Hunting for Advent boxes at Hinton Ampner

​​After catching up with my family in Hampshire on Boxing Day, it’s starting to become a tradition to have a day out in the local area. Last year we enjoyed a couple of days out at Uppark and Fort Nelson. This year we decided to visit Hinton Ampner and do their family Christmas trail together.


Themed trails are such a fabulous way of making a walk a little more interesting for the girls. If there’s something to look out for along the way, they will happily walk for a reasonable distance without really noticing how far they’re walking. It’s especially good for Jessica who gets out of breath quite quickly on longer walks. Having little milestones along the way with a chance to stop and take a breather makes it much easier for her to cope with the walk.

Sophie opening one of the advent boxes at Hinton Ampner: "Hunting for Advent boxes at Hinton Ampner"

Hubby and the girls admiring the scenery

We found the first few advent boxes in the walled garden. The layout here wasn’t very well suited to trying to do them in the correct order but it didn’t really matter! Each box contained an item relating to Christmas. Most of the time we just needed to write what was in the box on the activity sheet. A couple of the boxes had some activities to do too, such as a dot-to-dot puzzle or drawing a picture.


Jessica walking through the walled garden at Hinton Ampner

Sophie doing a dot-to-dot puzzle on the advent trail map

Along the way, we also spotted a model of Santa’s sleigh along with some of his reindeer. The girls couldn’t resist sitting in the sleigh for a few minutes. Sophie wanted to sit on one of the reindeer which were just the right height for a toddler.  I’m not sure they would have survived the experience! Thankfully we managed to distract her with the trail map and moved on before any reindeer were harmed!


Sophie standing next to the model reindeer holding the mapSophie and Jessica opening one of the boxes next to the church at Hinton Ampner

The trail was a nice length – it took us a little over an hour to do and took us all around the grounds near the house. We had to count all the Christmas trees along the way as well as looking out for the boxes.


Jessica and Sophie opening one of the boxes near the house next to a decorated Christmas tree

It is always lovely to watch Jessica and Sophie exploring together. They are often at their happiest when out and about. I loved how they stopped to give each other a kiss when they found a box of mistletoe! Going out for a walk was the perfect way to blow away the cobwebs. We came back feeling refreshed and ready for another round of family visits!


Jessica and Sophie sharing a kiss next to an advent box containing mistletoe

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall



  1. January 7, 2017 / 12:20 am

    Now I know how all those lovely Instagram photos fit together. Kissing under the mistletoe is gorgeous. They really are good friends. I am with you all the way about the fun of trails. We had a reindeer trail this year with letters to collect and make the work Reindeer, it was even more popular than I’d imagined and has already got me thinking ahead to next year. I hope the girls don’t grow out of those red coats too quickly, they are so pretty. Lots more outings to get the wear out of them!

    Thank you for linking up to the 1st #CountryKids of 2017

    • Louise
      January 10, 2017 / 2:35 pm

      Thank you Fiona – I love that mistletoe photo. The reindeer trail sounds like it was a lot of fun. I love the girls’ red coats – they were a gift from my mum and I’m hoping we’ll have plenty of adventures out and about wearing them 🙂

  2. January 7, 2017 / 12:36 am

    Love that last photo. I love trails and think they’re a great way to distract kids from walking, but N isn’t so keen. I’ve no idea why. Unless of course there s an Easter egg at the end #countrykids

    • Louise
      January 10, 2017 / 2:36 pm

      Thank you Emma. The Easter egg trails are good too – having something at the end is a good incentive! 🙂

  3. January 7, 2017 / 8:57 am

    Bless looks like your girls had a lovely time! And themed trails are brilliant for engaging the little ones (and the adults for that matter) 🙂 xx #countrykids

    • Louise
      January 10, 2017 / 2:37 pm

      Thank you Josefine – we do love a themed trail! 🙂

  4. January 7, 2017 / 9:18 am

    Awww such a cute idea. You’d love geocaching too – similar idea but the caches are harder to find and there’s no mistletoe ! -) #countrykids

    • Louise
      January 10, 2017 / 2:37 pm

      Thank you Cheryl – we’ve been geocaching a couple of times and I really enjoy it. The kids do get a bit bored if the caches are tricky to find but they love it when we do manage to find one! 🙂

  5. January 7, 2017 / 10:14 am

    Oh these are lovely photos – especially the mistletoe one! We love a trail walk as well – always more interesting! #countrykids

    • Louise
      January 10, 2017 / 2:38 pm

      Thank you Rachel – trails are great aren’t they? 🙂

  6. January 7, 2017 / 10:37 am

    Love themed trails too, though admittedly we haven’t done one in ages! This looks so much fun and looks like the girls loved it too 🙂 #countrykids

    • Louise
      January 10, 2017 / 2:38 pm

      Thank you Dean – this was a fun one, we all enjoyed it 🙂

  7. January 7, 2017 / 2:40 pm

    What a fun way to explore the grounds! We love scavenger type hunts and it looks like your girls had a wonderful time. Happy New Year! #countrykids

