It’s the one day of the year when dads across Britain get to call the shots. This Father’s Day, it’s time to give dad a special day out he will really love, be that walking in the great outdoors, delving into the pages of history or re-living his childhood on a camping trip in the wild.
For green-fingered dads, there are over 200 captivating gardens just waiting to be explored; for adventure-lovers there’s geocaching and wildlife trails to get the adrenalin pumping; and for dads who like to unearth the past, National Trust houses have centuries of history and intrigue bubbling at the surface.
Create special memories this Fathers’ Day on a top family day out with the National Trust:
Bateman’s, East Sussex – Rudyard Kipling and his Rolls-Royce
Home of the much-loved Rudyard Kipling, Bateman’s is kept much as Kipling left it – with his pen and inkwell awaiting new stories. Even his 1928 Rolls-Royce Phantom 1 is outside waiting – a firm favourite with dads. Kipling’s voice can be heard with some of his poems set to music playing on a phonograph. See the original illustrations of The Jungle Book and soak up the atmosphere in Kipling’s book-lined study. His strong association with the East is also very present in the house, with beautiful oriental rugs and artefacts scattered about. The children can play with toys one of the children’s bedroom.
Outside, take a stroll around the estate and try to spot some of the inspiration for Puck of Pook’s Hill, or take a virtual tour of the watermill. Don’t miss the Kipling family initials, carved into the porch one rainy afternoon.
Father’s Day tea, 16 June, 2.30pm-4.30pm
If you imagine an afternoon tea at Bateman’s is just dainty cakes and pastries then you and your dad are in for a surprise. Instead there is a hot mini Yorkshire pudding with gravy, a posh fish finger roll, home made mini pasty, served with a rustic sandwich and the ever popular Bateman’s classic cream tea washed down with a good strong cup of tea.
£12.50. Booking is essential, please call 01435 882302
Brownsea Island, Dorset – red squirrels, smugglers’ tales and wild camping
Take dad on the ferry across to this adventure island in Poole Harbour, famous for being an unspoilt, natural haven with a colourful history. Brownsea was the perfect haunt for smugglers, who used to hide their booty of silks and spices in the castle here. From towering trees and shell shores, to the smugglers’ tales and scenes right out of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five novels (the 1970s tv series was filmed here too), the whole family will feel like they are on quest of discovery. The island is one of the last places to see red squirrels as well as many different kinds of seabirds. At the visitor centre, hear how the island was used as a decoy during the Second World War to protect the nearby towns of Poole and Bournemouth from bombing. There are lots of walks and the island is car free so every inch of it can be explored.
Family camping: An extra-special treat for Father’s Day weekend is the rare opportunity for families to spend an adventurous night on Brownsea Island, with its thriving wildlife and rich history. Master the art of camping and enjoy outdoor activities and, in the evening, there will be a tasty BBQ and sing song around the campfire. For prices and to book, please call 01202 492161.
Or if you don’t fancy a night under canvas there’s always Agents House, a waterside terraced holiday cottage that lies just three metres from the sea with its own private garden. Sleeps six.
Chirk Castle, Wrexham – dungeons, archery and gruesome tales
Completed in 1310, Chirk is the last Welsh castle from the reign of Edward I that’s still lived in today. This Welsh medieval fortress, complete with dungeons and murder holes, has all the ingredients for a great Father’ Day. Meet Will the Archer, the castle’s medieval bowman, and be trained to help guard the fortress. Or try on armour and take part in pike drill – but be careful not to be put in the stocks. Don’t miss the medieval toilets or a visit to the family activity room with games and costumes.
Take a tour through the Myddelton family home and be sure to visit the east wing, where you can relax in the comfy armchairs beside the fire, flick through family photo albums, sign the guest book and hunt for famous signatures, have a game of chess at the dining room table and play with the toy theatre. Outside, enjoy beautiful views over the Cheshire and Salop plains, visit the bird hide and try out bird calls, go den building and bug hunting, explore the estate by bike and hunt for geocaches.
