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Hidden Treasure

Welcome to Hidden Treasure - a positive treasure trove of fun, educational and informative ideas!

Designed to help you get the most out of your family time, with fun games, quizzes, ideas and information designed to complement Treasure Trails.

We aim to provide you with a little more fun in your life and promote healthy activities. We offer tips and tricks to keep kids of all ages entertained for hours, or teach you something that you probably didn't know before.

To put it simply, we're aiming to fill in the gaps between Trails!

Please use the menu on the right hand side to have a look at some of our great ideas... and enjoy!

The road from the Isles of Scotland

The journey from Fort William to Mallaig can be done by car or train and is much feted as one of the world’s most scenic journeys. We did the journey along this famous stretch of road, but backwards from Mallaig to Fort William!

Island Views

The guide book was informative about the sights along the way and the history of the region.  This is mostly about when Bonnie Prince Charlie was mustering highlanders to fight under his father’s flag.

There are Flora Macdonald bed and breakfasts along the way reminding the casual tourist of her associations with the area too.

What we liked best though was the views of Eigg and Rhum in the distance. We stopped at a beautiful little beach to enjoy them. 

Island Views - The road from the Isles of Scotland
Glenfinnan Viaduct - The road from the Isles of Scotland

Glenfinnan Viaduct

One of the most photographed scenes in Scotland apparently is at the Glenfinnan Viaduct. It is where the steam train carrying Harry Potter and his friends to and from school goes. The guide book said the train obligingly stopped on the viaduct for photographs. The sign on the visitor centre door indicated where to go to for the best views.

Unwittingly, we’d timed our visit perfectly as after a short pit stop and glance at the memorial and the loch there, we headed down the path to bag a place to take a photo of the train as it steamed past.

We decided that one should photograph it from above and the other from below, so I climbed the short distance up and himself retreated back down the path.  I could hear it before I could see it and feeling like the ultimate train spotter (or one of the cast of the Railway Children), I stood and waved and snapped with the camera whilst it rushed by (not stopping as anticipated). 

It blew its whistle and poured smoke out of its chimney and for a brief couple of minutes filled my senses with the sight of it and all its noise and speed and then it was gone. And the hills were quiet again. And I felt as though I’d witnessed something extraordinary!

Fort William

It is only about 12 miles to Fort William from Glenfinnan so we were soon there.

We had our eye on a restaurant down by the loch called Cannog, a seafood restaurant that was in the Discover Scotland bible. We loved the setting and the food didn’t disappoint either.

Wonderful end to a fun day getting from A to B or was it B to A.

Fort William - The road from the Isles of Scotland

Unsurprisingly, there is a TreasureTrail in Fort William which we thoroughly enjoyed whilst we were there. 

19th July 2017

Posted In: Scotland

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Exploring the North Wessex Downs

We explored the impressive neolithic ceremonial landscapes in the North Wessex Downs recently.

Romantic Thatched Cottages

We had gone to see the ancient standing stones littered across the landscape. What we hadn’t expected was how many beautiful and romantic cottages there were.

The thatch was immaculate.

There is a timelessness about thatched roofs. Originally dwellings with thatched roofs in Britain were used to house the poorest families. Now of course, things are reversed. Roof thatching skills date back to the Bronze Age. What we had come to see was way before that though.

Exploring the North Wessex Downs - Romantic Thatched Cottages
Exploring the North Wessex Downs - Ancient Burial Chambers

Ancient Burial Chambers

Built around 3700BC we explored a burial chamber called West Kennet Long Barrow.  It is about a 10 minute walk up from the road (A4) and you can see it silhouetted on the skyline. Once up there, you can walk right into it.

The atmosphere is fantastic.

Apparently local legend has it that on Midsummers Day it is visited by a ghostly priest! I can well believe it. The board outside gives lots of details, but the fact I remember is that both arthritis and toothache were common medical complaints in Neolithic times!

