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Treasure Hunts for Kids

Fossil hunting on Jurassic Coast. Photo by jlcwalker (Flickr)Fancy doing something different with the kids? Tired of the usual family attractions? Treasure hunts are what you need. You pick your location, download or buy the treasure hunt trail, and take off on foot, by bike or by car to find buried treasure, solve a murder mystery or be a spy for the afternoon. Trails start from around a fiver and can be downloaded or sent straight to your phone, making for a cheap, easy and different day out.

There are hundreds of treasure hunts around the country, in every county and for all ages. We've rounded up five of the best here:

Jurassic Coast, Dorset: Hunt for the fossilised remains of one of the deadliest dinosaurs ever known, the “Doyouthinkhesaurus”, buried somewhere along the Jurassic Coast of east Devon. This is a 27 mile trail taking about five hours, going from Exmouth in East Devon through Budleigh Salterton, Otterton, Sidmouth, Branscombe and Beer, and finishing in Seaton near the Dorset border.

Where to stay: We have dozens of sites in Devon including several near Exmouth – check out the family park Cofton Country Holidays, or Coast View Holiday Park overlooking Lyme Bay.

Kendal Pub Trail, Cumbria: Search for the recipe of legendary Kendal ale Laal Finkle, lost for centuries but now possibly about to resurface with the help of an ancient map. This trail has clues set outside twenty pubs around Kendal, starting at The Ring O’ Bells in Kirkland and covering about two and a half miles. There are plenty of restaurants and cafés along the way for pit stops.

Where to stay: From our sites in Cumbria, there are camping pitches and camping pods within 15 miles of Kendale – try Lakeland Leisure Park for tents, tourers and motorhomes, or Hawkshead Youth Hostel for tent pitches and a family camping pod. 

Portpatrick, Dumfries and Galloway: Follow the clues to find ancient bullion smuggled onshore from one of the shipwrecks off Portpatrick by Pete, a 19th century salvager. The trail is about a mile and a half long and should take around an hour and a half. Once you've solved the mystery, the Portpatrick area has cliff walks, a golf club, bowls club, fishing, and a clifftop walk to Dunskey Castle.

Where to stay: Sands of Luce Holiday Park and Whitecairn Holiday Park are both in Dumfries and Galloway and within 13 miles of Portpatrick - there's a beach only a minute away at Sands of Luce and stargazing at Whitecairn. 

Colne and Pendle, Lancashire: Start off on foot in the town of Colne to answer some puzzlers, then take to your car or bike for a 25 mile trail. The route goes along the back roads and through the hills of Pendle, finishing up in the village of Waddington. There are several villages along the way and the area in general has plenty of history and heritage, from the 17th century Pendle witch trials to the Iron Age bridge at Wycoller.

Where to Stay: Take your pick from several sites in Lancashire – go to sleep overlooking the moors at Moorlands Caravan Park, or take in a spot of fishing at the quiet Wyreside Lakes Fishery site.

Pembroke Castle, Pembrokeshire: A murder mystery trail to help the local police find out about a skeleton in the dungeon of 11th century Pembroke Castle – who did in Mr Bones? The trail should take about two hours and is two miles long, starting at the Tourist Information Centre. It goes up some hills and slopes, but they're all paved so wheelchairs and pushchairs shouldn't be a problem.

Where to stay: Pick from several sites near Pembroke and plenty in Pembrokeshire – stay in a yurt at Idos Camping, or try the organic smallholding at North Lodge.