One Planet Living Festival: 15th June

Round & About

activities

One Planet Abingdon (OPA) is hosting an event in June to celebrate Abingdon’s culture and community by bringing everyone together.

The environment group is collaborating with other community organisations and charities to stage the One Planet Living Festival on Saturday, June 15th, from 10am to 5pm in the Market Place. The festival will feature a range of eco traders, information on sustainable living, and activities and performances for all ages.

OPA co-founder Michelle Charlesworth expressed her excitement: “It has been my vision since the conception of One Planet that we would come together as a community. This collaboration is the realization of that vision, showcasing our rich culture and community. We can enjoy one another’s tradition, music, and stories, truly connecting as we continue our journey to a one planet living town.”

OPA is partnering with Evoking Belonging, the Abingdon Events Partnership, and Abingdon Town Council to bring this festival to the town. Local businesses such as Taiwil Fashions, Planted Plates, and Tribe Zero will host stalls promoting the ten principles aimed at creating a better world. Abingdon’s Morris Dancers and local artists will perform, representing the diverse cultures of Abingdon.

Dianne Regisford of Evoking Belonging highlighted the importance of social cohesion: “As more African-Caribbean and other ethnic origin families come to live in Abingdon, the social, cultural, and racial dynamics of the town change. To ensure a vibrant, socially cohesive, and economically buoyant town, it’s imperative to create strategies and opportunities for all to thrive. This is a social justice vision of belonging for all.”

OPA, launched in 2021 in response to Abingdon Town Council’s climate and ecological emergency declaration, runs the Climate Emergency Centre (CEC) under the County Hall Museum. The CEC provides refreshments for visitors while exploring the implications of transitioning to zero carbon living, a target set by the national government. The volunteer-led organisation welcomes anyone concerned about the environment to get involved.

The One Planet Living principles are: Health and happiness, Equity and local economy, Culture and community, Land and nature, Sustainable water, Local and sustainable food, Travel and transport, Materials and products, Zero waste, and Zero carbon energy.

For more information or to help with OPA activities, including the festival, visit http://www.oneplanetabingdon.org/ or visit the CEC, open from 10am to 4pm, Thursday to Sunday.

Evoking Belonging addresses the increasingly diverse population of Abingdon. Its founder, Dianne Regisford, was recently elected to Oxford Town Council representing the Green Party.

Spring into Easter

Round & About

activities

Easter comes early this year, March 29th – April 1st, which gives us an opportunity to enjoy the glories of spring as well of course, as eating chocolate!

There’s so much more to Easter than just choccy eggs, for many it has the deepest religious significance, for others it affords a long weekend of spending time with your loved ones hopefully with some bright cheery spring sunshine then and beyond.

This Easter pop along to a National Trust property near you for a family trail. Jam-packed with outdoor activities, games, riddles and crafts, every Easter celebration is different and ends with a chocolate egg.

Make your way along the trail at Avebury while taking part in 10 fun, creative, and playful activities inspired by our native wildlife for the whole family. The trail takes place between March 23rd and April 14th, so go along and explore the beautiful gardens of Avebury.

Basildon Park is going to the movies, March 23rd-April 14th, as children and families become director of their own Easter movie in the parkland. Basildon Park is often seen on screen as a location in films and the 10 action stations of the Easter trail will help families create their own movie. There’ll be plenty of walking, fun games and photo opportunities to be had along the way. There are also two pre-bookable Easter wreath-making workshops on March 19th and 21st.

Follow the trail through Highclere Castle’s gardens and woodland, finding clues en route to win a chocolate Easter egg at the end on Saturday, 6th April. Show off your creations in the Easter bonnet parade, meet some of the farm animals and take to the bouncy slide in a day of family fun for all ages. Please pre-book adult tickets and confirm how many children are coming with you so Highclere can ensure every child receives an Easter egg once they have completed the trail. Donations to the chosen charity on the day (suggested donation £5) are invited when collecting a map for the Easter Trail on arrival.

Explore Shaw House and follow the clues to find all the bunnies hidden around the historic rooms on Saturday, 13th April, 11am-1pm. Themed crafts will also be available in the Activity Room. Suitable for ages 4 – 8 years old, but younger and older visitors are welcome. Suggested donation £1.

Buscot Park house and gardens reopen for the summer season on Good Friday, 29th March, and will be open 2-6pm daily over the Easter bank holiday weekend. New for 2024 is a free sculpture trail around the gardens, featuring stunning glass sculptures by Gloucestershire artists Sally Fawkes and Richard Jackson. More here.

Hop into spring with a joyful Easter egg trail scavenger hunt at Town Gardens in Swindon on Saturday, 30th March. Children will crack the code, claim delicious treats, and create lasting memories. The trail starts at the bandstand by 10am.

Celebrate new life at Roves Farm near Swindon this spring with the birth of lambs and baby goats. Boer goat nannies will be kidding from 12th March and the kids will be included in the bottle feeding sessions once old enough from around early April, perfect timing for the Easter holidays! The second lambing takes place at the farm from April 6th to 23rd. Spend some time on the viewing walkway looking out over the barn as the day’s action unfolds. You may be lucky enough to see a lamb or two being born. And of course, there will be all the usual fun on the farm with daily activities, indoor and outdoor play, tractor rides, Rugrats & Rascals sessions, meet & feed the animals & lots more.

Crofton Beam Engines will be letting off steam on March 31st and April 1st when you can enjoy a look behind the scenes over the Easter weekend.

Easter fun awaits at Bowood House & Gardens from March 29th to April 14th where the Bowood Easter Bunny has hidden 10 large eggs through the Arboretum. Find the eggs, unscramble the letters and guess the word to win a prize. On Easter weekend, March 29th to April 1st, four golden eggs will be hidden within the grounds, along with one rainbow egg each day, (Friday –  Monday inclusive). Those that find a golden egg will win a chocolate Easter Egg and the rainbow egg winner will win a Season Ticket. Book here.

Meet rare breed ponies, pigs, sheep, rabbits, ducks, geese, goats, and more at Cholderton Charlie’s Rare Breeds Farm near Salisbury. Offering a range of events and activities during the Easter holidays, this is a fantastic place to take the children during Easter. Adults will also want to stop by the Farm Shop to browse gifts and locally produced food and drink and gifts before heading home. Visit choldertonrarebreedsfarm.com

Instead of Easter bunnies how about Easter horses? Huntersfield Equestrian Centre near Faringdon hosts regular pony camps, days and rallies during holidays and mid-term breaks. Open to children between the ages of four and 16 years, no prior experience is needed, just a positive and eager attitude to learn more about horses and their care. And of course there’s loads of fun to the activities too. Find out more and book at huntersfieldec.com

Image: National Trust/Paul Harris

Spring into Easter

Round & About

activities

Easter comes early this year, March 29th – April 1st, which gives us an opportunity to enjoy the glories of spring as well of course, as eating chocolate!

