How to make exploring UK Towns & Villages fun for kids!

A cobbled street in Rye, Sussex UK

My husband & I like exploring pretty towns & villages across the UK.  We love a wander, a stop for something to eat and a little browse of (& of course spending in) their independent stores.  That’s a nice day out for us.   

Now if we mention this plan to the kids, everything other than eating is met with a groan.  A really big groan.  And let’s be honest, if the kids aren’t having fun – nobody is having fun!  So what to do?  

Thankfully, for a recent day trip to the beautiful East Sussex town of Rye, we stumbled across a way to get in full-on explorer mode, keep everyone happy and still make time for cake!  

Let me tell you all about Treasure Trails! 

A stop on our Treasure Trail in Rye at Rye Castle
Rye Castle

Treasure trails are self-guided themed walks which take you around many of the UK’s villages, towns & cities in a fun – somewhat competitive – way.

From around £9.99, simply download & print-out your trail for your chosen destination. Each trail includes around 20 clues for you to solve as a family. 

From a set start-point, work your way around your location, marking the answers and eventually solving the mystery.  You can then input your answer online allowing you to download a certificate and be entered into a monthly draw to win £100!  

My son exploring a cobbled street in Rye, Sussex UK
A cobbled street in Rye

Why we loved Treasure Trails…

We were quite last-minute on our decision to head to Rye. A quick Google of things to do in Rye with kids threw up Treasure Trails.  The idea of doing something a little bit different was instantly appealing. We also liked the flexibility of it.   You didn’t need to plan your visit far in advance as the trail downloaded instantly.  Plus, there was no start time, as long as there was daylight, we could show up whenever we liked and take as long as we liked to complete it. We felt you couldn’t go far wrong for £10 either.  So we downloaded our pack.  

A murder mystery treasure trail for Rye, UK
Our Murder Mystery Treasure Trail for Rye.

Treasure Trails offer 3 themed trails, which are dependent on the location you go to.  There’s a Treasure Hunt, a Spy Trail & Murder Mystery.  The Rye trail is a murder mystery.  But don’t panic, it’s appropriately handled for young ones, no gruesome details to uncover!

Our Rye Murder Mystery Trail

The aim was to work out the culprit & the weapon used – a bit like Cluedo.  Answers to each clue, helped to rule out one or the other.  The start point (and our first clue) was at the Rye Heritage Centre and our two very excited kids were thrilled to get the first suspect ruled out.  And before they even thought to say, “How long until we eat?” they were off searching for the next clue.  

Searching around Rye for the next clue on our Treasure Trails Murder Mystery Trail
On the hunt for our next clue

To be honest, the kids – at ages 7 & 9 – wouldn’t have been able to find & solve all the clues completely by themselves.  They really did require help from Mum & Dad.  But if anything that’s what made Treasure Trails so good – we had to work as a family.  

Searching for the clues encouraged us all to have a good look at our surroundings, to walk down streets we might not have naturally stumbled across. 

Stopping to admire the cannons whilst in Rye with kids
We could be here a while!

We learned far more about where we were than if we had just rocked up for a look-around.  And we undoubtably covered more ground then we would have done without the trail.  Apparently you burn around 500-600 calories on a Treasure Trails walk! We were having fun though, so it didn’t feel like hard work. 

Our trail took us down cobbled streets, through church yards, up to the Rye Castle Museum & even some old stocks! 

Stopping to try out the old stocks in Rye whilst on our Treasure Trails adventure
I feel like my daughter is taking far too much pleasure from this 😉

At one point on the trail, you hit a street full of lovely independent cafe’s and restaurants, which is a great excuse to have a pause & grab something to re-fuel with.  We then picked up the remainder of our trail.   

Good to know:  If you get stuck on a clue, you can always use Treasure Trails ‘Stuck on a Clue’ SMS service.  

It took us around 3-hours to complete the trail including stopping for lunch.  We had completely gone at our own pace, pausing to explore things more fully when we wanted to. 

As a family, we all got something enjoyable out of our time in Rye.  I swear the kids were mentally filling out Police Detective applications in their heads upon solving the mystery!  

A stop on our treasure trails route
Rye is steeped in history

Who would I recommend Treasure Trails to? 

Obviously, I would recommend to anyone wanting to explore a quieter, more picturesque town or village with kids in tow (and by kids I mean ages 6+).  

However, I also feel if you’re a family looking for:

  • A reasonably priced day out 
  • A chance to get your kids away from screens
  • The opportunity to get some fresh air & exercise (without all the moaning & groaning)
  • A highly flexible experience that requires minimal planning
  • A fun way to learn more about somewhere new or even where you live (there a multiple Treasure Trails all over the UK) 

You really can’t go wrong with Treasure Trails.  Personally, they’ll factor high on a lot of our days-out exploring from now on.  

The House with two front doors in Rye, Sussex
One of many little ‘quirky’ things I loved in Rye

Useful information:

  • You can make the trail more personal by adding a photo and personalised text to the front cover of your trail – for an additional fee.
  • Without giving anything away, the end point is very close to the start point, so if you’ve parked where they’ve advised (For the Rye Treasure Trail it’s Gibbet Marsh Car Park) then you don’t have a big trek back to the car.  
  • Check the website for accessibility details of each trail.  The Rye trail wasn’t suitable for wheelchairs, but you could have negotiated a pushchair around it.  
  • For more information visit treasuretrails.co.uk 

Enjoyed my Treasure Trails review?  Why not read about our trip to Hever Castle

How to make exploring UK Towns & Villages fun for kids. My Treasure Trails review. A fun and inexpensive way to explore UK towns, villages & cities whilst providing fun for all the family! Click to find out more! #treasuretrails #halftermideas #daysoutwithkids #familyfun
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Have you done a Treasure Trail before with your family? Were you aware of them? Is this something you feel your family would enjoy too? Do you have any things that you do to make these day trips more fun for the kids? If you have any questions about our Treasure Trails experience or maybe about visiting Rye with kids in general – get in touch! I’m happy to help & always love to hear from you!

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8 thoughts on “How to make exploring UK Towns & Villages fun for kids!

  1. We loved it when we went to Rye – it’s just so pretty! I love the idea of the treasure trails for kids – it really encourages them to explore and take in their surroundings. I wasn’t aware that they ran, so it’s great to know. x

    1. Yes, we – as in my husband & I – felt that we got to spend a lot more time there and see a lot more of it as a result. Honestly, next time you go anywhere similar give it a go Lauretta! x

    1. Isn’t it just! I was relieved to finally have a way to keep everyone happy on these types of day trips. Thank you very much for reading x

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