Amazing Man Made Hill

There are some fascinating theories about Silbury Hill. But one fact is it is Europe’s largest man-made mound similar is size to a small Egyptian pyramid. Experts say it took about 18 million man hours to dump and shape thousands of tons of earth.

I can’t quite get my head around those numbers!

The theories are that it was a resting place for the warrior kind Sil. Or perhaps the pregnant belly of an earth goddess! Either way, we found it very atmospheric. The whole area really is wild, windy and beautiful.

Exploring the North Wessex Downs - Amazing Man Made Hill

We drove between the different areas of interest but with all day to spare you can easily walk some of the stretches. Wrap up warm though, it was cold on top of the hills and barrows.

To see lots of the different standing stones in the area, we suggest you follow the SIlbury Hill Ancient Landscape Spy Mission.

4th July 2017

Posted In: Ideas, Things to do, Wiltshire

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Codes and Ciphers – Bletchley Park, the Ultimate Destination

What's the difference between a code and a cipher? I don't know - what is the difference between a code and a cipher? Actually I do know after a great day out at Bletchley Park!

The Puzzles

There are lots of things to see and do at Bletchley Park.

So much more than a museum, there are puzzles to solve everywhere.

We started our day by trying to pick up a signal on an old radio and my friend really got into it. We decoded some morse code and left each other encrypted messages through a virtual interactive enigma machine.

At the end of our tour around Bletchley we popped into the gift shop. I couldn't resist buying a book of logic puzzles. 

Codes and Ciphers - Bletchley Park, the Ultimate Destination - The Puzzles
Codes and Ciphers - Bletchley Park, the Ultimate Destination - The Machines

The Machines

We learnt all about the German Enigma machine. An amazingly clever invention.

It was mathematicians in Poland who started the process of cracking its codes. When the threat from Germany became stronger, the Poles shared their knowledge with British intelligence, probably saving us at least 6 months. There are three memorials to the Polish at Bletchley.

They also helped us see that not only did we need to recruit classicist scholars and linguists but that mathematicians would be our secret weapon. 

We learnt about Colossus, the world’s first electronic digital computer. We also learnt the difference between Enigma and the British equivalent Typex. The Typex was able to encrypt its own letters which the Enigma couldn’t, making it far more difficult to crack than the Enigma! Fascinating stuff.

The People

Alan Turing was probably the most famous of the characters that populated Bletchley Park.

But there were so many fascinating stories of individuals. Lots of the exhibits have quotes from people about their time at Bletchley. They kept quiet about what they did until 1975, so for some it must have been quite a relief.

There was an eclectic mix of people working there. Debs rubbed shoulders with squaddies and rank and status was largely ignored.

It sounds like an incredibly unique experience to work there.

Codes and Ciphers - Bletchley Park, the Ultimate Destination - The People

So, I’d recommend any would be spies, to go there and experience Bletchley for themselves. Or take the easier option and play spies on the nearest Spy Mission to Bletchley at Buckingham.   Oh, and the difference between a code and a cipher is a code replaces whole words with symbols while ciphers replace individual letters with other letters or symbols! 

21st June 2017

Posted In: Buckinghamshire, Things to do

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Iconic London Landmarks

Iconic doesn’t always mean old and fusty, some are fresh and new!

There are so many iconic landmarks in London, we enjoyed just three of them on a recent trip to the capital. 

Sky Garden

What an experience it is dining 36 floors above the ground. We chose to eat in the Darwin Brasserie rather than the fancier restaurant on the next floor up. We had asked for their quietest table and were rewarded with a corner table which was perfect. Overlooking the Tower of London and opposite The Shard the view was fantastic. The food at the Sky Garden didn't disappoint either. My companions chose from the a la carte menu but I was happy with the marginally cheaper three course set lunch options. An exquisite aubergine salad called Imam Bayildi followed by smoked haddock. Delicious. Then a chocolate bar with roasted banana ice cream. Stunning. I didn't eat for the rest of the day! 

