Take Your Family On An Adventure With The National Trust
If you are anything like me, you are always on the lookout for fun days out for the whole clan, or great activities to entertain your little ones! The National Trust may well conjure up thoughts of stately homes filled with beautiful, breakable objects (eeek!) but in fact, the National Trust has put family-friendly fun at the heart of their offering, and have so much to offer adults and children alike.
It’s easy to overlook what is on our doorsteps, but this phenomenal resource is certainly not one to be missed! The National Trust has been steadily growing for well over a hundred years with the marvellous mission “to preserve and protect historic places and spaces – forever, for everyone.” The Trust offers a magical opportunity for young people to learn about history and nature in some of the most beautiful settings. What could inspire vivid young imaginations more than climbing castle walls, playing make-believe in historical costumes or getting in touch with their wild side in some of the Trusts amazing Natural Play Areas!
Why not visit Corfe Castle in Dorset for a thrill ride on a zip line, and a chance to see a spectacular sight as the medieval siege engine launches a missile? There are educational shields to be found in a quest to be conquered! If that’s not in your neighbourhood, perhaps you could visit White Horse Hill in Oxfordshire for an Evening Sky Tour. The gigantic prehistoric hill-side chalk figure on White Horse Hill is sure to inspire wonder and offers the perfect vantage point for stargazing as an expert guides you through the mythology and stories of the stars, enlightening you on their relationship with the ancient people that lived and worked nearby. Erddig in Wrexham offers horse-drawn carriage rides through beautiful woodland and the chance to see the horses up-close at grooming time, or last but not least – how about getting completely lost in the Victorian maze at Speke Hall in Liverpool!
The National Trust encourages you to get outdoors and make the most of seasonal beauty, with discovery tours such as snowdrop trails, bug hunts, spring flower exploration, courses in bird-box building, den building and the chance to experiment with growing our own food. Whatever the time of year, there are experiences on offer to stimulate your little one’s interest in their surrounding environment, helping them to notice all of the little details in nature that are so easy to miss as we go about our daily lives. During holiday periods watch out for even more activity, with events ranging from workshops and concerts to art exhibitions and theatre, all nestled in extraordinarily beautiful settings!
Tempt youngsters away from screens with visits to National Trust sites that have featured in their favourite television and film spectaculars! Lacock Abbey, a country house with monastic roots in Wiltshire, served as a filming location for Hogwarts Academy in two of the Harry Potter films. The extraordinary Craigside, a Victorian house in Northumberland, was transformed into Lockwood Manor for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. The historic farmyard at 18th century mansion Castle Ward featured as the iconic Winterfell in HBO’s Game of Thrones. These stunning locations might just offer the perfect wow-factor to bridge modern culture and ancient history, piquing interest in young minds!
There are countless spaces created with just kids in mind, such as Lime Tree Lookout, the giant two storey tree house at Anglesey Abbey in Cambridgeshire, or the Bath Skyline where you can clamber on rope swings and wobble beams! Fountain Abbey in North Yorkshire boasts a woodland playscape with musical chimes, scramble nets, a speaking tube and a rope bridge, plus a zip line for those most daring of youngsters. This is just a small taste of the outdoor adventure spaces waiting to be discovered around the country. The National Trust encourages you to make the most of the beautiful outdoor spaces they are guardians too, whether it’s learning to ride a bike, hiking with the dog, learning to climb a tree or mastering the art of using a compass. Many locations also offer toddler focused activities and trails, and sell kits to delve a little deeper into exploring animal tracks, water and insect life, and so much more!
When the weather gets yucky, planning a fun day out can become more of a challenge, but there is more to do than you might imagine. Beningbrough in Yorkshire offers a wonderful chance to dress up as one of the many characters who shaped Beningbrough’s past and get creative in their sculpture room. There is even a pre-school playroom for the smallest members of your clan! The house at Dyffrin Gardens has been restored in a particularly magical way. It is one of the properties that has been designed to be interacted with. Your youngsters can pretend to be Lord or Lady of the Manor as they sit on the chairs or play the piano in the drawing room. This is a historic setting that asks to be touched and played with!
The best place to begin is here with the National Trust’s fantastic search online search tools, where you can discover all the National Trust locations in your area, and find out more about what’s on offer and what events are coming up. Children and family ticket deals offer great value for money when you visit en-mass, and many outdoor spaces are totally free to explore. If you really love your experience with the National Trust you might want to explore membership which allows free access to more than 500 locations across the country with a host of other benefits. These extraordinary places are cared for with families like yours in mind, and there is so much to discover.
Do have fun exploring!