Top 10 spy missions

Are you ready to go on a thrilling spy mission, searching for hidden treasures and solving clues along the way?

Spy mission Trails are the ultimate adventure for budding agents who love a good challenge. You'll embark on a top-secret assignment, deciphering clues to reveal an essential four-digit code at the end. But beware, the mission won't be easy, and you'll have to use all of your spy skills to complete it successfully.

Not sure which mission to accept first? Check out our top 10 for exploration inspiration.

1. Manchester Castlefield

Beside the canal at Manchester Castlefield

Your mission around Manchester Castlefield starts at the Museum of Science and Industry, taking you along scenic backstreets and soaking up the sights. You'll uncover the spot where Manchester began, see the oldest lock on the Rochdale canal, and learn many more incredible stories about the city.

Stay alert - the city's future is at stake. The word on the street is that a villainous factory owner has created a rain-making machine over Manchester to increase production in his cotton mills. The local spy agency, SWARM, are busy bees tracking down the enemy and need you - our top agent - to help! Can you solve the sneaky clues and crack the code to switch off the device? 

2. Oxford City and Meadow

The view across Christchurch Meadow towards the college

This assignment will have you weaving through the 'city of dreaming spires' and around Christchurch Meadow. You'll have the option to climb 99 steps to the top of Carfax Tower (it's worth it for the view!), see where JRR Tolkien used to live and learn many more amazing stories.

But you'll need to keep your wits about you. Expelled Zoology student, Noah Zarke, has got his hands on a device that will create an enormous Dam - causing catastrophic flooding at Christchurch Meadow. We're counting on you to stealthily solve the clues around the city and crack the code that deactivates the device. Can you save Oxford from a damp disaster? Be swift - the clock is ticking...

3. Peebles

The River Tweed and Peebles

There's something fishy going on in Peebles (Na Pùballan) - can you thwart Dr D'Astardly's potty plot? He's planted a device that will form a dam, trapping the River Tweed's salmon and turning Peebles into an illegal fish farm, all to fund his future schemes!

We can't let that happen, so it's up to you to deactivate the device. You'll have to creep around the pretty riverside town, avoiding enemy surveillance drones as you hunt for the vital intel. As you go, you'll explore Venlaw Woodland and the St Andrews graveyard and unlock twisting tales of the town's past residents.

4. Lichfield - Historic Heart

Lichfield Cathedral's three spires seen from Beacon Park

Your assignment will take you through the historic heart of Lichfield, beginning at the Market Square. You'll be tiptoeing through a peaceful park, past fine buildings and beside the unique, medieval three-spired cathedral as you track down the vital intel. But don't get too distracted by the sights and sounds - someone's about to cause a stink.

Evil Professor G. Reese and his slippery assistant Olly Cann have a potty plot up their sleeves. They've set up a fiendish machine within the cathedral's spires designed to suck up the oil from all the chip shops and takeaways! The spires are too slippery to climb, so we need YOU to decipher the remote deactivation code before food riots break out and the Professor slips away. Good luck!

5. South Bank

The London Eye

Your covert operation will have you searching for sneaky clues around London's Waterloo and South Bank areas. Creep under the fascinating Leake Street Tunnel, blend into the crowds around the legendary landmarks and uncover hidden historical and cultural gems along the way. But, as you approach the London Eye, you might hear a buzzing on the streets...

It turns out the iconic attraction's hiding a very important secret - it's actually powered by a hidden colony of bees! But, a group of pigeons who are keen to make the top of the Eye their sightseeing spot have set up speakers to amplify their coos to scare away the hardworking bees. Your mission is to crack the code that disconnects these speakers and silence the rogue pigeons. Do you have what it takes?

6. Tintern Village - Around the Abbey

Tintern Abbey

This spy mission Trail around Tintern (Tyndyrn) may be a shorter route, but that just means that there are fewer places to hide from the horrid henchmen! Bravely tiptoe around the outside of the abbey, through the village and beside the River Wye as you hunt for the crucial clues.

