National Trust Summer of Play

Living Magazines Children enjoying Shaws Corner (c) Arnhel de Serra

Make the most of the longer days, warmer weather, and quality time together as a family with the National Trust’s Summer of Play, sponsored by Starling Bank.

During the summer holidays, experience National Trust places in new and exciting ways, with a family-festival feel and designated areas jam-packed with outdoor games and experiences. Get active and have a go at sports and garden games, with archery, croquet, athletics, ball sports and plenty more to spark your competitive side. Explore and play in nature with wild art, bug-hunting, and pond dipping, enjoy performance play with storytelling and dress-up sessions and get crafty with art workshops and craft making. With a range of activities and events at each National Trust place, there’s something to make everyone’s summer day out special.

Designed with families in mind, Summer of Play activities will be dotted around National Trust sites, so there’ll be plenty of space to enjoy the games and activities as well as picnicking spots, shady rest areas and of course, toilets, cafes and pop-up kiosks offering refreshing food and drink.

Here we’ve rounded up some of the best and most exciting National Trust events and activities to keep the whole family busy this summer.

Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire

Dunstable Downs, Bedfordshire

  • Summer of Play | 22 July to 3 September | 10am-4pm
  • Coach-led active fun and games sessions | various dates | 11am-1pm
  • Soft Archery Sessions | 26 July, 2, 9, 16, 23, 30 August | 11am-3pm
  • Have a go at archery with Pepperstock Archers | 5 & 20 August |

The sports fields and family fun activities return to Dunstable Downs this summer for Summer of Play. Every day between 22 July and 3 September you can take part in free activities, designed specifically for children and with fun in mind. Take part in activities such as football, table tennis, archery and much much more. Activities are self-led, just pick up the equipment from the visitor centre, or join one of the coach-led activities, delivered by local sports groups, all completely free. Bring a picnic and enjoy the views. Car parking charges apply, free for National Trust members. Find out more at

Shaw’s Corner, Hertfordshire

  • Children’s bird trail | 22 July to 3 September (Thursdays to Sundays only) | 10.30am-4pm | £3 per trail

Head to Shaw’s Corner to explore the garden of playwright George Bernard Shaw and take part in a children’s bird trail. Pick up a trail sheet from the kiosk and discover fun facts and things to do for kids, all guided by Shaw’s love of birds. Why not bring a picnic and enjoy spending time in Bernard Shaw’s garden, still very much as he designed it whilst he lived there. There are also traditional garden games to borrow and play. £3 per trail which includes a prize at the end. Normal admission charges also apply, free for National Trust members. Find out more at