The National Memorial Arboretum, in Staffordshire, is preparing to welcome thousands of families, following the launch of the 150-acre garden and woodland site’s summer activity programme.

Families flocking to the Arboretum will be able to enjoy a wide range of activities celebrating the ongoing contribution of Our Everyday Heroes in the emergency services. 

“This summer we have once again created a selection of fun and engaging activities for all ages,” said Chris Ansell, Head of Participation and Learning.

“We’ve worked hard to find new ways to shine a spotlight on the tireless efforts made by Our Everyday Heroes during the pandemic and the incredible work they do in our communities all year round.”  

Image courtesy of Visit Lichfield

Outdoor Escape Challenges

Building on last year’s successful programme, a pair of new intriguing outdoor escape challenges have been launched, inviting visitors to embark on a thrilling crime-cracking adventure, working as a team to try and foil a bank robbery.  

As they work to crack a series of mind-bending puzzles, teams will visit some of the many memorials connected to the emergency services, including the new UK Police Memorial which was dedicated last week. 

Operation Kingpin (£12 per team) is designed for families (ages 8+) and takes around two hours to complete.

Meanwhile, experienced puzzle crackers can take on Operation Vault (£15 per team) which takes two to three hours to complete.  

“Our exciting outdoor escape challenges were incredibly popular last summer and this year we’re pleased to take the concept to another level with a pair of exciting new adventures,” said Ansell.

“Your mental skills will be put to the test as you venture around our 150-acre site, seeking answers to a series of puzzles that will help you work with the police to stop a nefarious gang of bank robbers from executing a successful heist.” 

Our Everyday Heroes

The new free Our Everyday Heroes exhibition, in the Remembrance Centre explores the work of the emergency services, volunteer organisations and the Armed Forces in their roles of protecting the public and safeguarding people from harm, particularly throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

It includes sections on the Fire Services, Police, NHS, volunteer organisations, the Armed Forces, emergency vehicles and animal support.

A timeline charts major historical events, and there is a display of emergency service uniforms. 

Our Everyday Heroes Activity Packs (£2 per person), perfect for younger visitors, will help them to discover the memorials connected to the invaluable work of military organisations that have supported the pandemic response. 

It includes sticker trails, a puzzle sheet to complete in the Our Everyday Heroes exhibition, complete-at-home craft activities, and a special wooden badge. 

The Stick Man Trail

The hugely popular free Stick Man activity trail will continue to be available for the very youngest visitors to enjoy, in addition to both Children’s Play Areas. 

Anyone planning to visit the National Memorial Arboretum this summer is strongly encouraged to pre-book.

The Arboretum is continuing to control capacity for the comfort of all visitors and pre-booking is recommended to guarantee entry. 

“We have a fantastic array of family activities on offer this summer and expect to welcome thousands of families before the end of the holidays,” said Mark Ellis, Head of Visitor Experience.

“To ensure we can offer a high-quality experience for all visitors we are continuing to control the number of people on site. You can now pre-book tickets up until the end of the summer holidays and we recommend people book to guarantee their entry.”

Things to do near the National Memorial Arboretum

Why not stay over this summer and explore the fantastic attractions and countryside near the National Memorial Arboretum?

The National Forest Adventure Farm is home to Dino Summer until 1st September, with T-Rex Taming in the Dino Training Shows, a hungry velociraptor on the hunt on the Raptor Run, and the challenging Dino Maize Maze.

Lichfield Cathedral hosts the spectacular light and sound show, The Great Exhibition 2021: SCIENCE from 19th to 30th August, offering an unforgettable multi-sensory experience with the magnificent cathedral as the canvas.

And there are wide open spaces like The National Forest and Chasewater Country Park for a relaxing stroll too!

Head to our Things to Do in Staffordshire section for more things to do in Lichfield.

Places to stay near the National Memorial Arboretum

Whether you are looking for a bolthole for the family, or a luxurious escape with someone special, there are some great places to stay near the National Memorial Arboretum.

Choose from a Thomas-themed stay at the Drayton Manor Hotel, followed by a day of mayhem in the theme park, or the peace and tranquility of Swinfen Hall Hotel, with its own deer park and stunning views.

Football fans will love the Hilton at St George's Park, which was home to Gareth Southgate and the England men's squad during Euro2020, while St John's House is perfect for an indulgent stay, in the heart of Lichfield.

Search our Accommodation section for places to stay in Lichfield.

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Lichfield Cathedral
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Lichfield Cathedral is a medieval Cathedral with 3 spires set in its own Close and is treasured landmark in the heart of the country that prides itself in offering a warm welcome to all our visitors.

The National Forest
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An environmentally friendly attraction that includes a visitor centre, lakeside cafe, activities such as wake-boarding, sailing, water skiing, nature walks and nearby heritage steam railway.

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For visitors travelling from further afield or simply looking to turn a day trip into an overnight stay, there’s also the luxurious four-star Drayton Manor Hotel. It has 150 bedrooms, including 15 Thomas & Friends themed family rooms, each with a unique hand-painted scene on the wall and ceiling, themed bunk beds, and train track patterned carpets in the corridors leading to each room.

Swinfen Hall Hotel
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Front entrance of Swinfen Hall Hotel

Winner - Gold Award - Enjoy Staffordshire Small Hotel of the Year 2019. The only hotel in Staffordshire awarded the AA’s coveted red stars and a three AA-rosette restaurant in a Grade II listed Manor House. Two miles South of Lichfield and ten minutes from the National Memorial Arboretum.

Hilton at St George's Park
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Outside the Hilton Hotel

​​​​​​​Winner - Silver Award - Enjoy Staffordshire Large Hotel of the Year 2019. Located in the national home of English Football, the Hilton at St George's Park boasts stylish guest rooms, exceptional cuisine and a luxurious health club and spa - the perfect choice for a special countryside get-away.

St John's House
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St John's House is a grade II regency house no more than 200 metres from all of Lichfield's amenities. Function room available.