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Just for Giggles – Family Fun

Need a break from the daily routine that is just for giggles? Bored at work and need a serious distraction just before the weekend starts? Kids driving you crazy? Then look no further – Treasure Trails could just be the answer to your anti-boredom prayers. These family fun ideas will help you get fitter and more active – and relieve the boredom too!

Children’s Treasure Trails – A Picture Paints a Thousand Words

The majority of our Trails are written with a family in mind, Mum and Dad (or Granny and Grandpa) with two children of 7 years and older. But we are often asked for Trails suitable for younger children and we do have a selection in the catalogue that work well for 3 or 4 years and upwards as they have either picture only clues or most of the clues are pictures and the very young can match a picture in a booklet with the real thing.

In no particular order here a small selection.

Trails in pedestrian only areas

For Treasure Trails to work well, the Trail writers need clue material and the best material is found in cities and towns rather than out in the countryside.  But with towns and cities comes traffic and that doesn’t always mix well with the very young.

The Liverpool St George’s Hall Treasure Trail is set in the heart of Liverpool and is ideal for young children. It is a very compact Trail and the route is entirely around St George’s Hall, which is awash with amazing architecture, stuffed with history and full of old statues, and the tranquil St John’s Gardens which back onto the hall. The whole area is pedestrianised (though you have to keep an eye out for the occasional vehicle) and should take about an hour and a half to complete. It’s suitable for both wheelchairs and pushchairs. Certain parts of St George’s Hall are open to the public without charge, including the old courtroom, so you can make a whole day of it.

Children's Treasure Trails - A Picture Paints a Thousand Words - One of the picture clues in Worcester
One of the picture clues in Worcester

The Worcester in Pictures Treasure Trail is also set around a pedestrianised area, the centre of Worcester. The clue is in the name as this Trail is made up entirely of picture clues.  Maybe whilst Mum shops, Dad can do the Trail with the children or whilst Dad watches Worcester Warriors in action, Mum can take the younger members of the family off for a bit of exploring!

Trails around gardens

The Harrogate 4 Kids Valley Gardens Trail is a treasure hunt which is entirely within the beautiful Valley Gardens in the heart of Harrogate, Yorkshire.  Families can discover many hidden gems in this Grade II listed garden, including 36 mineral wells, the New Zealand Garden and the Sun Pavilion and Colonnades. Within the gardens, you can also stop off for mini golf, disc golf or enjoy the playground, tennis courts or skate park, or take a walk through pinewoods. Take a picnic or take a break in the café for a great family day out!

Children's Treasure Trails - A Picture Paints a Thousand Words - Weather Vanes are always so interesting
Weather Vanes are always so interesting

The York Rowntree Park mini Trail was written especially for the young ones.  All the clues are contained within a large park on the edge of the city centre. Children need to be accompanied, as there is a large lake in the middle of the park. As well as our fabulous Treasure Hunt Trail, there are plenty of other delights to keep you entertained within the park. The attractive ornamental lake is home to a host of noisy ducks who welcome any bread you may have spare. Watch out for the geese though, they’re not always so friendly! Model boat enthusiasts are also encouraged to make use of the lake. For the more energetic, there is bowls, tennis or a skate park, basketball courts and table tennis areas. For the youngsters there are two well equipped children’s play areas, with an array of interesting slides, climbing frames and assault course type paraphernalia for tots to toddlers to teens to enjoy!

 

Children's Treasure Trails - A Picture Paints a Thousand Words - Look out for Romans!
Look out for Romans!

Trails to engage children in history

The Caerleon For Kids Picture Trail is all about the Romans and perfect for getting children interested in the history of those times. The Trail writer’s favourite clue is clue 3 where the picture is of a roman and the answer is lavatory paper! Children and adults often love talking about poo!

What no directions?

For a different experience of following a Treasure Trail, we recommend you try out the Barton under Needwood Pictorial Trail.  Every written clue is based on a photograph, so you need to keep your eyes peeled as you explore the village of Barton under Needwood in Staffordshire. The clues can be solved in any order! There are no directions, but the locations of the clues are marked as circles on the map on page 7 of the booklet. Be warned though,  at times the route is beside busy roads or by water, so it is very important to keep a close eye on children and dogs.

Picture only Trails

Children's Treasure Trails - A Picture Paints a Thousand Words - Find us on facebook with this photo
Find us on facebook with this photo

Our Trail writers have written picture only Trails in some of our most popular locations including Bourton on the Water; Durham and Norwich and in all these places not only are there picture only Trails, but regular ones as well.  So, families with children with a wide range of ages could split up for the afternoon so that the younger members get their share of solving clues and working out the answers to the puzzles.  An example of a clue from a picture only Trail is “These sleepy felines should allow you to eliminate one possible hiding place for the gold, but Tommy Rustle has mixed the letters up to try and trick you”.  So you can see Mum and Dad will still need to get involved in solving the Trail.