There’s so much more to Easter than just choccy eggs, for many it has the deepest religious significance, for others it affords a long weekend of spending time with your loved ones hopefully with some bright cheery spring sunshine then and beyond.

This Easter pop along to a National Trust property near you for a family trail. Jam-packed with outdoor activities, games, riddles and crafts, every Easter celebration is different and ends with a chocolate egg.

Make your way along the trail and find nature-inspired activities for the whole family at The Vyne, Basingstoke between March 23rd and April 14th. Limbering up this Easter, families can get active in The Vyne’s gardens as they complete this athletics-themed trail. At 10 outdoor activity stations, enjoy fun challenges such as long jump, egg and spoon race and bean bag shot put before heading to the trail finish to collect your prize.

Go wild for the Easter Trail at Hinton Ampner as you don your bunny ears and take on the challenges the Easter bunny has left behind. A chocolate prize awaits for the best hopping, bouncing bunnies, March 29th-April 14th.

Discover the myths and legends of the Punch Bowl and look out for the Exmoor ponies at Hindhead Commons with activities and challenges for all the family on the Easter Trail, March 29th-April 14.

Thousands of daffodils (more than 40 varieties) are spread across the Pleasure Garden at Petworth and pack nearly 100 plant containers. A colourful free map and trail booklet will take families on a spring adventure that weaves through the gardens. Stop off at six wildlife-willow sculptures on the way – from slugs and frogs to bees and butterflies – for fun games and activities including daffodil hoopla target and butterfly noughts and crosses. March 29th-April 14th. Also shop at an artisan makers market. Full details and all event dates for Petworth Spring Festival, for more information visit the website.

Join the search in the grounds of Whitchurch Silk Mill on Wednesday, 10th April and see how many eggs you can find! Collect a bag on arrival or bring your own basket and hunt high and low around the Mill grounds to find the chocolate eggs left behind by the Easter bunny. Each child will be given a bag and sheet to collect 15 chocolates from different locations around the Mill grounds. £4.50 per child, charges apply to all children wishing to participate in the hunt. No booking is required for accompanying adults. Details here.

Bun & Ted are embarking on another Eggscellent Adventure at Milestones Museum, Basingstoke, in their spring challenge and they need you to help them save Easter. March 29th to April 14th.

A weekend celebrating the onset of spring is bringing together the very best of Surrey’s food, drink, art and crafts at the Rural Life Living Museum, Tilford. Visitors to the Spring Fair can experience a wide range of fun and exciting activities that celebrate spring and showcase the richness of the culture, heritage and natural beauty of the Surrey Hills. Traditional country crafts, live music, art demonstrations, local food vendors, and outdoor woodland activities can all be enjoyed on April 6th & 7th.

The Eggs-travaganza Easter hunt is back at Winchester Science Centre, March 16th to April 15th, but don’t expect to be on the hunt for brightly coloured eggs! In European folklore the Easter bunny was traditionally an Easter hare. Join the hunt around the Centre to find the rabbits and hares that are visiting. Explore the differences between our furry friends and solve the puzzles along the way in order to grab yourself a delicious chocolate treat. Spring also heralds a new season of exciting science fun at Boom & Bloom!

Follow the trail through Highclere Castle’s gardens and woodland, finding clues en route to win a chocolate Easter Egg at the end on Saturday, 6th April. Show off your creations in the Easter bonnet parade, meet some of the farm animals and take to the bouncy slide in a day of family fun for all ages. Please pre-book adult tickets and confirm how many children are coming with you so Highclere can ensure every child receives an Easter egg once they have completed the trail. Donations to the chosen charity on the day (suggested donation £5) are invited when collecting a map for the Easter Trail on arrival.

Visit Gilbert White’s House & Gardens this Easter, join family and friends for a walk through the beautiful spring gardens and try the ‘record-breaking birds egg hunt’ – there are some brilliant birds in the world and on this year’s egg hunt you will find out all about them – and finish the day with a lovely lunch or afternoon treat in White’s cafe. More here.

Image: National Trust/Paul Harris

Make a splash

Karen Neville

activities

Water, water everywhere or at any rate over 71 per cent of the world’s surface and there’s plenty to enjoy where we are too in pools, lidos, lakes, water and splash parks

At this time of year with temperatures on the up and the need to cool off, nothing can beat the urge to enjoy a dip in a pool or a splash in the sea.

Find pools / lidos / splash parks near you:
Berkshire
Buckinghamshire
Oxfordshire
Surrey
West Berkshire & Wiltshire

Berkshire

The obvious first port of call is your local pool or lido. The historic Thames Lido is anything but just a pool for a swim and to cool off, tuck into Mediterranean tapas and mains in a glass-walled space at the historic renovated pool in the heart of Reading. The outdoor pool is heated year round and if you like it hot why not try the saunas or hot tub? Spoil yourself with a massage, or make a day of it with a delicious lunch or try the twilight package with a swim, use of hot tub / sauna, a massage and glass of Prosecco – heaven!

If it’s rowdy, crazy water fun you’re after then Coral Reef Waterworld in Bracknell is a must. One of the largest interactive water worlds in England, it has a huge range of different ways to enjoy the water with thrilling waterslides, an erupting volcano, a pirate ship and a variety of other features, there’s something for everyone in the pool area. If you’re after something a little more chilled, the adults-only Coral Spa area is the ideal place to relax and get away from it all.

Caversham Lakes is a natural open space showcasing the great outdoors and nature in what is a real social sanctuary with a safe playground set on a freshwater lake in the heart of the Thames Valley. There’s something for everyone – open water swimming, stand up paddle boarding, make a splash with aqua park fun, the family beach is a great place to relax in the sun or follow a nature trail.

Bucks

Wycombe Rye Lido boasts a 33m heated pool, with grass and terraced sunbathing areas, a summer’s day at Wycombe Rye Lido is a day dream come true. It has all year round heating, and also sports underwater lights for those who want to swim when the sun goes down.

Longridge Activity Centre in Marlow is another option for a fun day out on the water with kayaking, canoeing, dragon boating, rafting and bell boating all available in addition to a wide range of land-based activities to throw yourself into too. Book on to an activity day or check out the weekend courses. Stand-up paddleboarding, canoeing and kayaking can also be tried at Engage Watersports in Taplow who “learn by having fun”.

