Official Visitor Website

Come out and play with the National Trust in Essex this summer

From pop-up play pavilions with a family-festival feel to interactive storytelling and open-air theatre, there are lots of events and activities on offer this summer from the National Trust in Essex.

To start your summer adventure, visit

Hatfield Forest

Summer family outdoor theatre

Illyria present Peter Pan, Friday 8 July, 6pm

Quantum Theatre present The Reluctant Dragon, Saturday 13 August, 6pm

Illyria present The Pirates of Penzance, Saturday 3 September, 6pm

An ancient royal hunting forest and National Nature Reserve, Hatfield Forest is the perfect place for families to explore the outdoors and get closer to nature. Enjoy a summer adventure at Hatfield Forest and create some great family memories. Take a summer stroll along the boardwalk and explore within the trees as you look out for the resident squirrels, birds and minibeasts.

Pack a picnic and settle down by the lake, borrowing one of our outdoor games for an afternoon’s play. The rowing boats return this summer, discover the picturesque lake on the water as you paddle your way around. Enjoy a programme of summer family theatre, and be transported into the worlds of Pirates, Dragons and Peter Pan. Booking is essential for all outdoor theatre performance, for more information and to book, head to the website.


Flatford, Constable Country, Suffolk

Chapterhouse Theatre presents Cinderella, Saturday 27 August, 4pm

Get the whole family outdoors and discover nature in the Dedham Vale countryside at Flatford. Navigate the River Stour on the water as our popular rowing boats return for the summer holidays. Have a go at nature-based activities and go on an adventure with our summer family nature trail, available daily throughout the holidays. Don’t miss the Flatford Nature Day on Tuesday 23 August, with a whole host of activities to get stuck into including natural crafts and pond dipping. Join Chapterhouse Theatre to be transported to a faraway magical land, and enjoy the best loved of all fairy tales, Cinderella. Booking is essential for Cinderella, for more information and to book, head to Flatford’s website.

Paycocke’s House and Grange Barn

Outdoor family theatre at Grange Barn

DOT Productions present The Jungle Book, Wednesday 27 July, 3pm

Enjoy simple summer pleasures as a family at Paycocke’s House and Grange Barn, both set in the quaint village of Coggeshall. Entry to the gardens at Paycocke’s is free, and the cottage garden is a haven for little ones to picnic, explore and play. Grab a coffee, cream tea or sweet treat from the tea room, and enjoy garden games on the lawn.

History fans will love the Guided Experience of the house, a Tudor merchant’s home brimming with stories. This summer, DOT Productions will take to the stage at Grange Barn for a fun family performance of The Jungle Book. Booking is essential for Guided Experiences at Paycocke’s and outdoor theatre at Grange Barn, for more information and to book, head to the websites.