Cambridgeshire is lucky to have many National Trust properties that are fantastic for kids. Each one can offer a different experience to the last, so they are all worth taking the time to visit. There are six National Trust properties in Cambridgeshire of which five are open to the public.
- Should my Family Become National Trust Members?
- Best Cambridgeshire National Trust Properties For Kids
- Nearby National Trust Places for Kids to Enjoy
Should my Family Become National Trust Members?
The National Trust has a lot to offer families. Many, if not all, of their special places, aim to include children. Have a look at the cost of visiting your local properties as a family, and you will usually find it adds up quickly. I have included prices for family entry to the National Trust properties near Cambridge in my descriptions below to help you with the calculation. If your family is anything like ours, then you will almost certainly visit more places than you initially intend to, just to make sure you get your money’s worth.
Best Cambridgeshire National Trust Properties For Kids
Wicken Fen has wide open spaces to explore, including miles of cycle tracks and paths.
Anglesey Abbey’s gardens have a lot to offer throughout the year. Children will enjoy the varied spaces.
Wicken Fen is the best National Trust property in Cambridgeshire for spotting wildlife.
Houghton Mill has the best hands-on displays. There’s a lot for kids to do here.
Wimpole Estate is the biggest parkland in Cambridgeshire and is perfect for family adventures.
Ickworth House is not far from Cambridgeshire and is the most interesting house for kids to visit.
Entry Cost: £19.25 for a family (click here for up to date prices).
Location: Wicken near Ely
Wicken Fen is the perfect place to get to know the characteristic fenland of Cambridgeshire. Part of the restored fen can only be accessed via the visitor centre. The boardwalk around Sedge Fen takes you right into the heart of the habitat. Along the way, there is a windpump, and several bird-hides to explore. There is plenty of wildlife to spot. Many species of dragonfly make Wicken Fen their home, and if you are lucky, you might hear a booming bittern.
The National Trust owns much of the land between Wicken Fen and nearby Anglesey Abbey. This area can be enjoyed without paying the entry fee. There are miles and miles of walks and cycle paths crisscrossing the landscape. You don’t have to walk far to get a sense of this incredibly flat but diverse wetland and farmland landscape.
They run lots of popular holiday activities for kids, including pond dipping and messy, mud play. Booking is essential.
We hired a bike from the shop near the car park and visitor centre and took an over-ambitious route. You can find out more about cycling Wicken Fen in this post.
Entry Cost: £39.50 for a family (click here for up to date prices).
Location: Lode, CB25 9EJ
Anglesey Abbey is the closest National Trust property to Cambridge and makes an excellent day trip from the city. We have been to Anglesey Abbey many times because of the fantastic, year-round gardens. Although the Winter gardens are the ones that draw the crowds, it’s an excellent place to visit year-round with children. The house is not ideal with kids, but there is so much outside space which is full of exciting things to spot. Follow the walk through the winter gardens, to Lode Mill and round to the house. After a look around the house’s formal gardens, head out across the lawns until you find yourself in Hoe Fen and the Wildlife area. The Wildlife Discovery Area a specific area for kids to play outside in. Here they are encouraged to make dens and get to know the woodlands.
You can find out more about all the different walks in this post.
Wimpole Estate and Farmyard
Entry Cost: £43.00 for a family, including entry to the farmyard (click here for up to date prices)
Location: Royston, SG8 0BW
Wimpole Estate is one of the most varied National Trust properties in Cambridgeshire for kids to explore. The house is large but difficult to explore with kids (so many breakables). They have formal gardens and acres of parkland to get to know. If the kids are up for the hike, there are follies to find.
For an additional cost, you can also visit the Wimpole Estate farmyard. Here there are lots of animals to see. They also have some fabulous educational displays. We were particularly taken by the beehive, which was situated in one of the buildings. The worker bees were able to get in and out of the hive via a funnel on the outside.
Entry Cost: £14.50 for a family (click here for up to date prices)
Location: Houghton, PE28 2AZ
Houghton Mill is an entirely different place to visit. This beautiful working water mill has had a fascinating history, including some time as a youth hostel. It is now filled with hands-on activities and displays that reflect this history. One corner shows what the building was like when it was a hostel while in another part there is a working model of the watermill.
National Trust owned outside space is limited, but there is access to public footpaths so you can take a picnic out to the surrounding water meadows.
Location: Wisbech, PE13 1JR
Entry Cost: £20.50 for a family (click here for up to date prices)
Peckover House is the one National Trust property in Cambridgeshire that we have not visited as a family. I have no doubt we will put this right soon.
The imposing house contains exhibitions and a grand-piano which you can play if you feel inclined. They also have trails for children. The garden is well-maintained and waiting to be enjoyed. In summer the lawn is set up for croquet and lawn games.
Ramsey Abbey Gatehouse
The final National Trust property in Cambridgeshire is unfortunately not open to the public, except on select days.
Nearby National Trust Places for Kids to Enjoy
I also have a few favourite National Trust properties outside of Cambridgeshire. Here are the closest:
Entry Cost: £36.25 for a family (click here for up to date prices).
Location: Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, IP29 5QE
Ickworth Park was a big part of my childhood, I lived on one side of the park and went to school on the other. Back then we could ride our bikes in through a back entrance and do a lap of the park. At school, we would often walk in through the front gate and up the drive. Until very recently though I had never been in the house.
Of all the National Trust houses near Cambridge, I would say this is the most interesting to children. The house is so different from anything else in the area with its rotunda and two enormous wings. The sculptures on display are undeniably beautiful. They also run crafts and activities to include family visitors.
Outside you will find an adventure playground, deer park and miles upon miles of walks. If the little ones are up for it, then head out across the sheep fields to the obelisk. Alternatively, why not try one of the shorter walks or simply stay near the play area and enjoy the house and Italianate gardens? If you do decide to go for a long hike, make sure to take in the variety of woodlands and mysterious pond.
Entry Cost: £36.25 for a family (click here for up to date prices).
Location: Long Melford, Suffolk, CO10 9AA
The house at Melford Hall has had an interesting history and is worth visiting. They particularly like to highlight the family’s association with Beatrix Potter who visited on occasion. The children really enjoyed the playroom which had old toys to play with. The reason most people come to Melford Hall is to take a stroll around the stunning gardens.
Entry Cost: Various (click here for up to date prices).
Location: Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, IP33 1QR
While it is possible to take a guided tour around the UK’s last Regency playhouse, with children, the best way to see the theatre is during a play. I have seen all manner of performances here, from pantomimes to Shakespeare, and the ceiling in particular never fails to captivate me.
The theatre has a full programme of plays, including regular children’s shows. Check out what’s on here.
Entry Cost: £29.00 for a family (click here for up to date prices).
Location: Oxborough, Norfolk, PE33 9PS
Oxburgh Hall is nothing short of a castle. There are a lot of delicate things in the house which made exploring with a 2-year-old stressful but it was still cool to go into the turrets and battlements. The gardens and parkland are extensive and we are looking forward to going back for some adventures.