A summer of science at Petworth House and Park

Petworth is hosting a series of family-friendly events all about science and engineering in honour of the scientific achievements of Elizabeth Ilive (1769- 1822), who lived at Petworth House from the late 1780s.

From workshops led by Dragon’s Den winners Sublime Science to wild drop-in craft activities all about water and rafts that’s sure to cause a splash, Petworth House has a mixture of fun and fascinating activities for families throughout the summer.

Cathy Hakes, Visitor Experience Manager says ‘This is a summer like no other at the National Trust, we have plenty of activities for families that are not only fun and exciting but also relevant to the curriculum and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths). What’s more, it’s great to be able to tie in these activities with the history of Petworth House and Park and a pioneering Georgian woman’


Incredible Inventions Family Trail £3 per trail

Running every day until 30 September, Petworth is inviting families to become an inventor extraordinaire and using clues dotted around the Pleasure Grounds, as well as familiar puzzles like dot-to-dot and a word jumble, create their own unique invention.

There is no right or wrong answer on this outdoor trail inspired by the cross-bar lever Elizabeth Ilive invented to help workers on the Petworth Estate lift heavy rocks.

Once completed families are rewarded with a certificate to the Petworth Young Inventors Society.


Plan it, Build it, Test it Family Craft Wednesdays in August
£2 per child

Wednesdays in August there’s a wave of activity with drop-in crafts all about water.

It’s also an opportunity to tick off an activity from the National Trust’s 50 Things to do before you’re 11 3⁄4

Sure to cause a splash, families can have a go at making their own model raft. Once they’ve planned their design and made their raft, families then have the opportunity to sail their creation down the Petworth water table and through its locks.

Will it sink? Will it float? In the spirit of science and engineering, if the raft doesn’t make it through the course then it’s back to the drawing board.


Science Saturdays with Sublime Science
4, 11 & 18 August, 11:30, 1:30 and 3pm.
£7 per child, Booking is essential on 0344 249 1895.

Led by the Dragons’ Den Winners Sublime Science, families can have a go at making their own gooey slime as well as their own tasty sweets to take home.

On this one hour workshop families can see ‘magic’ tricks and spectacular experiments such as disappearing water.

With smoke and bubbles galore, the workshops are inspired by the domestic laboratory and the experiments Elizabeth Ilive carried out at Petworth House.


Ilive’s laboratory reimagined

Inside the Servants’ Quarters visitors can find out more about Elizabeth Ilive and see a reimaging of the laboratory she developed at Petworth.

In this interactive exhibition there is scientific apparatus to use, chemical experiments to solve, a desk and quill for letter writing, a reading corner, an easel for picture drawing and a giant chalk board for visitors to devise their own equations.


The perfect place for a picnic

With 700 acres to explore, Petworth Park is also the perfect place for a picnic.

There are outdoor games to borrow over the summer holidays including Giant Jenga, cricket, croquet and skittles as well of plenty of walks around the lakes and ancient trees of Petworth Park.