From spring-themed trails to outdoor games and activities to get closer to nature, there’s plenty to entertain your little explorers at National Trust places this May half term.
Make the most of the warmer weather and longer late-spring days by planning a family visit a National Trust place near you. Enjoy the simple pleasures of being outdoors together, whether you’re playing on lush green lawns, creating your own family adventure through woodlands and secret gardens, or settling into a picture-perfect picnic spot for the afternoon.
Discover a whole host of activities, events, and trails to get stuck into – take a walk on the wild side in nature with pond dipping, bug hunting and scavenger hunts, get crafty with creative activities or enjoy storytelling sessions in picturesque gardens.
Here we’ve rounded up some of the best and most exciting National Trust events and activities to keep the whole family busy this half term.
Start your adventure here: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/
Dunwich Heath & Beach
Pond Dipping & Bug Basement | weekends | 11am – 12pm and 2pm – 3pm | free event, car parking charges apply, free for National Trust members.
This May half term get up to all sorts of adventures in nature! Head round one, or all, of our activity trails, learning about smugglers, the history of the site and nature as you go. Pick up a tracker pack from Visitor Welcome and become a nature detective for the day. Download the geo-caching app and see if you can find all thirteen hidden caches around the heath. Get crafty in Heath Barn at the craft table and peer into the cabinet of curiosities. Or, at weekends, join our pond dipping or bug basement sessions to see what lives in ponds or on the woodland floor!
Cycle hire hub open daily 27 May – 4 June 10am – 4pm, last hire at 2pm prices start from £3
Head to Ickworth Estate for a spring adventure this May half term. Hire a bike from our cycle hub or bring your own and explore the parkland on two wheels. Grab an explorer bag and get up close and personal with nature or burn off some energy in our adventure playground. There’s plenty of great picnic spots and you can grab lunch or a tasty treat from one of our cafes. If the weather is a little damp, then head indoors and explore the servants’ quarters in the basement where you can discover what life was like living and working at Ickworth a century ago.
Open 27 – 30 May, 3 & 4 June 10am – 5pm charges apply even for National Trust members.
Hop aboard our boat Octavia and go on a voyage to Suffolk’s secret coast at Orford Ness and discover this wild and remote landscape. From secret Cold War bunkers to spotting elusive hares, we even have our own herd of rare breed sheep.
Boat tickets must be pre-booked in advance, charge applies, even for National Trust members. For more information and to book your visit, head to Orford Ness’ website; www.nationaltrust.org.uk/orford-ness
• Saxon Festival: Thegns of Mercia Anglo-Saxon re-enactment | 27 – 29 May | 10am – 5pm | free event*
• Anglo-Saxon Costume demonstration | 27 & 31 May, 3 June | 10:30am – 3pm | free event*
• Storytelling in the woods | 30 May & 4 June | various times | free event*
• Rendlesham Revealed: The Heart of a Kingdom AD 400 – 800 | daily | 10:30am – 5pm | free event*
Head to Sutton Hoo this May half term and enjoy a fun day out. Over the bank holiday weekend (27 – 29 May) we will be playing host to the Anglo-Saxon re-enactment group Thegns of Mercia as they set-up camp for the weekend taking us back 1500 years in time with the sights, sounds and smells of Anglo-Saxon England. Discover Anglo-Saxon beasts on our Design and Legends trail and climb the tower to look out of the burial mounds. Head indoors at Tranmer House and learn more about the life of Edith Pretty who commissioned the digs that uncovered the royal history of Sutton Hoo. Immerse yourself in Anglo-Saxon Sutton Hoo in the Exhibition Hall and don’t forget to check out the Rendlesham Revealed artefacts whilst you are there. Our large adventure playground is perfect for running off some steam and having a family picnic with some lunch or tasty treats from our café.
*Normal admission charges apply, free for National Trust members.
- Naval & Royal Trails | Every day (Except Tuesday 30 May) | 12pm – 4.30pm | Free (normal admission fees apply)
Join us at Melford Hall this May half-term and take part in the debut of two new trails. Our Naval trail takes you on a journey through the hall’s maritime connections, pick up a question handout and find the answers in the Naval paintings around the hall. As part of our Royal trail, we’ve hidden royalty themed drawings around the house and it’s up to you to see if you can find them all! When you’re finished, head outside and play garden games on the lawn or make your way to the tearoom for a spot of lunch.
- Medieval Quest trail | every day | 10am – 4pm | Free (normal admission fees apply)
- Spinning Demonstration | every Thursday | 10:30 – 3:30 | Free (normal admission fees apply)
- Discover Medieval Lavenham walk | Every Friday | 2pm | £5 per person
Head to Lavenham Guildhall this May Half-term and take a trip back in time. Immerse yourself in nearly 500 years of colourful history through the Guildhall’s origins as a meeting place for a catholic guild to its acquisition by the National Trust. Learn about ‘Lavenham Blew’ cloth at one of our regular Spinning demonstrations every Thursday or join one of our volunteers for our ‘Discover Medieval Lavenham’ walk around the village, which takes place at 2pm on Fridays. For little ones, we’ll be running our daily Medieval Quest trail and our garden and tearoom is the perfect place to stop for lunch.
- Nature day | 30 May | 11am – 3pm | Free (normal admission fees apply)
Join the fun and go wild at the Flatford Nature Day Tuesday 30 May. A collaboration between the National Trust, RSPB, Dedham Vale AONB and the Field Studies Council, Flatford’s Nature Days are perfect for little ones looking to get closer to nature this May half-term. Take part in craft activities and follow nature-themed clues as part of the Nature Day trail. When you’re finished, head to our tearoom, or bring a picnic and enjoy a tranquil lunch by the riverside.