Summer’s already here, the weather is glorious and the school year is almost at an end. But who says you have to go abroad to have fun?
However, keeping the kids amused can often be a job in itself. Luckily, no matter which part of the UK you visit, you’re sure to find plenty of fun days out for all the family to enjoy, even if it’s raining.
If you’re not sure where to start, here are 21 inspiring ideas for family days out in the UK that will make your staycation all the more special.
1. Jorvik Viking Centre, York
The beautiful and historic city of York has a wealth of attractions to keep all ages entertained, and is one of the best cities in the UK to visit with family. The newly re-furbished Jorvik Viking Centre will transport you back to AD960. Interactive cutting-edge technology and the hop-on ride experience give you a fascinating insight into the life and times of the Vikings.
2. Chocolate Story, York
Fans of Willy Wonka will love York’s Chocolate Story. Learn about the history of chocolate and have a go at making some yourselves. You can watch the expert chocolatiers at work and try lots of scrumptious samples. It’s finger-licking good!
3. Castle and Prison Museum, York
Soak up the atmosphere of Victorian Britain along the recreated streets of Kirkgate at York Castle Museum. Then listen to the gruesome prisoner stories at the Castle Prison, and come face to face with highwayman Dick Turpin.
4. Take a Steam Train Ride in North Yorkshire
Travel back in time and enjoy a delightful steam train ride along 18 miles of the beautiful North York Moors National Park, stopping at some lovely villages along the way. One of the stops, Goathland, featured as Hogsmeade in the film version of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Finish off your day with fish and chips along the coast at Whitby.
5. Cycling in the Lake District
Whinlatter Forest, England’s only mountain forest, is the perfect playground for the active family. Grab your mountain bikes and enjoy a fun day out riding the Quercus Trail, suitable for all abilities, with stunning views over the northern fells. Bikes are also available to hire.
6. Scottish Sea Life Sanctuary, Oban
If you’re holidaying in Argyll, don’t miss this fascinating marine conservation experience on the shores of Loch Creran. Take a thrilling boat trip to see the seals and explore the stunning scenery, or get up close and feed the resident seals
7. Edinburgh Treasure Trail
A great way to see the city and entertain the kids at the same time is to follow the Edinburgh Treasure Trail. Work together to find clues, solve puzzles and learn about the fascinating history of Edinburgh. The 1.75-mile trail is easy to follow and brimming with clues to help you locate the long lost treasure.
8. Warwick Castle
Myth, magic and adventure are ready to greet you at the UK’s most exciting and family-friendly castle. The thousand-year-old Warwick Castle is brought to life through re-enactments and costumed characters. Climb the princess tower, be a knight for the day or explore the castle dungeons if you dare.
9. Drayton Manor Theme Park
If you’ve got kids of all ages, Drayton Manor theme park in Staffordshire is the perfect day out for everyone. It’s compact enough to get around easily and has plenty of rides for all ages including Thomas Land for the little ones and exhilarating rides such as the Accelerator and Apocalypse for older kids. The tranquil zoo completes the perfect, traditional family day out.
10. Explore a Miniature Cotswold Village
After enjoying a leisurely lunch in the beautiful pub gardens of the Old New Inn, Bourton-on-the-Water, explore the delightful model village – an exact replica of the quaint Cotswold village. Kids will love wandering through the miniature stone houses and seeing the exhibition of miniature scenes and room sets.
11. Dartmouth Castle
Explore the guns, cannons and secret passageways of Dartmouth Castle, situated on the Dart Estuary. The castle offers spectacular views across Dartmouth, beautiful coastal walks and ferry rides to enjoy views of the castle from the water.
12. Splashdown Waterpark, Poole
Enjoy some water fun this summer, whatever the weather. Splashdown Waterpark offers 13 thrilling indoor and outdoor flume rides and three under-5 zones for the little ones. Older kids can enjoy the terrifying twists and turns of rides such as Black Thunder and Infinity. Younger kids and toddlers can snorkel safely in Ricky’s Reef or enjoy buckets of fun in the interactive water area.
13. Heatherton World of Activities, Tenby
If you’re planning a family holiday with a large group, you’ll need lots to keep them entertained. Heatherton has something for everyone. From paint balling and archery to tree top climbing and go-karting, it’s an adrenaline packed adventure day that everyone will love.
Heatherton is free admission so you only pay for the activities you want to do. From adrenaline-pumped teenagers to toddlers, there’s something to suit everyone. The centre is divided into adrenaline, family, play, and golf and bowling zones. In the play zone, younger kids can try the Landrover Experience or roll, bounce and jump on the giant jumping pillows. Mum and Dad can have a bounce too!
