Our top National Trust days out for Easter in the South West
Easter eggs, remote islands and waterside wanders
As the gardens bloom, the temperatures rise and the wildlife starts to wake up, say hello to spring with a day trip to one of the South West’s National Trust sites. Whether you’re met with balmy sunshine or the far too familiar April showers, step into the great outdoors and explore far and wide this Easter holiday.
Read our round-up of lesser explored National Trust favourites and embark on a memorable day out with family and friends this spring. We’ve also handpicked some fantastic holiday homes for the Easter break.
Knightshayes Country House and Gardens near Exmoor
© Denham Green via Flickr
The Knightshayes Estate features William Burges-designed Gothic architecture, a post-war garden and nineteenth century parkland. Finished with quirky turrets and a vibrant fruit and vegetable garden, this opulent home is the result of many layers of history.
Whether you’re spotting pond life in between the water lilies, picking rhubarb in the walled kitchen garden or getting competitive with a Cadbury Easter egg hunt, Knightshayes is great for all generations. From 28th March – 19th April, decipher fact from fiction in the ‘batty about bats trail’ for a chance to win a special prize. What’s more, you might even be lucky enough to spot Exmoor horn sheep or bats during your visit.
Perched on the edge of Exmoor, Upcott Farm is the epitome of a pastoral paradise. Sleeping up to 12 and welcoming both horses and dogs, enjoy outdoor explorations from dusk until dawn.
Upcott Farm is available from 27th March – 10th April.
Bideford Bay and Hartland Reserve in North Devon
© David Jones via Flickr
Rolling countryside, enchanting woodland and miles of unspoilt coastline – it’s unsurprising that Bideford Bay and Hartland is renowned for its rugged beauty. Referenced as a key point of inspiration behind Rudyard Kipling’s work, transport to a serene state of mind as you explore North Devon’s spellbinding coast and countryside.
Between 27th March and 13th April, split into teams and search for clues in the woods as you join the Brownsham family nature trail. Perfect for multi-generations and families, pick up the free map from the car park and let the exploring commence.
Grand and luxurious, The Downes is a Grade II listed Georgian holiday home overlooking the rolling Torridge Valley. After exploring the woodland trails, relax in the outdoor heated swimming pool.
The Downes is available from 27th March – 9th April.
Overbeck’s Museum and Garden in South Devon
© Gary Crutchley via Flickr
Perched on the cliffs above Salcombe, the former seaside home of scientist and inventor Otto Overbeck is surrounded by hidden subtropical gardens. Characterised by bright colours and exotic plants, this incredible paradise benefits from Salcombe’s warm and sheltered climate.
With elegant maple trees, cascading wisteria and Japanese bananas, this gorgeous reserve has a strong Japanese influence running throughout. Even the tearoom serves Japanese-inspired cream teas, complete with refreshing cups of matcha.
During the Easter holidays between 30th March – 13th April, gather the family together for a flora trail. Let your imagination run wild, as you become a plant hunter tasked to uncover eight key Japanese plants around the garden. Upon completion, expect to take home a palm seedling for a special Easter keepsake.
From botanical gardens to a seaside abode, finish the day with al fresco dinners on Avocet’s sea-view terrace in Bigbury-on-Sea, before evening dips in the hot tub.
Avocet is available for the three Easter weeks.
Tintagel Old Post Office in North Cornwall
Acquired in 1903, Tintagel Old Post Office is the National Trust’s first built property in Cornwall. Home to a cottage garden, Victorian post counter and wavy slate roof, this fourteenth century farmhouse makes a unique day out.
In between searching for Easter eggs from 10th – 13th April, watch the children role play either side of the Victorian-themed post office counter before enjoying some traditional garden games outdoors.
Keeping tradition firmly at its heart, The Yellow Cottage in Trebarwith Strand is only ten minutes away from Tintagel by car. Pairing New England interiors with contemporary details, this beachside home-from-home is perfect for a family Easter escape.
The Yellow Cottage is available from 27th March – 17th April.
Brownsea Island in Dorset
© Stanley Eastwood via Flickr
Benefitting from heart melting views across the Purbeck Hills, Brownsea Island is a remote eco-system bursting with wildlife. To venture across the water, either hop into a small wooden boat from Sandbanks Jetty or board the yellow ferry from Poole Quay.
Spot rare red squirrel, kingfishers and oystercatchers before stopping off at the Outdoor Centre’s scout-themed playground. Whether you’re polishing up on your bush craft skills with a Junior Ranger Day or whiling away the hours with crazy golf, enjoy a taste of the quieter lifestyle away from the crowds.
Located just around the headland from Brownsea Island, enjoy sociable Easter banquets in Kirrin’s open plan living area before exploring the surrounding beaches and nature reserves.
Kirrin is available from 27th March – 17th April.
Greenway Estate in Devon
© Barry Haines via Flickr
Completely charming, Greenway was once the holiday home of Agatha Christie. Follow in the Christie family’s footsteps and explore their fascinating collections of books, botanical china and Tunbridgeware.
If you can tear yourself away from the romantic garden, vinery and allotment, join one of the free guided ‘step into spring’ walking routes. Taking place on 5th and 12th April, soak up the far-reaching views and country lanes before relaxing by the beach. If you can’t resist an Easter egg hunt, transform into a wildlife detective between 2nd – 19th April.
If you’re inspired by riverside views, choose Blue Moorings as the perfect Easter base in Dartmouth. Perfect for smaller families, this tranquil home-from-home overlooks the peaceful waterway.
Blue Moorings is available for the three Easter weeks.
Click here to find the Easter holiday home for you.