Autumn’s beautiful backdrop, its crunchy carpets of leaves and glossy conkers create a natural playground for children. For families who love exploring the great outdoors, there’s no shortage of seasonal delights to discover this October half-term.
At Polesden Lacey, Standen and Petworth House and Park family trails will bring kids closer to nature as they explore acres of gardens parkland and woods.
Make sure you pick up a ‘50 things to do before you’re 11¾’ activity planner when you arrive. Autumn is one of the very best times to have an outdoors adventure – making wild art from fallen leaves or going on a fungi foray at Polesden Lacey – or looking for champion conkers under Hatchland Park’s and Standen’s chestnut trees. There are loads of fun challenges that’ll encourage kids to feel safe in our great outdoors.
Autumn is also a great time to help native wildlife, before winter sets in. Our ‘50 things’ pack shows you how to make simple homes for hedgehogs and bees – something you can do when you visit, or in your own garden.
We’ve got loads of additional activities to help keep kids busy during October half-term. Download a spotter sheet or two before you visit – they’ll help children identify all sorts of nature, from leaves and woodland creatures, to garden wildlife. And our how-to guides provide lots of inspiration for fun at home, with star-gazing, baking, and bird feeder-making tips. .
Don’t forget to share your outdoor adventures with the National Trust on social media using #EveryoneNeedsNature. Every half-term visit you make helps us keep these places open for future generations of families to discover.
Planning your visit
To ensure everyone’s safety, we recommend you book your visit in advance, especially at busy times like school holidays and weekends. Every Friday we release new tickets for the following week. Visit the website of your chosen destination for all the details.
Here’s what’s happening at our places in Surrey and West Sussex this October half-term:
Help create art installations, inspired by the landscape and wildlife at Polesden Lacey, using fallen leaves. Try a new self-led fungi foray around our gardens and wider estate and discover fun facts about the incredible power of mushrooms as you roam the woodlands. The stunning party rooms of the mansion are also open daily until 31 October.
Claremont Landscape Garden
Escape outdoors this autumn at Claremont and enjoy beautiful vistas and golden leaves, with routes around the garden to suit all abilities. Little people can take part in a Nature Hunt learning all about seasonal changes. Don’t forget to stop off at the café for warming food and drinks.
There’s plenty of space to scamper about in the parkland at Hatchlands Park this half term. Get closer to nature with self-guided 50 Things activities such as cloud watching, getting to know a tree and searching for conkers. The parkland, house, garden and Kitchen Café are all open at Hatchlands Park.
During autumn Winkworth’s trees blaze with a beautiful array of autumn colours, creating a shimmering display like no other. Follow in the footsteps of Winkworth’s creator, Dr Fox on a walk which takes in the best autumnal views following a specially created route to appreciate the rainbow-hued hillside as its creator intended.
Step outside for an autumnal adventure at Runnymede, with memorials and artworks to explore on your way. Take part in a Royal Ramble, learning all about Runnymede’s royal connections, or choose your own route through the meadows and woodland. Spot signs of autumn as you go and enjoy crunching through crispy leaves.
Bring the kids to scamper along paths through the beautiful gardens at Nymans and join in with nature-inspired half-term activities. The native woodland and garden trees are turning orange and red. Their falling leaves provide the perfect opportunity for some good family fun: leaf art on the lawn and crunch leaves underfoot in the wood.
Petworth House and Park
This October at Petworth House and Park try our new self-guided trails for families. Inside the house there’s a Halloween Wings and Whiskers trail. While outdoors in the Pleasure Garden, start at the Shepherds Hut for ideas and inspiration of what to spot on a family walk – including wildlife, the best autumn colour and plants putting on a show. Or take part in our Colour Catchers activity and spot things in the grounds that match the colours on the colour catcher card.
Jump in crunchy leaves, discover shiny conkers and enjoy invigorating fresh air with all the family this autumn at Standen. Take a walk through our beautiful garden and woodlands, learn top tips and key jobs for keeping busy in your garden this autumn, have fun on the October half-term trail or treat yourself in the shop or café.