Providing a first-class outdoor swimming facility that makes a positive contribution both to the community and to the health and wellbeing of the residents of Woburn and the surrounding areas is the mission of Woburn Lido and they are achieving this with their 23 metres long and nine metres wide pool. The variable depth of the pool also makes it perfect for both families and lane swimmers.

Water safety tips

It is never a good idea to swim alone in open water, even if you are highly experienced. Beginners should always swim with another more experienced swimmer or at a venue with safety crew or lifeguards.

Choose your venue carefully. NOWCA affiliated venues require all swimmers to wear a NOWCA wristband. The sophisticated safety system allows the crew to keep track of who is in the water.

Open water spaces can harbour harmful microbes. Make sure the venue meets requirements (Directive 2006/7/EC and Bathing Water Regulations 2013).

Go at your own pace. Swim in the stroke you are most comfortable with – except backstroke, you need to see where you are going! Start with a short swim course. If you do find yourself in trouble, stay calm and raise your hand so the safety crew can assist you.

Remember to have fun! There is a strong supportive community and it’s a great social activity. Learn from other swimmers and their experiences. Visit (nowca.org) for more.

Oxfordshire

Growing up I spent many an hour in the summer at the Abbey Meadows Outdoor Pool in Abingdon. Newly renovated and heated (which it definitely wasn’t in my time), it offers lane swimming and ‘swim for all’ sessions. Parents can sit back and watch kids playing under the spray fountain in the splash pad in the park. Abbey Meadows Outdoor Pool is a fully accessibly facility, with ramp access and toilet facilities.

Really make a splash at Oxford Wet ‘n’ Wild at Queenford Lake, the park offers activities for all ages – run wild on the inflatable obstacle course and slides or hire paddleboards and kayaks. Whether you are a competitive swimmer, a triathlete or just enjoy wild swimming, the lake at Berinsfield is a very popular spot with four well-marked loops to navigate of distances from 350m to 1,000m – it’s the ideal spot for triathletes who like a cycle after their swim. Rinse off after in the outdoor lakeside shower and spend some time at the Wandering Kitchen café, the ‘burger & swim’ is a top choice!

Leisurely swim or fun splash time with the kids? Whichever you’re after Riverside Park and Pools in Wallingford next to the Thames and is the ideal spot. The heated outdoor pool offers a variety of sessions, including Swim for Fitness, Swim for All, Outdoor Aqua Aerobics and Swim Doctor. The Jubilee Splash Pad has been refurbished to create a more modern and fun splash pad for youngsters to enjoy.

Surrey

Guildford Lido is one of the country’s few remaining original 1930s pools and one of the most popular, attracting more than 60,000 visitors on average each season and it’s not hard to see why. Set in four and a half acres of landscaped gardens, the heated Olympic size pool is the ideal spot to chill out, have fun (there’s a mini golf course too), take a picnic and swim, of course. If you like to make a splash there are three exciting slides to whizz down including a mini slide for water babies.

The large paddling pool in Stoke Park, Guildford is shallow enough for tots of all ages to enjoy a refreshing dip. A beach design on the yellow part and the flow of the pool comes up gently to make youngsters feel at ease. A play park, mini golf and 52 acres of glorious gardens make it a great spot to spend a few hours all round.

Aldershot Lido is the largest open air pool in Hampshire and is the perfect spot to spend a hot summer’s day. Three fun waterslides (suitable for 8 years+), a toddler paddling pool and large sandpit, 1m mixed diving board, picnic area in a scenic landscaped garden, basketball area and refreshments all make this a very popular place to cool off.

West Berkshire & Wiltshire

The 150-year-old Newbury Lido has undergone a renovation and while the pool itself has been reduced in length to 50m, it now boasts a new splash toddler pad and racer slides. The revamp means the pool is shallower to allow easier maintenance. New changing facilities have also been added to improve the overall experience to make summer more enjoyable for all. Pre-booking has been introduced this year too.

How about this to add some real glamour and style to your wild swimming experience? Wasing Estate at Aldermaston invites you to enjoy the beautiful tranquillity of the woodland lake as you enjoy a dip before warming up again in the wood-fired sauna and enjoying the stunning views across the lake. You need to be a member here to enjoy this level of luxury, you’ll be more than rewarded for splashing out!

A 25 metre, deck level, pool catering for a wide range of local swimmers and clubs can be found at The Link Centre, Swindon; Marlborough Leisure Centre; Kennet Leisure Centre in Thatcham and Hungerford leisure Centre; all have 25m pools – perfect for swimming some lengths.

Egham Royal Show weekend in August

Round & About

activities

The Egham Royal Show takes place on Saturday 26th and Sunday 27th August at the showground in Whitehall Lane.

Last year for the first time, the show provided children’s rides free of charge. This was a huge success so again this year, these rides will be free – including go-karts.

Egham Royal Show has a reputation for offering something for everyone. As well as the traditional rare breeds animals and horticulture/crafts competitions, there will be live music, trade stands, a model marquee, dog show, flight simulator, vintage and classic car display, archery, Morris dancers and a community marquee with real ales. The main arena will feature a variety of entertainments including birds of prey and motor bike stunt riding. There is free parking on-site.

Entry costs £12 for adults and £10 for concessions. Children under 15 accompanied by an adult come in free of charge. Advance tickets can be bought via the Show website at a discount.

For more info please visit Egham Royal Show

Sizzling summer ideas

Karen Neville

activities

Summer holidays and longer warmer days are just begging to be filled with fun and with so many attractions and events to enjoy, you’re spoilt for choice

Bracing yourself for cries of “I’m bored, what can I do?” Don’t fret, there are so many activities and events on offer to entertain the little ones and not so little ones this summer, they’ll soon be wanting time to just do nothing!

Find activities near you:
Surrey
Buckinghamshire
Oxfordshire
West Berkshire & Wiltshire
Berkshire
Hants

Surrey

Hatchlands Park is bringing everything but the sea to Surrey this summer. Children will love dressing up and captaining the straw bale boat in the Walled Garden complete with ship’s wheel and bell! There’ll also be games and sports on the lawn and early years play by the new donkeys’ stables. Inside the house, discover extracts from the letters between Admiral Boscawen and his wife, Frances and explore the fascinating stories of some of the sailors who sailed with the Admiral. Plus outdoor theatre in the evening! www.nationaltrust.org.uk/visit/surrey/hatchlands-park

Journey back through British motorsport and take a trip in a vintage-style car up the infamous Test Hill or along the Members’ Banking of the old race track at Brooklands Museum near Weybridge.

