Top 10 treasure hunts
Are you ready to go on a thrilling adventure, locating lost loot and unearthing twisting tales along the way?
Treasure hunt Trails are the perfect challenge for budding explorers. You'll bravely venture out on your journey, dodging booby traps and evading rival treasure seekers as you advance. Whether you're hunting for long-lost pirate gold, precious artefacts or pinched jewels, you'll need to whittle down your list of map locations to reveal where X marks the spot.
Not sure which quest to accept first? Check out our top 10 for exploration inspiration.
1. Manchester - Spinningfields
Wands at the ready, explorers! Your self-guided treasure hunt adventure will have you searching high and low for clues around the vibrant Spinningfields area. You'll be spellbound by the rippling riverside and will encounter fantastical tales along the way. But don't get confunded - you've got an important, magical quest to complete!
The wicked witch, Abby Cadabra, has cast a terrible curse, promising years of never-ending rainfall across Manchester. Famous adventurer, Hugo First, was certain he could put a stop to it after discovering a map and book of clues leading to Abby's spellbook... but he ran at the first sign of peril! Now, we're counting on you to locate the spellbook, break the curse and bring the sun back to the city! Good luck.
2. Cambridge - City Centre
It's been decades since supervillain Robin Spree was jailed for stealing millions of pounds worth of diamonds. Despite the brightest brains in the police force studying his treasure map, the loot has never been recovered! With Spree's release date getting closer, they're desperate to get their hands on the diamonds before he does.
Can you solve the sneaky clues around Cambridge to find the ill-gotten gains? Hunt high and low along the shop-lined streets before emerging into the old city to explore around Cambridge's famous University Colleges, keeping a sharp eye out for rival treasure seekers as you go.
3. St Katharine Docks and the Tower
Ahoy there, matey! Ready for a daring expedition around the dangerous Docks and terrifying Tower of London? You'll learn about the characters locked up in this infamous prison, scurry past the looming Traitor's Gate and wander the vibrant dock area once known for handling luxury goods. All this while looking for some right royal booty...
The mayor of London needs you to unearth an all-powerful gem with an interesting history! Originally the property of Queen Matilda in the 1100s, the gem was lost when Her Majesty buried it to keep it out of enemy hands. Yet, centuries later, it mysteriously appeared in the possession of the infamous pirate, Blackbeard. Now, lost again, you'll need to follow Blackbeard's treasure map to dig it up.
4. Edinburgh - Old Town
There's more royal(ish) treasure to unearth! The story goes that Scottish nobleman James Hepburn, third husband of the infamous Mary Queen of Scots, indulged in a bit of piracy whilst his wife was imprisoned. He gathered untold riches which have never been discovered... until now. An ancient map and a series of clues have reached us, rumoured to point to Hepburn's treasure trove...
This adventure covers the east end of the Royal Mile, twisting and turning through the city's ancient streets. You'll uncover unexpected landmarks and learn about the famous figures that made Edinburgh (Dùn Èideann) the city it is today, all while whittling down the locations on your treasure map to reveal the pirate hoard.
5. Birmingham - Bullring Area
During a recent excavation in the Bullring Rag Market vaults, local historians have struck gold (well, nearly). What originally appeared to be an old red rag of linen was revealed to be a tapestry embroidered with a series of clues and a treasure map. The map points to the legendary Golden Bull of Birmingham, and the historians need YOUR help to track it down.
Let this treasure hunt transport you through the centuries as you explore Birmingham's fascinating heritage. With captivating clues enticing you around every corner, this short walk around the city is jampacked with historical stories that will show you a new side of Birmingham.
6. Stratford-upon-Avon - Celebrating Shakespeare
Your crucial quest takes you on a twisting tale through historic Stratford. You'll hear stories from the past, stumble on old taverns, see the house where William Shakespeare was born and visit his final resting place (remember to read the words on his grave).