Tudor life, 15-16 June 11am-4pm
Discover everyday life from 400 years ago: try on Tudor fashions, smell food cooking in the servants’ hall and learn more about the gruesome cures for common diseases. Normal admission charges apply. Booking not required. For more information please call 01691 777701.
Make a weekend of it: Stay a few hundred metres from the Castle in Chirk Home Farm Cottage, a traditional stone cottage that sleeps four or in a 1930’s villa at the top of Offa’s Dyke, with views that are second to none (sleeps five).
Gibside, Tyne & Wear – wildlife discovery and family cycling
With red kites whirling over the treetops, the conservation scheme at Gibside feels a million miles away from the hustle and bustle of the Tyne quayside. The cycling route through the landscaped ‘forest’ garden, wildlife hide and stables discovery room is dotted with great picnic spots and spectacular vistas where cyclists can refuel before freewheeling the eight miles back down the Derwent walk to Newcastle. An exhilarating and refreshing day for all the family on Father’s Day.
Music in the chapel, 16 June, 2pm-3pm
Enjoy the fantastic acoustics of Gibside chapel with live music from local performers and choirs inspired by a seasonal theme.
Normal admission charges apply.
Booking not required. For more information please call 01207 541820
Lyme Park, Cheshire – a giant playscape, bulbs and local beer
On the edge of the Peak District, nestling within sweeping moorland, Lyme Park is a beautiful estate. Its wild remoteness and powerful beauty contrast with one of the most famous country house images in England – the backdrop to where Darcy meets Elizabeth in the BBC’s production of Pride and Prejudice. Discover a colourful family history, from rescuing the Black Prince and sailing into exile with the Duke of Windsor to the writing of the hit series Upstairs Downstairs. New for 2013 is the ‘End of a Golden Era’ project, telling the story of the Edwardians who lived and worked at Lyme.
After exploring the beautifully furnished rooms and impressive tapestries, escape to the park and feel miles away from anywhere. Take a family walk across the magnificent moorland, fly a kite or wonder at The Cage – a remarkable, medieval hunting lodge set high up on the moor. Head over to Crow Wood playscape for a big adventure – a land of giant treehouses and slides, timber walkways and tree trunks to climb.
Make your Father’s Day card, 15 June, 1pm-3pm
Make dad an extra-special card for Father’s Day.
Normal admission charges apply.
Booking is not required. For more information please call 01663 762023.
Beer and bulbs, 15-16 June, 11am-4pm
Especially for Father’s Day weekend, Dad can also enjoy selecting from thousands of bulbs from Lyme’s gardens that will be on sale. Afterwards, take him to tastings of locally brewed beer – another perfect treat.
Vehicle charges apply. Booking not required. For more information please call 01663 762023.
Mount Stewart House, Garden and Temple of the Winds, County Down -cartoons of politicians and duck-billed platypuses
Mount Stewart is one of the most unique and unusual gardens in the National Trust’s ownership, and is laid out in a series of different garden ‘rooms’. There is something new around every corner and the house tells stories of the politicians who visited the Londonderry family. Lady Londonderry made all the visiting politicians members of her elite ‘arc club’, and the animal pictures of them can still be seen in the tea room – Winston Churchill was ‘Winnie the warlock’.
Enjoy breathtaking views over Strangford Lough and discover dinosaurs in the garden and a horse with a monkey on its back. Find ‘Mairi Mairi quite contrary’ sitting in the middle of a pond with her cockle shells, creep down the underground tunnel by the Temple of the Winds and find crocodiles and duck-billed platypuses jostling on the dodo terrace.
Father’s Day boat trip, 16 June, 1pm-3pm & 3pm – 5pm
A treat for all of the family on Father’s Day on a scenic voyage on Strangford Lough to view the seals, seabirds and other wildlife, which can be found making this internationally-important wildlife reserve their home.
Adult £13, child £6.
Booking is essential, please call 028 4278 8387.
