Scale new heights and discover nature this May half term with the National Trust  Hero Image

Scale new heights and discover nature this May half term with the National Trust

As the days get warmer and evenings become longer, May half term is the perfect time to head outdoors and experience some of nature’s wonders.

The National Trust, which looks after some of the region’s most iconic countryside including Hadrian’s Wall and the Cragside estate in Rothbury, has an action-packed half term with events and activities every day to keep both you and your kids entertained.

Lend a hand doing wildlife surveys, get a taste of adventure with rock climbing and abseiling or stay indoors and get crafty making your very own working lighthouse.

Every trip to a National Trust place helps the charity to look after the special in its care, so your adventures will ensure that places can be explored for generations to come.

Here are some great ways to keep kids and parents entertained this May half term…

Coastal Bioblitz
Hawthorn Dene, Durham Coast
Saturday 23 May, 9am – 10pm
Lend a hand with a marathon habitat survey at Hawthorn Dene and help the National Trust improve wildlife conservation on the Durham coast. You don’t need any experience to get involved as the Trust Rangers will be on hand to offer expert guidance. Along the way you’ll pick up some wildlife spotting tips and identification skills, while surveying various habitats and species including rock pools, fresh water, grassland, woodland, insects, birds, bats, moths, mammals.

Family Camping Festival
Gibside, Rowlands Gill, Gateshead
Saturday 23 May – Monday 25 May, 9am – 4pm, £70 per pitch
Grab the tent from out the loft and give the kids a real taste of the wild! Spend two nights camping under the stars at Gibside and you can even bring the dog along too. Over the course of the three days you can take part in lots of family fun activities such as storytelling, bat walks, live music, den building and more.

Musical Box in the Labyrinth and Sounds of Cragside
Cragside House and Gardens, Northumberland
Labyrinth Musical Box from 23 May, Sounds of Cragside Saturday 23 – Sunday 31 May.
Can you find the Musical Box? Deep in the heart of the Labyrinth discover a brand new creative play and art installation as the treehouse is transformed into the Musical Box - harness your energy and transform it into light and sound! Discover the art of engineering and create your own power, with everything from a pedalo to bikes and hand cranks, to reveal a secret wonder of sound.
Then, experience Sounds of Cragside: a weekend of audible treats to mark the opening of the Musical Box in the Labyrinth. Enjoy an exclusive concert or discover the sounds of the house on a new indoor sound trail. Tickets 50p.
Explore the hidden sounds of Cragside with sound artist and Musical Box co-creator, Dan Fox: don some wireless headphones and delve into the hidden sounds of insects, water and the land to discover all of the weird and wonderful sounds of Cragside – eavesdropping has never been so much fun! Tickets: £5 and booking is essential.

Shaun the Sheep’s Baa-rilliant Bank Holiday
Wallington, Cambo, Northumberland
Sunday 24 & Monday 25 May, 11am – 4pm
Flock to the National Trust’s Wallington to meet the nation's favourite fleecy friend, Shaun the Sheep, and enjoy two days of sheep-filled fun to celebrate the release of Shaun the Sheep The Movie on DVD on 1 June.
There will be screenings of three special episodes of Shaun the Sheep and a behind the scenes look at how Shaun the Sheep The Movie was made. Families can enjoy craft activities, a character trail, tractor and trailer rides and sheep shearing demonstrations. Shaun himself will be making appearances throughout the day.

Tours to the Top
Penshaw Monument, Tyne & Wear
Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holiday Monday, 10am-5pm, tours every 20 minutes, Tickets £5
The iconic Penshaw Monument is a great place to survey your kingdom! Tours, led by National Trust guides, begin with a climb up the secret spiral staircase which leads to the Monument's rooftop walkway. Once at the top, there are spectacular views across Wearside and County Durham. What will you spot?

Taste of Adventure
Allen Banks and Staward Gorge, Northumberland
Sunday 24 May, 9.30am, Tickets £30
If you love adventure then this is for you. The day includes a two hour underground exploration of Tyne Bottom Mine before you head to the National Trust’s Allen Banks for a spot of abseiling from the impressive Raven Crag. And before you head home, you’ll make a few craft items carved from the things you find in the woods around you.

Family Games Day
Seaton Delaval Hall
Monday 25th May, 11am
A traditional day of family games awaits you at the National Trust’s Seaton Delaval Hall on bank holiday Monday. Families should flock to the Paddock for games including croquet on the lawn and ‘ride a cock horse’, races, hoops and to have a go at archery.

