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From outdoor theatre to archaeology and days packed full of play, there's something for all the family at National Trust places in and around Bath this summer.
Dyrham Park is taking part in the National Trust’s Summer of Play programme with a choice of creative, active and imaginative play weaved through the 270-acre site. Running daily from Sat 22 July to Sun 3 September, there’s chalk painting on animal-shaped boards and play kitchens in the parkland, 17th-century-style ‘olimpicks’ with throwing, running, balance beams and skipping down by the house and some giant traditional games in the orchard.
There will be nature explorer sessions every Tuesday and Thursday from 25 July to 29 August at 11am & 1.30pm for families to explore the site with expert outdoor learning assistants. Activities include hunting for bugs, exploring trees and grass, identifying different plants, pond dipping with nets or creating wild art.
Pick up a plant and learn some gardening tips at one of the plant fayres running 21 to 23 Jul and 7 to 9 September. Seasonal plants and decorative garden products will be for sale at Visitor Reception and there will be gardening demonstrations and tours on selected days.
Guided parkland, garden, village and tree walks on selected days are also available throughout the summer, taking visitors on a more in-depth journey into specialist interest areas. Please see the website for dates - www.nationaltrust.org.uk/DyrhamPark
Worth a visit is the newly revamped play area at Old Lodge in the parkland, complete with new ice cream kiosk, café and toilets. There are climbing frames, balance beams, a log tunnel and play kitchens as well as two full-size tractors to explore. The main tea-room by the house is also open daily.
For out of hours adventures, you can pack up a picnic, bring a chair and visit Dyrham Park for three nights of outdoor theatre. The Lord Chamberlain’s Men production of Shakespeare classic Romeo and Juliet is on July 28 and 29 with Chapterhouse Theatre Company putting on Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest on August 25.
Summer of Play is also being explored at the Bath Assembly Rooms. Every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday in August, there will a Ball Room full of indoor play activities for children, perfect for a break from the rain or the heat. Youngsters can create their own puppet or let loose in the performance area. Jam-packed with colouring in options, board games and creative play, there will be something for everybody. Though there are no refreshments on sale, the Great Octagon will provide a space for visitors to enjoy their own picnics. Entry is £3 per child.
Starting on 4 August visitors to Bath will be able to book guided tours of Bath Assembly Rooms. Running every Friday, Saturday and Sunday during August, the tours which are aimed at adults will take 45 minutes and cover the ground floor. Visitors will find out more about future plans and hear all about the history of the rooms on the ground floor.
Events at Prior Park Landscape Garden start a little earlier with the Festival of Archaeology running on weekdays from Monday 17 to Friday 28 July.
Prior Park will host a team of archaeology volunteers from the National Trust and Bath and Counties Archaeology Trust to discover hidden water features in the Pasture. They hope to find evidence of the Bason of Water shown in a picture in 1750 and a cascade from 1758 along with other water features such as culverts. See the dig in action and speak to the volunteers to see what is discovered as part of the Festival of Archaeology fortnight. Activity is subject to the weather.
Linked to this, families can pick up and have a go at a heritage explorer spotter sheet between Saturday 15 to Sunday 30 July.
The Tea Shed will be open on weekends and from 26 July it will open Wednesday to Sundays for the rest of the school holidays.
New ‘Explorer Packs’ launch on the 29 July where children can borrow a rucksack during their visit and use the tools and tips inside to discover nature in the garden. The popular brass rubbing trail has been extended and now runs around the paths on both sides of the garden.
Along the Bath Skyline there are a range of different length walking routes and trails suitable for a variety of abilities. These can be downloaded from the website - www.nationaltrust.org.uk/visit/bath-bristol/bath-skyline
National Trust’s Bath Portfolio Visitor Operations and Experience Manager Susie Meader said: “There’s a huge variety of events and activities running across National Trust places around Bath this summer and we’d encourage you to come and explore. The sites are blooming with beauty inside and out and it’s a great chance to engage with nature, soak up a bit of culture, have an ice cream and do something a bit different with the whole family.
“Please book in advance for the outdoor theatre at Dyrham Park and at Bath Assembly Rooms for Summer of Play and guided tours. For all other events you can just rock up on the day and there’s no extra charge on top the standard admission entry fees.”
Dyrham Park is situated just off junction 18 on the M4 – 8 miles north of Bath and 12 miles east of Bristol. The park is open daily from 10am-5pm (last entry one hour before close).
Prior Park is open daily from 10am to 5pm, last entry 4pm.
Bath Assembly Rooms is open 1 to 31 August on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 10am till 3pm for Summer of Play and Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 10am and 2pm for Guided Tours. Events are pre-booking only. Closed on Monday.
More information is available at: