Sports and sorts

Beginner, enthusiast or Olympic athlete: when it comes to sport, the Trust caters for all levels. In England, Wales and Northern Ireland you’re never more than 40 minutes away from a National Trust location, and with walking, cycling, running, canoeing and other sports on offer in beautiful surroundings, there has never been a better time to get active.

With over 700 miles of coastline, 600,000 acres of countryside and 300 historic buildings the National Trust have plenty of perfect locations for people to get outdoors and healthy.

In 2012 an exciting partnership between Sports England was forged — this partnership is providing help with establishing sports at National Trust places. The focus is on getting more beginners to participate in running, cycling and water sports by offering better facilities such as bike racks, sports facilities and new trails for cycling and orienteering, as well as beginner sport taster sessions.


Our places offer perfect running terrain – with better views than the gym. Yet, many people who go walking on our land would never consider running there. This is changing, however, and running groups are forming at Trust places across the country (such as in Gibside, Nostell Priory, AttinghamPark, Kingston Lacy, Knowle, Woolacombe and Tyntesfield).

At Penrose in Cornwall, an ‘outdoor gym’ has been set up around the lake’s running track, using natural materials to create high and low bars, a sit-up plank and balance beams. parkrun, a free, weekly 5km (three-mile) run, open to all ages and abilities, where participants compete against themselves rather than each other to better their own time, has been introduced at seven Trust sites and is set to rise.

Five National Trust park runs

  1. PlymValley, Plymouth
  2. Wimpole Estate, Cambridge
  3. Killerton, Devon
  4. SheringhamPark, Norfolk
  5. Tredegar House, Newport

The National Trust also organises a number of iconic running events such as the Grasmere Gallop, the Killerton running festival, the Durham Coast Half Marathon, the Mad Jack’s 5 at Attingham and many more.


Box Hill took centre stage last year as the destination for the Olympic cycling road race, putting the National Trust and cycling together in the spotlight. Cycling is perfect for beginners, and the Trust offers everything from family-friendly bike rides to challenging mountain bike trails. Mountain bike working holidays in the Lake District and Exmoor combine guided rides with trail maintenance, and local trail volunteer groups have been set up in Somerset, the Peak District and Northumberland. If you’re keen to have a go, but don’t own a bike, some Trust sites like Clumber Park, Hatfield Forest, Wicken Fen and Llanerchaeron even have bike rental available. –


Top five rides

  1. ClumberPark, Nottinghamshire
  2. Leigh Woods, Bristol
  3. Killerton, Devon
  4. Wicken Fen, Cambridgeshire
  5. Castle Ward, County Down

The National Trust also organises a number of cycling events such as the Hidden Peak Sportive, the Kingston Lacy Sportive, and many more.

Water sports

The Trust’s 700 miles of coastline provides ideal entry points for canoeists, surfers, and wild swimmers. There’s a new swimming working holiday in north Devon, a downloadable canoe trail on the Salcombe Estuary, kayaking taster sessions at Brancaster Activity Centre or a long distance swim around BrownseaIsland. There are a number of new canoeing taster sessions this summer at Nostell Priory, AttinghamPark, Stackpole in Wales and from Studland beach in Dorset. It can be restful and contemplative, or challenging and exhilarating.


Other sports

We are working on a number of other sports to offer new events and experiences at our places. Keep your eye out for the new triathlon we are holding at Fountains Abbey with the Brownlee brothers, or have a go at beach volleyball next time you are down at Studland beach. We want to help everyone make the most of our incredible open-air spaces, and one of the best ways to enjoy the great outdoors is through sport. Whether its running, cycling, canoeing, volleyball, fishing or one of the many others not mentioned, the opportunities are huge.

To find an event near you why not use our events finder or checkout our website


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