There are animals to view and pet at Godstone Farm, hop on-board the popular tractor ride, explore the indoor and outdoor play areas or simply enjoy the cute farm animals. Want more animals? Merrist Wood near Guildford has recently been granted a zoo license, so this summer you can get up close to an amazing array of animals.

Here’s a different but charming way to spend a day during the hols. Meet The Llamas at Merry Harriers where every Saturday you can dine and meet the furry creatures. The trekker will take you to the field where you can feed them, stroke and learn a little about the lovely herd of 12 llamas. Book at [email protected]

Bucks

For a more relaxed day out explore the woods at National Trust property Hughenden during the school holidays with geocaching. Compete against each other in garden games or croquet on the lawn. Dress up in costumes for the performance stage area and get creating in crafting workshops. Booking not necessary for the Summer of Play which runs from July 22nd to September 4th.

Buckinghamshire’s much-loved family arts and literature festival, WhizzFizzFest, is back for 2023 and this year it’s going on tour over three weekends in July sharing the creative activities and memorable experiences all on the theme of friendship. Sunday 2nd, WhizzFizzFest
@Aylesbury on Sea with Aylesbury Town Council lands in Vale Park bringing a vibrant celebration of children’s creativity alongside plenty of beach-based fun at Aylesbury on Sea. Saturday 8th WhizzFizzFest @Desborough Carnival with High Wycombe BIDCo for a celebration of music and culture, free creative workshops, circus performances, street entertainment and more. WhizzFizzFest at Hats Off Chesham with Chesham Connect celebrates Chesham’s High Street, with added creative fun for all the family. Music, magic shows, crafting, climbing walls, giant bubbles and more on Saturday 15th – just don’t forget your hat!

Zip wires, Tarzan swings, rope ladders and a variety of obstacles and crossings are the challenges in store at Go Ape Wendover Woods. High up in the Chilterns, the leafy hideout is a hidden gem in the county and includes an ‘extreme’ site where you can take on the thrills and spills of the Chilterns Crossing and the Monkey Shuffle among other feats. Tree Top Adventure gives younger adventurers a chance to battle through obstacles and fly down zipwires with over 30 different crossings and two 80m zipwires for your little monkeys to try out.

Oxfordshire

Experience the thrill of being a medieval falconer and get up close and personal with magnificent birds of prey. Witness these graceful creatures soaring through the air, diving for their prey, and showing off their incredible hunting skills in Oxford Castle & Prison’s Castleyard on July 22nd. Join Knight School this summer there too. Don your armour, sharpen your sword and prepare to set out on a quest. Join in the Castleyard for medieval weapons training, jousting and archery – all under the supervision of the Castle’s knights. Once you’ve been trained, you will be knighted and presented with your own sword to take home. Select dates between July 24th and August 14th.

Abingdon’s Abbey Meadows is the scene for The Puppet Theatre Barge, one of the UK’s most unique venues, a 50-seat puppet theatre inside a converted Thames barge. The theatre will visit Abbey Meadows this summer with their new show The Selfish Giant, a puppetry production for all the family from July 22nd to August 13th.

Cogges Manor Farm‘s legendary Beer and Cider Festival is back with a bang on August 5th. Join them for a celebration in the Barns, for the 10th annual festival. Try over 40 different craft beers and 15 ciders, with live music to get the crowd dancing if the beer doesn’t help to loosen your inhibitions. The historic farm is also the location to enjoy summer theatre in the barn with Wind in the Willows on July 9th while Illyria bring Pride and Prejudice to the lawn on July 11th and Robin Hood on August 23rd.

Keep younger members of the family amused with Oxford Playhouse shows during the holidays including Zog, July 18th to 23rd, with his adventures through dragon school; go on an interactive adventure around the brain with Mind the Monsters at BT Studio, July 19th to 30th for 5-11 year olds. Blippi: The Wonderful World Tour is the ultimate curiosity adventure with monster trucks, excavators, and garbage trucks galore. Shake your wiggles out and OJ Twist your way through this brand-new musical party from August 15th to 26th for 2-7 years.

West Berks & Wiltshire

Wildfest 2023 on July 15th is BBOWT’s summer celebration at the Nature Discovery Centre in Thatcham. Guided walks, talks, music and family activities will fill the day, with local food and drink to enjoy. The newly-refurbished visitor centre offers a fun day out while the lakeside location is a haven for wildlife, woodland and trails to explore. bbowt.org.uk

The beautiful surroundings of Shaw House are the setting for a Summer Fair on July 16th where you can browse over 45 craft stalls from local makers with hot food and drinks from local caterers. Live music, craft activities with Ugly Duckling Pottery, performances from Mr Muddle the Magician and children’s rides will add to the fun and don’t forget your four-legged friend to enter into the dog show.

A monster truck display and rides, a motorcross display team, skydiving and aerobatic flying displays, hot air balloons, arena displays, live music and fireworks are all part of the attraction at Newbury Summer Fest on July 22nd, new for 2023. This big family day out is the way to start your summer holiday.

Top Gun: Maverick screams across the open air big screen at Cobbs Farm, Hungerford on July 22nd and there’s Shakespeare in the Garden the same night at The Hinds Head, Aldermaston when four actors will play numerous parts in Open Bar’s production of Twelfth Night.

Berkshire

All summer long you’re invited to come and play at Basildon Park. From July 1st to August 31st, take part in a variety of outdoor play activities. Test your skills on the wild play trail, where you can balance on logs, create your own ball run, and explore the great outdoors. Or try your hand at some lawn games, perfect for a family friendly competition. For the more active family members, there are a range of outdoor games to keep you moving. Don’t forget to take a picnic and enjoy a break in the beautiful grounds. Go along and join an adventure-filled summer at Basildon Park.

Building Royal Connections: Three women of Greys Court is a new exhibition running at the charming Henley property from July 20th until the end of October. Learn about the exceptional lives of three women, and how their influence contributed to the shifting landscape of Greys Court. Enter the worlds of Lettice Pennyston (c.1485-1558), Katherine Carey (1523-69) and Lettice Knollys (1543-1634).

Silent Summer Screenings are your go-to outdoor cinema for an unforgettable movie experience this summer. Whether you’re looking for a romantic night out, a family-friendly activity, or just fun with friends there are a variety of movies to choose from including at Henley’s Mill Meadows where you can enjoy Notting Hill on July 13th and Cool Runnings on July 14th.

