Immerse yourself in the world of espionage and counter-espionage with a fun spy mission themed midi-break!
Start your holiday with a visit to the Spymaster Shop in London’s Portman Square. Purchase your equipment and then set out to solve a spy mission from Treasure Trails which starts close to the South Kensington Tube Station.
The next day whizz across to London and visit the Imperial War Museum in London where there is a wonderful interactive family exhibition. Join in the fun and you will use clever camouflage, code-cracking skills and the cunning of a spy to delve into a top secret world.
And having learnt all those skills use the afternoon to tackle the spy mission Treasure Trail that starts at Hyde Park Corner.
It is now time to leave the capital and catch a train or drive to Cheltenham and the heart of the spy world at GCHQ. GCHQ have lots of vacancies if you fancy working in their world, but for now the nearest spy mission to their head offices in Cheltenham is the Cheltenham Bath Road Quarter.
A hop and a skip from Cheltenham is Herefordshire and in the south of the county you can enjoy a small museum dedicated to Violette Szabo, who was an agent of SOE (Special Operations Executive) and was sent into occupied France twice. The first time she returned safely but the second time she was captured and ultimately shot. It is a fascinating story.
The next morning enjoy the mysteriously named “The Other Side of Hereford” which is a spy mission to track down a rogue trader who is planning to try and destabilize the economy by leading local businessmen on a merry dance.
The next step of the journey is to move north and head to Nottingham to be ready to take part in a spy mission run by Si5 in Nottingham. Inside the spy mission action adventure centre there, they have built a ship divided into rooms with objectives to complete to stop the terrorists launching a missile! The objectives are a mix of physical tasks, dexterity and mental challenges all against the clock!
Having worn yourselves out fighting terrorists in this unique party venue, it will be time for a gentle walk at a much slower pace around Nottingham Castle following the spy mission Treasure Trail!
By now you will have ticked off 5 Trails in 5 days and foiled several plots and thwarted some nasty plans to unleash havoc and destruction around the towns and cities of the UK.
Let us know where your spy missions have taken you and share your experiences on our Facebook page. Look for the barefaced agent.
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.
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!
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!
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
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’.