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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

Posted In: Family Fun

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World Heritage Sites – Castles and Cathedrals Spotlight

UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites shows 28 sites under the UK and three of those sites are castles and cathedrals.

The Dalai Lama said “Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before”.  We like that sentiment. So, if you haven’t been to these three World Heritage sites, do plan a weekend or week long break to explore them.  Naturally, Treasure Trails have murder mysteries, spy missions and lost treasure hunts close to all three!

Castles and Town Walls of King Edward in Gwynedd

World Heritage Sites - Castles and Cathedrals Spotlight - North WalesReason it is a WHS: The castles of Beaumaris and Harlech (largely the work of the greatest military engineer of the time, James of St George) and the fortified complexes of Caernarfon and Conwy are located in the former principality of Gwynedd, in North Wales. These extremely well-preserved monuments are examples of the colonization and defence works carried out throughout the reign of Edward I (1272 – 1307) and the military architecture of the time.

About the Trails:

We have a nice selection of Trails in North Wales with one each in Conwy and Caernarfon as well as one in Beaumaris.  We’d recommend starting in Caernarfon and investigating the town dominated by its castle and then heading north east to Conwy to enjoy this medieval walled town also with a castle. Both towns are a delight to explore with their selection of independent shops and cafes along the Treasure Trails’ routes.

Another thing to do in North Wales:

A must do when in North Wales is to head to Snowdonia National Park and the biggest mountain in Wales and England. And the best thing of all is you don’t have to walk up it, but can catch the train! Top tip is to do what we did, buy a single ticket and walk down – the views are stunning.

Durham Castle and Cathedral

World Heritage Sites - Castles and Cathedrals Spotlight - DurhamReason it is a WHS:  Durham City grew around the tomb of St Cuthbert. As many pilgrims came to seek healing at his shrine, the busier and wealthier the town became. When William the Conqueror was King, he recognised Durham’s excellent situation on a rocky outcrop in a bend of the River Wear, and the building of the Cathedral and Castle together became of powerful political importance. The Prince Bishops of Durham were appointed as religious and military leaders, with all the powers of the King, to protect England from invading Scots.

The Cathedral was a glimpse of Heaven to visiting pilgrims and the Castle an imposing fortress, symbols of spiritual and military medieval power. Now a World Heritage Site and the greatest Norman building in Britain, a visit to Durham Cathedral is truly unforgettable.

About the Durham Trails:  

There are five Treasure Trails around Durham City so families and groups are spoilt for choice!  The one that will give the best views of the Cathedral and the Castle is the Murder Mystery, but if you want to head into the Cathedral, then we’d recommend the City of Durham Treasure Trail which starts outside the Gala Theatre in Millennium Place and is circular. There are numerous places to stop for refreshments, and there are public toilets halfway round and on Palace Green near the Cathedral. Each Trail will take a whole morning or afternoon if you aren’t diverted by the shops, cafes and attractions along the way, but hey why not take all day over it!

Another thing to do in Durham:  

Talking of Heaven, the number one Trip Advisor attraction in Durham is the Peterlee Parachute centre!  Obviously this isn’t something that all the family can do in an afternoon having completed  a Treasure Trail in the morning, but I was fascinated that it scored so highly on Trip Advisor!  For something to do that is more down to earth, or water, head to the sandy beaches of Seaham with its five star water quality and bracing air!

Canterbury Cathedral, St Augustine’s Abbey and St Martin’s Church

World Heritage Sites - Castles and Cathedrals Spotlight - CanterburyReason it is a WHS:  Canterbury in Kent, has been the seat of the spiritual head of the Church of England for nearly five centuries. Canterbury’s other important monuments are the modest Church of St Martin, the oldest church in England; the ruins of the Abbey of St Augustine, a reminder of the saint’s evangelizing role in the Heptarchy from 597; and Christ Church Cathedral, a breathtaking mixture of Romanesque and Perpendicular Gothic, where Archbishop Thomas Becket was murdered in 1170.

About the Canterbury Trail:  

The Trail starts and finishes in the Butter Market next to the Cathedral and wends its way amongst narrow medieval streets, through parks and water meadows and across millstreams. In addition to Chaucer’s famous Canterbury Tales reference, you will see tributes to dramatist Christopher Marlowe and Charles Dickens as you explore. It should take around two hours leaving lots of time to enjoy the wander.

Another thing to do in Canterbury:  

Canterbury may be steeped in history, but it is bang up to date with an app available to download created for the tourists.  With a wealth of things to do, there is bound to be something for your group whatever their ages. Our vote though goes for a trip round Canterbury Museum to see Bagpuss who slumbers in a display case there along with Professor Yaffle, Gabriel the toad and rag doll Madeleine.  Also on display are Noggin the Nog, Ivor the Engine and the Clangers who are all from the worlds created by Oliver Postgate. Oh and there is a display devoted to Rupert Bear too as his creator is buried in Canterbury.

Look out for more posts on World Heritage sites in the future, but in the meantime, we’d love to hear your thoughts on these three places – have you been? What did you like best about them or would recommend people did when they visited?  Tell us about your experiences and share with us your photos.  Head to our Facebook page and upload!

20th August 2014

Posted In: Did you know

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