From pop-up play pavilions with a family-festival feel to interactive storytelling and open-air theatre, there are lots of events and activities on offer this summer from the National Trust.
And thanks to funding from Sport England over 140 National Trust houses, gardens and parks will be encouraging families to get active and take part in a Summer of Sport. With drop-in ‘come out and play’ sports sessions including archery and athletics, hopscotch and hockey.
Here we’ve rounded up some of the best and most exciting National Trust events and activities in Suffolk to keep the whole family busy this summer.
Dunwich Heath and beach
- Back to Wilderness Survival course; foraging and natural navigation, Friday 29 July & Monday 8 August, 10.30am & 2pm.
- Mini Ranger Walk, Sunday 31 July, 10am – 11am.
- Fun dog weekend, 13 – 14 August
Dunwich Heath is the perfect place for summer outdoor activities with plenty of walks, and dogs are welcome too. Grab your binoculars and do some wildlife watching, fly a kite on the beach or dip your toes in the sea for a paddle. Our children’s play area is great for a scramble and you can build a den and enjoy a picnic. We will be running activities on site too, including pond dipping, bug hunting and geo-caching. Check out the barn for crafty activities when the weather is rubbish. In short, you’re spoilt for choice! Booking essential for Mini Ranger Walk, £3 per child, and Back to Wilderness survival course, £25 per person (10+).
- Chapterhouse Theatre presents Cinderella, Saturday 27 August, 4pm
Get the whole family outdoors and discover nature in the Dedham Vale countryside at Flatford. Navigate the River Stour on the water as our popular rowing boats return for the summer holidays. Have a go at nature-based activities and go on an adventure with our summer family nature trail, available daily throughout the holidays. Don’t miss the Flatford Nature Day on Tuesday 23 August, with a whole host of activities to get stuck into including natural crafts and pond dipping. Join Chapterhouse Theatre to be transported to a faraway magical land, and enjoy the best loved of all fairy tales, Cinderella. Booking is essential.
- Come out and play sporting activities, 22 July – 3 September
- The Pantaloons presents ‘The War of the Worlds’, 29 July 6-8.30pm
- KD Theatre presents ‘Alice in Wonderland’, 5 August 6–8.30pm
Ickworth is an Italianate Palace in the heart of an ancient deer park. Formal gardens, pleasure grounds, rolling Suffolk landscape and woodlands invite gentle strolls or long walks, runs, bike rides and picnics. The Italianate Garden mirrors the architecture of the house, whilst also encasing an idiosyncratic Victorian stumpery, contrasting light and shade. Go bare foot through the North Meadow, where the long grasses and wildflowers shade the mown path keeping it cool. Feel the contrast between the shade of the cool paths shaded from the Cedar canopies above and the open areas which warm up the grass. Or, get set for some action-packed adventure with Sport England’s ‘Come out and play’ activities this summer. Families will get the chance to take part in games across the estate, exploring the nature and wildlife around them. Head to the welcome point by the plant centre to take part. Cycle hire will also be on offer daily from 21 July until 4 September for a small charge which includes balance bikes, trailers and can even cater for dogs. Normal admission charges apply. Alice in Wonderland and The War of the Worlds, adult £16, child £14 booking essential.
Enjoy family time together at Melford Hall this summer. Whether you spend a sunny afternoon on the lawn playing garden games, discover our family-friendly trails or borrow one of our story bags to enjoy reading together in the garden, we’ve got plenty of activities to keep the whole family entertained and create great memories together. Why not bring your picnic blanket and relax on the lawn whilst the kids play? There are also 50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾ activities to experience and Beatrix Potter stories to uncover inside the Hall.
Summer is the perfect to time to explore Suffolk’s secret coast at Orford Ness. Take a boat trip over the River Ore 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;
- Sword of Kingdoms Exhibition, daily 10am – 4pm.
- Red Rose Chain presents Macbeth, Theatre in the forest, Tuesdays to Saturdays, 27 July to 20 August, 7.30pm.
Head into the woodland on the River View walk to discover the sculpture trail. Anglo-Saxon beasts of all shapes and sizes, many of them inspired by beasts depicted on objects discovered at Sutton Hoo. Pick up a special family trail from our Visitor Welcome team and complete the challenges along the way. Take a picnic and stop to enjoy views across the River Deben towards Woodbridge. Our newly built children’s play area and obstacle course is great for running off steam.
Walk in the footsteps of the Anglo-Saxons and take in the unique atmosphere of the Royal Burial Ground and views from the 17-metre-high viewing tower. All our estate walks are dog friendly (dogs must be kept on a short lead).
To guarantee entry to Sutton Hoo we recommend you pre-book your tickets, available up until 8am on your choice of day to visit, otherwise you may get turned away. To enter the Sword of Kingdoms Staffordshire hoard exhibition you will need to book a free timed ticket when you book site admission. Tickets for Macbeth are priced from £12 and pre-booking is required. For more information and to book your visit, head to Sutton Hoo’s website:
To start your summer adventure, visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk