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5 Can’t-Miss National Trust Properties for the Whole Family

Chelcey Berryhill - Friday January 29, 2016 14:02


Take the whole family to the UK and experience the best of the National Trust with the whole family. All you need is your Royal Oak membership and a passport! Join Now

National Trust visits cater to people of all ages and fit into any itinerary. Interactive activities teach kids about British history and culture, while unspoiled landscapes and spectacular country houses unfurl themselves to visitors eager to learn more about the region’s rich history.

The Royal Oak Foundation is the American partner of the National Trust, and Royal Oak members enjoy unlimited access to all 350+ National Trust properties. Join Royal Oak today to unlock secret rooms, investigate vast castles and take in some of the most spectacular natural spaces in the world on a family vacation unlike any other.

Here are our can’t-miss family destinations for your next trip – grab your passport, your Royal Oak membership and the kids and enjoy the experience of a lifetime!

1. Hill Top


A father and his children discover some of Beatrix Potter’s things at her home at Hilltop.

You’ve read her stories, now step into Beatrix’s world. Perched on the crest of a hill overlooking the gorgeous Lake District, Potter’s house smacks of whimsy and was in fact the setting of one of her stories. Be sure to check out the doll house Potter used to conjure The Tale of Two Bad Mice, and explore a gallery of her original illustrations in her beloved home. Take a stroll through the gorgeous Lake District, too, and explore the natural environment that birthed her extraordinary characters.

2. Castle Coole


Castle Coole

Both the house and the grounds at Castle Coole offer something special for families to enjoy.

The ultimate National Trust property for young explorers, Castle Coole is, well, a castle, and an enormous one at that. Both its grounds and the castle itself are huge and beckon adventurers to investigate every corner of the sprawling 18th century mansion. Refined interiors, including a Royal bedroom, offer a feast for the eyes in the main house, and the servants area remains largely intact, giving a full picture of life in an English country home.

The star of the show may be the grounds, though. It’s rich parkland habitat has been designated an area of Special Scientific interest, home to a variety of species, and the lake walk provides breathtaking vistas of the entire grounds.

And, as Really Kid Friendly notes: stables, a servants tunnel, a laundry room, an ice house and a dairy all offer plenty of room to explore. Coupled with events throughout the year that are designed with families in mind, Castle Coole is an essential part of any family’s itinerary.

3. Little Moreton Hall

Meet  Little Moreton Hall's Tudor jester at the Hall's Yuletide celebrations! c Emma Williams & National Trust

Meet Little Moreton Hall’s Tudor jester at the Hall’s Yuletide celebrations!

Little Moreton Hall offers hands-on opportunities to interact with a living history. Experience Tudor arts-and-crafts alongside costumed interpreters. Play a Tudor board game to experience what down time was like in a country home. Visit a Tudor festival, and revel in the living past. The vibrant installations at Little Moreton make for a memorable experience for visitors of all ages.

4. Castle Ward

The latest Night's Watch recruits at Castle Ward

The latest Night’s Watch recruits at Castle Ward

If you step onto the grounds at Castle Ward, make your way to the farmyard, and take in the remarkable landscape and architecture around you, you might be struck by a feeling of déjà vu. Do I know this place?

You do, in fact – the farmyard is world-famous as Winterfell, the Stark family home in the HBO smash hit Game of Thrones. The series films on the National Trust property and visitors can explore the set, even taking a guided tour of the recreated Winterfell archery range.

Kids and adults alike can appreciate the evocative, almost other-worldly feeling cultivated at Castle Ward. Step back in time and explore the property – take a guided tour of the house itself, then explore the grounds, including Temple Water, one of the few surviving canal-based gardens.

5. The White Cliffs of Dover


The White Cliffs of Dover offer spectacular walks all year round.

The iconic cliffs jutting up from the English Channel do much more than offer gorgeous sea vistas and a perch to admire Europe. Indeed, the cliffs are home to some of the most breathtaking walking paths in all of England, an experience that delightfully changes with the seasons. The Victorian lighthouse is also a must-visit, with a unique history dating back to the 1840s. And, perhaps most remarkable of all: The National Trust protects a recently discovered tunnel-complex buried within the cliffs which was commissioned by Winston Churchill during World War II. You can venture within the cliffs and discover the secret history of Fan Bay Deep Shelter, full of secrets about England’s fight against the Nazi forces.

topics: Travel