The nearest Trail to the Sky Garden if you fancied combining a meal and a walk is the City of London Pudding Lane Murder Mystery. The Trail starts close to The Monument, Sir Christopher Wren's commemoration of the Great Fire of London. Monument is the nearest tube station to the Sky Garden too. 

 

Iconic London Landmarks - Sky Garden
Iconic London Landmarks - Getting from A to B

Getting from A to B

After all that food we decided to walk the three miles from the Sky Garden to our next port of call.  It was virtually a straight line and we passed some wonderful iconic sights along the way. St Paul's Cathedral and the Old Bailey being the most recognisable. There is of course a St Paul's Treasure Trail here too. 

Selfridges

We were heading to Selfridges to see their window displays. Always a favourite at Christmas, we wondered what they'd be like in spring.
The displays were fabulous. Featuring what home means along with different rituals like, the Ritual of Tea, the Ritual of Cleansing, of Conversation, of Sleep. The Ritual of Tea was my favourite. There is lots of explanation on their website. Well worth reading.

 

Iconic London Landmarks - Selfridges

As always our day out in London was fun but exhausting. It was good to get home!

7th June 2017

Posted In: London, Things to do

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Old Fashioned Fun in Warwick

Warwick, the county town of Warwickshire is still in many ways unashamedly old fashioned. It hasn’t even achieved vintage status!

Old Fashioned Tea Shop

On a recent day out in Warwick we by-passed the trendy chainstore coffee shops. Instead, we made for Wylies Cafe Tearooms for our lunch. The prices were very reasonable and the portion sizes were enormous.  More than can be said for modern standards where the plates are huge but the bits on them less than satisfying! The decor was old fashioned with the walls covered in old photos and bits and pieces. The tea was served in delicate floral china and the welcome was warm. Highly recommended!

Old Fashioned Fun in Warwick - Old Fashioned Tea Shop
Old Fashioned Fun in Warwick - Old Fashioned Toys

Old Fashioned Toys

St John’s Museum in Warwick is still free. Well worth a visit, their exhibition in the foyer includes three glass cabinets of moving toys. There are dolls, trains, puppets and a whole host of toys that move. It is enchanting. There are lots of things to do and to look at and even a few toys out to play with. Well worth a visit, especially with older grandchildren in tow.

 

In the museum garden there is a fascinating display of ‘flowers’ made from car components and willow. Its been there since 2014 so am guessing it will be there for a while longer.

Old Fashioned Fun in Warwick - a fascinating display of "flowers" made from car components and willow.
Old Fashioned Fun in Warwick - Old Fashioned Park

Old Fashioned Park

Towards the end of our day we popped into St Nicholas’ Park to use the loos. There is so much to do in the park; tennis courts, paddling pools, mini golf, traditional playground equipment and a permanent fun fair. It reminded me a bit of a mini Blackpool. It was heaving with toddlers, tots and grandparents!  Even the cafe had an old fashioned roof as it was thatched. Lovely place.

Old Fashioned Fun

There is of course a recently polished Treasure Trail around Warwick to enjoy too. 

26th May 2017

Posted In: Warwickshire

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The Secret DNA of a Super-Trailer

Scientists at the Treasure Trails labs have stumbled upon something interesting. It seems that the top 1% of our Trailers all have a common thread within their DNA string.

There is one tiny piece of the research left to do though, and we are asking you if you can help us.

Download this free puzzle, and get the family together to put your grey matter to the test!

Secret DNA of a Super-Trailer

Download the puzzle

Click on the image below or the following link to download the puzzle to help you solve the final piece of the research into the Secret DNA of a Super-Trailer.

Once solved, dig a little bit deeper and the true answer will be revealed!

Comment below and let us know if you think you are a Super-Trailer and why - the best 5 reasons will win a Treasure Trails voucher!

Solved it, or just need to know the answer!

Enter your answer below and you will find out if you are correct or not!

Don't forget to comment on why you think you are a Super-Trailer and why you deserve to win a free Treasure Trails voucher!

