It’s the one day of the year when dads across Britain get to call the shots. This Father’s Day, it’s time to give dad a day out he will really love, be that walking in the great outdoors, delving into the pages of history or re-living his childhood on a camping trip in the wild.

Help is at hand with the National Trust’s top days out for dads, which the rest of the family can enjoy too.

For green-fingered dads, there are over 200 captivating gardens just waiting to be explored; for adventure-lovers there’s geocaching and wildlife trails to get the adrenalin pumping; and for dads who like to unearth the past, National Trust houses have centuries of history and intrigue bubbling at the surface.

Give him a Father’s Day to remember with one of the National Trust’s top days out for dads:

 

Bateman’s, East Sussex

Rudyard Kipling and his Rolls-Royce
Home of the much-loved Rudyard Kipling, Bateman’s is kept much as Kipling left it – with his pen and inkwell awaiting new stories. Even his 1928 Rolls-Royce Phantom 1 is outside waiting – a firm favourite with dads. See the original illustrations of The Jungle Book and soak up the atmosphere in Kipling’s book-lined study. His strong association with the East is also very present in the house, with beautiful oriental rugs and artefacts scattered about.

In 2011, Kipling’s voice has returned to Bateman’s with some of his poems set to music playing on a phonograph and extracts from his various works can be heard around the house. The house also now feels even more like a family home with one of the bedrooms transformed into the Kipling children’s nursery with toys for visitors to play with. Outside, take a stroll around the estate and try to spot some of the inspiration for The Jungle Book, or take a virtual tour of the watermill. Famillies will particularly enjoy the smugglers’ trail through the garden and discover hidden treasures. Don’t miss the Kipling family initials, carved into the porch one rainy afternoon.

 

Brownsea Island, Dorset

Red squirrels, smugglers’ tales and wild camping
Take dad in the ferry across to this adventure island in Poole Harbour, famous for being an unspoilt, natural haven with a colourful history. Brownsea was the perfect haunt for smugglers, who used to hide their booty of silks and spices in the castle here. From towering trees and shell shores, to the smugglers’ tales and scenes right out of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five novels, the whole family will feel like they are on quest of discovery. The island is one of the last places to see red squirrels as well as many different kinds of seabirds. Watch the birds on the lagoon from the public hideaway or head to the visitors centre and hear how the island was used as a decoy during the Second World War to protect the nearby towns of Poole and Bournemouth from bombing. There are lots of walks, some suitable for even the youngest would-be smuggler, and the island is car free so every inch of it can be explored.

Family camping: An extra special treat for Father’s Day weekend is the rare opportunity for families to spend an adventurous night on Brownsea Island, with its thriving wildlife and rich history. Master the art of camping and enjoy outdoor activities and, in the evening, there will be a tasty BBQ and sing song around the campfire. For prices and to book, please call 01202 492161.

 

Chartwell, Kent

Step into the life of Winston Churchill
Bought by Sir Winston Churchill for its magnificent views over the Weald of Kent to Sussex, Chartwell was his home and the place from which he drew inspiration from 1924 until his death. The house remains virtually as it was when Sir Winston lived there, with books and pictures strongly evoking his career and interests on display and even invitations still up over the fireplace. Many visitors have even reported the occasional whiff of cigar smoke emanating from the rooms

Churchill loved the landscape and nature of the site, the practical activities of building, gardening and farming and commented that he felt “a day away from Chartwell is a day wasted”.

The Churchills created almost all the architectural and water features and the herbaceous borders in the garden. Highlights include the nearby goldfish pond where Churchill spent his old age sitting, painting or feeding the fat golden orfe whose descendants still swim in the tranquil water. Churchill’s studio - situated by the orchard - remains hung with many of his unframed canvases in various stages of completion. Also in the grounds, the Marycot - the Wendy house of Mary Churchill - has been redecorated complete with wooden aga and wooden food for children to play with. Visitors, from toddler to mums and dads, can also have a go at planting vegetables in the kitchen garden and pick up advice from the garden volunteers. Don’t miss the chickens, which Churchill also kept. The butterfly house walk offers the chance to spot peacocks, tortoiseshells, brimstones and comas and the whole family can enjoy spotting all kinds of minibeasts on the wildlife trail.