Hants

Here’s a great way to get the summer off to a spectacular start. The Vyne Music Festival runs at the popular National Trust site from July 7th to 9th with three nights of music featuring Feel Good Friday when The FB Pocket Orchestra come complete with all of their electronic gadgets and the Still Moving DJ’s with their upbeat vibes, live percussion, ships’ lanterns, original vinyl records, gramophones, tankards and…dinosaurs! Absolutely Elton John takes to the stage on Saturday with a Gin & Jazz Party rounding off the weekend when you can grab your pearls and party like it’s 1929! Booking essential, https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/visit/hampshire/the-vyne/events

The Vyne is also the setting for some fabulous outdoor cinema in July. Watch Elvis, 28th; Dirty Dancing, 29th; Top Gun, 30th and Mamma Mia, 31st. On August 5th join the star-crossed young lovers Romeo and Juliet as the Lord Chamberlain’s Men invite you to take your seat under the night sky. Bring your picnics, blankets, camping chairs and torches to the north lawn for an evening of lively entertainment. Book at https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/visit/hampshire/the-vyne/events/d865e0b2-8794-48f2-a1b1-38f149970531?origin=search

This summer, join young Mary Lennox on a journey of discovery as she is sent to her uncle’s house in the countryside, where mysteries and secrets lurk around every corner in The Secret Garden… As she makes new friends and encounters magical creatures, Mary has one burning question: where is the location of her uncle’s secret garden, and where has he hidden the key? This enchanting story, loved by children and adults alike, is presented in the historic surroundings of Winchester Cathedral’s Lower Deanery Garden. Relive this tale of secrecy and curiosity in what will be one of the highlights of the summer on July 29th. Book at winchester-cathedral.org.uk/event/the-secret-garden-by-chapterhouse-theatre-company/

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Have a cracking time

Karen Neville

activities

Easter is the perfect occasion for family adventures and spending time together, as well as offering the chance to find more eggs than you could possibly eat, there are a variety of other fun activities to entertain you too

How about following an egg trail at a National Trust property near you? Trails cost just £3 plus normal National Trust entry and all end with a chocolate egg, or vegan and free from egg, made in the UK using cocoa responsibly sourced from Rainforest Alliance Certified farms. To find out more including whether booking is required (in many cases it’s not), visit Easter trails and Easter egg hunts | National Trust

Oxfordshire
West Berkshire
Berkshire
Buckinghamshire
Surrey
West Sussex
Hampshire

Oxfordshire

Hop along to the Walled Garden at Blenheim Palace to enjoy a whole host of egg-citing activities including circus skills, balloon modelling, bubble performances, bungee trampolines and a travelling vintage variety show, not to mention appearances from the Easter Bunny, 7th to 10th and don’t forget the Easter egg hunt to win a tasty chocolate treat. Tickets Easter Eggstravaganza | Blenheim Palace

Adopt a dragon this Easter at Oxford Castle & Prison from 1st to 16th. Join the Dragon Masters and paint and decorate a dragon egg, build your own nest for your dragon and then adopt your dragon to take home. Each child will take home their egg, nest and soft toy dragon as well as a certificate of adoption and fact sheet for them and their fiery friend. Spaces limited, book at Oxford Castle & Prison

Myths and legends swirl around the neolithic landscape at White Horse Hill. With burial mounds, hillforts, Giants Steps and a Dragon Hill to discover at this unique site in Uffington from April 7th to 10th. Complete all the activities and take home a chocolate egg.

Travel back in time to the golden age of Great Western Railway and savour the sights, sounds and smells of steam at the 21-acre living museum at Didcot Railway Centre with trains dating from Victorian times. April bank holiday steam days run from 7th to 10th, 29th and 30th with May bank holiday steam days 27th to 29th. You won’t want to miss that lovable bear Paddington on May 1st. More details and tickets at Didcot Railway Centre.

Image: National Trust / John Millar
Image: National Trust / John Millar

Thame Country Fair comes to Thames Showground on Easter Sunday and Monday, with country sports and pursuits and arena entertainment. Watch falconry, gundogs, horse boarding, scurry driving and a stunt display team. Enjoy demonstrations and have-a-go events while a visit to the World of Dogs is a must for any dog lover. The Food Glorious Food Section offers street food and drink vendors, chef demonstrations and music and stop by the craft village. Plenty of amusements for children too. Tickets at Thame Country Fair | Living Heritage Country Shows.

Join the Family Easter Trail: Easter Bunny’s Egg Hunt at Sutton Courtenay Environmental Education Centre, follow the trail and help the Easter bunny discover who has laid all the different eggs to earn your Easter treat, 3rd to 6th! More at Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust.

Leap into a new era of bouncing at Oxfordshire’s largest inflatable park! The Bounce Park is now open weekends at Willowbrook Leisure Centre, Didcot offering fun for all ages. Looking for the ultimate birthday party? Let The Bounce Park host with all the fun with no stress. Open bounce, Tots and SEN sessions available online at The Bounce Park are offering all Round & About customers an exclusive discount when booking open sessions, please use Rabout10 code when checking out! 

If you’ve over indulged on choccy at Easter how about walking it off in a good cause? Challenge yourself to a 10 or 20-mile Pink Ribbon Walk at Blenheim Palace on Saturday, 13th May and soak up the sights on the ramble-ready routes. Starting and finishing in the stunning grounds of Blenheim Palace, the walk will showcase the best of the Cotswolds’ spectacular rural scenery. Whether you’re a newbie walker or a seasoned hiker, the Pink Ribbon Walk is for you. Sign up now www.breastcancernow.org/pinkribbon 

West Berkshire

What are the differences between rabbits and hares? How fast can a hare run? Discover more about this wonderful, elusive creature at Where’s The Hare? Family Easter Trail at the Nature Discovery Centre, Thatcham 4th and 5th, includes a take-home craft and a small chocolate treat, more at Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust.

Spring into Newbury and enjoy the great Newbury Easter egg hunt from April 1st to 16th along with the Easter Farm and Family Fun Day on 6th when you can meet rabbits, guinea pigs, goats, lambs and donkeys in the Market Place. Details at visitnewbury.org 

Go on a journey of discovery at the Living Rainforest, Thatcham this month and take part in the latest in a new series of monthly Children’s Rainforest Activity Trails. Discover Rainforest Foods – find out how the rainforest is linked to your kitchen cupboard in this latest adventure in the warm tropical glasshouses. Pre-order a children’s Activity Pack when booking at The Living Rainforest or buy onsite. 

Join the fun at Avebury this spring for an Easter adventure. Explore the garden and have a go at lots of exciting activities to claim your Easter egg. Make your way along the trail and find nature-inspired activities for the whole family between Saturday 1st and Sunday 16th.

