With the summer holidays drawing closer, you might be searching for exciting activities to keep your children or grandchildren entertained while they’re off school.
National Trust properties across the country are hosting fun activities and events for you to enjoy as a family. They’re a fantastic option if you want to spend time outdoors and take in some history. In many cases, you’ll also be able to explore the properties, which you may need to purchase a ticket for, and beautifully maintained gardens.
Whether you’re looking for somewhere local, a day trip, or an attraction that’s close to your staycation, you can find activities that will keep everyone entertained.
Anglesey Abbey, Cambridgeshire
Anglesey Abbey is a great option if you have younger children thanks to the Hoe Fen Wildlife Discovery Area. Nestled in the woodland, it includes a tree house and other playground equipment that they’ll love to explore.
The natural area is perfect for imaginative play, with a whole den building area and children are encouraged to create wild art around the Discovery Cabin.
For older children and adults, the location is ideal for learning more about nature. There are viewing platforms to keep an eye out for birds and pond life. The gardens at the abbey cover 114 acres and are filled with history.
The TREEmendous Trail at Croome is perfect for learning more about nature as you walk around – there are 10 different leaf shapes you’ll need to spot during your adventure.
Children at a local primary school have also helped put together an activity to help explore nature – Croogles. Before a trip to Croome, head to the website to download, print, and decorate some Croogles.
The National Trust has released a challenge called “50 things to do before you’re 11 3/4” that’s perfect for a few trips during the summer months. If your child plans carefully during a visit to Croome, they’ll be able to tick off 36 of the challenges.
Gibside gives you an opportunity to explore a Georgian landscape just outside of Newcastle. There are more than 600 acres to discover as well as a Palladian chapel, stable block, grand ruins, and the Column to Liberty rising above the landscape.
As with many National Trust properties, Gibside includes a nature playscape that encourages children to use their imagination. In addition, there’s a challenging low ropes course, a flying disc golf course, a brass rubbing circle, hidden geocaches, and much more.
Rowallane Garden and Springhill, Northern Ireland
This is a great destination to get active with children. Throughout the summer months, the property brings back classic sports day activities for you to try. From a three-legged race to a bean bag toss, how have your skills fared since school? There are also traditional lawn games, like croquet, to enjoy.
Close by, you can canoe on Strangford Lough, climb to the peak of Slieve Donard in the Mourne Mountains, or cycle around the many beautiful trails.
The landscaped park of Erddig was designed in the 18th century by Emes. It includes an original feature, a cylindrical cascade, commonly known as the cup and saucer. If you want to explore the building, you can venture inside the Servants’ Rooms to see how porters, housemaids, and gamekeepers once would have lived.
For young children that want to blow off steam, the Wolf Den is perfect. The natural play area means they can wobble over balance beams, soar on a rope swing, and build their very own hideout in the woods.
Wembury is one of the best places in the UK to explore rock pools and you can easily spend a few hours searching the pools when the tide is out. You can expect to find limpets, sea anemones, starfish, and crabs. You can download a rock pooling guide before you go to help identify what you find.
If you want to learn more and benefit from an expert, the National Trust regularly runs guided tours that will help you make the most of your time here.
Polesden Lacey, Surrey
As part of the National Trust’s partnership with Sport England, Polesden Lacey will have outdoor activities to challenge the whole family during the summer months.
Every other week, there’s an opportunity to meet the park rangers too. They’ll talk about the woodland and conservation work they carry out, as well as showcase some of the tools and machinery they use. It’s a great chance for inquisitive minds to learn more about nature and caring for it.