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Six weeks of summer with the National Trust

Published on Friday 16 July 2021

With holidays abroad off the cards for many this summer the National Trust is encouraging everyone to get back to basics and enjoy a summer filled with simple, sensory pleasures.  

The unmistakable smell of freshly cut grass, the reassuring sight of blue and sunny skies, the first glimpse of the sea, the tickle of grass between your toes. Nothing comes close to summer at home – and it’s finally here. National Trust gardens and parklands are popping with colour, woodlands are alive with chirping birds, meadows are swaying in the breeze, lakes are glistening, and brooks are babbling.  

What’s more, over 100 National Trust places, will be encouraging everyone to experience these simple, sensory pleasures with their summer activity programme ‘Get Set Go’.  Thanks to funding from Sport England, visitors will be able to have a go at over 20 different activities; such as ‘go barefoot’, ‘make a splash’, ‘work together’– to stretch those lockdown legs – to explore and get outdoors together – and to connect with nature.  

A range of downloadable activities will also be available online, for everyone to enjoy – with simple ideas for making the most of summer in the garden, the local park or even (whisper it), for rainy days spent indoors.  

Here’s the National Trust’s pick of the best places to enjoy in the East Midlands this summer:


Calke Abbey
The Garden of Imagination returns to Calke for the summer holidays, where kids can unleash their imaginations and play to their hearts’ content. It’s the perfect spot to pitch up with a blanket and watch the clouds floating above. The natural play area at Calke Explore is open all year round plus a brand-new cycle hire facility is coming soon so you can venture further into the countryside this summer. 

Hardwick Hall
The perfect spot for outdoor adventures, from rolling down hills to cloud watching. Lady Spencer’s wood and the ponds at the lower park are both popular with families, with the chance to spot lots of wildlife, including ducks, geese and swans.

Kedleston Hall
At Kedleston, the great outdoors has plenty to offer with lots of places to explore and gorgeous spots for memorable picnics. The long and short walks are excellent for spotting wildlife and the parkland is the perfect backdrop for having a go at some of the National Trust’s nature themed activities, ‘50 things to do before you’re 11¾’. 


Summer holiday fun and nostalgia – Stoneywell’s gardens and woodland provide the perfect place for children to break away from screen time and enjoy a traditional summer holiday adventure. With the feeling of stepping into a Swallows and Amazons book it’s ideal for whiling away a summer day. Simple activities include eating a picnic in the wild, having fun with sticks, creating some wild art, or making friends with a bug. If you’re lucky, you might even spot a lizard or slow worm basking in the sun.


There’s so much for children do at Belton, with sports activities every Tuesday throughout the holidays, a ‘Nature’s Olympics’ trail and sports equipment available for visitors to use on the east lawn. The outdoor adventure playground is not to be missed – the perfect place for energetic children to blow off some steam. 

Gunby Hall and Gardens
Find a shady or sunny spot anywhere in the gardens for the perfect family picnic. Dogs on leads are welcome too. Have fun with lots of the National Trust’s nature themed ‘50 things to do before you’re 11¾’ activities like walking barefoot, getting to know a tree and cloud watching.

Tattershall Castle 
After a tour of the castle, kids and their grown-ups can enjoy the beautiful grounds at Tattershall and picnic with one of the grandest views in Lincolnshire.

Woolsthorpe Manor
Families can enjoy exploring Woolsthorpe, the former home of Isaac Newton, on an outdoor rainbow trail this summer. Test Newton’s theories in the hands-on Science Centre, get to know the world’s most famous apple tree – which inspired Newton’s theory of gravity – and find the perfect picnic spot for wildlife spotting.


Canons Ashby
Explore a fascinating historical house, fresh air and green spaces. There is something for all the family to enjoy this summer – in the formal garden you can delight in the colourful flower displays on the Sundial terrace and explore the spinney and the parkland whilst having a go at the summer family trail. 


Clumber Park
With thanks to Sport England, Clumber Park is inviting families to pick up a Summer of Sport challenge card and ‘Get Set Go’ to inspire getting active outdoors. Help to create a meadow of flowers made from recycled materials, discover the natural play area, or hire a bike and explore more than 20 miles of cycle routes across the estate.

Find out more about summer holiday activities with the National Trust near you at 

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