Image: National Trust / James Dobson

Berkshire

If you’re looking for some motivation to get outdoors (especially after all the chocolate) why not join the Goring Gap walk, a ramble along the Thames and through the riverside villages of the Chiltern Hills. Choose from half marathon or marathon distance routes (13 or 26 miles) starting at Mapledurham House, Saturday 13th May. Fully signposted, friendly marshals, village hall refreshments/ facilities on route, medals, massage and more at the finish. Dogs welcome! Find out more at Goring Gap Walk.

Follow the trail and find nature-inspired activities leading to a secret garden at Basildon Park. Find blossom-inspired activities for the whole family as you make your way along the Easter trail through the spring parkland at Greys Court, Henley. Both trails run April 1st to 16th and include a trail map, pencil, bunny ears, and a chocolate egg at the end.

Image: National Trust / Chris Lacey

Wellington Country Park has a cracking assortment of Easter events planned from 1st to 16th with Junk Jodie and her Easter crafts and singing and dancing with Canary Mary and her friends Custard the Chick, Lolli the Lamb and the Easter Bunny. There’s Big Top show tent entertainment too from PeteZa, Big Foot and Friends and Circus Wellingtonia. Don’t miss the Mega Egg Hunt on Sunday 9th – solve the clues and find the missing eggs to claim your prize. More info and to book visit Wellington Country Park.

Plant a wicker basket decorated with a bow to create a charming Easter gift at Squires Garden Centre, Wokingham, April 3rd to 14th (booking required) and join the bunny hunt – same dates – and follow the clues in the centre to help find the magic word. 

The Berkshire Egg Run is a Motorcycle Ride across Reading which takes place annually on Good Friday, April 7th this year. Riders converge at Stadium Way in Tilehurst from 11.30am, for a 12.30 departure, riding through Reading ending up at The Abbey Rugby Club in Emmer Green where the Easter Eggs are donated to the Rotary Club and Southcote Children’s Centre who distribute them across Berkshire. The Ride is marshalled and slow so all types and size of bike/scooter/trike and quad can join in. More at www.tvvultures.co.uk/the-berkshire-egg-run 

Dive into a world of adventure with Secret Adventures in the Berkshire countryside. Tuck into a four-course woodland feast at Goring Heath on April 29th. Walk through the woods, enjoy a botanical cocktail on arrival and chef’s mouthwatering fare. Find out more at secretadventures.org 

Image: National Trust / Chris Lacey

Add a twist to your egg hunt this Easter, by looking for dinosaur eggs at Savill Gardens, Windsor, on April 5th and 6th. Follow the footprints to find dinosaur nests and evidence of other egg-laying creatures. Discover how plants, animals and dinosaurs evolved on Earth along the way, and help solve a mystery to win a chocolate egg. Suitable for children aged four to 11 years, but all children are welcome. All children must be accompanied by an adult. Book at Dinosaur Egg Hunt.

Binfield Easter Egg Hunt is back for the eighth year, 2nd – 10th, and it’s all set to be another eggsellent hunt! There will be 30+ eggs to find around the village, simply buy a map for £3 from either Binfield Village Stores, Daphne’s Coffee Shop or Foxes Den Community Cafe, and have some fun. With cafes, shops and playgrounds enroute, come and have a great day out, www.binfieldevents.com/easteregghunt

Buckinghamshire

Sports day comes to Stowe with an Easter-themed twist from April 1st to 16th, so hop, jump, throw, run, stretch and race your way around each of the activities. As you play and have fun on your family adventure in nature, there’s plenty of new life to spot along the way.

The Easter trail at Waddesdon is jam-packed with fun games and creative activities. Follow your map, get involved in 10 activities to claim your chocolate egg at the end. Starting at the back of the Manor, it makes its way around the grounds before ending at the Woodland Takeaway and Toyshop. Visit the newly-refurbished playground and refuel with delicious food and drink. Tickets must be pre-booked for the Easter trail which runs from March 29th to April 9th, excluding April 3rd and 4th.  

Make your way along the trail and find nature-inspired activities for the whole family in the grounds at Cliveden from March 31st to April 16th. Families and dogs are all welcome on this seasonal adventure. After picking up an activity pack, there are 10 activities to find around the estate. Make your own Easter discoveries, have fun and head back to the Easter Trail tent to collect your treat.

Surrey

The flowers herald the arrival of spring at Polesden Lacey with nearly 200,000 planted creating a floral fiesta of daffodils, irises and anemones (to name a few). This year’s Easter adventure trail (until April 19th) will get your family running wild through time, journeying back to when wolves and lynx roamed free. Check out the new natural play area too.

Limber up this Easter on the activity trail at Claremont Landscape Garden until April 10th. Join in with games in the garden whilst taking in the picturesque views. Spring offers the chance to stroll through swathes of daffodils, feed tiny goslings, and make the most of bright days in this historic royal pleasure ground.

Image: National Trust / John Millar

Waxy magnolia blooms and swathes of daffodils line the paths in the upper arboretum at Winkworth, take a voyage of discovery through the arboretum on an activity-filled nature trail – 1st-16th – while taking in the landscape springing into life and colour. Kids can make their own masterpiece with items found on the woodland floor, search for wildflowers or predict the weather. Booking advisable.

On the Long Walk at Hatchlands Park, the delicate cream flowers of blackthorn blossom are a welcome sight of spring, followed closely by the hawthorn blossom. Be on the lookout for some giant eggs hiding around the grounds on an adventure trail from 1st to 16th. 

Games and challenges abound on the adventure trail at Hindhead Commons and the Devil’s Punch Bowl from 1st-16th. Try birdwatching, den building and bug hunting as you take in views across the Weald or explore heath, streams and woodland. 

A walk along the towpath at Dapdune Wharf will reveal lots of new life this Easter – ducklings, baby coots and moorhens and green shoots from the waterside vegetation. Kids can spring into action too on a fun-filled Easter trail, 7th-10th, before trying some relaxing creative crafts at the wharf. 

Image: National Trust / Trevor Ray Hart
Image: National Trust / John Millar

Haslemere Museum celebrates British wildlife this spring. The Museum’s amazing collection of wildlife specimens means it has been chosen as lead museum for the Surrey consortium in the national Wild Escape project. There’s a lively programme of wildlife-related events and activities for all the family, including talks, workshops and fun sessions for children. Why not combine a scheduled event with a browse around the Museum’s displays and woodland grounds? More at HaslemereMuseum.co.uk 

Children can do an Easter Egg Hunt with a difference 1st-16th April at Gilbert White’s House & Gardens. Find 10 eggs hidden in the garden and use clues to work out which creature laid them, (hint, it’s not only birds that lay eggs!). Complete the trail and claim a prize. Easter Egg Hunt With A Difference!

