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Free fun for kids this summer at Westonbirt Arboretum

JULY 2013

With the summer holidays reportedly costing parents up to 50 per cent more per week, the Forestry Commission’s National Arboretum at Westonbirt plans to help families enjoy the summer for less.

Natural play. Westonbirt ArboretumFrom 20 July – 1 September Westonbirt Arboretum is offering free admission for children and six weeks of fun, trails and crafts for the whole family to enjoy.

A recent study conducted by the Forestry Commission revealed that 91 per cent of parents believed that the cost of entertaining their children in the summer holidays rocketed by up to 50 per cent compared to during term time, while nearly half (48%) admitted they dread the cost of occupying their children each summer.

Rather than spending money on expensive excursions or indoor activities, the Forestry Commission is urging parents to look at their local forests as a one stop shop for all kind of activities and there are plenty of events to enjoy at Westonbirt this summer.

From the 30 July – 1 August Westonbirt Arboretum will be full of mysterious characters for Forest Folk. Children can use the arboretum for inspiration and then use natural materials to create their own woodland goblins.

Then from 6 – 8 August, visitors can discover how over a quarter of all medicines have plant origins at Tree Potions, finding out about treatments for cancer, bird flu, sunburn and memory loss and learn how to make astronaut cream.

On 13 – 15 August visitors can go back in time to when all the trees were young with Trees for Time Travellers and discover how Westonbirt was first created before exploring the future and learning about Westonbirt’s rising tree stars.

Find out how trees make the world go round at Wooden Wonders, 23 – 26 August and discover how wood contributes to our daily lives while making wood products. And if that’s not enough the summer line-up finishes with the ultimate celebration of trees at Westonbirt’s summer Bank Holiday event, Treefest on the 24 – 26 August.

The festival will celebrate woodworking, with opportunities for families to try crafts and watch as traditional wood carvers create enchanting fairytale-inspired sculptures.

Alongside over 100 craft exhibitors and a Food Hall filled with delicious produce, woodworking will be further celebrated with a larger Working Woodlands exhibitor area.

Families can follow a trail around the festival to enjoy storytellers and puppet theatre, watch falconry and – new to this year’s event – see axe carving and racing from The Welsh Axemen.

The festival also includes an entertaining programme of live music from local bands.

More information on summer activities is available at

Westonbirt Arboretum is three miles south west of Tetbury on the A433. It is 10 miles north-east of junction 18 of the M4 and south-east of junction 13 of the M5.

Admission is £8 for adults and £7 for concessions. Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum visit free.



1. Westonbirt, The National Arboretum is managed by the Forestry Commission and is renowned worldwide for its tree and shrub collection. Home to the National Japanese Maple Collection, the arboretum covers 243 hectares (600 acres) and contains 16,000 specimens. Visitor numbers are over 350,000 a year, with a membership of over 28,000. Westonbirt Arboretum was established in the 1850s by wealthy landowner Robert Holford, and later developed by his son George Holford.  Unlike many arboretums, Westonbirt is laid out according to aesthetic appeal rather than scientific or geographical criteria. Visit

2. The Forestry Commission is the government department responsible in England for protecting, expanding and promoting the sustainable management of woods and forests and increasing their value to society and the environment.  Forestry makes a real contribution to sustainable development, providing social and environmental benefits arising from planting and managing attractive, as well as productive, woodlands.  Further information can be found at

3. The Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum was formed in 1985. The charity’s objects are to support the National Arboretum in promoting public understanding of the crucial role of trees to the environment and society. It is funded by membership receipts from over 28,000 members, other fundraising, and the use of the Great Oak Hall for events and activities. The Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum is a registered charity no. 293190. More information at

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Last updated: 10th July 2017

England's Woods and Forests are cared for by Forest Enterprise England, an agency of the Forestry Commission.