Monday, 16 July 2012

Summer at the Treasure Houses of England - Great Days Out

Forget old-fashioned images of historic houses - today’s enigmatic Treasure Houses present something for everyone with a wealth of entertainment from special exhibitions, superb shopping and afternoon tea to children’s play areas, discovery tours and activity days. Discover Capability Brown landscapes and contemporary sculpture gardens while the kids amuse themselves in spiraling mazes.

Presenting a spectacular schedule of summer events, from live theatre performances, free runners, drive –in movies and historical characters, to dressing up boxes and quiz trails – not to mention an array of wildlife, farm animals, cycle trails and walking paths - expect an animated and action-packed experience for all the family.

The Treasure Houses of England are a spellbinding storybook spanning nine centuries, presenting visitors with a living history of England through the ages amidst beautifully scenic backdrops that have featured in TV and films such as ‘Harry Potter’ and ‘Sherlock Holmes’.

For a distinctive summer’s day out, take a trip to the houses for a magical mix of things to see and do – here’s just a few highlights:


Beaulieu’s popular drop-in summer workshops for younger visitors take place on a Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday throughout August.  Supported by the Caravan Club and linking in with the attraction’s BOND IN MOTION exhibition, the workshops will be on a Special Agent theme with poster and badge making, and model building with Meccano.


Families can hear about the daily life of people who lived and worked at Blenheim Palace in the 1920s, through the eyes of Mrs Crumpet the ‘Head Gardeners Wife’ with costumed entertainment ‘Stories from the Gardens’ bringing history to life over the summer holidays (21 July – 31 August).  Expend their energy with Blenheim Palace’s Active Spring Kids Camp (30 July - 3 August, 9am to 5pm, 7 to 16 years) where a variety of activities include archery/swing building, team building/adventure games, survival skills/cooking and more.   Take a trip by train to The Pleasure Gardens, where a bevy of exotic butterflies await.  Muddle round the Marlborough Maze, or let the kids loose on the action-packed Adventure Playground.

Burghley’s Garden of Surprises combines fun and history, featuring a moss house, the swivelling Caesar busts, basins of water, jets and a mirrored maze – all designed for optimum enjoyment for all ages.


Embark on a family adventure at Castle Howard for a magical and memorable day out.  Jump on the land-train and go wild down at the Lakeside Adventure Playground where 17-high energy, confidence-building pieces of equipment will amuse and entertain kids and adults alike.  Catch Castle Howard’s boat and set sail across the Great Lake to spy the wildlife and discover the parkland with their new illustrated trail and Geoffrey the Lion. And don’t miss their Get Active Weekend (26 – 27 August) to get stuck in to a range of new activities for all the family from weird and wonderful bikes to archery and climbing.

Visit Chatsworth this summer for a season of family fun in the house, garden, farmyard and adventure playground.   Children and adults can explore the new Climbing Forest in the adventure playground, meet lots of friendly animals and enjoy an array of free seasonal activities in the farmyard.



Harewood invites visitors into its beautiful Bird Garden to see many species of rare and exotic birds from all over the world, including penguins, flamingos and parrots. Follow up with a spell in the Adventure Playground and climb, clamber, slide and swing your way around. Inside the house, play dress up in servants’ clothes and step back to Victorian times or discover the hidden delights behind the cupboard doors…
From a fun children’s quiz to Horrible Histories written by Terry Deary – Hatfield House presents an eclectic mix of entertainment. Bloody Hollow is an exciting adventure play area featuring a rope bridge, aerial runway and a tree house, plus all the favourites such as swings, springies and a seesaw. Don’t forget to have a tractor ride and meet all the animals at Hatfield Park Farm.

 Holkham Hall’s Bygones Museum houses a vast collection of more than 4,000 fascinating exhibits ranging from mechanical toys and agricultural tools to vintage cars and massive steam engines dating from the Victorian period to the mid-1900s.  Outside, hit the cycle park to explore even more of the estate – and new for 2012 – both adults and youngsters can savour the experience with a recumbent (lie back cycle) or scooter!  Don’t miss Holkham’s watery world too with leisurely lake cruises and boat hire, or if you’re feeling adventurous, try water zorbing to really get your heart racing.  Then schedule in a visit to the beach at Holkham - one of the largest Nature Reserves and most unspoilt and beautiful stretches of sand in the country.

At Leeds Castle, dive into the The Knights’ Realm Playground - a huge adventure playground built entirely in wood. Climb the Maiden’s Tower, scale the Revetment Wall, joust along an aerial runway, cross the perilous bridge between the New Castle and Gloriette and explore the Secret Tunnels. Slides, bash bags and rope walkways all add to the fun.  Throw into the mix a Toddlers' Play Area, spiralling Maze and underworld Grotto, Turf Maze and daily falconry displays (except Tuesday’s & Thursday’s) – and Leeds Castle ensures a formidable formula of fun for all the family.

Boasting 30 acres of serene formal and natural garden environments – the Abbey Gardens at Woburn Abbey include everything from manicured lawns and colourful flowerbeds to peaceful woodland glades and ponds teeming with life.  Discover the bog garden - a recent addition with its carnivorous plants, the romance of the recently restored Doric Temple and watch the recreation work in progress on the rockery and grotto.  Offering free children's activities such as quiz booklets to help them discover lots of fun facts; they can also take part in free entertainments in Woburn’s gardens, including storytelling, and art and craft activities (21st July to 5th September).

The Treasure Houses of England (THE) is a consortium of 10 of the country’s finest palaces, historic houses and castles. Unique in character, each property has its own magical blend of magnificent architecture, fabulous surroundings, world class collections and family attractions to enjoy.

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