Farnham’s Rural Life Centre invites you to follow the trail of eggs left by the Easter bunny on April 9th and 10th. Collect a trail sheet, spot them all and claim your treat. 

Surrey Artists feature strongly in AppArt’s Art Exhibition & Sculpture Trail. Soroya French, President of the Society of Women Artists will open AppArt’s exhibition at Prior’s Field School, Godalming GU7 2RH, on Saturday, 1st April. With over 700 artworks this is one of the largest exhibitions in Surrey and an ideal free outing for families over the Easter holidays. AppArt will open from 1st to 16th, 10am to 4pm. 

Image: National Trust / James Dobson

In spring the Painshill landscape comes alive with beautiful daffodil displays and goslings around the lake. Enjoy soaking up the season with a walk around the stunning 18th century garden. Over Easter, magical beasts have come to the landscape to lay their eggs. Can you spot all the dragon statues and match them to their eggs? Find them all with this fun family walking trail over the school holiday, April 1st-16th. 

From dragons to witches with Room on the Broom at Guildford’s Yvonne Arnaud Theatre this Easter holiday. Hop aboard from 7th to 9th and join the witch and her cat along with some unexpected hitchhikers – a friendly dog, a green bird and frantic frog – but is there room on the broom for everyone or will the hungry dragon snap them up? Tickets at Room On The Broom

Dive into the world of science with the Ministry of Science Live at G Live on April 11th. Expect 20ft liquid nitrogen clouds, exploding oxygen and hydrogen balloons, fire tornados, hydrogen bottle rockets, ignited methane and a self-built hovercraft! Book at G Live | Guildford.

With thoughts turning to summer activities, how about tennis? Godalming Lawn Tennis Club is a friendly club open to players or all ages and abilities in Farncombe, whether you have never held a racket before or are looking to perfect your serve and volley. There’s everything from five floodlit hardcourts to a variety of club playing and training options and a social calendar to get involved with. All you need to bring is a desire to play, find out more at www.godalmingtennis.co.uk 

West Sussex

Celebrate spring by taking in blossom trees and bug hotels, and spotting butterflies and bluebells on the Springfest Easter trail at Nymans. The fun continues in the Play Glade where games, musical instruments and a play tent can all be found. There’ll be plenty of photo-ops around the garden too, and don’t forget to pick up your prize until April 16th.

Image: National Trust / John Millar

Take a spring adventure through Petworth House’s glorious 18th-century Pleasure Garden. Collect your map and get cracking to find 10 fun activities to complete from 1st to 10th. There are winding paths and spring flowers, old stone monuments to explore and amazing views to discover as you track down animal- and flower-themed games, crafts and puzzles. 

Hampshire

Come out and play this spring as you journey through the gardens at The Vyne. Among other activities, look for wellies hiding in trees, spot nature in bingo and hopscotch your way alongside the lake. Easter trail sheets and chocolate egg prizes will be available to purchase at Visitor Reception from 1st to 16th. Booking essential Easter adventures at The Vyne | National Trust.

It’s ‘ready, set, hop’ at Hinton Ampner with their Spring into Nature Easter egg hunt. Explore and play in the grounds and complete a set of Easter-fuelled tasks to win a chocolate prize! You’ll leap like a rabbit and jump like a spring chicken as you spot the dazzling array of spring colour in the beautiful gardens.

Image: National Trust / John Millar

Explore woods, gardens and meadows at the beautiful Uppark House and Gardens near Petersfield, high up on the South Downs. Uppark’s Easter trail, 1st-16th, is jam-packed with fun family challenges. Can you jump as far as a deer on the lawn, or hula hoop for 30 seconds in the scented garden? Who’s best at racing just like a rabbit, or playing Bug Bingo in the woods?

Waxy magnolia blooms and swathes of daffodils line the sides of the main paths in the upper arboretum at Winkworth so this Easter – 1st-16th – take a voyage of discovery winding your way through the arboretum on an activity-filled nature trail while taking in the landscape springing into life and colour. Kids can have a go at making their own masterpiece with items found across the woodland floor, search for wildflowers or predicting the weather. Booking advisable.

Explore Petersfield Museum and Art Gallery in a new light with fun, self-guided trails for the family. Follow the clues, find the hidden objects and take part in a series of challenges in exchange for a mystery prize from April 1st to 15th. The 15th is also the date for an Easter Family Fun Day with an Easter Hop Disco and seasonal crafts through to the Easter hunt trail. Can you find the eggs and treats the Easter rabbit has dropped throughout the museum and gallery before it’s too late? Book at School Holiday Trail: Spring Forward | Petersfield Museum.

Image: National Trust / John Millar
Image: National Trust / James Dobson

Boom & Bloom runs on weekends through the Easter holidays until April 17th at Winchester Science Museum. As well as all the usual science centre fun with two floors of hands-on exhibits and the out-of-this-world Planetarium, families can join an eggs-travaganza Easter hunt and search for eggs laid by animals that hatch. If they find them all, children will be in for a delicious Easter treat. Help plant the Boom & Bloom garden when visitors can discover more about flowers and plants and plant their own. There’s also hands-on bubble fun in Science Live and a pollination exploration live show in the Science Theatre called Flower Power, www.winchestersciencecentre.org 

Here’s a great way to feel better about all that chocolate you’ve eaten (and help a fabulous cause) – walk it off by getting in training for the brand new Breast Walk Ever coming to a town near you in 2023! Raise funds for vital breast cancer research. Take part at IBM Hursley near Winchester on Sunday 7th May, with a choice of three distances on signposted routes. Medal, massage and a glass of fizz at the finish. Discounts available for teams of four and dogs welcome. Sign up at www.againstbreastcancer.org.uk/events 

Explore

Get away for the day with Barnes Coaches with a wide range of day trips on the schedule for spring including great family days out by coach for over the Easter holidays and May Half Term. Join them going to exciting attractions such as Longleat, Bletchley Park, Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, Kew Gardens and more! Request a free day trip leaflet on 01793 821303 or view at www.barnescoaches.co.uk 

Shop at Squire’s exclusive evening

Ellie Cox

activities

Get ahead and prepare for the festive season with 15 per cent off

Squire’s invites shoppers to get ahead and prepare for the festive season with an exclusive early Christmas Shopping Evening taking place in November. While taking advantage of 15% off (see conditions) *.

