Get outdoors this February half-term with the National Trust – in and around Hampshire
February half-term is fast approaching, and there are loads of activities at National Trust places for kids to get messy, muddy and back in touch with nature. It’s the perfect opportunity for the whole family to create special memories and get inspiration for the year ahead.
Give nature a hand and tackle Hinton Ampner’s spring birds challenge, or gallop around the gardens on Mottisfont’s pony-themed adventure. If it’s bucketing down outside we’ve got plenty to keep families entertained indoors too, with The Vyne’s Pesky Pests trail, and Winchester City Mill’s What Am I explorer activity.
You’ll be able to try out lots of our ‘50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾’ challenges too, from den-building to making homes for wildlife.
And what’s more, every muddy day out with the National Trust helps the conservation charity to care for these special places for every season of the year.
Here are some top activities for a wild day out this half-term across Hampshire:
Country Capers trail, 16 – 24 February, 10am – 5pm, £1 per trail
Inspired by Norman Thelwell’s hilarious cartoons of mischievous ponies in Mottisfont’s gallery, this half-term trail takes kids on a pony-themed adventure. Set out on a ‘pony hack’ through the gardens, packed with fun, country pursuit-type challenges. Suitable for all the family and, depending on your ability, takes 40 minutes to an hour to complete.
House pest trail, 16 – 24 February, 10am – 3pm, free activity
Families can explore the hidden world of pests which like to munch on our books, curtains and carpets, like the tiny silverfish. Pick up our pest trail and count how many you can find in the house, then study our pest traps and see some real-life examples, in our studio space at the top of the house.
Spring-time birds trail, 16 – 24 February, 10am – 4pm, £1 per trail
The hedges of Hinton Ampner’s garden, the parkland’s ancient trees and tufty grass create ideal homes for all sorts of visiting and native birds. Our new spring birds trail introduces kids to some of our favourite feathered friends. You’ll find out lots of fascinating facts about them as you spot, listen and draw on this journey around the grounds. The trail will take about 30 minutes to complete and is suitable for both tiny tots and older children.
Uppark House and Garden
Spring weather trail, 16 – 24 February, 10am – 4pm, £1 per trail
From spring flowers blossoming to animals waking up after hibernation, the weather has a big impact on our spring nature. This activity-led trail takes families around Uppark’s garden as they solve clues and find out what the plants, animals and even people at Uppark do during spring sunshine, snow and showers. The trail will take about 30 minutes to complete and is suitable for very young as well as older children.
16 – 24 February – summary below, followed by individual activity details
The Vyne has a fantastic new mix of activities and adventures for families to enjoy from February half-term. Discover which bugs have been munching on bits of The Vyne, on the Pesky Pest challenge in the house. A family of 10 children lived here in the 19th-cenury – see if you can find them all on the Victorian children’s trail in the gardens. They loved dressing up and playing too – in the House Keeper’s room we’ve got a selection of Victorian outfits for you to try on. For families wanting a bigger adventure, help our Victorian children hunt for their lost toys by looking for geocaches in the nearby woods.
Pesky pest trail, 16 February – 2 June, 12 – 3pm, £1 per trail
We have to work hard to protect precious collections in our houses from being eaten! At The Vyne something has been guzzling away at a piece of historic fabric. Pick up our trail sheet at Visitor Reception to explore the house and learn about the bugs that like to live there, such as woolly bears. See if you can work out which of these pesky pests has been feasting on the material shown on your activity sheet, and you’ll solve the Pesky Pest trail challenge. Two versions are available – up to 7 years, and 8 years and older.
Victorian children’s trail, 16 February – 2 June, 10am – 4.30pm, £1 per trail
There were no less than 10 children in the Victorian family who lived here in the middle of the 19th-century. They loved nothing more than to play games with each other on this lovely country estate. Pick up our new Victorian children’s trail to find out where they are hiding in the gardens. Suitable for all ages; allow 30 – 45 minutes.
Geocaching: The Lost Toys – until 3 June, 10am – 3.30pm, free activity
William Wiggett Chute’s children have been playing in the woods. Unfortunately, these young Victorian adventurers have managed to lose four of their toys along the way. Can you help the children find them again, on The Vyne’s new geocaching trail? Locate each geocache box to find a Victorian toy.
Dress like a Victorian, 16 February – 2 June, 12 – 3pm, free activity
How would you have looked if you’d been alive during the Victorian period? Would you have been a gentleman in a top hat, or a scullery maid in a starched uniform? Explore our new costume rail, pick yourself an outfit and step back in time 150 years.
Winchester City Mill
What Am I? trail, 16 – 24 February, 10am – 3pm, free activity
Explore indoors and outdoors across Winchester City Mill with our new ‘What Am I?’ trail, every day throughout February half-term. Put on an explorer’s hat and, using the clues in your clue book, unlock the secrets of the Mill. There are symbols to collect as you journey around this ancient building, and all successful adventurers can claim a prize.
Seasonal baking demonstration, 23 February, 11am – 3pm, free activity
See how seasonal ingredients can be combined with the Mill’s stoneground wholemeal flour to produce delicious sweet and savoury baked treats, thanks to our enthusiastic band of volunteer bakers. You can sample the results of our bakers’ hard work too, pick up free recipe cards, buy some of our fresh flour and get the kids baking at home.
Milling days, Saturday 16th, Sunday 17th, Wednesday 20th, 11am – 3pm, free activity
On Saturdays, Sundays and Wednesdays, you’ll be able to watch our volunteer millers at work as they harness the force of the River Itchen to power the milling equipment.
For more ideas of things to see and do in Hampshire visit: www.nationaltrust.org.uk/hampshire.
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