Waterwynch House, situated on the water’s edge in Pembrokeshire National Park near Tenby, is a big enough to hold even the largest family groups, sleeping up to 28 people. It’s the perfect place for large family gatherings and is ideal for exploring the stunning Pembrokeshire coastline.
14. White Water Rafting, River Tees
Adrenaline-junkie families love the invigorating thrills of riding the rapids at Tees Barrage International White Water Centre. Families with older kids (12+) will enjoy this fun soaked wild water adventure, whatever their abilities. There are special family sessions so kids will get the chance to soak mum and dad. And if that doesn’t tire you out, try the exhilarating high-speed powerboat ride along the River Tees.
15. Safari in Scotland
Spot deer, grouse and golden eagles in the spectacular, wild, rugged Scottish highlands with a Mountain Safari adventure. The safari will take you through forests, mountains and moors where you can learn about the history, culture and nature of this stunning wilderness.
Or take a boat trip safari on Loch Tay and learn about the fascinating folklore and mysteries surrounding the largest loch in Perthshire.
16. Isle of Bute
Take a ferry ride out to the beautiful Isle of Bute. Here you can observe seal colonies from the spectacular red-sanded beach of Scalpsie Bay, before heading to the tearooms at nearby Ettrick Bay for delicious homemade cakes and tea.
The beautiful collection of artworks at Mount Stuart house is also worth a visit. Then the kids can let off steam in 300 acres of gardens and woodlands, before wandering down to the shoreline beach, a great place for a family picnic.
17. A Boat Ride on the Thames
Cruising along England’s historic River Thames is a wonderful way for the family to enjoy a summer’s day. Hire a self-drive boat and take turns being the skipper, or sit back and relax on a river cruise and enjoy the beautiful countryside and villages as you’re given a guided tour of the area by an experienced skipper.
18. Harry Potter World, Leavesden
The ideal day out for Potterheads of all ages, you can visit some of the most iconic sets used in the making of Harry Potter. Step into the Great Hall, stroll down Diagon Alley or jump on board the Knight Bus. You can even ride a broomstick!
Exterior sets such as Number 4 Privet Drive and the Hogwart’s Bridge can be found at the Backlot where you can sip on Butterbeer, a frothy, non-alcoholic concoction tasting of shortbread and butterscotch.
From this year you can break the Hogwart rules and follow the footsteps of Harry, Ron and Hermione into the Forbidden Forest where you’ll encounter a full-sized model of Buckbeak.
19. Hampton Court Palace, Kingston-on-Thames
This magnificent and majestic royal palace on the River Thames will give you a fascinating insight into the court life of Tudor England. Satisfy your sweet tooth in the Chocolate Kitchen, see how cooks prepared banquets in the Tudor Kitchen, or follow the Ghostly Children’s Trail. There are re-enactments performed by colourful costumed characters. You may even get to meet Henry himself! Outside you can try tackling the famous 18th century maze or discover secret grottos and mysterious beasts in the Magic Garden.
20. Tower of London
The oldest fortress and prison in Europe is home to the Crown Jewels, not to mention the odd headless ghost or two! Explore the towers and grounds, see where royal queens lost their heads, and marvel at stories told by the Yeoman Warders. For older kids, the gruesome torture exhibition displaying replicas of torture instruments used at the Tower is too good to miss. Not for the faint-hearted!
For the younger kids, there are interactive adventures and activity trails to follow or they can help defend the Tower in a live-historical re-enactment.
21. A Day Out at the Beach
If the warm summer days continue, it’s time to head to the beach. The UK is blessed with some stunning beaches, with sand so white and waters so crystal clear, they could make you think you’re in the Caribbean. Some family favourites include:
With perfect surfing conditions and golden sands, Fistral beach in Newquay, Cornwall is a favourite with surfers and families alike.
Blue Flag beach West Wittering in Sussex has impeccable water quality, fine, golden sand and an abundance of wildlife in the surrounding area of outstanding natural beauty.
Weymouth Beach, Dorset is said to have the best sand in Britain for building sandcastles. There is even a featured sand sculptor whose work is displayed on the beach. The beach has a lifeguard patrol and a lost child point.
Blackpool Sands, Dorset offers something for everyone. There’s a play area and designated sand pits for the little ones, a bathing raft for teenagers and a fabulous seafood restaurant where mum and dad can try local seafood while sipping on a chilled glass of wine. The beach is cleaned every day and is patrolled by lifeguards.