Unfortunately, despite the warning on the grave, the greedy movie mogul, Timonov Athens, has moved Shakespeare's bones for his latest film! He decided real bones would be much better than props... Now the Bard's curse is wreaking havoc with the crew, while Tim is nowhere to be found! Can you follow the clues to locate the secret filming location, retrieve the bones and return them home?
7. Winchester - City and Cathedral
Calling all budding explorers! We need you for a treasure hunt through the ancient cobbled streets of Winchester. Stroll through the Abbey gardens and along the riverside to the grounds of the cathedral, discovering the hidden gems of England's former capital along the way. Stay alert - the future of Winchester's history is in your hands...
A notorious thief, Cat Berglagh, has stolen a priceless artefact from Winchester Cathedral and demands an enormous ransom for its return. Keeper of the cathedral treasure, Gus Toadian, needs your help to find Cat's hiding place and recover the relic without giving in to her heartless demands. We need YOU to solve the sneaky clues around Winchester to uncover this prized possession.
8. Bristol Harbourside
Yo-ho, yo-ho, a pirate's life... ends in retirement? Long ago, in 1718, Capt'n Greybeard retired, with his epic treasure trove funding his pension. However, not trusting his fellow seadogs, he hid the pension pot on the nearby Skull Island, just off the Somerset coast, before his retirement party. Leaving the celebrations that night, he mysteriously disappeared, leaving behind nothing but a treasure map...
Can YOU crack the clues around the Bristol harbourside area to pinpoint Skull Island and Greybeard's golden hoard? You'll have to hunt for the clues around the city centre quays and the floating harbour. You'll even have to sail the high seas (with the help of a ferry crossing) if you hope to reach the ill-gotten gains before your rival treasure seekers. Good luck!
Please note: Your return journey is via a short ferry crossing (small fee applies) back to the start. We advise starting this Trail before 3.00pm to have time to catch the ferry back. Please check that the ferry is running on the day you plan to do your Trail.
9. St Albans - Old City and Park
We've received word that the notorious archaeologist, Shuvlyn Pick, has looted the Verulamium Museum and stolen some of its most precious pieces! He's gone into hiding on an island, taking his historic hoard with him. Luckily, in his haste, he left behind a map and clues to his possible hiding places.
To locate the stolen stash, you'll need to take on a self-guided expedition around what was once one of the largest Roman settlements in Britain. Starting at the Roman Museum, your quest takes in everything from St Albans Cathedral to the oldest pub in the UK and even the historic wall (built between 265 and 270 AD).
There's another right Roman romp ready for budding explorers in Chichester! You're needed for a journey around the ancient streets, hunting high and low past from Priory Park to the Cathedral and Market Cross, uncovering the story of Chichester from Roman times to the present day. If all goes to plan, the city's buried secrets are about to be unearthed...
The team of archaeologists excavating the Roman ruins have discovered a stone journal belonging to the Roman Centurion Clueless Maximus. The journal tells a story of his hidden hoard of treasure, which he never recovered! Now, the crafty criminal Ivan D Lott has pinched Clueless' journal and we need to track down the treasure before he gets there!
Become the TOP treasure seeker
If you head out on an adventure on Talk Like a Pirate Day, make sure you submit your answer to unlock the Talk Like a Pirate Day club badge in your account!
Any answer - right or wrong - submitted through the website at any time on the 19th September will count, and the Trail can be any theme (although you'll get brownie points if you pick a treasure hunt!).
Don't worry if you haven't planned ahead - with the Print at Home download Trails and Treasure Trails app, you can get instant access to adventure.
You can find out more about our Trail Blazer Badges and Footsteps Rewards here.
Even more treasure hunt adventures
If you can't get to one of our top 10 locations, don't worry - there are over 400 treasure hunt Trails across the UK! And it's super easy to discover expeditions 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 'Treasure Hunt' and submit filters, you'll be able to see all treasure-themed Trails in that region. You can even narrow it down to Trail length, type and accessibility too. Then, simply pick the quest you and your crew would like to try!
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