Summer days out with grandchildren

Posted on: 05 July 2013 by 50connect editorial

Have a wild time this summer with this guide to activities and events at National Trust properties over the holidays.

National Trust summer days outThe summer holidays are one of the best times of the year for getting the kids up off the sofa, jumping into the great outdoors and having heaps of fun discovering new places.

To keep the kids entertained throughout, the National Trust is encouraging children to complete its ‘50 things to do before you’re 11 3/4’ wild-time challenge and see if they can try and tick off more than 25 things on the list during the six weeks of summer (Monday 22 July - Sunday 1 September).

Simply sign up for free at at the start of the holidays and download the brand new ‘wild-time challenge pack’, crammed with a six week adventure planner, activity sheer and plenty of top tips to help boost kids’ outdoor experiences this summer.

Plus, if families log each adventure they complete online, not only will they collect exciting rewards along the way, but if you tick off 25, you will also receive a free National Trust family visit pass and be in with a chance to win the top prize of directing and starring in your very own nature film*.

With hundreds of adventurous ideas for all the family to enjoy, including tree climbs, bike rides and mini-beast safaris, here’s just a selection of National Trust events and activities on offer for a wild and wonderful summer:


Bodiam CastleBodiam Castle, East Sussex

Dress to impress, 6-7 July 11am-4pm

Ever dreamt of being a knight in shining armour or a medieval lady in her best finery? Let the friendly squires and maids at Bodiam Castle transform you into a knight, princess, lord or even the castle jester using their collection of replica medieval armour and costumes. Costumes suitable for those aged between 18 months and 80 years.

Normal admission charges apply, ticket charge £1 per person.

Booking is not required for this event. For more information, please call 01580 830196.


Mottisfont, Hampshire

The House at Pooh Corner, 13 July- 15 September, 10am-5pm

This summer explore the wonderful world of a boy and his bear. The adventures of Christopher Robin and Pooh in the Hundred Acre wood are the perfect inspiration for all sorts of outdoor fun. Not only will there be an exhibition of 36 beautiful hand-painted Winnie the Pooh illustrations (13 July – 15 September), but your kids can also tick off as many ‘50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾’ activities including playing pooh sticks, making a daisy chain (10 August), building a kite (17 August) and going on a wild bug hunt (24 July).

Normal admission charges apply. Booking is not required, for more information, please call 01794 340757.

Re-enact the past throughout the summer... and discover interactive ways of reliving times gone by. Visit the Victorian Past Times centre at Castle Ward, Co. Down, and find toys and costumes, or become an Anglo-Saxon at Sutton Hoo, Suffolk, or an Industrial Revolution apprentice at Quarry Bank Mill, Cheshire.


Camping at Brownsea IslandBrownsea Island, Dorset

Wild art workshop, 13 July and 10 August, 11am-1pm and 2pm-4pm

Celebrate the island’s 50 year anniversary with their outdoor festival season. Come along to this workshop and go wild by creating your own art and completing one of the ’50 things’ activities. You will be able to explore and experiment with exciting land art, creating your very own masterpiece using what nature has left around you.

Ticket charge, £5 per person. Booking is essential for this event, please call 01202 707744.

Make a weekend of it: Agents House, Brownsea Island, Dorset. This former agent's house enjoys a prime location on Brownsea Island, just 3m from the water's edge with its own private garden overlooking the lagoon and stunning sea views. Sleeps six.


Mount Stewart HouseMount Stewart House, Garden and Temple of the Winds, County Down

Wildlife trackers, 18 July, 1.30pm-3.30pm

Parents can relax at this drop off event where kids can learn more about nature and the amazing animals that make Mount Stewart their home. Why not see if you can hold a scary beast and complete another of the ’50 things’ activities.

Normal admission charges apply. Booking is essential, please call 028 4278 8387.

Get closer this week … to the outdoors and enjoy nature’s calendar. From wide open spaces and vast views of the sky at Wicken Fen National Nature Reserve, Cambridgeshire to the remote coastal gem of Orford Ness, Suffolk, there are a wealth of plants and wild animals that make National Trust places their home and are all ready for you to explore.


ClivedenCliveden, Berkshire

Family camping, moths and moonlight, 21-22 July, 2pm-11.30am

Join the rangers at Cliveden for this extra special overnight camp in the woods. Take part in this fantastic evening under the stars, with bat watching, moth-trapping, bug hunts, toasting marshmallows over the fire and story-telling. Please bring your own picnic for dinner, then wake up to a delicious breakfast and take part in the morning activities.

Ticket charge, £27 per adult and £17 per child. Booking is essential for this event, please call 0844 249 1895.


