Back to School with TT

Brush up on your school subjects whilst out on your next adventure!

If you’ve just completed our Back to School Tour, you’ll be inspired to get stuck into some learning of your own. Well, great news! There’s some sneaky learning to be done on every Treasure Trail with the fun facts and clues to figure out. What’s more, many of our Trails have special links to incredible people and events that will help you brush up on some skills.  So if you’re struggling to decide which Trail to choose next, take a look at our top picks for improving your knowledge and skills below: 

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Top Trails to brush up on your… 

Literacy

Tapping into your literacy skills is vital during your expedition. You’ll need to really focus on the clue to understand where to look, pay close attention to the directions, so you don’t get lost and, of course, read the sneaky backstory to discover why we need your help on this curious case in the first place!

Now that you’re fully immersed in your role of slippery spy, intrepid explorer or daring detective, you’ll need the tools to make notes and cross off the empty spots on your treasure map. Take on the Keswick spy mission to stop Dr Leadfinger in his tracks, thwarting his potty plot to destroy Keswick’s Graphite Mine. If you fail, how will you write down the secret code?!

Now that you’ve got the supplies you need for a successful quest let’s brush up on some poetry. Still up north, head to Grasmere for the Ode to the Lakeland Poets treasure hunt, unearthing fascinating facts about William Wordsworth and his pals while visiting the Daffodil Garden. Down in the Isle of Wight, soak up the sights around Freshwater Bay and Tennyson Down – named after the famous 19th-century poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson, who lived nearby at Farringford House. Don’t get too caught up in the stunning surroundings, as enemy agents have hatched a plot to sell previously unseen poems from the Poet Laureate himself in a bid to fund their evil schemes! Up in Scotland, join the squad on the Alloway detective mystery and explore the birthplace of Robert “Rabbie” Burns, the Bard of Ayrshire – you can even visit his home, now a museum housing manuscripts and other artefacts.

If you prefer novels, novellas, serials and so on, don’t worry – we haven’t forgotten about you! Read on to discover fascinating locations linked to brilliant authors from days gone by:

  • Rochester – A Dickens Mystery detective mystery
    We have Great Expectations of your detective skills! Poor Mr Beadle has been found slumped in his dressing room mere hours before the start of the spectacular Dickensian Ball! Crack the case around the heart of Rochester, where you’ll walk in the footsteps of Charles Dicken’s, passing several places he incorporated into his novels and short stories.
  • Beaconsfield Old Town spy mission
    You’ll really get into the spirit of adventure as you let your imagination run wild in Beaconsfield, where Enid Blyton wrote some of her most brilliant stories. While living in Beaconsfield, at a house named Green Hedges, she wrote all of her Famous Five, Secret Seven and Adventure books and created Noddy!
  • Haworth in Bronte Country spy mission
    Tiptoe around the home of not one, not two but THREE authors – Charlotte Brontë, who wrote Jane Eyre; Emily Brontë, who wrote Wuthering Heights; and Anne Brontë, who wrote Agnes Grey and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. Bonus points if you recognise the village as part of the set of The Railway Children film adaptation.
  • Oxford City and Castle detective mystery
    As you explore the heart of Oxford, you’ll pass close to the Eagle and Child pub, one of the spots where the Inklings – an informal literary group from the University – would meet. Members included J. R. R. Tolkien, author of The Lord of The Rings and The Hobbit, and C. S. Lewis, author of the Chronicles of Narnia. That’s not all – this wonderful city has links to Lewis Carroll and Alice in Wonderland, too, with Alice’s Day celebrated every July!
  • Fowey detective mystery
    There’s another curious case to crack in Fowey, patrolling around the harbour, the Old Grammar School Gardens, and the Esplanade. This ancient port town was once home to Daphne Du Maurier, whose time in the area inspired her Cornish tales. She later moved to Menabilly, just outside of Fowey, which became immortalised as Manderley in her gothic novel Rebecca.

Maths

Maths is a vital skill for any budding explorer; after all, you’ll need to know your numbers if you want to decipher codes, reveal evidence reference numbers and unearth the heights or depths of your treasure map locations.

