The corridors of Wallington are set to once again ring with the sound of fun and laughter this summer holiday as a unique interactive adventure that encourages children to explore and let off steam is unveiled.
Instead of saying ‘shhh’, the National Trust is urging families to treat Wallington as their own with youngsters especially being encouraged to be seen and very much heard.
It’s hoped Release the Fun! will encourage visitors to turn the clock back to the early 20th century when Wallington was the home of the unconventional Sir Charles and Lady Mary Trevelyan and their boisterous offspring.
Then, the 17th century country retreat at Cambo in the heart of Northumberland was humming with life, music and playful energy as the fun-loving Trevelyans put the focus firmly on their family.
Now 74 years after Sir Charles gifted Wallington to the National Trust, its grand state rooms, impressive central hall and passageways will once more resound to the happy clamour of people at play as one of the conservation charity’s most iconic and picturesque houses is brought to life as never before.
Release the Fun! is a one-off self-directed journey through the house aimed at those aged seven years and over launching on July 11, that encourages people to enjoy and experience Wallington the Trevelyan way with exuberant games, general play, quirky questions and peculiar puzzles to be solved.
Specially created by award-winning arts company November Club, visitors are being actively urged to throw constraint to the wind.
Part of a wider programme at Wallington to make the house more welcoming which has seen ropes removed, doors to rooms not normally on show thrown open, and free-flow access introduced, Release the Fun! encourages visitors to treat the house as if they are guests rather than looking around a hallowed museum.
Julie Thomson, Wallington’s events and marketing manager, said: “The house is traditionally an area that families steer clear of because they are worried about invading this priceless space. But when Sir Charles and Lady Mary and their children were living here it was a place of noise and mess and mayhem, and we want to recreate that sense of Wallington being a lived in family home by inviting visitors to help us find the fun.
“What we are doing is unique. Lots of places do the spotting of things around the house or might have trails, but in terms of scale and quality this will be the first time that anything like Release the Fun! has been done.
“It is a very creative, artistic and immersive approach celebrating a remarkable family and putting the heart and soul back into Wallington.”
Release the Fun! asserts the joy, laughter and mischief embodied by the Trevelyan children has gone missing since they have grown up and flown the nest.
Visitors are asked to help find it again and release it back into the house by following the clues they have left.
Cinzia Hardy, November Club’s creative producer and director, added: “The Trevelyans were real thinkers and loved puzzles, brain bending activities and making up their own games.
“Release the Fun! offers up various challenges along the way, but also many fun experiences and is in the spirit of the Trevelyans from a child-like perspective.
“We’re not saying there is no fun at Wallington, what we are saying is that there used to be a lot more because there are no children living there now.
“The Trevelyan children have hidden fun things around the house and it’s the visitors’ job to find and release them, a bit like Raiders of the Lost Ark.”
Release the Fun! is just one of many creative, engaging and adventurous play related activities and facilities the National Trust are offering this summer designed to let children’s imaginations run wild.
Other National Trust properties in Northumberland are also getting into a playful mood:
- Cragside, Rothbury, Northumberland, NE65 7PX, 01669 620333, www.nationaltrust.org.uk/cragside
Cragside’s new box of tricks lies at the heart of a rhododendron labyrinth in the upper reaches of the estate.
The Musical Box reflects Cragside creator Lord Armstrong’s fascination for water power, electricity and engineering.
A collaboration between artists and the National Trust, visitors can have lots of fun generating power by operating a water pump, using a swan pedalo to illuminate a lightbulb, turning a crank handle to generate sound and cycling a tandem to create movement.
You can also take a look inside and discover the engineering within what is a remarkable and exciting piece of engaging and interactive play.
Also new this summer is a Barefoot Walk with visitors being invited to kick off their shoes and get closer to nature by experiencing a range of different textures and sensations underfoot from pebbles to rough wood and wet mud!
And for the inevitable rainy days there’s a Young Engineer’s Zone, an indoor play space near the Visitor Centre with a magnetic marble cascade, Lego and cog activity kits.
- Seaton Delaval Hall, The Avenue, Seaton Sluice, Northumberland, NE26 4QR, 0191 237 9100, www.nationaltrust.org.uk/seaton-delaval-hall
Could you be the hall’s ’50 Things Champion of the Week’ during the summer holiday?
The National Trust is encouraging children to become outdoor explorers with its list of 50 Things to Do Before You’re 11¾, which includes everything from climbing trees to hunting for bugs, flying a kite and building a den.
There’s lots of opportunities to start ticking off your 50 things list at Seaton Delaval – and the hall wants visitors to let them know how they’ve got involved by taking them on to social media and posting about their exploits.
The young adventurer who’s completed the coolest, most inventive and creative 50 Things activities will be crowned the champion of the week.
Like Seaton Delaval Hall on Facebook or Twitter: @SeatonDelavalNT
And on August 31 kids big and small will be in for a big surprise as Seaton Delaval Hall hosts a Bank Holiday Teddy’s Bears’ Picnic in the grounds. For those who can bear the excitement, there will be music, fun and games aplenty for what promises to be a rousing end to the summer.
So make a date and pack a picnic, a rug and your favourite teddy bear.
- Lindisfarne Castle and the North Northumberland Coast, Holy Island, Berwick-upon-Tweed, Northumberland, TD15 2SH, 01289 389244, www.nationaltrust.org.uk/lindisfarne-castle; www.nationaltrust.org.uk/embleton-and-newton-links
There’s no shortage of outdoor holiday fun to be had along the north Northumberland coast.
Make your own entertainment by grabbing a net and bucket and heading off to explore, or dip in and out of several National Trust run events. Even better, you don’t have to shell out for them either!
On July 20 there’s a ranger led rock pool ramble at Low Newton between 11am-2.30pm when you can hunt for crabs, sea urchins, lobster and see what else is lurking among the seaweed.
On August 30, Low Newton is also playing host to a Beach Fun Day between 10am-1pm with rangers daring you to catch a crab, hold a scary beast, get your feet wet jumping over waves or check out the crazy creatures in a rock pool.
And on August 31 there’s a rock pool ramble on the headland by Lindisfarne Castle between 10.30am-1pm.