LlanbedrogPlas yn Rhiw, Gwynedd

Beach fun day at Llanbedrog, 23 July, 11am-4pm

Beach games, sand sculpture competition, five a side football, family relay races, face painting and more are all available for the whole family to enjoy at Plas yn Rhiw. Join the team on the beach where you can discover plenty of exciting opportunities to tick off lots of ‘50 things’ activities including skimming a stone, flying a kite, catching a fish, creating some wild art, jumping over waves and lots more.

Normal admission charges apply. Booking is not required for this event, for more information please call 01758 780219.

Make a weekend of it: Stay at Plas yn Rhiw, a cosy former gardener's cottage, with white washed walls, exposed beams and stunning views, set in extensive grounds on the Llyn Peninsula. Sleeps four.

Stay outside this summer… and go camping. From beautiful beaches to breathtaking mountain ranges, National Trust campsites are set in some of the most beautiful locations, ideal for exploring the surrounding countryside. Try Highertown Farm campsite in Cornwall, Upper Booth Campsite in the Peak District or for a wigwam or Mongolian yurt experience head to Clumber Park in Nottinghamshire.


Dunstable Downs, Chilterns Gateway Centre and Whipsnade Estate, Bedfordshire

Kite festival- come fly your kite, 27-28 July, 11am-4pm

Join the team at Dunstable over this fantastic fun filled weekend and complete one of the ’50 things’ activities, kite flying. There will be plenty to do and see including kids activities, face painting, entertainers, browsing the market stalls and plenty more. Be amazed as giant kites in the shape of bears, tigers and stars float across the sky and world famous display teams fly kites in magical patterns.

Normal admission charges apply. Booking is not required for this event, for more information please call 01582 500925.


Osterley ParkOsterley Park and House, Middlesex

Fly a kite, 31 July, 12pm-4pm

If you think you can’t fly a kite anywhere in London then think again. Visit Osterley Park over the summer and let your kid’s complete one of the ’50 things’ activities by making and then flying their very own kite.

Normal admission charges apply. Booking is not required, for more information please call 020 8232 5050.

Use the wind or make a splash this week... by finding an open space and run wild with a colourful kite. Find a wide open beach like Portsteward Strand, Co. Londonderry or head to a windy hilltop such as the Marsden Moor Estate, West Yorkshire, which are all perfect flying spots. Jump in the waves at Plas yn Rhiw, Gwynedd, Compton Bay on the Isle of Wight, Birling Gap, East Sussex or Rhossili in South Wales, and feel the water between your toes.


Croome, Worcestershire

Summer trails, 25 July- 4 September, 10am-5pm

Get out and about in the park with a self guided family trail over the summer holidays. Hunt for the lost treasure and secrets around the temples, statues and follies and see what exciting things you and the kids can discover.

Normal admission charges apply, ticket charge £1.50 per trail. Booking is not required for this event, for more information please call 01905 371006.


Coleridge Cottage, Somerset

C.S.I: Coleridge Spy Investigation, 27 July-2 September (excluding Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s), 11am-4.30pm

Inspired poet or French spy? The British government has sent you as their secret agent to find out. 215 years ago, poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge was investigated by the British government as a suspected spy. Crack codes and navigate the treasure map as a family in this spy-themed trail around the cottage and outside in the grounds.

Normal admission charges apply, ticket charge £1 per trail. Booking is not required for this event, for more information please call 01278 732662.

Test your searching skills… this summer and get out and about in the wilderness and explore new places with geocaching, one of the ’50 things’ activities. Pick up a hand held GPS and seek out the boxes hidden outdoors. Some of our great trails include Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire, Clent Hills near Birmingham and Roseberry Topping, North Yorkshire.


StourheadStourhead, Wiltshire

Big family tree climb | 10, 11 and 17 August, 12pm-4pm

Come and join qualified tree-climbers, Joe and Mimi, for an exciting tree top adventure. With opportunities to climb some of Stourhead’s giant trees, this is a great way for all ages to experience Stourhead’s treetops. At the same time, you can tick off ‘climb a tree’ from your ‘50 things’ list.

Normal admission charges apply, ticket charge, £5 per person. Booking is not required for this event, for more information please call 01747 841152.

Make a weekend of it: 89 Church Lawn is set at the entrance to the magical landscape garden, a pretty stone cottage is the perfect country hideaway. Famous for its spectacular lake and pretty follies stay at this cottage and enjoy the garden before the crowds. Sleeps seven.


Clumber Park, Nottinghamshire

Cycleabout clumber, 17 August, 10.30am-11.30am

Suitable for all ages, entertain the family in the great outdoors and enjoy a cycle route that takes about one hour around the beautiful parkland and grounds of Clumber Park. With beautiful scenery you’ll want to make sure you stop off for a picnic along the way.