You’ll need more than a few hands full of fingers to count up the steps on the Whitby Curse of the Vampire treasure hunt Trail – you’ll have to climb up 199 of them! Now that you’ve stepped up to the plate, HQ need you to keep count of some steps on the Plymouth: Save Royal William’s Yard spy mission Trail – it could prove vital to your assignment.

Once you’ve determined that your adding and subtracting skills are up to scratch, you might want to try your hand at something a little trickier – measurements! If you want to unearth the treasure, you’ll need to closely study and decode a sequence of numbers linked to some ‘Standard Measures of Length’ on the Sheffield Heart of the City treasure hunt Trail. A little further north, you’ll be juggling feet and metres to whittle down your list of suspects on the Bradford detective mystery. Go on, explorers; impress us with the lengths you’d go to crack the case!

While we’re impressed with your counting capabilities, class is still in session, and there’s plenty of ways you can put your maths skills to use, as some of the brightest British brainboxes have proven. Crack the code to save the day on the Grantham spy mission! Then, hop into your undercover vehicle and take a post-mission trip to nearby Woolsthorpe-by-Colsterworth, the birthplace of Sir Isaac Newton, one of the greatest mathematicians of all time (not forgetting his other, outstanding achievements as a physicist, astronomer and author!). You can even visit his home and peek at the famous apple tree.

Down in London, the list of suspects is adding up on the Marylebone detective mystery. As you weave through the streets in search of vital evidence, you’ll be following in the footsteps of some notable mathematicians, including the brilliant Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage, the computer pioneers. Without her work on algorithms and his designs for the Analytical Engine, our digital world would look very different!

Science

Cracking the sneaky clues in your quest may not be rocket science, but you might stumble across some evil geniuses plotting schemes with crazy inventions during your mission!

To really get your adventuring down to a science and learn some new things along the way, head to Manchester Castlefield to crack the code on a spy mission Trail. Once you’ve saved the day, you’ll find yourself outside The Museum of Science and Industry – the perfect spot to discover everything you need to know about this super subject.

So many superb scientific discoveries still impact our day to day life today! Combine your Science and History classes to step back in time and discover scientists who, without exaggerating, saved our lives. Take on the Berkeley treasure hunt Trail to discover the home town of Edward Jenner, who pioneered the idea of vaccinations and even created the world’s first vaccine, which immunised against smallpox. You could even detour to visit his house, now a museum. Over the border in Scotland, try your hand at the Glasgow Cathedral detective mystery Trail, where you’ll be patrolling close to Glasgow Royal Infirmary, the place where Joseph Lister championed sterile surgery and the use of carbolic acid as the first-ever antiseptic!

If you’re ready to specialise, or you fancy walking in the footsteps of even more famous scientists from history, take a peek at some more super locations:

  • Kilmarnock Town Centre detective mystery
    Solve the curious case around the town centre, then take a post-investigation detour to the nearby town of Darvel, the birthplace of Alexander Fleming, who discovered penicillin.
  • Ironbridge Gorge detective mystery
    There’s another mystery afoot in Ironbridge Gorge, home to an absolute feat of engineering – the first major bridge in the world made of cast iron, designed by Thomas Farnolls Pritchard and built by Abraham Darby III.
  • Brunel’s Railway Tunnel at Box detective mystery
    We can’t talk about the science of engineering without mentioning the engineering giant Isambard Kingdom Brunel, who changed the face of Britain with his ideas for railways, dockyards, tunnels and bridges. Take a peek at Box Railway Tunnel as you examine evidence on your Trail.
  • Greenwich treasure hunt
    Bold explorers are needed for adventures in time and space around Greenwich, home of the Royal Observatory, which functioned as a working observatory for 300 years! John Flamsteed, the first Astronomer Royal in 1675, noted the first recorded sightings of Venus. He was succeeded by Edmond Halley, who the Halley Comet is named after.
  • Penzance detective mystery
    Among Penzance’s notable past residents is Humphrey Davy, renowned chemist and inventor. He invented the Davy Lamp, a safety lamp used by miners and devoted his research to the field of electrochemistry. By using electricity (in 1807!), he was the first to isolate several elements, including potassium and calcium. What a shocking discovery!

Art

The world (and school) is much brighter with a good dose of art! There are tons for you to study and examine as you advance on your arty adventure, from street art to galleries, sculptures, statues, and installations.

