Journey through ‘The New World’ at the Arboretum this Summer

Shot at Dawn

Visitors are advised that the Shot at Dawn Memorial will close to the public on Monday 6 May. The memorial will undergo restoration and will be closed for approximately six weeks whilst these works take place. Free Shot at Dawn Talks will continue to take place daily at 12.30pm and 1.30pm in the Millennium Chapel, please ask at the Welcome Desk for more information. Visit our Shot at Dawn Restoration Appeal to find out more and donate.

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This summer (20 July – 1 September), visitors to the National Memorial Arboretum, within the National Forest in Staffordshire, can immerse themselves in an extraordinary free interactive experience suitable for families of all ages.


Drawing inspiration from the natural surroundings of the Arboretum and the powerful stories of service and sacrifice that are encapsulated within the memorials and landscaping, families are invited to journey through ‘The New World’, as they explore the 150-acre site.


Created in collaboration with immersive environments arts organisation Wild Rumpus, ‘The New World’ introduces six distinct themed areas that encourage creative, physical, and reflective activity drawing on the themes of journeys and travel, encouraging people to contemplate the experience of exploring new places. 


“Our unique summer programme invites visitors to imagine themselves transported to a new and wonderful place, through the power of their own imagination,” said Rachel Smith, Head of Participation and Learning at the National Memorial Arboretum. “Each adventure around The New World will be as unique as those who have chosen to travel and will inspire reflection, understanding, and growth, promoting connection through play.”

Families will be guided on their journey by the spin of a wheel, sending them on an unpredictable adventure around each installation. Visitors can create their own guide to ‘The New World’, starting from ‘The Oracle’, plotting their unique journey through ‘Dream Garden’, ‘Memory Maze’, ‘Playscape’, ‘Sanctuary’ and ‘Utopia’, completing fun activities that will challenge their imagination along the way:


  • Dream Garden - Marvel at the weird and wonderful plants, before planting seeds to take home and gather hints and tips on how to create a dream garden at home.
  • Memory Maze - Recall and share playful memories and joyful moments to help this installation grow.
  • Playscape - Imagine and build a unique space to play.
  • Sanctuary – A space to sit and be, rest, reflect, and contemplate with fellow explorers. 
  • Utopia – Explore bamboo structures and suggest slogans for the ‘signs of the times’ placards that frame this evolving space.

“Created using recycled and repurposed material, ‘The New World’ has been designed to provide a new way to experience and celebrate the Arboretum,” said Rowan Cannon, Director of Wild Rumpus. ” Working together with the Arboretum team, we take families on an immersive technicolour journey, encouraging them to explore wondrous lands, discovering new worlds as they move through individual playscapes using the power of their imagination.”



Visitors can journey through ‘The New World’ daily from 10am to 5pm. Entry into the Arboretum, and The New World is free, though advance booking is recommended to guarantee entry and save on parking.
Family exploring the Arboretum grounds

Wild Rumpus

Wild Rumpus exist in a space where arts and culture meet the natural environment. Working from their woodland workspace in Cheshire, they create experiences which inspire curiosity and design events that immerse audiences in incredible stories and moments of wonder. In addition to Timber Festival, Wild Rumpus produce other ambitious outdoor arts events including Palace of Light at Hampton Court Palace, Hinterlands Film Festival in Skipton and Just So Festival for families on the Rode Hall Estate in Cheshire. Wild Rumpus also run an extensive volunteer and talent development programme working with performers, producers and programmers to shape a cultural environment where excellent outdoor work thrives.

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