Reviewed by Elly Sax
In the last 18 months it feels like myself and my family have done every footpath and park going within a 5 mile radius of our house. We have re-discovered old walks we had forgotten and found some new ones. But as varied as you try to make them a walk is just a walk, and much as we love a family walk, sometimes you want something more interesting, more challenging, and dare I day it, educational. This is where Treasure Trails come in.
Started in 2005, Treasure Trails began as a one off trail, written for a charity event in the home town of the founder Steve Ridd. It proved popular and so Steve completed some more trails in and around Cornwall, selling them at local craft shows. Gathering momentum by 2008 there were 8 franchises writing Trails across the UK, more staff were brought in to help boost the business and it has definitely worked. Around 1million people in the UK have now completed a trail … me, the kids and a couple of their mates were soon to join that number.
I honestly wish I had known about Treasure Trails during the periods of lockdown we have all endured as they would have been fantastic to do as a family, but I only found out about them recently when I was asked to complete a review. I went onto the website to choose my trail and was impressed with the options available. You can opt to print your trail yourself, great if you decide to do one last minute, or you can have it sent out in the post. You can even personalise them which would be lovely for a gift. At the moment, if you order 2 or more, you can also get a code for a free family snack pack to munch as you explore. I chose the Treasure Trail nearest to me which was a detective case and was city centre based. There were in fact 2 Trails for the city so I chose the slightly shorter one as we had a toddler with us. In fact I was surprised to find that there were actually 8 within 10 miles of us and most were accessible easily by public transport. I think these Trails would be an excellent addition to a staycation, great for encouraging the kids to do a bit more walking too. I liked that the trail was paper based, easily popped into a backpack and not bulky, we found it useful to have some paper and a pencil with us as some of the clues involved a bit of maths.
When you open the pack you are presented with a case file. Ours was a detective themed trail, we had pictures of suspects and a list of possible weapons and had 18 clues to follow in total to solve the crime of who had done it and how. Fact files interspersed with the clues added to the enjoyment by giving extra bits of information and history regarding things we saw along the way.
We started out and found the first few clues easy to follow, but the creators have thought of everything, each Treasure Trail has a unique code printed in the back and should you get stuck on a clue you can text Police Headquarters and get some help. We didn’t need to use this facility but it us nice to know it is there. The directions which took us from one clue to the next were really easy to follow. We were able to navigate the whole trail using just the Treasure Trail, no need for maps at all. Some of the clues were really easy to find the answer, the younger children in our group were aged 3 and 6 and they managed to help find and spell out answers. The older two were 9 and 10 and they loved the more challenging clues where they had to solve a riddle or calculate an answer. The older ones also really enjoyed navigating the group around the streets. We did make one error and had to retrace our steps but it was easy to fix and we got straight back on track. Once completed there is the option to upload your answer to the Treasure Trails website and if correct you will be entered into a monthly prize draw to win £100 plus extra goodies.
We were all familiar with the city our trail covered but it was great to explore our home town from a new perspective. Included at the start of the trail was information about where to park if you had driven, location of public toilets, places for refreshments and also recommended places for picnics. We didn’t need to use this as had local knowledge but it is great to know that this information is included for when we order a trail for an area which is new to us. As well as this the trail gives information about the distance you will cover, approximately how long it will take to complete, how accessible the trail is and also who it is suitable for ie: families, wheelchair users, children in pushchairs. Again, we knew the city centre one would suit us but this information is great to know for when you are using a trail in an unfamiliar city.
All in all I thought the Treasure Trail was great fun, ours was listed as 1.5 hours, but with stops for drinks, toilet breaks and a picnic it took us about 3 hours in total. The price of the trail is really affordable and I think these would make excellent gifts for Christmas or a Birthday and what is really nice is that they are suitable for all ages. A fantastic and fun way to spend quality time with friends and family.
RRP: £9.99 with free postage and packing
This product can be purchased from www.treasuretrails.co.uk.