If you joined us for some city-hopping in July, you’d know that you pass some fantastic street art on the Shoreditch and Columbia Road spy mission, plus down in Bristol, there are plenty of options for art-spotting. But, even more, marvellous murals can be inspected on the Brighton Lanes and North Laine spy mission, but don’t get too distracted by the spectacular sights – there’s a dastardly plot between rival art groups to hide sneaky devices in the others’ spray paint cans! Can you thwart their scheme?

Stand as still as a statue and blend into your surroundings to avoid prying eyes as you hunt for the lost loot on the Dundee treasure hunt Trail. From dragons to Desperate Dan, there are plenty of quirky sculptures to spot as you explore the city. For an even more unique experience, venture down to Weymouth Seafront, and once you’ve unearthed the treasure trove, take a peek at Sandworld to discover some extraordinary sand sculptures that are far more impressive than anything the team at TT HQ could do with a bucket and spade (although, we would certainly try!).

For a more traditional art lesson, there are plenty of art galleries to duck into to avoid enemy agents. Seek more sand and sea on the St Ives detective mystery, where you’ll patrol past – and could even pop into – the Tate Gallery and the Barbara Hepworth Museum. In the heart of historic Yorkshire, soak up the scenery on the Saltaire Village treasure hunt, and pay a visit to Salts Mill, which, amongst exhibits and shops, houses an extensive collection of paintings etchings, and drawings by the artist David Hockney. Down in the big city, an arty heist is in progress on the Dulwich detective mystery Trail. Can you paint a picture of what really happened? Once the correct crook is in the frame, it’s well worth inspecting the masterpieces at Dulwich Picture Gallery – you may even spot a famous name or two.

Drama

All the world’s a stage, right? In that case, you’ll need to get into character before you head out on your Trail adventure. Play the part of the curious detective, slippery spy or intrepid explorer as you set out the scene of the dramatic piece.

Spooky season is close upon us, so for some double, double, toil and trouble, take on the Bankside detective mystery and get up close and personal with the bard himself as you patrol past The Globe. Or, pick the Shakespeare’s Stratford treasure hunt and take on a quest around the famous playwright’s hometown. Still feeling spooky? Forget The Crucible and Salem – we had witch trials of our own right here in the UK! Head to Lancashire to try your hand at the Pendle Witches detective mystery and explore the area linked to the most famous witch trials in the history of England back in 1612.

Swap the boards for the silver screen as you search for sneaky clues around some of the most famous filming locations across the country. Amp up the agent antics and feel like Ethan Hunt himself as you visit Levisham Station – featured in the upcoming Mission Impossible – on the last stop of the Hole of Horcrum treasure hunt Trail. Star in your own action film as you head to Farnham to tackle either the Castle and Town detective mystery or the Maltings and Meadows spy mission. Both patrol close to Bourne Woods, which is featured in heaps of films including Gladiator, Avengers, Snow White & the Huntsman and Harry Potter. Its popularity as a filming location is only growing! Speaking of the boy wizard, make your own magic on the Wicked Wizard of Alnwick detective mystery, tiptoeing close to Alnwick Castle, made famous as Hogwarts in the first couple of Harry Potter films. You can even take broomstick lessons in the same spot where Harry first took flight!

There are few British TV shows on the small screen quite as iconic or long-running as Doctor Who. Since its revival in 2005, the show has been run by BBC Wales, meaning there’s very few Welsh towns, villages or historical homes you’ll visit without recognising them! Act the part of the slippery spy on the Cardiff Bay and Wetlands spy mission, where you’ll sneak past the Millenium Centre and the giant obelisk known by Whovians as the entrance to Torchwood HQ. Drop fantasy and pick up the drama on a trip to the Belfast Botanic Gardens, which features prominently in the popular thriller The Fall. If period dramas are more your cup of tea, try your hand at the Lacock spy mission, exploring the filming location of Cranford and Downton Abbey, or the nearby Corsham treasure hunt to discover the stunning backdrop of numerous films at TV shows, including Tess of the D’Urbervilles, Larkrise to Candleford and, most recently, Poldark.

Music

Bring together your band of detectives and make some noise as you embark on some musical adventures! You might think that music won’t play a part in your clue-cracking experience, but you’d be wrong! Not only might you stumble upon a musical backstory or two, but you may also need to use that voice of yours to figure out where the treasure trove is buried by saying random words out loud and revealing a similar-sounding stash spot.

