Just over 2 weeks ago we stepped into the unknown on a family Christmas adventure in the woods. We were invited to try out Buried Treasure Adventures, a new local venture based in Trentham, Staffs. Before agreeing I decided to do a little research and checked out their website and Facebook page.
Only, I actually came away with more questions than answers but I was hooked and a little ball of excitement was beginning to build up inside of me. Why?
Shhhh It’s A Secret
Well, because everything about Buried Treasure Adventures is shrouded in secrecy. This only adds to the experience so I’ll be careful not to give too many spoilers away. The website is purposely vague and events are advertised and posted on Facebook with no explanation of what to expect.
So, What Can I Tell You?
Well, if you’re a fan of the outdoors, don’t mind a bit of mud and also love a bit of modern technology then you’ll enjoy a Buried Treasure adventure. If you feel like the old grey matter is becoming a bit stagnant then this is for you, and finally if you don’t mind laughing at yourself, getting lost in the woods and having to ask for help then you’re already well set up. Think of a cross between an escape room and forest school and you’re pretty close to the mark.
The Booking Journey
Once you’ve decided to book your experience you’ll be transferred into the capable hands of Captain Metalbeard [a robot pirate] who will guide you on your journey, he likes a rhyme or two and will happily call you an imbecile if you get an answer wrong (not that we did of course, I’m merely guessing this might be the case, ahem).
Your experience will be tailored to your group so you will be asked to provide some basic information such as names and ages of everyone in your party, and the distance and length of time you would like your adventure to take. Buried Treasure Adventures cater for all ages, and some routes are buggy friendly too, but on this occasion we decided to leave Eli (12 months) with Nana and take our two intrepid explorers Stanley (5 years) and James (2 years) with us.
There is a very specific way in which you will be told to start your adventure, I’m not going to tell you how because it will spoil the surprise but don’t worry Captain Metalbeard has it all in hand/hook.
And We’re Off
Our experience took place on Sunday 1st December and we had been booked onto the Christmas Adventure, so naturally we donned our Santa hats and Christmas jumpers. The weather that morning was cold and frosty, and made for a very beautiful day to be out and about in the woods.
Grab your family and come on a treasure hunt to recover Santa’s stolen toys from Pinchy the Elf!
This Christmas-themed adventure will test your Christmas spirit as you track down the Pinch.
First things first, you can’t dig up treasure without a spade, so once we arrived at our designated starting point we had to work out our very first clue and release our spade from where it was secured with a combination lock.
Without giving too much away, your smart phone and a compass will be your best friends throughout. You will need to use your collective brain to work out clues that will guide you along your journey. This is where we became slightly unstuck as half of our collective brain is aged 5 years and under, and the other half still has chronic baby brain and is permanently sleep deprived. But, off we went with a whole load of misguided confidence in our ability.
Into the Woods
Following the clues we explored the woodland, sometimes we went around in circles because the next clue would have us doubling back and sometimes just because we went a bit off track. Luckily, there were a few pointers to help us out on route – look out for ribbon strategically tied to branches to let you know you’re heading the right way. Tis the season so we also found a few candy cane treats on route too, which helped to keep the boys focussed while me and Ben ‘discussed’ our thoughts on the clues.
There was a lot of laughter, a few tears (yep, but we had a toddler with us so it’s pretty much to be expected) and a lot of stopping to pick up sticks, collect pretty leaves and to stamp in icy puddles.
We got one very obvious riddle clue wrong (TWICE!!) but I’m blaming the kids and their obsession with PJ Masks for that one! It was a proper face-palm moment when we realised the error of our ways, luckily there were no witnesses but Captain Metalbeard gave us a bit of stick!
We also got lost halfway round, not in the traditional sense as we know the area well but a simple misinterpretation of a clue had us walking off in the wrong direction and searching for the next clue which obviously was nowhere to be found! Luckily Captain Metalbeard and his helpers soon cottoned on to this fact, and with a little help we were straight back on track.
X Marks The Spot
Hurrah, the end was in sight and our final clue lead us to the place where our treasure was buried. An X (fashioned from twigs) did indeed mark the spot. Time to get digging, which the boys helped with. The spade soon hit a box and we pulled it out of the ground.
Inside we found lots of Christmas (and age appropriate) goodies that were ours to keep. My favourite was the gingerbread house Christmas tree decoration which has since adorned the boy’s Christmas tree. The boys loved the chocolate coins – big surprise there eh? There was also a Christmas craft activity, and a couple of fun games too.
Going on a Buried Treasure adventure is a great way to spend the day as a family. We had a tremendous amount of fun, all the while getting some exercise and fresh air.
It’s also something completely different, I’ve not experienced anything like it or seen anything close to it advertised elsewhere. It would be a great activity for a works team building event or if you have friends and family visiting.
We loved it, and it was a fun and efficient way to test our marriage! I’m only half joking, for the record it was completely Ben’s fault we got lost ha ha.
The boys had a great time, and there were lots of giggles. If nothing else it’s a great way for children to explore the local woodland and spend a couple of hours immersed in nature. They were over the moon with their treasure too.
Our Top Tips:
- Wrap up warm.
- Wear wellies or walking boots.
- Make sure any children do a wee check before you set off.
- Don’t take yourselves too seriously, you will definitely get some funny looks as you’re scrambling around hunting for clues. We did, from dog walkers mostly, but also because our route took in a (busy) sports ground!
- Santa hats optional
Buried Treasure Adventures run a host of experiences throughout the year including birthday adventures. Please see the website for booking details.
Disclosure: Our booking was gifted by Buried Treasure Adventures in exchange for coverage across my social media channels and a honest review of our experience.
I’m proud to be a #mystokestory ambassador, shouting about all things Stoke-on-Trent.