keep you occupied down on the farm.
Normal admission fee applies
For more information, please call 01223 206000
Watch our YouTube video here

Visitors in the Apostle Garden at Lytes Cary Manor, Somerset.

Visitors in the Apostle Garden at Lytes Cary Manor, Somerset.

14. Go on a walk barefoot
Lyme Park, House and Garden, Cheshire
Bare foot walk, 29 August, 1pm – 3pm
Do you have ticklish feet? Feel the grass between your toes as you walk around Lyme Park and follow the trail before ticking off another activity from your ‘50 things’ list. Set out on your own adventure and build a den in crow wood, fly a kite near the cage or track the wild animals around the park.
Normal admission fee applies
For more information, please call 01663 762023
Watch our YouTube video here

15. Make a grass trumpet
Stackpole, Pembrokeshire
Summer Holiday ‘50 things’ challenge 13, 20 & 27 August, 11am – 3pm
Every Wednesday in August, Stackpole will be setting up camp at Middle Bay, near Stackpole Quay where friendly education officers will be available to help you complete as many of the ‘50 things’ challenges as possible. You’ll have the chance to go rock pooling, den building or make a daisy chain. Blow into a blade of grass and start up the band by making a grass trumpet. The following week you can try hunting for fossils and bones, catching a crab and our favourite – cooking on a camp fire.
Price: £2
For more information, please call 01646 661425
Watch our YouTube video here

A child holding a fossil, on a beach in Yorkshire

A child holding a fossil, on a beach in Yorkshire

16. Hunt for fossils and bones
Fossil hunting in the South West
The Jurassic Coast is famous for its fossils and Charmouth beach, part of the Golden Cap estate; it is a great starting place. There are not many dinosaur bones around these days but you never know what other treasure you might find if you dig around. Remember, fossils can be found anywhere. They could be buried deep in the ground beneath where you’re standing at this very moment and some lucky people even find them in their own back gardens.
Watch our YouTube video here

17. Go star gazing
Headley Heath, near Boxhill, Surrey
Box Hill is the perfect place to discover a family walk and explore the beautiful Surrey Hills. Forming part of the North Downs, Box Hill has breath-taking views across the surrounding countryside and is a popular spot with local astronomy groups, who consider Headley Heath to be one of the best places in Surrey for stargazing.
For more information, please call 01306 885502

Child taking a close look at a worm

Child taking a close look at a worm

18. Hold a scary beast
Chirk Castle, Wrexham
Bug Bonanza 13, 20 & 27 August, 11am – 3pm
Chirk Castle is the ideal place to visit, whether you’re looking for an action packed adventure or a relaxing day out. Enjoy the remoteness, beauty and tranquillity of the estate whilst hunting for bugs. If you find a creepy crawly it might be scary but be brave and see if you can get up close to learn more.
Normal admission fee applies
For more information, please call 01691 777701
Watch our YouTube video here

19. Hunt for bugs
Whitepark Bay, County Antrim
Go Wild with the Wardens 8 & 22 August, 10am – 12pm
Join the rangers for a morning of fun and adventure on a beautiful stretch of golden sand on the North Antrim coast. Have a go at completing some of your ‘50 things’ with building a den, hunting for bugs and much more. What’s the creepiest crawly you can find on this stretch of golden sand?
Meet at the car park in Whitepark Bay.
For more information, please visit: http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/white-park-bay/
Watch our YouTube video here

20. Catch a falling leaf
Cliveden, Buckinghamshire
Wild Wednesday – Astonishing Sticks, 3 September, 11am – 3pm
Visit Cliveden and find out about the amazing activities that can be done with sticks. This witch and wizard themed event will also have craft activities available for kids to get stuck into. Don’t forget to visit the Storybook Play Den and let your imagination run wild as you play amongst wooden carvings of favourite storybook characters whilst the 500 metres of winding paths in the Cliveden Maze make it a challenge for all ages to find the centre. While you’re there tick off number 33 of your ‘50 things’ and try to catch a falling leaf. It’s harder than you think especially in the summer months.
All children must be accompanied by a responsible adult.
Price: £2
Normal admission fee applies
For more information, please call 01628605069

21. Track wild animals
Crom, County Fermanagh
Bat Detectives, 28 August, 8pm – 10pm
One of Ireland’s most important nature conservation areas, Crom’s ancient woodland and picturesque islands are home to many rare species. All of the bat species found in Northern Ireland can be found here. Visit for an evening of tracking bats and learning more first-hand about these fascinating nocturnal creatures.
Booking essential
Price: Adult £8, Child £4, Family £20
For more information, please call 028 6773 8118
Watch our YouTube video here

Child looking at jar of pond water at Oxburgh Hall, Norfolk.