If you take on the Aldeburgh treasure hunt, you’ll get the chance to trek past The Scallop sound sculpture and listen to the magic of the ocean. You’ll need to merge your code-cracking and musical capabilities on the Filey detective mystery as you use a musical note decoder to expose ‘whodunnit’. Just down the road in Leeds, the start point for many famous bands, lover of live music and home to numerous festivals, large and small, there’s a forgotten relic to unearth. While tuning an ancient piano, Toni Setter discovered notes attached to the keys, forming a map pointing to the legendary golden flute! Can you track it down on the City Centre Squares treasure hunt?

Festival season may be over, but there’s plenty of time to prepare for next year! There’s lost loot to unearth on the Glastonbury treasure hunt, just a stone’s throw from the grounds of the legendary festival, where you’ll even get the chance to scramble up the famous Tor. For choral concerts and awe-inspiring performances, it’s the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod you’ll be after. While you’re singing your heart out, a musical mystery needs solving on the Lovely Llangollen detective mystery.

Take a bow and some strings with you if you decide to scamper around Newark on the Town, Castle and River treasure hunt – you could put them to use when you reach the Newark Violin School, where those intrigued by instrument craft can earn degrees in creating and repairing beautiful violins, guitars and woodwind instruments. Or, to unearth twisting tales and visit the birthplace of one of the UK’s most famous bands who put instruments, and their voices, to good use, the Liverpool – Home of the Beatles Trail is the detective mystery you’ll want to solve!

Geography

As any member of TTHQ can tell you, our knowledge of geography has shot up since we started delving into Trail adventures! Name a place, and we can almost always tell you where it is and if we have a Trail there – ideal for quizzes, really! If you joined us for some Coast and Countryside Adventures, you’d know that there are some stunning sites to explore in the UK’s 15 National Parks. But there are so many more stunning features to discover across the country, whether protected by National Parks, World Heritage Sites or Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, or just hidden gems you’ll unearth along the way.

Act like an ace agent as you crack the code on the Portstewart spy mission, then hop into your undercover vehicle and travel up the coast to take in the breathtaking Giants Causeway, formed 50-60 million years ago! If you’re ready to keep rocking (and gorge on some cheese), sample the Cheddar treasure hunt and wind your way through the market town, through the nearby limestone gorge, carved out by post-Ice Age melting, and past the famous Gough Cave (currently closed, but well worth a visit when open).

While the Ice Ages worked their magic inland, the fabulous force of the sea has done some brilliant things to our coastline. Head to the south coast and see Durdle Door up close as you patrol along the South West Coast Path on the Lulworth Cove detective mystery. As well as inspecting the iconic limestone arch, you’ll be examining the evidence along the Jurassic Coast – a fossil hunter’s paradise. Further along the coast, figure out ‘whodunnit’ on the Eastbourne detective mystery, then relax after your case with a trip to see the memorable Seven Sisters chalk cliffs – a true English landmark. Over the water in the Isle of Wight, soak up more natural wonders on the Needles and Alum Bay spy mission, avoiding enemy agents as you crack the code beside the impressive chalk stacks sticking out into the sea.

Back on the mainland, travel north for a real challenge – crack the clues on the Coniston Village spy mission, then let out your inner rambler and clamber up The Old Man of Coniston or even the nearby Scafell Pike, the highest mountain in England, if you’re courageous (and prepared). Although, if you prefer the relaxing waters of the Lake District to the dazzling heights of the nearby hills, the safe zone beside Coniston Water will guarantee no enemy agents will intercept you as you cause a splash.

History

If there’s one thing at Treasure Trails that we love more than brilliant stories, puzzling clues and hidden gems, it’s delving into the history of places – whether local or of national importance. So where do we even start on our history lesson when there’s so much to discover?!

There are some superb Prehistoric sites to visit across the UK, from the world-famous Stonehenge, the previously mentioned Cheddar Gorge and Castell Henllys Iron Age Village. But we’re jumping our curriculum forward a few hundred, or even thousand, years with the arrival of the Romans.