We will pick the best 5 reasons on the 19th June and inform the winners by email. Our standard competition details apply.

 

 

23rd May 2017

Posted In: Puzzles

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Things To Do in Mid Wales

Wales is a magical country and we went to see a couple of its ancient natural beauties. 

Water Break Its Neck

Who doesn’t love a good waterfall? We recently discovered one with a wonderfully evocative name just up the road from the Presteigne Trail.  The waterfall is in Warren Woods, which is off the A44 about 10 miles west of Presteigne.  There are three trails created with varying degrees of difficulty. We followed the short easy one first to see the waterfall. We walked through a deep ravine lush with foliage of overhanging trees and ferns. It felt just like hobbit country. Apparently in dry weather it is possible to walk along the stream bed. We came around the corner and there it was in all its flowing glory. It really is a beautiful and unspoilt place.

Afterwards, we tried the medium difficulty trail and scrambled up a very steep bank to get above the waterfall. Once at the top, it was a relatively easy wander down the other side. We were lucky to see deer and rabbits along the way too.

Things to do in Mid Wales - Water Breaks Its Neck
Things to do in Mid Wales - Old Radnor

Old Radnor

Short on time we just drove through this small Welsh town. But for such a small town, we were amazed to see a couple of really elaborate memorials. Next time we will get out and explore.

The Four Stones

Between Water Break Its Neck and Presteigne and just outside Old Radnor, there is another wonderful sight. A bronze age stone circle which according to folk lore was created when four local chiefs were turned into the four stones.  Another story suggests the stones mark the graves of 4 kings, killed in a great battle.

The stones are in a farm field, surrounded by a hedge which can make it difficult to see them. There are no interpretive signs, so you are pretty much on your own to make some sense of the site. The setting is wonderful though, with views over the surrounding fields to the Cambrian Mountains with a great atmosphere. Well worth a short visit I would say.

Things to do in Mid Wales - The Four Stones

From there, we headed off to pick up some lunch in the nearest pub. Have you been to the area? We'd love to hear about your trip there. 

12th May 2017

Posted In: Ideas, Things to do, Wales

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Things to take to Centre Parcs

If you have never been to Centre Parcs, it is useful to know what to take. We went recently and had a wonderful time!

Kitchen and Bathroom Essentials

We stayed in two of the woodland lodges in their Longleat Forest site in Wiltshire. We had gone with our extended family to celebrate a special birthday! There were nine of us so we needed two lodges, but had our meals and games in the bigger one. They are located in the forest and designed so that the view from the living area is of uninterrupted nature.

The kitchens are reasonably well equipped but you do need to take dishwasher tablets, washing up liquid, washing up cloths, t-towels and kitchen towels as well as food and drink of course. You can buy all this stuff on site, but it is a little more expensive than in your local Aldi or Tesco.

Centre Parcs also provide a very small amount of soap, shampoo and toilet rolls, so make sure you take what you need to last the whole time you are staying there.

Things to take to Centre Parcs - Kitchen and Bathroom Essentials
Things to take to Centre Parcs - Outdoor Kit

Outdoor Kit

We went in early Spring so had no intention of using any of their boats or any of the things you can do on the lake. Instead we spent lots of time in the swimming pool complex and the sports hall. Naturally if you are going to do what we did, then you need not only your swimming kit but towels too. Centre Parcs supply towels for a shower, but not for swimming.

Because no cars are allowed on site, apart from on changeover days, most people hire bicycles. If you have your own helmet its probably worth taking that too. Most of our party did hire bikes for the weekend. The best fun we had though was on the segway experience! They supplied helmets, knee and elbow pads, which was good as one of our party fell off her segway. No damage done though, but we were pleased we had brought a small first aid kit with us.

