An extended half term means finding even more ways to keep the kids amused this autumn. There’s still a whole world of adventure waiting to be discovered at National Trust places near you this autumn.
For families who love exploring the great outdoors, there’s no shortage of seasonal delights to discover at your local National Trust place. Keep an eye out for trail maps which will have you crunching through the leaves in the woods, or finding the muddiest puddles to jump in.
Why not try some of the conservation charity’s ‘50 things to do before you’re 11¾’ activities along the way, from den building to getting to know a tree? Meanwhile the orchards and gardens will be brimming over with apples, pears and other autumnal fruit – if you’re lucky you might be able to collect some windfalls to take home (donations welcome).
Don’t forget to share your outdoor adventures with the National Trust on social media using #EveryoneNeedsNature.
What’s more, every visit you make helps the National Trust to care for special places for generations to come.
Please pre-book your tickets at www.nationaltrust.org.uk/ni in advance to avoid disappointment.
Castle Ward, Downpatrick
Become an animal for the day as you hunt for acorns, search for berries and discover who’s been snuffling up all of autumn’s bounty as you follow the Forager’s Trail. Join the trail in the stableyard and follow the signs around the estate.
Look out for nine picture frames as you explore, each one marks a scenic viewing spot where you can capture the seasonal colour at its best. For some more traditional fun, swap Halloween horrors for a picture in the pumpkin patch – a cosy nook in the stables complete with hay bales and plenty of pumpkins.
Mount Stewart, Newtownards
Embark on the autumn trail to take in the changing sights and sounds of the season. Pick up a ‘50 Things to do before you’re 11 ¾’ map at the visitor reception or Shepherd’s Hut and see how many of the challenges you can tick off the list. Go cloud watching, roll down a big hill or catch a falling leaf. As you explore the grounds be sure to look out for other classic signs of autumn – fabulous fungi, red squirrels burying their acorns or the Brent Geese flying in to spend winter on Strangford Lough.
Rowallane Garden, Saintfield
Take yourself on a self-led journey of exploration and discover the hidden nature all around. See if you can find the fungi lookout zones across the woodland areas and uncover a broad range of weird and wonderful fungi. Or take to the trails and discover the folklore around our ancient trees. Learn why they played such an important role spiritually, discover their medicinal properties and see if you can find the Holly King.
The Argory, Moy, Dungannon
Power up your family adventure on the Follow the Flow trail as you discover the different ways that water fuelled the life of this Armagh estate. Search for leaves and seeds as you go and learn about the different trees that they come from. Or if you’re feeling creative, forage for leaves and twigs to create your own wild art masterpiece at home.
Florence Court, Enniskillen
Take the path to the walled garden where you’ll find a traditional apple orchard. Wander through the orchard and learn some fascinating facts about these special trees, including one that is a direct descendant of Issac Newton’s tree. Look out for ‘50 Things to do before you’re 11 ¾’ challenges around the blue trail as you enjoy exploring the ancient woodland.
Castle Coole, Enniskillen
Get active this autumn on the front lawn as you try some fun animal themed activities. Can you hop like a frog or roll like a hedgehog? After all that exercise, slow the pace and follow the Poetry Trail through the woods and gardens. Look out for seasonal quotes from famous poetry and take a moment to pause and think about how the words relate to what you can see, hear or smell around you.