Hunt down the clues inside the Roman walls on the Cirencester Old Town spy mission, a town once known as Corinium. You’ll even tiptoe past the Corinium Museum, chock-full of Roman artefacts and archaeological finds. While Wales fell later than England, the Romans still left their mark, which can definitely be seen on the Caerleon treasure hunt! During your search for the lost loot around the town, once a military site and home to the 2nd Augustan Legion, you’ll be trekking past the ruins of the Roman Barracks, the Roman Legion Museum and Fortress Baths before returning to the Amphitheatre. But before we move on to the next topic, we have to visit Colchester, or Camulodunum, the first British city and capital of Roman Britain. In 61AD, the city was stormed and destroyed by the warrior queen Boudicca and the Iceni Tribe, with the Ninth Legion defeated before they moved on to Londinium.

Fans of history will know that the Romans weren’t the only invaders on our shores in the past. Just a few hundred years after the Romans withdrew to southern Europe, the Vikings came from the north. In one of the earliest invasions, the raiders attacked a monastery at Lindisfarne. Explore the Holy Island and unearth the lost relics on the Lindisfarne Viking Hoard treasure hunt. But while Lindisfarne can take you on a journey to the past, you can’t really get a taste of Viking life without a trip to York, once the Viking capital of England. Examine the landmarks within the city walls on the York Minster Area detective mystery, then pay a visit to JORVIK Viking Centre to soak up the sights, sounds… and smells!… of the past.

Nothing quite screams British history than the timeline of our kings and queens, from Alfred the Great, the first in an unbroken line of English kings, all the way up to our current monarch, Elizabeth II. But, the landscape of Britain has played a large part in their reigns – check out some of the top places to visit for a right-royal expedition:

  • Winchester City and Castle detective mystery
    Back before England became united, Winchester became the capital of Wessex under Alfred the Great – you can even see a statue of him beside the Guildhall. But even after power shifted to London, Winchester still retained royal links and is a historical gem just waiting to be explored!
  • Battle Through Time spy mission
    Aptly named after the Battle of Hastings, fought close by, the historic market town is in peril with a dastardly plot afoot. Hans O. Thyme, a grumpy quantum physicist, has discovered how to travel in time! This would be a cause for celebration, except he plans to travel to 1066 to change the course of history! Can you save the day on this mission?
  • Caernarfon – The Royal Town spy mission
    Tiptoe beside the looming castle, one of the Welsh fortress palaces built by Edward I, and seek the town’s Royal connections as you crack the clues and reveal the deactivation code. Caernarfon Castle is well worth a visit away from the prying eyes of enemy agents – you’ll uncover true tales and fascinating facts about the war between Welsh princes and the English invaders in the Middle Ages.
  • Leicester – King Richard III detective mystery
    From one battle to another, the Battle of Bosworth Field was the last major battle of the War of the Roses and saw the end of King Richard III. But, it wasn’t until 500 years later that his remains were unearthed in Leicester. Take a tour of the places associated with Richard III as you follow up on witness reports and chase down the crook.
  • Linlithgow Hunt for the Royal Jewels spy mission
    According to the top-secret details of your assignment, infamous jewel thief Ruby Diamond is planning to enter the mysterious vault beneath Linlithgow Palace – by any means necessary – to retrieve the crown jewels left behind by Mary, Queen of Scots. Can you crack the code to thwart her plan? We’re relying on you to save the historical site, birthplace of the royal and the home of her ancestors!
  • City of London – Pudding Lane detective mystery
    Without the disastrous days in 1666, when the Great Fire of London ripped through the narrow streets, the city as we know it may not even exist! Begin hunting down the evidence beside The Monument, Sir Christopher Wren’s commemoration to the fire, and patrol past the spot where the blaze began.

Plan your weekend adventure

Feeling inspired? Grab your back to school adventure via any of the links above, or type the name of any UK village into the search box at the top of the page to see which fantastic places await. Before you head off for a weekend of exploration, have a peek at how Treasure Trails can lend a hand with homeschooling by turning a walk into an outdoor learning adventure. Make this term the best one yet!

Happy Trailing!

PS – don’t forget to complete the Back to School Leg puzzle on the Staycation Tour! Get your answer in before the end of September for your chance to win the awesome Rocketbook notepad and pens to use with it. Plus, finish the other two puzzles before the end of September as well to be in the draw for the holiday!

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