From creating wild art to waddling like a duckling, the National Trust have created a series of trails designed to tickle the senses and immerse little ones in the natural world. Bring the whole family together this Easter and at the end of each, there’s a (responsibly sourced) chocolate egg. What more incentive could you need?
There are nine trails to choose from across the local area of Buckinghamshire, Berkshire and Oxfordshire. All cost just £3 (plus admission and parking if applicable) and include a chocolate Rainforest Alliance Easter egg.
Stowe, nr Buckingham
Easter adventure in nature trail 15-24 April
The scale and beauty of Stowe have attracted visitors for over 300 years and the gardens and park provide the ultimate backdrop for igniting imaginations. The Easter trail invites families to explore a world of lakes, magical woods, hidden temples and twisted trees. As you play and have fun on your family adventure in nature, there’s lambs roaming the parkland, a new meadow of bluebells and the unusual cuckoo flower in bloom in the old orchard.
Hughenden, nr High Wycombe
Easter adventure in nature trail 8-24 April
Set atop a Chiltern hill surrounded by wooded valleys, Hughenden is a country manor with formal gardens based on the designs of Mary-Anne Disraeli. She and her husband, Victorian Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli also created the sweeping parkland and the pleasure grounds which are perfect for the adventure. There’s also a natural play area in the orchard and a walled garden with a willow tunnel.
Waddesdon, nr Aylesbury
Easter adventure in nature trail 13-24 April
The French Renaissance-style chateau was built by Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild in 1874 to entertain the fashionable world and house his collection of fine art. Today, the Manor continues the tradition of welcoming guests for relaxation and entertainment. The Victorian-style gardens are full of flamboyant colours on the parterre amid ornate fountains and statuary. After completing the Easter adventure, continue the adventures in the woodland playground which winds through the trees or spot wildlife along the woodland walk.
Pre-book your visit at waddesdon.org.uk
Basildon Park, nr Reading
Easter adventure in nature trail 8-25 April
Sitting elegantly in 162 hectares (400 acres) of historic parkland and gardens, this 18th-century house was purchased by Lord and Lady Iliffe in the 1950s. Cheery buttercups and daffodils cover Basildon’s parkland and swathes of bluebells transform the woodland, making it a picture-perfect location for a trail. There are plenty of great picnic spots to choose from in the parkland, with clearings in the trees.
Greys court, nr Henley-on-Thames
Easter adventure in nature trail 8-25 April
Greys Court is an intimate and peaceful family home and estate set in the Chiltern hills. The 16th century mansion is welcoming and homely, and the series of walled gardens is a colourful patchwork of interest amid medieval ruins. Cosily nestled in low, rolling hills and perfect for little legs to explore. Along with the nature trail, look out for the patchwork quilt of spring bulbs inspired by the quilt in Lady Brunner’s bedroom, and the crab apple blossom fluttering from the tunnel of ballerina hoops.
The Vyne, nr Basingstoke
Easter adventure in nature trail 9-24 April
On the edge of a tree-lined lake dotted with geese, The Vyne was once a great Tudor powerhouse comparable in size to Hampton Court. It was built by King Henry VIII’s Lord Chamberlain, Sir William Sandys and Henry visited several times. The sprawling gardens and woodlands are just waiting to be explored. Look out for the delicate pink and white blossoms in the orchard, the sleepy blanket of bluebells in Morgaston Woods and look out for young ducklings, goslings and cygnets bobbing behind their parents on the lake.
Chastleton, nr Stow-on-the-Wold
Easter adventure in nature trail 15-17 April
A rare gem of a Jacobean country house, Chastleton was built at the beginning of the 16th century by a prosperous wool merchant as an impressive statement of his wealth and power. Owned by the same increasingly impoverished family until 1991, the house remained essentially unchanged for nearly 400 years. Chastleton is often referred to as a fascinating time capsule. The croquet lawn, gloriously tangled kitchen garden and topiary and planting of the Best Garden are a great size for little ones to explore.
White Horse Hill, Uffington, nr Faringdon
Easter adventure in nature trail 15-18 April
The Uffington White Horse can be seen from miles away, leaping across the head of a dramatic dry valley called the Manger. This has steep rippled sides created in the last Ice Age. The ripples are known as the Giant’s Steps. Next to the Manger lies Dragon Hill; a small round hill with a flattened top, said to be the site where St George slew the dragon. According to legend, the blood poisoned the ground and left a white scar for all to see. There are miles of chalk grassland to run around in, plus views over six counties.
Most trails will take place over the bank holiday weekend, 15-18 April but many also continue during the school holidays either side. Please check before visiting.
To discover your nearest National Trust Easter adventure in nature trail, visit: nationaltrust.org.uk/easter