The National Trust is encouraging children to take their eyes away from the computer screen and to get outside and complete some of the ‘50 things to do before you’re 11¾’. Comedian and Outnumbered actor Hugh Dennis is on board with the campaign and has created a video of the easiest activities you can do in your garden or local Park.
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 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:
1. Climb A Tree
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.
Suitable for 6+ years
For more information, please call 01905 371006 or email [email protected]
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.
For more information, call 01580 710700
3. Build A Den
The Vyne, Hampshire
Build a den, 25 July, 15 August & 29 August, all 12pm – 1pm
Price: Suggested donation £2
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.
For more information, call 01256 883858
4. Skim A Stone
Fell Foot Park, Cumbria
All England Stone Skimming Championships, 16 August, 11am – 4pm
Competition entry fees and parking charges apply
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.
For more information, call 015395 31273
5. Run Around In The Rain
Out and about Wednesdays, 27 August, 11am – 3pm
Normal admission fee applies
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.
For more information, call 01284 735270
6. Fly A Kite
Brancaster Estate, Norfolk
Wild Wednesdays, 16, 23 & 30 July, 6, 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.
For more information, call 01263 740241
7. Go On A Really Long Bike Ride
Cycle to Another Place, 28 July, 10am – 1pm
Price: £5 (own bike), £6 (hire bike)
Getting on your bike is one of the best and most speedy ways to explore the great outdoors. Follow the route using paths and roads through Formby and Hightown to the beach at Crosby and Anthony Gormley's ‘Another Place’. Participants will be able to return from either Hall road or cycle to the Marina in Waterloo and walk to Waterloo Station from where you can get the train back to Formby and make your way home.
Bring your own bike or bikes can be hired for the event.
For more information, please call 01704 878591
8. Make A Mud Pie
Wicken Fen National Nature Reserve, Cambridgeshire
Mud Glorious Mud, 4, 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.
For more information, call 01353 720274
9. Make A Daisy Chain
Basildon Park, Berkshire
50 things - Create some wild art, 31 July, 7, 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.
For more information, call 0118 984 3040
10. 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, call 07885 581070
11. Create Some Wild Art
Allan Bank and Grasmere, Cumbria
Wild Art Wednesdays, 23 & 30 July, 6, 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.
For more information, call 015394 35143
12. 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, call 020 8545 6850
13. Jump Over Waves
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, call 01768 774649
14. 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, call 01223 206000
15. 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, call 01663 762023
16. Make A Grass Trumpet
Summer Holiday ‘50 things’ challenge, 6, 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.
For more information, call 01646 661425
17. 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.
18. 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, call 01306 885502
19. Hold A Scary Beast
Chirk Castle, Wrexham
Bug Bonanza, 23 & 30 July, 6, 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
20. Hunt For Bugs
Whitepark Bay, County Antrim
Go Wild with the Wardens, 25 July, 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: www.nationaltrust.org.uk/white-park-bay/
21. Catch A Falling Leaf
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.
For more information, please call 01628605069
22. Track Wild Animals
Crom, County Fermanagh
Bat Detectives, 28 August, 8pm – 10pm
Price: Adult £8, Child £4, Family £20
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.
For more information, please call 028 6773 8118
23. Discover What’s In A Pond
Bodnant Garden, Conwy
Pond dipping, 22 & 29 July, 5, 12, 19 & 26 August, 12pm – 3pm
For more information, please call 01492 650460
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.
24. Go bird Watching
50 things activity day, 2 August, 12pm – 3pm
Visit Saltram, a magnificent Georgian mansion for outdoor fun in the park and gardens to tick off loads of your ‘50 things’ activities. Free guided activities will be held in the Park such as pond dipping and wild art. Go bird spotting and remember to keep as quiet as a mouse so you can hear their song. The Garden Team will be showing how to ‘plant it, grow it, eat it’ with planters you can take away and there will also be a wide range of self-led activities including den-building, tree climbing, crafts and much more.
Normal garden admission fee applies
For more information, please call 01752 333500
25. Cook On A Campfire
Ambleside and Windermere, Cumbria
Woodland explorer week, 26 - 29 August, 9.30am – 4.30pm
Price: £225 (The course fee includes the overnight camp on the Thursday night (optional for the child and parent/guardian.)
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.
Run by experienced tutors from Woodmatters in Partnership with the National Trust.
For more information, please call 015394 88409 or email [email protected]
For more information about The National Trust visit: www.50things.org.uk or www.nationaltrust.org.uk/visit/families/50-things/