WITH the half-term holidays on the way, we look at some of the top National Trust locations for families to visit and enjoy.

From a medieval merchant's house to a palatial 18th century home playing host to a children's author, there is plenty to enjoy at National Trust properties this half-term break.

Many properties are putting on events and organising trails for children for the holiday, making it an ideal time to wander through woodland and enjoy the historic houses, parks and gardens for children and adults alike.

Hanbury Hall 

Worcester News: STUNNING: Hanbury Hall STUNNING: Hanbury Hall (Image: Zara Green)

Hanbury in School Road, Hanbury, near Droitwich is a William and Mary-style country house, garden and park. There is plenty of space here for children and families to enjoy at this country retreat. It was originally a stage set for summer parties and offers a glimpse of life in the 18th century. 

During half-term (Saturday, May 27 to Sunday, June 4) there is a Birds, Bees and Butterflies trail. A trail booklet can be picked up from reception with nature-inspired activities to complete. On Saturday, May 27 and Sunday, May 28 there is a demonstration in the garden with local woodturners from Burcot. Everyone Active Bromsgrove is offering games with a chance to win a month's free membership.

Local author Ruth Goddard will be at Hanbury on Saturday, May 27, Sunday, May 28 and Tuesday, May 30 as she hosts storytelling sessions, reading her children's books, 'Blossom and the Bees'. People are advised to book to avoid disappointment.

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Worcester News: BREATHTAKING: Croome BREATHTAKING: Croome (Image: National Trust)

Croome in High Green near Worcester is famous for its wide open, landscaped grounds which give plenty of space for families to explore and great views of the Malverns.

Croome was owned by the Coventry family from the 16th century.

A Trust spokesperson said: "The Coventrys used their wealth – from successes as statesmen and lawyers, and from colonial connections and advantageous marriages – to create this magnificent place. "

The 6th Earl of Coventry collaborated with Robert Adam and Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown’ 'to create a grand house, on the site of the family’s earlier home, and one of the most innovative designed landscapes in Britain'. 

During the Second World War Croome was used as a secret wartime airbase.

'Looking closely at Croome' is the theme of half-term activities, beginning on Saturday, May 27. A family friendly activity booklet is available to purchase.

Activities have been inspired by the playful details of Thomas Bewick's wood engravings. There's also an activity booklet from The Wild Escape which takes place in the House at Croome. A Trust spokesperson said: "The Wild Escape is a major new project uniting hundreds of museums and schools in a celebration of UK wildlife and creativity."


Snowshill Manor and Garden

Worcester News: FASCINATING: Snowshill Manor FASCINATING: Snowshill Manor (Image: National Trust)

Snowshill Manor is in Gloucestershire, not far from Broadway, is a weird and wonderful place - especially for children because of its energetic eccentricity. I remember going there as a child and seeing the vaguely sinister suits of Samurai armour.

A spokesperson for the National Trust said: "Snowshill is a place like no other: a world away from ordinary and the unconventional home of the eccentric Charles Wade.

"In an idyllic Cotswolds setting he used architectural and theatrical techniques to dramatic effect and produced an experience like no other. Snowshill is a place filled with colour and intrigue, a delight to the senses. 

The garden is an extension of the manor set out in a series of rooms with far reaching views and unexpected delights including Wolf's Cove model village."

On Saturday, June 3 between 2pm and 3pm, visitors can enjoy Morris Dancing. Local Morris dancing club Shakespeare Morris return to Snowshill to preform some of their traditional dances. 



Coughton Court 

Worcester News: HISTORY: Coughton Court near Alcester HISTORY: Coughton Court near Alcester (Image: Zara Green)

Coughton Court is just over the border from Worcestershire in Warwickshire, near Alcester and Studley with beautiful gardens to explore and a rich history.

 It is the home of the Throckmorton family who have lived at Coughton since 1409. Although owned by the National Trust, the family still there. 

John de Throckmorton, Under Treasurer of England to Henry VI, acquired Coughton in the early 15th Century through his marriage to Eleanor de Spiney. 

A spokesperson said: "The present building was begun in the 15th Century and has since survived in a family who for much of that time were impoverished, persecuted or imprisoned for their adherence to the Catholic faith."

There is an activity shed for children 'with a wealth of games and activities to keep them busy'. Families can also stroll through ancient woodland.

On Saturday, May 27 between 11am and 5pm there is a chance for families to 'hunt for bugs in the woodland',

Visitors can bring along a kite to fly and play pooh sticks. A Creatures of Coughton booklet is available to see how many animals you can discover in the gardens.

A spokesperson said: "Don't forget to head over to the woodland and enjoy the natural play, kids can get messy in the mud kitchen, build dens and make a tune on the xylophone."


Greyfriars House and Garden

Worcester News: MEDIEVAL: Greyfriars in Friar Street, Worcester, pictured in a snowfall last December MEDIEVAL: Greyfriars in Friar Street, Worcester, pictured in a snowfall last December (Image: James Connell/Newsquest)

This late medieval merchant's house was rescued from demolition at 14 Friar Street, Worcester. It may not be as child friendly as some of the other places on the list in terms of activities but is a good base to explore the historic heart of the city - including the Cathedral, The Commandery and Tudor House. 

Greyfriars was built around 1490 by a wealthy merchant and was a home to wealthy families until the late 17th century.

In 1699 a baker purchased the lease and divided the house into two. It then became a mixture of homes, shops and businesses for the next 200 years. Trade varied and included leather goods, hats, bread and umbrellas, and for a brief time it housed a kiddlywink called the Oak Oak Tavern.

The National Trust says by the 1930s, fortunes had declined and Greyfriars was faced with demolition. A spokesperson said: "Fortunately, the house was rescued and carefully restored in the mid-20th century by a handful of dedicated individuals, most notably by siblings Elsie and Matley Moore."