 

Gibside, Tyne & Wear

Wildlife discovery and family cycling
With red kites whirling over the treetops, the conservation scheme at Gibside feels a million miles away from the hustle and bustle of the Tyne quayside. The cycling route through the landscaped ‘forest’ garden, wildlife hide and stables discovery room is dotted with great picnic spots and spectacular vistas where cyclists can refuel before freewheeling the eight miles back down the Derwent walk to Newcastle. An exhilarating and refreshing day for all the family on Father’s Day. For more information call 01207 541820

 

Lyme Park, Cheshire

A giant playscape, bulbs and local beer

On the edge of the Peak District, nestling within sweeping moorland, Lyme Park is a magnificent estate. Its wild remoteness and powerful beauty contrast with one of the most famous country house images in England – the backdrop to where Darcy meets Elizabeth in the BBC’s production of Pride and Prejudice. Originally a Tudor house, it was transformed into a huge Italianate palace in the 18th-century, but some of the Elizabethan interiors remain. Discover a colourful family history, from rescuing the Black Prince and sailing into exile with the Duke of Windsor to the writing of the hit series Upstairs Downstairs.

After exploring the beautifully furnished rooms and impressive tapestries, escape to the park and feel miles away from anywhere. Take a family walk across the magnificent moorland, fly a kite or wonder at The Cage – a remarkable, medieval hunting lodge set high up on the moor. Head over to Crow Wood playscape for a big adventure – a land of giant treehouses and slides, timber walkways and tree trunks to climb.

Especially for Father’s Day weekend, Dad can also enjoy selecting bulbs for the garden, when thousands of bulbs from Lyme’s gardens will be on sale. Afterwards, take him to tastings of locally brewed beer – another perfect treat.

 

Mount Stewart House, Garden and Temple of the Winds, County Down
Cartoons of politicians and duck-billed platypuses

Mount Stewart is one of the most unique and unusual gardens in the National Trust’s ownership, and is laid out in a series of different garden ‘rooms’. There is something new around every corner and the house tells stories of the politicians who visited the Londonderry family. Lady Londonderry made all the visiting politicians members of her elite ‘arc club’, and the animal pictures of them can still be seen in the tea room – Winston Churchill was ‘Winnie the warlock’.

Enjoy breathtaking views over Strangford Lough and discover dinosaurs in the garden and a horse with a monkey on its back. Find ‘Mairi Mairi quite contrary’ sitting in the middle of a pond with her cockle shells, creep down the underground tunnel by the Temple of the Winds and find crocodiles and duck-billed platypuses jostling on the dodo terrace.

 

Plas Newydd, Anglesey

Views of Snowdonia and tales from the Battle of Waterloo
An enormous 18th century house, that is an interesting mixture of classical and gothic, Plas Newydd is situated on the island of Anglesey. The comfortable interior, restyled in the 1930s, is famous for its association with Rex Whistler, whose largest painting is here. Commissioned in 1936 and painted on a single piece of canvas, the eighteen metre (58ft) wide ‘mural’ covers an entire wall of the house. Everyone loves a good scandal, and the house whispers tales of the Earl of Uxbridge, who left his wife and children for the daughter-in-law of the Duke of Wellington. This created a significant stir when the Earl was appointed to command the cavalry during the Waterloo campaign - a role that saw him hailed a hero and appointed Marquess of Anglesey in 1815. He even reportedly had a monument erected to the leg he lost at Waterloo.

With views of the Menai Straits and Snowdonia, outside provides the perfect spot for dads armed with cameras and binoculars. Enjoy lovely displays of azaleas, camellias and rhododendrons on the terrace or wander through the lush woodland.

 
Sudbury Hall and the National Trust Museum of Childhood, Derbyshire

Toys for boys and childhood memories
There’s something for everyone here, either in the 17th-century hall or the Museum of Childhood, which is a delight for all ages, especially dads on Father’s weekend. The hall interiors are exquisite, with fine, decorative plasterwork, wood carvings and beautifully painted murals. In the unique museum, dads can get lost in themed galleries covering everything from outdoor adventure to stories and imagination, complete with interactive displays and even bedrooms on the ceiling. Children can dress up in the story gallery, pretend to be pupils in the Victorian schoolroom, or chimney sweeps (the adventurous can even climb up inside the chimney).
Toys for boys: Bringing some boy power to the museum, this exhibition - starting on Father’s Day weekend - celebrates boys' toys from train sets and Transformers to skateboards and soldiers. For more information please call 01283 585337.    


Tyntesfield, North Somerset

Geocaching and going batty
The scaffolding at Tyntesfield comes down for 2011, revealing this gothic, architectural gem in all its restored splendour after a unique conservation project. Tyntesfield’s house, chapel, gardens and woodland make for an inspiring day of fresh air and discovery. Ideal for an adventure on Father’s Day, Tyntesfield has an exhilarating geocaching trail, with six boxes located in the woodland. The caches are themed around the wildlife, habitats and history of the area and include key facts about how the Trust is caring for the woodland and its wildlife. Each treasure box also contains an interactive family-friendly activity.

