Half term fun with the National Trust this autumn

22 Oct 2019


Enjoy the late October sunshine, crunching through the leaves and a week of fun and games in the crisp autumn air at Barrington Court this half term.
 
It all kicks off with apples, apples and more apples on 26 and 27 October.  Help collect the windfall from the orchards and take them to the pressing barn where you can watch the huge apple press being cranked into life to make award-winning apple juice and cider. 
 
Get your wellies on and head out for some woodland adventures on 29 October when the Ranger team will be showing people how to build a campfire without matches, make campfire popcorn and build the perfect den (£2 per person).
 
There is also a series of trails to help explorers get the most out of this glorious time of year. Follow the ‘Care for Barrington’ trail to find out about leaves, spiders and more.  The inspirational ‘I am the seed’ poetry trail explores all the seasons.  Pick up a map at reception to find all twelve locations, each with an exquisite nature scene and different poem to prompt your imagination. 
 
You can keep your creativity flowing with self-led craft activities – some especially ‘warty’ pumpkins and gourds have been grown to inspire you, or you can find a spectrum of autumn colours throughout the garden. Join volunteer, Carol, on 26 October to make and decorate your own willow harvest crown to take home (£2 per person). 
 
On 31 October there will be working birds of prey soaring through the skies over the south lawn. There will be two aerial displays, and the magnificent birds and their handlers will be available to chat about their care and conservation in between. Find out more at nationaltrust.org.uk/barrington-court.
 
A short hop up the road is Montacute House, which glows honey-coloured in the autumn sunshine.  Half term offers the last opportunity to ‘Get inspired at Montacute House’.  The house was re-imagined by Aardman as Tottington Hall, the setting for Wallace and Gromit’s adventures in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit.  Catch the model of Tottington Hall used in the film before it departs on 4 November, help Gromit find Wallace before the Were-Rabbit strikes again and create your very own Gromit at a model making workshop led by Aardman experts (30 Oct, £10 per person).
 
Venture out into the parkland on a wildlife hunt and keep a note of your discoveries in the pocket Junior Ranger booklet available from reception (28 Oct–1 Nov).  If you have a pair of binoculars or a magnifying glass, why not bring them along to help you spot birds, bees and creepy crawlies.
 
Keep a lookout for wildlife at nearby Lytes Cary Manor, but of a spookier variety this time.  Will you be brave enough to follow the LyteScary Halloween trail down in the woods and find out more about the bats that live there?  Pick up a trail from reception and head back to the Manor to collect a small prize (£1.50 per trail).   Find out more at nationaltrust.org.uk/montacute-house and nationaltrust/lytes-cary-manor.
 
Over the border in Wiltshire, the garden at Stourhead is aglow with autumn colour. There’s plenty of space for families to enjoy a day kicking through the fallen leaves and enjoying time in the fresh air together.
 
Families are also invited to take part in ‘Raven’s story wands’, where one of Stourhead’s ravens share a special story and encourage families to collect fallen autumn treasures from leaves, to feathers and pine cones, on their walk around the garden (weekends throughout autumn until 10 November and half term, 10am-4pm, £2 per wand).
 
For the more adventurous, the Stourhead estate has several estate walks that provide glorious colour during autumn. The walk to King Alfred’s Tower is a five-mile loop, and you are able to climb to the top of the tower which offers views across Wiltshire, Somerset and Dorset. (King Alfred’s Tower is open weekends 12-4pm until 3 November, estate walk leaflets cost £1).

 
Half term fun with the National Trust this autumn
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