Guests are invited to enjoy a complimentary glass of prosecco or a soft drink; live music as well as a curry meal** and lots more. Along with a very warm welcome from the team at Squire’s Garden Centres.

Shop at Long Ditton and Frensham on Tuesday, 1st November. And at Badshot Lea, Crawley, Hersham, Reigate, West Horsley, Shepperton, Stanmore, Twickenham, Woking, Milford, Wokingham on Thursday, 3rd November.

It’s the perfect setting to choose a Christmas tree, quality decorations and seasonal lights for both indoors and out.  There’s gift inspiration in abundance for family and friends – browse the extensive and carefully created ranges including homeware and tableware, candles and fragrances, gifts for gardeners, cards, wrap and stationary, calendars and diaries through to toys, games and puzzles. There’s certainly something for everyone. With an extensive range available, Squire’s is the local destination for families to ‘complete your Christmas’.

Squire’s is pleased to offer customers the chance to enjoy a delicious special curry meal on the night in their welcoming Café Bars available from 5-7pm. With a choice of Chicken Mangalor (GFA) or Penang Curry (VG, GFA) accompanied by basmati rice, onion bhaji (VG) and naan bread (VG). Priced at £12 adults / £8 children.

Sarah Squire, Chairman of Squire’s Garden Centres, said: “We are very much looking forward to giving Christmas shoppers a very warm welcome at our exclusive early Shopping Evenings. This is the lead-up to a wonderful time for families. I’m delighted to be able to share with guests our special Squire’s Christmas. Our garden centres are looking magical, I hope it excites everyone and gets them in the spirit of Christmas.”

*15% discount. NOTE: excludes stamps, gift card, gas, concessions and Café Bar

**Curry meal is available in Squire’s Café Bars exclusively for the Shopping Evening priced at £12 for adults / £8 for children.

Autumn leaves and fiendish fun

Ellie Cox

activities

It may feel as if the children have only just gone back to school but already it’s time for half term. So, if you’re in need of some ideas to amuse them and save your own sanity, read on…

This time of year may be the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, but it’s also the time for ghostly goings-on when things go bump in the night and you can’t help bumping into a pumpkin or two!

There’s a whole week full of pumpkins at Secretts at Hurst Farm, Milford from October 22nd to 29th. Pop along and pick your own to take home. They’re priced by the diameter so bear that in mind when tempted to go for the biggest. Pick up an activity sheet and join in a scavenger hunt. If the fleshy orange squash is to your taste, then tuck into the pumpkin menu of soup, curry or a slice of spicy pumpkin cake.

In the lead up to Halloween, RHS Wisley invites you to delve into the world of deadly plants and bugs. With fun family activities from Saturday 22nd to Sunday 30th. Follow the trail around the garden to explore how everything from cacti to centipedes defend themselves and their habitats. Meet all kinds of bugs and get stuck in with craft and planting workshops. Design a deadly bug or start growing your own carnivorous plant at a workshop and find out more about the wicked plants and wildlife who make Wisley their home.

Magic and mischief abound on The Watercress Line this Halloween with spooky fun galore to keep the kids entertained. Travel on the Wizard Express steam train, walk in Harry Potter’s footsteps over the railway footbridge and explore the Harry Potter style coaches in the siding at Alresford. Get up close to hairy, scary creatures, take part in a broom making demo and much more. As well as unlimited train travel between stations. And why not dress up as a spooky character for the chance to win a prize?

There’s a week of spooky make and take craft activities at the Rural Life Centre, Farnham from Monday 24th to Sunday 30th. With the popular pumpkin carving on Saturday and Sunday. Pre-booking essential for this.

If you’ve ever accused your children of being air heads let them revel in this at Brooklands Museum this October half term, at their Air Heads extravaganza where you’ll find all manner of activities to keep them entertained. Join in the Build a Paper Aircraft Family Workshop and watch it fly. Pedal planes will run from the paddock for under 5s. Become a detective and solve clues, decode messages and search for hidden objects to claim a prize.

Fairy Doors will be in the Painshill landscape from Saturday 22nd until November 13th. Discover the secret series of doors hidden around the woodlands and lake. As you wander the route you will see the best spots for autumn colour. Enjoy some stunning trees, collect autumn leaves and celebrate the season. Keep your eyes open for the fairies!

A new after dark trail awaits visitors to Polesden Lacey from October 20th to November 6th with IGNITE. Visitors can enjoy a walk through the gardens at night guided by flickering flames and glowing tunnels of trees, with magical illuminated installations along the way. Nestled in the Surrey Hills, the Edwardian gardens of the estate are the perfect setting for this exceptional after-dark experience.

An autumn stroll through the ancient woodlands and parkland at Hatchlands Park is a joy at this time year. The beech woodland creates a delightful haze of gold and yellow and the native wild service tree, with its vibrant red leaves glows against the sky. There are various way-marked routes to follow and if you need a little help to get around, book an all-terrain Tramper personal mobility vehicle.

There’s a weird, wacky, and wicked Halloween trail to follow at Winkworth Arboretum in Godalming. From Saturday 22nd to Monday 31st where you can uncover the spookier side of trees on a haunted trail around the arboretum. Did you know fungi is closer to an animal than a plant? There’s a tree that smells like candyfloss? Or that some trees can grow fingers? Discover all this and more…

Take part in an autumn colour hunt throughout the month at The Vyne. Search for reds, golden yellows and rusty browns hidden in the grounds using the autumn colour hunt key. Intrigue and curious conundrums are part of the Halloween riddle trail from Saturday 22nd to Sunday 30th when little ones can also hunt for witches, wizards, cats and toads exploring the gardens with the aid of trail sheets. A chocolate treat awaits at the end.

Spot the pumpkins hidden across the Pleasure Garden and have fun strolling through crunchy leaves at Petworth from Saturday 22nd to Sunday 30th. Search out seasonal colours and different leaf shapes at Petworth that are marked on the colour catcher chart. Collect what you find, then help create deer shaped wild art installations by attaching your leafy collections to the animal models.

Gin lovers listen up! Did you know there’s an award-winning distillery in the beautiful village of Ripley? Distillers Of Surrey are a family run business on the picturesque Papercourt Lake, Polesden Lane. If you’re yet to discover this hidden treasure, check out their opening times at www.distillersofsurrey.com or book one of their popular distillery tours where you’ll be welcomed with a G&T and enjoy an interesting tour. Younger ones aren’t forgotten with spooky Halloween craft to enjoy on Saturday 29th.