And for wildlife lovers, the colony of lesser horseshoe bats that summer-roost in the roofs above the billiard room and servants hall is sure to delight. The colony consists of around 70 bats, many of which hibernate nearby in a tunnel near the wood-yard or occasionally under the chapel and in the cellars of the chaplain's house. Bat-loving dads can see them via a new bat camera on site.


The Vyne, Hampshire

The inspiration for Lord of the Rings?
Originally built as a great Tudor 'power house', The Vyne was visited by King Henry VIII on at least three occasions and later became a family home, cherished by the Chute family for more than 350 years. Dramatic improvements and changes over the centuries have made The Vyne a fascinating microcosm of changing fads and fashions. The house is filled with an eclectic mix of fine furniture, portraits, textiles and sculpture. Perhaps the most interesting object in The Vyne’s possession is a solid gold ring dating from the 4th or 5th century, which is said to have inspired J R Tolkien.
Discovered in the 18th-century, the faceted, ten-sided band has a Latin inscription engraved on it, which reads: ‘O Senicianus, may you live prosperously’. The fearsome looking head once thought to be a lion has now been identified as that of the Goddess of Venus. Several decades after the ring was found a Roman lead tablet was uncovered at the site of a temple in Gloucestershire, bearing an inscription referring to this same ring, cursing the person who had stolen it. There has been some suggestion that the story of this curse came to the attention of Tolkien, who had been advising on finds at the temple, and that this ring was the inspiration for his Lord of the Rings trilogy – a perfect Father’s Day mystery for fans of the books and films.

It’s the one day of the year when dads across Britain get to call the shots. This Father’s Day, it’s time to give dad a day out he will really love, be that walking in the great outdoors, delving into the pages of history or re-living his childhood on a camping trip in the wild.

Help is at hand with the National Trust’s top days out for dads, which the rest of the family can enjoy too.

For green-fingered dads, there are over 200 captivating gardens just waiting to be explored; for adventure-lovers there’s geocaching and wildlife trails to get the adrenalin pumping; and for dads who like to unearth the past, National Trust houses have centuries of history and intrigue bubbling at the surface.

Give him a Father’s Day to remember with one of the National Trust’s top days out for dads:

 

Bateman’s, East Sussex

Rudyard Kipling and his Rolls-Royce
Home of the much-loved Rudyard Kipling, Bateman’s is kept much as Kipling left it – with his pen and inkwell awaiting new stories. Even his 1928 Rolls-Royce Phantom 1 is outside waiting – a firm favourite with dads. See the original illustrations of The Jungle Book and soak up the atmosphere in Kipling’s book-lined study. His strong association with the East is also very present in the house, with beautiful oriental rugs and artefacts scattered about.

In 2011, Kipling’s voice has returned to Bateman’s with some of his poems set to music playing on a phonograph and extracts from his various works can be heard around the house. The house also now feels even more like a family home with one of the bedrooms transformed into the Kipling children’s nursery with toys for visitors to play with. Outside, take a stroll around the estate and try to spot some of the inspiration for The Jungle Book, or take a virtual tour of the watermill. Famillies will particularly enjoy the smugglers’ trail through the garden and discover hidden treasures. Don’t miss the Kipling family initials, carved into the porch one rainy afternoon.

 

Brownsea Island, Dorset

Red squirrels, smugglers’ tales and wild camping
Take dad in the ferry across to this adventure island in Poole Harbour, famous for being an unspoilt, natural haven with a colourful history. Brownsea was the perfect haunt for smugglers, who used to hide their booty of silks and spices in the castle here. From towering trees and shell shores, to the smugglers’ tales and scenes right out of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five novels, the whole family will feel like they are on quest of discovery. The island is one of the last places to see red squirrels as well as many different kinds of seabirds. Watch the birds on the lagoon from the public hideaway or head to the visitors centre and hear how the island was used as a decoy during the Second World War to protect the nearby towns of Poole and Bournemouth from bombing. There are lots of walks, some suitable for even the youngest would-be smuggler, and the island is car free so every inch of it can be explored.

Family camping: An extra special treat for Father’s Day weekend is the rare opportunity for families to spend an adventurous night on Brownsea Island, with its thriving wildlife and rich history. Master the art of camping and enjoy outdoor activities and, in the evening, there will be a tasty BBQ and sing song around the campfire. For prices and to book, please call 01202 492161.

 

Chartwell, Kent