Trails to do in the rain

And finally, move along please and mind the gap! This London Tube Trail has lots of picture clues and is perfect for families and adults looking for something different to do on a rainy or cold day! The Trail runs ‘downhill’ from Tower Hill Station to Earl’s Court and visits 9 stops along the way. It will take around 4 hours and whilst there isn’t much walking there are lots of steps, stairs and escalators to negotiate. We advise that you begin the Trail in the morning, after rush hour, to take advantage of the quieter period on the line.

Feeling inspired to solve the mystery of one of these Trails? We’d love to hear how you get on – find us on Facebook to share your photos.  Look for the picture of the ‘sleepy felines’.

15th October 2014

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You’ll Look Sweet Upon the Seat of a Bicycle Made for Two

With the Tour de France over here earlier in the year the interest in cycling has increased and several of our partners across the UK have been working with organisations to promote cycling in their local areas.  One has been collaborating with Sustrans in Birmingham to create a permanent Trail with clue boards along the route.  Another is very active in Yorkshire with lost sheep in pink jerseys and yellow bikes!

Lots of the Trails in our catalogue are suitable for cycling if you are happy to cycle along roads (some of them reasonably busy) and the best way to identify which are by heading to the home page of the website and clicking on the Buy a Trail tab and then ticking the cycling box! This will bring up almost 50 options.  Several of those can be driven too and of course there is nothing to stop you walking them if you are feeling energetic!

For this post though, we are focusing on a few that are dedicated cycling Trails where you can be confident there is limited (if any) traffic.

You’ll Look Sweet Upon the Seat of a Bicycle Made for TwoFor an easy ride

Head to Wales to try the Cardiff Bay Cycle Trail which follows the existing 10km cycle route. The route is mostly on the dedicated cycle path although there are a couple of road crossing to negotiate. Half way round is Mermaid Quay with its great atmosphere and large choice of food and drink places to stop and rest. On sunny days, there is no better place to be.

Or head to the South East to enjoy a cycle ride with a difference from Worthing to Shoreham. This is a leisurely Trail with no steep sections that follows the seafront cycle path east of the Pier on to the Widewater Lagoon Nature Reserve. I feel a picnic coming on!

Going from A to B

Some of our cycling Trails are not circular and the clues are only along one way, which means of course that once you’ve gone from A to B, you can enjoy the bike ride back to the start without worrying whodunnit!

The Portland to Bowleaze Cove Trail in Dorset heads along the Beach Road, part of Chesil Beach, and past the National Sailing Centre which was the venue for the 2012 Olympics. This is an ideal Trail for keen cyclists along the track bed of the old Weymouth to Portland railway and the cycle path through The Swanary, Lodmoor Country Park along The Promenade to Bowleaze Cove. But, be aware, it is not a circular Trail so you will need to make your way back to the start in Victoria Square Portland.

Or head to Cambridge to do the River Cam, the Middle River Trail which will take you to many famous landmarks on route, including the Mill Pond, The Backs, Trinity Street and Trinity College, All Saints Garden, St John’s College, Jesus Green Bridge and Lock, and Victoria Bridge. It follows a well-maintained cycle route along the River Cam. The terrain is mostly flat and there are no hills to negotiate, but again it is not circular although the round trip is only about 4 miles.

No bike? Hire one! 

Cycles with locks are available to hire from Parkcycle at Roehampton Gate close to the start of the Richmond Cycle Trail. The Trail is 7.5 miles long and you would be really unlucky not to see the deer in Richmond Park. There are also some great views including a view of St Paul’s Cathedral which is 10 miles away in Central London.  At one point you will need to park your cycle(s) and find a few clues on foot, so you will need to take a D-lock or similar to secure them.

You’ll Look Sweet Upon the Seat of a Bicycle Made for Two - Completing the Great Cumbrae Island Cycling Trail
Completing the Great Cumbrae Island Cycling Trail

There are also bikes available for hire at the start of the Fishy Tales at Chasewater Trail in Staffordshire. The going is mostly flat and firm although can become muddy in poor weather. Sounds like some racing terms!

Scarborough has several bicycle hire shops including Let’s Bike who will deliver bikes to your door. The Cinder Track Trail from Scarborough to Ravenscar follows an old railway line and the terrain is a paved, gravel or occasionally rocky, cycle path. Termed ‘Mild Mountain Biking’ due to some uneven sections; road bikes and very young riders may find parts heavy going. There are a few very short sections of quiet road. Oh and this route is on a slight incline too! Eek…

Totally off road

The Dartmoor Granite Way Trail follows the line of the former Southern railway from Okehampton towards Lydford via Meldon Quarry and Lake Viaduct. It combines spectacular views of rural Devon, with the ruggedness of Dartmoor, and provides a glimpse into industrial life on the moor through the ages. At one point, you can even see Exmoor in the far distance!  It is entirely on designated cycle routes or cycle paths, which are level, even and well-maintained, with one small section on a narrow unmade path.

Staying Safe

We recommend cycle safety clothing, such as a cycle helmet and gloves and possibly a pair of sunglasses when the sun is bright and make sure you stop for refreshments too. Bright reflective clothing is recommended even in daylight.

There are lots more cycling TreasureTrails all over the UK so hopefully, we’ve inspired you to dig out the bike and go out for a ride! If we have, do tell us about your experiences.

 

17th September 2014

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