    • Louise
      January 10, 2017 / 2:40 pm

      Thank you Keitha – it was a lot of fun 🙂

  8. January 7, 2017 / 3:00 pm

    I love National Trust properties at Christmas, especially the trails for kids. Hinton Apner is on our list of places we’d like to visit when we’re back on Hampshire his year. How cute that the girls kissed at the mistletoe #countrykids

    • Louise
      January 10, 2017 / 2:41 pm

      Thank you Claire – National Trust properties are such great places to visit, getting membership was one of the best decisions we made 🙂

  9. January 7, 2017 / 3:25 pm

    We live just round the corner from Hinton Ampner and it’s one of many National Trust properties in Hampshire. We’re lucky we have so many near us. Looks like you had a fab time. Happy New Year #CountryKids xx

    • Louise
      January 10, 2017 / 2:41 pm

      How lovely to live so close by – it’s such a beautiful place – and to have lots of other properties close by too. Happy New Year to you too! 🙂

  10. January 7, 2017 / 5:47 pm

    That’s such a lovely idea for a trail and a nice setting there too isn’t it. We popped in a couple of years ago when we’d been on the Watercress Line and keep meaning to go back. Looks like lots of fun was had #CountryKids

    • Louise
      January 10, 2017 / 2:44 pm

      Thanks Mary – I forgot the Watercress Line was nearby – will have to remember that next time we are in the area! 🙂

  11. January 7, 2017 / 9:15 pm

    I live in Hampshire but have only managed Hinton Ampner once which is slightly disappointing. Last year we managed the Mottisfont Abbey 12 days of Christmas trail but I think I might have to go to this one, and that photo of the 2 girls with the mistletoe is priceless! Happy New Year to you all #CountryKids

    • Louise
      January 10, 2017 / 2:44 pm

      Thanks Sherry – Mottisfont is a lovely place, haven’t been there for years! Happy New Year to you too 🙂

  12. January 7, 2017 / 9:18 pm

    Adorable. Looks like they had a wonderful time exploring. Happy New Year to you and looking forward to seeing more posts this year xx

    • Louise
      January 10, 2017 / 2:45 pm

      Thank you Karen – they had a fab time. Happy New Year to you too! 🙂

  13. January 8, 2017 / 10:15 am

    Oh I love this idea! Treasure hunts are so much fun. We used to do an adult treasure hunt with my dad when I was a teenager. We’d drive around the countryside looking for clues. I loved it!

    • Louise
      January 10, 2017 / 2:53 pm

      I love treasure hunts – we did a driving one a few years back and loved it. So much fun 🙂

  14. January 8, 2017 / 2:55 pm

    The mistletoe kissing is so gorgeous! I agree, trails making walking with the little ones so much more engaging! I love this advent trail idea and it is making me wish it was Christmas again – we were so busy we didn’t manage to do any in the run up to Christmas! #countrykids

    • Louise
      January 10, 2017 / 2:55 pm

      Thank you – it’s hard to find the time in the run-up to Christmas isn’t it? We would have missed out too if we hadn’t managed to go between Christmas and New Year.

  15. January 9, 2017 / 8:23 am

    What a fun little adventure! That is so cute kisses under the mistletoe. Your girls are adorable. ❤️ #countrykids

    • Louise
      January 10, 2017 / 6:33 pm

      Thank you so much Karen – I loved that moment with the mistletoe 🙂

  16. January 9, 2017 / 10:36 am

    Awww that sounds like a lovely way to spend a day. Themed walks are really fab for little ones aren’t they. We have a couple of places that run them near us and Boo loves them. Her favourite is the ‘hedgehog trail’

    • Louise
      January 10, 2017 / 6:34 pm

      Thank you Jenni – glad Boo enjoys themed walks too, I love the sound of the hedgehog trail 🙂

  17. January 9, 2017 / 10:19 pm

    We have been on so many trails over Christmas but never to uncover advent boxes! This looks like such a great adventure and that photo at the end is just perfect x

    • Louise
      January 10, 2017 / 6:38 pm

      Thank you Emma – this was our first time with advent boxes and we loved it 🙂

  18. January 10, 2017 / 7:23 pm

    We love trails. Our favourites are the ones that take us round woodland areas or parks. Our favourite of all time was the Stickman trail we did Christmas 2015, it was so much fun. #countrykids

    • Louise
      January 10, 2017 / 8:06 pm

      The Stickman trail is fab – we did that one last year too. So glad you enjoyed it too 🙂

  19. stacey
    January 11, 2017 / 9:30 pm

    This trail looks fab. How cute when they kissed by the mistletoe.

    • Louise
      January 16, 2017 / 11:28 am

      It was such a lovely moment, I was so glad I captured it 🙂

  20. January 12, 2017 / 1:12 pm

    It looks like you had a lot of fun, my kids love these kind of trials too. Mich x

    • Louise
      January 16, 2017 / 11:31 am

      Thank you – we loved it! Trails are so much fun, aren’t they? 🙂

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