Have a coastal adventure with The Snail and the Whale

Macmillan's Children's Books teams up with Natural England and the Marine Management Organisation for a coastal adventure inspired by The Snail and the Whale.

Macmillan Children’s Books is delighted to continue their partnership with Natural England and the Marine Management Organisation (MMO), celebrating The Snail and the Whale, Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s classic tale of adventure and friendship.

Your coastal adventure

A day at the coast can be great fun whether you’re exploring rock pools, walking the coast path, having a paddle or swim or just building a sand castle.

This spring, Natural England, Macmillan Children’s Books and the Marine Management Organisation are offering some more inspiration for fun days out at the coast with an activity booklet for children inspired by the family-favourite story of The Snail & The Whale.

With the help of their ‘The Snail and the Whale Coastal Adventure’ booklet, children and their families can go on their own outdoor adventures. It gives tools and information to explore the coast - from matching animals to their coastal homes and learning fun marine animal facts to advice about keeping our coasts free from marine litter.

Aimed at children aged 4-8, the activities are now available to download or to pick up at a variety of coastal nature reserves and other locations.

The Snail and the Whale, Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s brilliant tale of adventure and friendship, tells the story of a tiny snail who hitches a lift around the world on the tail of “a great big, grey-blue humpback whale” and together they go on an amazing journey. The little snail feels so small in the vastness of the world but when disaster strikes and the whale is beached in a bay, it’s the tiny snail’s big plan that saves the day.


You can print off a copy at home on A4 paper by clicking the button, and then fold into a booklet.

Download the booklet to print at home

Have a coastal adventure with The Snail and the Whale booklets.jpg
Have a coastal adventure with The Snail and the Whale - drawing, colouring sheet, word search, facts - The Snail and the Whale - Julia Donaldson
Download the booklet

You can also download the booklet to print as individual pages, below.

Have a coastal adventure with The Snail and the Whale booklets.jpg
Booklet split into Individual pages
Download the booklet to print individual pages

Before you set off on your coastal adventure

Countryside Code: Respect - Protect - Enjoy

  • It's important to remember the Countryside Code.
  • Respect other people: leave gates and property as you find them and follow paths unless wider access is available.
  • Protect the natural environment: Leave no trace of your visit and take you litter home.

Staying safe on the coast

  • Do not enter areas where there could be mud or deep water and do not climb or go near cliff edges.
  • At the beach, be aware of coastguards and flag warnings and remember the sea is very powerful.
  • When exploring rock pools, check high tide times and make sure you can always get back to shore safely.
  • Arrange a meet-up place in case you become separated from your family and friends.

Looking after our coast

Marine litter

One problem we can all help with is marine litter, particularly plastics. Plastic takes many years to disappear and if it gets into the ocean it can kill wildlife, destroy their homes and pollute water.

You could take a bag or bucket on your visit to the beach to collect any litter you see and put it in the bin. Be careful what you pick up though and always ask a grown up if you think something might be sharp or dangerous. You could have a race and see who can pick up the most litter in two minutes! There might be a beach clean event close to where you live that you can get involved in too.

The England Coast Path

The England Coast Path will be a 2,700 miles long National Trail around the whole of the English coast. Once completed it will be the longest coastal walking route in the world.

It will link up the best existing coastal paths and create new ones where there were none before, as well as joining up with the Wales Coast Path and walking rights in Scotland.

Whether you are taking a short stroll or embarking on your own long distance adventure, it provides the perfect opportunity for everyone to explore the coast’s beauty and diversity.

Check out the National Trail website for more information.