If you spot any ducks, take great care - Dr Madden Badd has created a device that scares off all birds, so they're probably enemy drones in disguise! It's vital that you sneakily crack the code to deactivate the device so we can bring our feathery friends back to the village and scare off the potty professor and his goons.

Please note: This Trail can only be completed Wednesday - Sunday due to the Abbey Mill being closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.

7. Bath Cake-tastrophe

Pulteney Bridge over River Avon

Sweet-toothed secret agents are needed for a covert assignment in Bath. Sugar Baron, Dr Ivor Sweet, has vanished following rumours of an evil plan to hack into local food networks and tamper with the sugar content of Bath's prized cake recipes. His dastardly plan will increase his sales of sugar and line his no-good pockets! We're counting on YOU to crack the code and save the people from cake-tastrophe.

As you hunt for vital intel and clues to decode, you'll discover the culture and heritage of this vibrant city. While tiptoeing past 18th-century Georgian architecture towards the majestic Bath Abbey, you'll uncover stories around every corner that bring the streets to life in dazzling detail.

8. Keswick

Views of the town and peaks from Hope Park

Attention, super spies! We need you for a top-secret mission through the heart of Keswick, deep in the Lake District. You'll find clues around every corner as you search through the ancient market square, along the winding riverside and under the shadows of the mountains. Peace is about to be shattered in this tranquil lakeside town...

Secret agent, H. B. Jotter, has discovered an evil plot to destroy Keswick's Graphite Mine, orchestrated by a criminal mastermind, Dr Leadfinger. This villain has planted a device, and the code to stop it has been lost! Can you sole the sneaky clues around Keswick to retrieve the deactivation code and save the scenic market town?

9. Canterbury

The castle and river in Canterbury

The United Nations Espionage Secret Cake Organisation (UNESCO for short) has landed itself in a sticky situation in Canterbury, and they need your help! Using their unique skills, they've created the most delicious Victoria Sponge in existence, but a rival baker has pinched the recipe and locked it away. It's up to you to crack the code to the lockbox and retrieve the top-secret recipe.

With clues to collect within the city walls, this vital operation will take slippery spies through the historic centre and green parks. You'll uncover fascinating stories from Canterbury's ancient past and pass many attractions of this UNESCO World Heritage City, including the castle, cathedral and river.

10. Newcastle Gateshead Quayside

The river and Millenium Bride in Newcastle

Our covert agent, Jim Pond, discovered that evil Dr Mak Hehm is wreaking havoc in the North East once again! This time, Doc's sinister scheme is in Newcastle and involves ruining the top attraction along the quayside. He's placed a super glue capsule inside the Millennium Bridge mechanism and will activate it mid-tilt, causing total chaos.

The doc's henchmen are on Pond's tail, so he's scattered the clause to the deactivation code across the quaysides of Newcastle and Gateshead for you to track down. You'll need to sneak along both sides and even bravely tiptoe across the bridge as you search for the intel. You'll also pass landmarks and monuments and unlock twisting tales as you tackle the assignment.

Become a super-secret agent

If you head out on an adventure on National Spy Day, make sure you submit your answer to unlock the National Spy Day club badge in your account!

Any answer - right or wrong - submitted through the website at any time on the 10th of April will count, and the Trail can be any theme (although you'll get brownie points if you pick a spy mission!).

Don't worry if you haven't planned ahead - with the Print at Home download Trails, you can get instant access to adventure.

You can find out more about our Trail Blazer Badges and Footsteps Rewards here.

Trail Blazer badges: National Spy Day club

Even more spy mission adventures!

If you can't get to one of our top 10 locations, don't worry - there are over 300 spy mission Treasure Trails across the UK! And it's super easy to discover spy missions in your local area.

In the menu, click on 'Buy a Trail' and select the region you'd like to explore, or enter a place into the search bar to see all Trails within 30 miles. Then, click on 'Filter' just above the map. An advanced filter menu will pop out on the left-hand side of the page.

If you tick 'Secret Spy Mission' and submit filters, you'll be able to see all spy-themed Trails in that region. You can even narrow it down to Trail length, type and accessibility too. Then, simply pick the mission you and your team of top-secret agents would like to try!

Explore with a spy mission Treasure Trail