Rock Pool Ramble
Lindisfarne Castle, Holy Island, Northumberland
Monday 25 May, 1pm, Free event
Join the National Trust ranger for a ramble along the shore at Lindisfarne Castle. What will you discover hiding amongst the seaweed? There are crabs, sea urchins, lobsters and lots more species just waiting to be discovered by your young explorers.

May half term fun
Gibside, Rowlands Gill, Gateshead
Monday 25 – Friday 29 May, 11am – 3pm, Free event
Searching for a week of planned activities for over May half term? Look no further. Join in at Gibside every day of the week for some real outdoor fun. Kick off the week with Explorer Monday then enjoy Foodie Tuesday, Wildlife Wednesday, Adventure Thursday and finish it all off with Fit Friday.

Bewick’s Boredom Busters
Cherryburn, Stocksfield, Tyne Valley
Monday 25 May – Friday 29 May (except Wednesday), 11am – 3pm, Free
Hailing from Northumberland, Thomas Bewick was a wood engraver and naturalist who revolutionised print art in Georgian England. But before that, he was the original ’50 Things to do before you’re 11 ¾’ child - staying outdoors late, climbing trees, swimming in the river and building dens in the woods. Over May half term join us at his birthplace and be like Bewick. On Monday we welcome Bewick’s Feathered Friends where you can see birds of prey – a subject Thomas enjoyed drawing, and then over the course of the week we’re hosting Bewick’s Boredom Busters and will indulge in all things outdoors, ticking many of the tasks off your ’50 Things’ list.
South Tyne Trail Cycle Ride
Allen Banks and Staward Gorge, Northumberland
Tuesday 26 May, 10am, Free event
Get our your bike for an 11 mile ride along a section of the South Tyne Trail old railway line cared for by the National Trust. You’ll be rewarded with great views of the surrounding countryside. The star of the show is Lambley Viaduct which has the best views of all.

Get Crafty - Design a working lighthouse
Souter Lighthouse and The Leas
Tuesday 26 & Wednesday 27 May, 11am, £3
You’ve seen the lighthouse in person, and now you can make your own. The National Trust has put together a pack of all the things you need to build your own lighthouse with its very own working light. Then it’s up to you to decorate it just the way you like.

Get Crafty - Design a t-shirt
Souter Lighthouse and The Leas
Thursday 28 May & Friday 29 May, 11am, £3
Will you take inspiration from the seaside, the garden or the lighthouse itself when you design your own t-shirt? The National Trust team has t-shirts and an array of things to decorate them with - all you need is your imagination to create a masterpiece that you’ll wear with pride.

Outdoor climbing adventure
Hadrian's Wall and Housesteads Fort, Northumberland
Saturday 30 May, 10am-1pm &1.30-4.30pm, Tickets £15
Try rock climbing at the atmospheric Crag Lough just below Hadrian's wall and get a real feel for this fantastic outdoor sport. This three hour session provides an introduction to movement skills, belaying and climbing calls. You will also do some bouldering and bottom rope climbing, whilst developing movement skills and learning how to tie a figure of eight knot.

50 things fun
Wallington, Northumberland
Tuesday 26 May to Sunday 31 May 2015
Enjoy wild play at Wallington and see how many of our 50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾ activities you can do before you head home. Throughout the week there will be a chance to take part in a variety of activities from gardening to squirrel spotting and creatures of the night walks, cooking on a campfire to kite flying and orienteering to wild art.

Ranger Bushcraft Day: Sapling
Allen Banks and Staward Gorge, Northumberland
Thursday 28 May 2015, 10am, Tickets £10
Head outdoors and experience nature in the National Trust’s Allen Banks woodland and work towards 'Sapling' status. If you already have bushcraft experience, or recently achieved 'Acorn' status at Housesteads, this is an adventure not to be missed. Try out advanced fire making techniques and cook marshmallows on an open fire, as well as mastering basic shelter building tips. There will also be a selection of other activities on offer which may include orienteering, nature relay, nightline, blind trail, camera clicks, shelter building, spiders web and using tools to make craft items such as cooking sticks and kazoos.

For more information on what’s happening with the National Trust in the North East this May half term log on to and click on ‘things to see and do’.