Indoor Entertainment

Our lodge had a TV and we were able to watch the rugby in front of the fire. When we booked the lodge we also booked a bag of logs which are those easy ones that you just put a match to. We took a couple of board games, but didn’t use them. Instead we played some family favourite pen and paper games as well as charades and our own version of articulate. It rained much of the weekend that we were there, but it really didn’t matter. We had lots of fun playing air hockey in the sports hall too. And whilst we self-catered in the main, we did have one brunch at the Pancake House.

Things to take to Centre Parcs - Indoor Entertainment

Centre Parcs in Longleat have a Trail with clues, but doing that would have been a busman’s holiday! The nearest Treasure Trail to the site is in Warminster. So you might want to add that to your list of things to take and do it before or after you check in to Longleat Forest.

27th April 2017

Posted In: Ideas, Things to do, Wiltshire

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The Word Game

Similar to Channel 4’s “Countdown” (minus the big clock), this free word game is your chance to win your next Treasure Trail adventure!

How to play?

Put simply, you need to create valid words by dragging letters onto the grid.

To reach the next level, you need to complete the three tasks. You need to cover all the marked blue squares whilst also reaching both the score and the number of words shown. 

Don't worry though, you don't have to do this all in one go. You can click on submit any time you have a valid word or words to clear some tiles and get some fresh letters! If you can't make a word, click on double down arrow to get some new letters. Be careful though because if you do this too many times you'll run out of moves!

Watch this quick video to give you the full lowdown.

Quick Tip - Don't be put off by the advert before the game starts. Click on the "skip" button as soon as you can and make sure not to click on the advert itself. 

How can I win a Treasure Trail?

To be entered into the competition to win a Treasure Trail of your choice, post your high score on the game's leader board by entering your chosen name, followed by TT.  For example, “William Wordsworth TT”

Confirm your leader board entry by entering the details of your name and score in the comment box below.

You can enter as many times as you like and the person with the highest score on the game's leader board (and in the comments below) at close of play on 8th May 2017 will win a Treasure Trail of their choice.  

Good luck!

25th April 2017

Posted In: Ideas, Puzzles

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Things to do on a Sunday Morning in Ludlow

We recently took some friends to Ludlow for an hour and had a lovely time!

Sunday Market

Years ago the only shops that were open on Sundays were markets. That has all changed now but it is lovely that Ludlow has a market on Sundays. Most of the stalls were antiques, but my friend was very excited to find a haberdashery stall. We spent some time picking over the different buttons. She chose some for the child’s cardigan she was knitting. I loved that I could buy anything from a postbox to a 1950s guide to Guernsey’s train times.

Things to do on a Sunday Morning in Ludlow - Sunday Market
Things to do on a Sunday Morning in Ludlow - Sunday Church

Sunday Church

After the market we popped into one of the local clothes shops.  I got a very pretty cardigan and scarf.

Next stop was St Laurence’s, the parish church. We didn’t have a lot of time and the church is so interesting that if you can give it more time, it is well worth it. We were given a leaflet of ‘things not to miss’ and headed to the chancel to enjoy a selection of Misericords. These funny small wooden structures are on the undersides of folding seats in a church. When the seat is folded up, they act as a shelf to support a person in a partially standing position during long periods of prayer.

We also learnt a little bit about Arthur, Prince of Wales. Arthur died in Ludlow and his heart and entrails are buried there. Another famous person remembered in Ludlow is the poet, A E Houseman. He died in Cambridge but his ashes are in Ludlow.

Things to do on a Sunday Morning in Ludlow - Arthur Prince of Wales buried here
Things to do on a Sunday Morning in Ludlow - Sunday Lunch

Sunday Lunch

We came home for Sunday lunch, but there is a wonderful selection of pubs and restaurants in Ludlow for a meal. Trip Advisor suggests there are 68 restaurants in Ludlow. Sometimes there is just too much choice.  Whilst we were there we pointed out various clues used in the Ludlow Murder Mystery to our friends. And we double checked on a clue that had been reported as missing. As expected it was still intact, but it is a tough one!

13th April 2017

Posted In: Ideas, Shropshire, Things to do

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