Lockdown Ideas: Outdoor activities and places to visit
If the thought of spending lockdown indoors has got you climbing the walls (let alone the kids!), then do not fear - we’re back with ideas for how you can enjoy the great outdoors this autumn and winter without breaking the rules! So if you’re looking for things to do outdoors in lockdown, these ideas are great for weekends to help break up the routine of school and work, or perfect for those of you with preschoolers looking to make the most of any good weather.
From outdoor attractions that are remaining open, to some quick and easy activities you can do wherever you’re based, grab your big coats, dig out the wellies and let’s jump into our guide to lockdown outdoor activities for kids.
Looking for indoor ideas? Take a look here: 50 indoor lockdown activities
Can we go outdoors in lockdown?
In short, yes. Getting outdoors for exercise or fresh air is a great mood booster, so there are still lots of outdoor places to visit across the UK. Just remember to stay local, keep socially distancing and only go outside with your household or support bubble.
Outdoor attractions to visit in lockdown
- National Trust
It’s great to hear that National Trust gardens, parks, coast and countryside sites are staying open in England and Northern Ireland, and reopening in Wales from 9th November. It is recommended to book online in advance as capacity is still reduced, so every Friday you’ll be able to log on and secure tickets for the following weeks.
- Treasure Trails
Completing one of these Treasure Trails is a great family activity, and the good news is that this is still allowed within the new rules. As they’re based entirely outdoors in public spaces, and designed to be completed in small groups (ie, families!), they’re perfect for getting the family out and about together for a few hours. The best option is to download and print at home, just remember to trail safely and stay local.
- Forestry England
The Forestry England forests will remain open throughout November, helping families to enjoy some time outdoors. Whilst the official trails might not be available, there are still several woods with Gruffalo character sculptures to find - so your usual walk can be leveled up with some familiar faces! Locations include Wyre Forest, Wendover Woods, Moors Valley, Alice Holt, Bedgebury, Delamere and Dalby Forest, but you can find a full list here.
- The Royal Parks London
The Royal Parks group is home to 8 beautiful London parks, offering 5000 acres of outdoor space that’s open and free to be explored all year round - including lockdown. Most have outdoor playgrounds for kids that will be remaining open, but they’re also perfect for a family stroll if you live in and around the capital. See if you can spot herds of deer at Richmond Park, see the Peter Pan statue in Kensington Gardens, spot Hampton Court Palace from Bushy Park or explore four playgrounds at The Regent’s Park and Primrose Hill. Hyde Park, Greenwich Park, St James’ Park and Green Park are also included.
- Yorkshire Sculpture Park
If you’re based in or near Wakefield, then Yorkshire Sculpture Park is a great outdoor place to visit. Only the open air element of the park remains open for lockdown, but with 500 acres to explore, there’s still plenty of reasons to visit. You will need to book a ticket in advance, they’re released one week in advance on Mondays, so keep checking back to plan your visit.
- Chatsworth House
A gem in Derbyshire, Chatsworth Garden and car parks will remain open in November, along with takeaway picnic shops and the estate farm shop - the farmyard remains closed. The stunning 105-acre gardens have everything from waterworks to sculptures, and there’s a little explorers garden trail you can download and print before your visit. Tickets for the gardens and car park must be pre-booked online.
- Skelf Island at Castle Howard
You may not be able to visit the house at Castle Howard in Yorkshire right now, but we'll bet the kids will barely notice - they'll be too busy exploring Skelf Island! This epic outdoor adventure playground is open with limited numbers, so whilst you're asked to only stay for an hour, there's plenty of fun to pack in. Explore exciting treetop nest structures, with rope bridges, slides, nets and things to climb, all with a mischievous Skelf feel! Perfect for letting off some steam, simply buy a Gardens ticket, which includes entry to Skelf Island.
Outdoor activities for kids
The beauty of the great outdoors is that everyone can enjoy it, right on your doorstep! From your local parks and playgrounds (which are staying open this time), to woods, forests and even your own back garden, these activity ideas can be adapted to suit you. Plus, with community spirit stronger than ever, look out for things like window challenges and local trails near you.
- Local area scavenger hunt
Spice up your daily walk, by adding in a fun scavenger hunt! Make a checklist of things to see, from animals and cars, to road signs and trees. Change it up every time, or try using themes - Mondays could be all about the colour red for example. Here’s one we’ve made to get you started.
- Pavement chalk
One of the highlights of the first lockdown was spotting chalk creations all over our local area. Dig them out of the cupboard and get to work again - draw everything from hopscotch to messages for your neighbours, or you could even let them loose on the house if you’re feeling brave! It will wash off in the rain, so you’ll have a new blank canvas. Buy your chalk here.
- Nature bingo
Much like a scavenger hunt, nature bingo is a great way to get kids interested and excited about the world around them. Pick some specific flowers, birds and insects they have to find, and see who can spot them all the quickest. Try adding bees, butterflies, spiders, robins, squirrels and ladybirds to the list.
- Make a dinosaur garden
A firm favourite with kids, and an idea for a day in the garden! All you need is a large pot, some compost and then everything you want to decorate - think succulents, stones, pebbles, and dinosaurs of course! The possibilities are endless, check out our how to make a dinosaur garden blog for more tips.
- Puddle jumping
Rain, rain - time to play! Long before Peppa made it cool, kids have loved jumping in muddy puddles. Just remember to pack your wellies and waterproofs...
- Family bike ride
There’s no better way to keep the family fit than by hopping on two wheels for a bike ride. Whether it’s a few laps of your local park, or you’re lucky enough to have a family-friendly cycle trail near home, it’s a great way to get outdoors. Got a little one who can’t ride a bike yet? Make it your mission this lockdown to teach them!
Looking for even more ideas? Take a look at some of our other posts:
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