Normal admission charges apply. Booking is not required for this event, for more information please call 01909 544917.

Get energetic at some more cycling hot spots... and go for a really long bike ride, another one of the ’50 things’ activities. Choose from a wide range of bikes to hire and enjoy a ride on any of the network of cycle paths around the park and gardens at Blickling, Norfolk. Excellent cycling days out can also be found at Ashridge Estate in Buckinghamshire, Barrington Court and Montacute House in Somerset, Box Hill in Surrey and Erddig near Wrexham.


Borrowdale, Cumbria

Derwent Island family discovery day, 18 August, 10.30am-4.45pm

Your adventure begins by canoe, with a peaceful paddle across this short sheltered stretch of Derwentwater to the intriguing little island. Discover life on the island past and present, indoors and out. Enjoy the gardens, grounds and amazing views and discover lots of places to explore.

Ticket charge, £10 per adult (£8.50 for National Trust members), £5.50 per child (£3.50 for National Trust members), and £24 per family (£19 for National Trust members).

Booking is essential, please call 017687 73780.

Make a weekend of it: Stay at Millbeck Towers, a former woolen mill that has fabulous views across to Derwent Water and the hills. There's a large, rambling garden to the rear of the house with a pond, streams and a grass tennis court. Sleeps twelve.


Brancaster Millennium CentreBrancaster Millennium Activity Centre, Norfolk

Raft building, 19-23 August, 11.15am-1.15pm

Unleash your adventurous side and take to the water on the beach at Brancaster. Build and float your very own raft down the creek at the harbour and tick off another ’50 things’ activity. The team will be able to provide a wetsuit, spray top and buoyancy aid but be prepared to get wet.

Ticket charge, £9.60 per child (ages 8-14). Booking is essential for this event, please call 0844 249 1895

Go rockpooling… this summer as nothing beats squelching around in the rocks by the sea, looking for creatures hiding in the water. Another of the ’50 things’ activities, try Wembury and also Woolacombe Beach in Devon, Birling Gap in East Sussex, Golden Cap in Dorset, Robin Hood's Bay in North Yorkshire, Stackpole in Pembrokeshire and Worm’s Head near Rhossili, Swansea.


Fountains AbbeyFountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden

Bugs at Fountains, 24 August, 10.30am-11.30am, 1pm-2pm and 2.30pm-3.30pm

Kids can join former BBC bug boffin Dr Roger Key on a one hour bug hunt, uncovering creepy crawlies hiding in the undergrowth. Why not see how many of the scary creatures you can hold in order to complete one of the ’50 things’ activities.

Ticket charge, £2.50 per child. Normal admission charges apply. Booking is essential for this event, please call 01765 643197

Make a weekend of it: With eleven holiday cottages on offer, including apartments in the luxurious Fountains Hall and five cottages converted from a group of eighteenth century farm buildings, there’s something for everyone.


Quarry Bank MillQuarry Bank Mill and Styal Estate

Go batty, 27-29 August, 7.30pm-9.30pm

Head along the River Bollin and find out all about the wonderful bats of Quarry Bank Mill and Styal Estate, discovering the haunts of the secret residents. Wrap up warm, your comfy boots on, pop a torch in your bag and listen out for all the different species that live around the estate.

Ticket charge, £5 per adult and £2.50 per child.

Booking is essential for this event, please call 01625 445845.

Roam free… in search of wildlife this summer. From the mini-beasts and creepy-crawlies in the grounds of Calke Abbey, Derbyshire, to the seabirds and seals of the Farne Islands, Northumberland, there are loads of natural delights across the National Trust.


Croft Castle and Parkland, Herefordshire

Hide and seek, 20 July-1 September, 11am-4pm

Play hide and seek with all the family in and around the wonderful gardens at Croft Castle. Let under 5's discover all of the best places to hide and if they can solve all the clues then they win a grand prize. When you’ve finished why not have a go at completing some of the ‘50 things’ activities and holiday trail too.

Normal admission charges apply, ticket charge £2 per trail. Booking is not required, for more information please call 01568 780246.

Play hide and seek this week… in the abbey ruins at Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden in North Yorkshire, beside the ruined gothic chapel in the grounds of Penrhyn Castle in Gwynedd, between the castle remains at Corfe Castle in Dorset or in the apple orchards at Barrington Court in Somerset.

*Terms and conditions apply. Available at   

Share with friends

Do you agree with this Article? Agree 0% Disagree 0%
You need to be signed in to rate.

Loading comments...Loader

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned!