©John Millar / National Trust Images
A week can seem a long time when the kids are at home. So why not try one of these great days out suggested by the National Trust? Building dens, toasting marshmallows by the camp fire and climbing trees are just some of the great escapes being staged at National Trust venues during February half-term 2014. Entry and parking is usually free for National Trust members and booking isn’t needed unless stated. Remember to check the venue’s website before embarking on your family adventure…
WHAT? Den building
WHERE? Wimpole Estate, Royston, Cambridgeshire
WHEN? 23 February, 10.30am-12.30pm, 2pm-4pm
Staff and volunteers help big and small kids alike to build dens using fallen branches, leaves and other natural materials on this working Georgian estate. Dens are then ‘tested’ at the end of the session. Booking is essential.
COST: Varies according to access required. Den building adds £2.50 per person in addition to entry fee
WHAT? Big tree climb
WHERE? The Vyne, Sherborne St John, Basingstoke, Hampshire
WHEN? 20 February, 11am-5pm
The Great Big Tree Climbing Company is on site at this stately home. Two instructors will help all ages reach new heights at an oak tree deep in the woodland. Climbers will be secured by a harness while learning how to use ropes to climb the tree. And if they’re feeling brave there’s a zip wire from the top. Suitable for ages 6 to 100! Booking essential.
COST: £15 per person
WHAT? Gruesome graves tour
WHERE? Sutton Hoo, Woodbridge, Suffolk
WHEN? 17, 19, 20 February, 2pm-3.30pm
Join a special tour of the Anglo-Saxon Royal burial mounds for youngsters but don’t forget to bring an adult! Walk around the ancient land on this 255-acre estate and discover the incredible story of the ship burial of an Anglo-Saxon king and even dress up as an Anglo-Saxon for the day. Booking advised.
COST: Adult £7.50; child £3.50
WHAT? Half-term Tudor fun
WHERE? Tudor Merchant’s House, Tenby, Pembrokeshire
WHEN? 15 February-2 March, 11am-2.30pm
Find out about the ups and downs of daily life for this busy Tudor family in 1500 with the Tudor Family Fortunes game.
COST: Adult £3.50; child £1.75
WHAT? Tudor games
WHERE? Rufford Old Hall, near Ormskirk, Lancashire
WHEN? 15-23 February, 11am-3.30pm
Little lords and ladies can try their hand at Tudor games in the Great Hall of this 500-year-old stately home. They’ll be following in the footsteps of William Shakespeare who, it’s believed, performed here as a young lad.
COST: Adult £7.25; child £3.70
WHAT? Welly walks in the woods
WHERE? Packwood House, Lapworth, Warwickshire
WHEN? 15-23 February, 10am-3pm
Head off on the welly walk through the woods, build a den, play hoop-la and have your own family adventure in the grounds of this Tudor House.
COST: Adult £6.30; child £3.10 (garden only)
WHAT? Winter wassailing craft activities
WHERE? Clumber Park, Worksop, Nottinghamshire
WHEN? 15, 18, 20, 22, 25, 27 February, 12pm-3pm
Wassailing is the ancient tradition of singing to the fruit producing trees to encourage a good harvest. At this beautiful former country estate, make a wassailing wand or a rosy red robin to hang in the orchards. Visitors are then welcome back on Sunday 2 March to help bless the orchard trees with a traditional Wassailing ceremony.
WHAT? The household returns trail
WHERE? Bodiam Castle, near Robertsbridge, East Sussex
WHEN? 15-23 February, 11am-4pm
Half-term trails and craft activities centre around the re-opening of the 14th Century castle as it would have been in medieval times, when the family returned from their winter residence.
COST: Adult £7.20; child £3.60
WHAT? Kite flying
WHERE? Carding Mill Valley and the Shropshire Hills, Church Stretton, Shropshire
WHEN? 17-21 February, 11am-3pm
Watch your kite soar over the heather-covered hills with stunning views of the Shropshire countryside in this 4942-acre Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
COST: £2 per kite
WHAT? Woodland walks and activity trails
WHERE? Rievaulx Terrace, Helmsley, North Yorkshire
WHEN? 15-23 February, 11am-3pm
A children’s trail in one of Yorkshire’s finest landscape gardens. Tick off activities on the ’50 things’ list, take a walk through the woodland and discover the natural play area around this former 12th century abbey.
COST: Adult £5.40; child £2.70
WHAT? Bewick’s boredom busters
WHERE? Cherryburn, Stocksfield, Northumberland
WHEN? 24, 25, 27, 28 February, 11am-3pm
Discover the birthplace of Thomas Bewick, one of Northumberland’s greatest artists. Enjoy free outdoor adventures and encourage the kids to toast marshmallows at the campfire!
COST: Adult £4.50, child £2.25