Child looking at jar of pond water at Oxburgh Hall, Norfolk.

22. Discover what’s in a pond
Bodnant Garden, Conwy
Pond dipping 12, 19 & 26 August, 12pm – 3pm
What will you find in the pond? Murky pond water is full of life, especially in a garden full of plants collected from all over the world. Scoop some out into a tub and see what you can find. Come along and dip into the hidden world beneath the surface and discover something new. Explore and discover the gardens, walk barefoot on the lawns and play pooh sticks in the river.
Normal admission fee applies
For more information, please call 01492 650460
Watch our YouTube video here

Camping at Highertown Campsite, Lansallos, Cornwall.

Camping at Highertown Campsite, Lansallos, Cornwall.

23. Cook on a campfire
Ambleside and Windermere, Cumbria
Woodland explorer week, 26 – 29 August, 9.30am – 4.30pm
Visit St Catherine’s wood for an exciting four day woodland experience for 8 -14 year olds. This jam packed break will include an inspiring mix of bushcraft, greenwood carving, fire lighting, natural arts and crafts, woodland games, shelter building, storytelling and adventure. There’s no kitchen in the great outdoors but there’s no reason to miss dinner. You’ll have the chance to try lighting a fire with a bow drill, barefoot walking, cooking food on a fire and discovering plants and new wildlife. It’s the perfect place to tick off some of your ‘50 things’ activities and to deepen your connection with nature in a stunning Lakeland setting. Children will be guaranteed to leave with a smile on their face and a smell of wood smoke in their hair.
Booking essential
Price: £225 (The course fee includes the overnight camp on the Thursday night (optional for the child and parent/guardian.)
Run by experienced tutors from Woodmatters in Partnership with the National Trust.
For more information, please call 015394 88409 or email gareth@woodmatters.org.uk
Watch our YouTube video here

Background to 50 things and the Trust’s Natural Childhood research

In March 2012, the National Trust published the ‘Natural Childhood’ report which highlighted evidence of a long-term and dramatic decline in children’s relationship with the outdoors. The report called for urgent action to bridge this growing gap before it was too late. Off the back of the research the Trust launched ’50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾’ which aimed to encourage more families and children out into the outdoors and get their dose of ‘Wild Time’.

This summer’s campaign will put 50 things on the map like never before and encourage more families outside than ever. But the Trust recognises that it cannot hope to reconnect children with nature on our own. We are founder members of The Wild Network, a revolutionary movement of over 1500 organisations and thousands of individuals who believe that children should roam free, play wild and connect with nature. With the Network, we’re working to bring attention of this issue to as wide an audience as possible. For more, go to www.projectwildthing.com.

Three years on ’50 things’ is still getting children and their families exploring the outdoors – whether at a National Trust place or not. We’ve found that children who get at least 25 of the 50 things under their belt are 15% more connected to nature (judged according to the RSPB’s nature connection index) than when they hadn’t done any. Doing ‘50 things’ makes them more likely to spend time in nature and encourages them to care about other species and the environment.

50 things to do before you’re 11¾

1. Climb a tree
2. Roll down a really big hill
3. Camp out in the wild
4. Build a den
5. Skim a stone
6. Run around in the rain
7. Fly a kite
8. Catch a fish with a net
9. Eat an apple straight from a tree
10. Play conkers
11. Go on a really long bike ride
12. Make a trail with sticks
13. Make a mud pie
14. Dam a stream
15. Play in the snow
16. Make a daisy chain
17. Set up a snail race
18. Create some wild art
19. Play pooh sticks
20. Jump over waves
21. Pick blackberries growing in the wild
22. Explore inside a tree
23. Visit a farm
24. Go on a walk barefoot
25. Make a grass trumpet
26. Hunt for fossils and bones
27. Go star gazing
28. Climb a huge hill
29. Explore a cave
30. Hold a scary beast
31. Hunt for bugs
32. Find some frogspawn
33. Catch a falling leaf
34. Track wild animals
35. Discover what’s in a pond
36. Make a home for a wild animal
37. Check out the crazy creatures in a rock pool
38. Bring up a butterfly
39. Catch a crab
40. Go on a nature walk at night
41. Plant it, grow it, eat it
42. Go swimming in the sea
43. Build a raft
44. Go bird watching
45. Find your way with a map and compass
46. Try rock climbing
47. Cook on a campfire
48. Learn to ride a horse
49. Find a geocache
50. Canoe down a river

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

The Wild Network Launches with ‘Project Wild Thing’ Documentary

10138864256_a78cb58a76_bIf you are a parent who is trying to raise happy, healthy and active kids into interesting and interested human beings, you are no doubt concerned with the amount of time your kids – and indeed all kids – are spending outdoors. We certainly are. The Fableists’ clothes are made to live in, to play in and to explore in. We want to see our clothes up trees and rolling down hills. While all kids love being outdoors and running free, convincing them to get out there isn’t always easy. And more and more, competing with the ‘screen time’ your kids crave is to blame.

The newly formed Wild Network is launching the biggest ever campaign to reconnect kids with nature and outdoor play. Their goal is to get parents to swap their kids’ screen time for ‘wild time’: playing outdoors and spending time in the natural world. The Wild Network is made up of more than 370 organisations, including RSPB, the NHS, Wildlife Trust, Scout Association and The National Trust, whose fabulous ’50 Things to do Before You’re 11 3/4’ campaign, was our intro to this current project.The Wild Network

This campaign is probably long overdue. As Andy Simpson, Chair of the Wild Network, said: “The tragic truth is that kids have lost touch with nature and the outdoors in just one generation. Time spent outdoors is down, roaming ranges have fallen drastically, activity levels are declining and the ability to identify common species has been lost.” This is worrying stuff that needs to be front and centre of our parenting agenda.

The Wild Network is advocating the ‘re-wilding’ of our kids with more wild time, and encouraging a swap of 30 minutes of screen time a day for an equal amount of outdoor time. The health and wellbeing benefits of more time spent outside are well documented and the campaign is “all about finding wildness on your doorstep and discovering the sights, sounds and smells of nature, whether in a back garden, local park or green space at the end of the road”.

The centrepiece of the campaign launch is the new, feature length documentary film, ‘Project Wild Thing’. Patrick Barkham of The Guardian claims that “this film will change your life” and it is hoped that it will help to bring about real and lasting change.9670569769_8cdd357c72_b

In the documentary, filmmaker David Bond takes a look at this modern challenge of getting kids into the natural world. Three years in the making, the film began as a personal journey when Bond realised his own children were living a vastly different childhood from his own, spending just 4% of their lives outdoors. In an effort to get his kids off the sofa, he appointed himself ‘Marketing Director for Nature’ in order to help his brand – nature – compete for a share of his kids’ attention.9340352577_29765d5ef4_b

Harnessing the power of marketing, which he blames for commercializing childhood, Bond embarks on a campaign to sell nature. The outdoors is the ‘ultimate, free wonder-product’, the one gift you can give your kids that won’t cost a penny. The film follows Bond’s journey to re-brand nature to recapture the imagination of our kids so that they can rediscover the joys of a childhood lived with fresh air and no boundaries.

Ultimately, every parent needs to market nature to their own kids by exposing them to the world outdoors and to show them how to enjoy it. The fondest memories any child will carry with them into adulthood are of time spent outside, on adventures with the people closest to them. What the film urges is that this can be in a garden or city green space; it can be on the walk to school or to the shops; it can be jumping in puddles after a heavy rain or collecting conkers. All we need is to take the time to introduce our children to nature because all kids love being outside. As Bond says in the film: “you’re guaranteed to love nature, or your money back.”9340422049_4d2172dc52_b

You won’t find ‘Project Wild Thing’ preachy or nostalgic. It is funny and fresh, modern and moving. See it this weekend in the UK. It is being shown in over fifty cinemas across the UK from the 25 October (https://projectwildthing.com/film). The whole family will love it.

Follow the discussion on the twitter feed @wearewildthing and using the hashtag #wildtime or #projectwildthing. Download the new ‘Wild Time’ app, which shows how technology can help give time-pressed families a bucket list of ideas to help get their kids outdoors.9343142752_24aa206053_b

The Wild Network is Here and Ready to Make Some Noise

Andy Simpson is the Chairman of the newly-formed Wild Network, an association of organisations who are committed to getting kids outside and interacting with nature. We covered the launch of the ‘Project Wild Thing’ documentary, with which The Wild Network is involved. Here, Mr Simpson shares some of his motivation for encouraging kids to ‘Roam Free. Play Wild’.The Wild NetworkIt is hard to imagine a great childhood that would not involve being outdoors, being active and exploring natural places. From playing conkers and wading through fallen leaves in the Autumn to discovering the magic of a rockpool at the seaside, those are the memories of glorious days we want our children to have.

I have spent my working life introducing children to nature – with the The Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, but mostly with RSPB. To a certain extent I was successful. I was responsible for Wildlife Explorers, RSPB’s junior club with over 200,000 members. Yet no matter how much effort the conservation movement put into working with children, the big picture was depressing. Year on year research showed that children were spending less time outside in nature.

So what has gone wrong? Like so many other problems, this has happened through people acting reasonably and with the best of intentions. The first duty of any parent or carer of children is to keep them safe. Our natural reaction when faced with threats such as traffic, stranger danger or harmful accidents is to keep our children away from the threats. Job done!

Well not quite. At this point it’s important to look at the other side of the coin. What have we lost? What are the consequences of our decisions? All experts agree that children and nature belong together. At its simplest there is the huge amount of fun to be had exploring, discovering, climbing and digging – the endlessly fascinating world of nature. But that is only the tip of the iceberg.

Active engagement with nature is good for children’s health. We all now know that a sedentary lifestyle for children is a health time bomb with dire consequences in later life. Equally importantly, regular contact with nature is good for children’s mental well-being with benefits for social development and decision making. Many education experts argue that the natural environment is the very best place for children to learn and instinctively all parents know that being in nature is good for the whole family.

The problem seems to be, that while everyone agrees that being in nature is good for children, we have failed to get absence from nature recognised as a real problem that needs to be surmounted. Perhaps nature professionals have made the natural world seem complicated and out of reach. Perhaps we have talked too much about the threats to nature and not enough about the joy of it. Whatever the reason, it is now time for a change.

If we are to stop and ideally reverse the trend of children spending less time outside, we have to convince people that this is a big problem which needs big solutions.

But there is hope. The creation of the ‘The Wild Network’ and its first product, the feature length documentary film ‘Project Wild Thing’ is all about bringing about real and last change – beginning the journey to reconnect kids with nature.

‘Project wild Thing’ takes a fresh look at this modern challenge of getting kids reconnected with playing in the natural world. Expect to laugh and be moved as the director and star, David Bond discovers just how important time in nature should be for his own children. It is impossible to see this film without concluding that this is an important issue which we all, individually and collectively as a society need to address.

This is only the start. The Wild Network has enormous ambitions. We want to put children’s disconnection with nature firmly on the national agenda, working with people and organisations to help get children outdoors and into nature. We want to make it as easy as possible for parents to get their children outside in fun, safe and local green spaces.

I am incurable optimist. The Wild Network already has hundreds of organisations and thousands of people signed up. These organisations and individuals recognise that this is a problem bigger than any of us. It is only if we can build real momentum that we have a chance to make a difference.

So please do three things. See ‘Project Wild Thing’ .I know that you will enjoy it. Go to the Project Wild Thing web site and sign up as an individual or an organisation – it’s completely free. But most of all if you are looking after a child – go outside and have fun.

Andy Simpson
Chairman
Wild Network10138864256_a78cb58a76_b