Oxburgh Hall, Norfolk – boys and their toys
Dads will love this 15th-century, moated manor house – with its priest’s hole, rooms where Henry VII and Elizabeth stayed during their visit and a striking Tudor gatehouse. From the roof there’s a fantastic view over the surrounding countryside, where you can walk for miles on one of the many trails. Spot the wildlife woodcarvings on the woodland trails and keep the kids entertained with some of the ’50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾’ activities, including hunting for bugs.
Boys and their toys, 15-16 June, 11am – 5pm
Join Oxburgh for Father’s Day weekend for this popular event, with displays by various model clubs. Bittern Amateur Radio Club will be broadcasting from Oxburgh Hall.
Normal admission charges apply. Booking is not required for this event.
For more information, please call 01366 328 243.
Sudbury Hall and the National Trust Museum of Childhood, Derbyshire – sports day and childhood memories
There’s something for everyone at Sudbury, either in the 17th-century hall or the Museum of Childhood, which is a delight for all ages, especially dads on Father’s weekend. The hall interiors are exquisite, with fine, decorative plasterwork, wood carvings and beautifully painted murals. In the unique museum, dads can get lost in themed galleries covering everything from outdoor adventure to stories and imagination, complete with interactive displays and even bedrooms on the ceiling. Children can dress up in the story gallery, pretend to be pupils in the Victorian schoolroom, or chimney sweeps (the adventurous can even climb up inside the chimney).
Sudbury sports day, 16 June, 11am-4pm
Come and try some of our old fashioned games out in the stable yard. Reminisce, unleash your inner child or try your hand at some of the weird and wonderful games from yesteryear
This is a free outdoor event held in the stable yard.
Booking not required. For more information please call 01283 585337
Tyntesfield, North Somerset – geocaching and going batty
Tyntesfield’s house, chapel, gardens and woodland make for an inspiring day of fresh air and discovery. Ideal for an adventure on Father’s Day, the Victorian estate has an exhilarating geocaching trail, with six boxes located in the woodland. The caches are themed around the wildlife, habitats and history of the area and include key facts about how the Trust is caring for the woodland and its wildlife. Each treasure box also contains an interactive family-friendly activity.
For wildlife lovers, the colony of lesser horseshoe bats that summer-roost in the roofs above the billiard room and servants hall is sure to delight. The colony consists of around 70 bats, many of which hibernate nearby in a tunnel near the wood-yard or occasionally under the chapel and in the cellars of the chaplain’s house. Bat-loving dads can see them via a new bat camera on site.
Father’s Day weekend, 15-16 June 10am-4pm
An array of classic cars are descending on the Tyntesfield estate. Wander around and find your favourite and maybe even get a picture of dad behind the wheel.
Normal garden admission applies.
Booking not required. For more information please call 01275 461 900.
Make a weekend of it: Perfect for large family groups rent Chaplain’s House and Lodge together and you’ll have enough beds for 11. Situated in the heart of the Tyntesfield estate you’ll get the gardens and woodlands all to yourself once the estate has closed to the public.
The Vyne, Hampshire – the inspiration for Lord of the Rings?
Originally built as a great Tudor ‘power house’, The Vyne was visited by King Henry VIII on a few occasions and later became a family home, cherished by the Chute family for more than 350 years. The house is filled with an eclectic mix of fine furniture, portraits, textiles and sculpture.
Perhaps the most interesting object in The Vyne’s possession is a gold Roman ring, probably 4th-century, said to have inspired J.R.R. Tolkien. Discovered in the 18th-century, the ten-sided band has a Latin inscription engraved on it, which reads: ‘O Senicianus, may you live prosperously’, and the image of a fearsome looking head, which has been identified as that of the Goddess of Venus. Several decades after the ring was found, a Roman lead tablet was excavated at a temple in Gloucestershire. It bore an inscription referring to this very ring, and cursing ‘Senicianus’, who had stolen it. It is highly likely that the story of this ring and its curse was introduced to Tolkien, who had been advising on excavated finds at the temple. Many believe this ring to have been the inspiration for his Lord of the Rings trilogy – a perfect Father’s Day mystery for fans of the books and films. The ring and its inscription can now be clearly viewed through a new magnified display unit, where visitors can find out more about its fascinating story