We all remember counting down the days until the summer holidays when we were at school, but when you’re a parent the challenge of keeping the kids entertained during the six-week break can feel completely daunting.
To help you plan your 2019 summer holiday days out, we’ve put together 10 ideas for family day trips and activities that kids and adults of all ages will enjoy. Best of all, visiting some of these UK attractions will cost you next to nothing!
Meet their favourite characters at a theme park
Head to one of the UK’s brilliant theme parks for a memory-making family day out this summer. As well as being packed with rides and attractions suitable for babies, toddlers and bigger kids too, these parks all give children the chance to see their favourite characters from books and TV in real life.
The What the Ladybird Heard Activity Trail at Chessington World of Adventures Resort
To celebrate the 10th birthday of Julia Donaldson and Lydia Monks’s bestselling picture book, What the Ladybird Heard, why not head down to Chessington World of Adventures Resort where the clever little ladybird has left a trail of clues for you to find. Come and solve the mystery to claim your limited edition, exclusive What the Ladybird Heard pop badge. The Activity Trail runs from 7th to 11th August 2019 and is free with park entry.
If you are coming to Chessington World of Adventures Resort there is even more fun to be had with The Gruffalo Summer Party running from 19th July to 2nd September 2019, free with park entry. Help the Gruffalo celebrate his 20th birthday with a spectacular song and dance, and then ride the Gruffalo River Ride Adventure.
Peppa Pig World, part of Paulton’s Park, Hampshire
Meet Peppa and all her friends at Peppa Pig World at Paulton’s Park in Hampshire. With nine gentle themed rides including Daddy Pig’s Car Ride, Peppa’s Big Balloon Ride and Mr Potato’s Adventure Playground (which are all suitable for children aged one and up), plus lots of rides for bigger kids too, the whole family will have heaps of fun.
Thomas Land, Drayton Manor, Staffordshire
Part of Drayton Manor theme park in Tamworth, Staffordshire, a day trip to the home of Thomas & Friends is a must-do for young locomotive fans this summer! With over twenty-five attractions, including the Troublesome Trucks coaster and Terence the Tractor’s Driving School, there’s something for every Thomas-mad little one.
The Making of Harry Potter, Warner Brothers Studio, Watford
A visit to the home of Hogwarts is a magical treat for children (and grownups) of all ages. Plan a day trip to The Making of Harry Potter at Warner Brothers Studios near Watford to find out how J. K. Rowling’s Wizarding World was brought to life on the big screen. You’ll get the chance to tour the sets of Diagon Alley, the Great Hall and Gringott’s, plus get up close to real film props, costumes and more.
The Hogwarts Expresss at The Making of Harry Potter
Get out into the great outdoors
Explore the coast with The Snail and the Whale
Pack a picnic and head to your coast for a day out with the kids exploring with the help of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s classic picture book, The Snail and the Whale. Designed to teach children and families about England's coastlines and packed with marine facts and inspiration for fun coastal activities, ‘The Snail and the Whale Coastal Adventure’ booklet has been created in partnership with Natural England and the Marine Management Organisation (MMO).
Download your free copy here
Durdle Door, Dorset
Flock to your nearest Wetland Park
Teeming with life - both feathered and fluffy - a trip to one of the Wildlife and Wetland Trust’s ten UK reserves will make for a nature-packed summer day out with the kids. With wide buggy-friendly paths, lots of open space and kid-friendly displays and activity centres, WWT reserves are great places to make the most of sunny days in the great outdoors. Just remember to pack your binoculars!
Find your nearest WWT reserve here
Otter at Washington Wetland Centre, Tyne and Wear
Get on your bike
Ditch the car this summer for a family day out on two wheels. With numerous traffic-free routes, Britain’s fifteen free National Parks make for the ideal location for kids to hone their cycling skills and explore our country’s incredible countryside. The National Parks website has loads of information about family-friendly cycling routes. After all that peddling, you’ll have no problem getting the little ones to sleep and many National Parks also have campsites, so why not pack your tent and make a weekend of it!
Discover the UK’s National Parks here
Tissington Trail, Peak District National Park
Travel back in time with a trip to a castle
Bring bedtime stories of kings, queens and knights of the realm to life with a visit to one of our isle’s magnificent castles. With castles of all shapes and sizes dotted all over the UK, you won’t have to travel far for a fantastic day out. Here are just a few of our family-friendly favourites:
Warwick Castle, Warwickshire: With daily archery and falconry shows, expansive grounds and a brand new Horrible Histories maze, a day out exploring this medieval castle will be fun for the whole family.
Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh: Towering above the streets of the ancient Scottish capital, be sure to time your visit to Edinburgh Castle to hear the One O’clock Gun, which has been fired every day (except Sundays, Good Friday, and Christmas Day) since 1861.
Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh
Conwy Castle, North Wales: Perched on the coast of North Wales, a visit this to this huge semi-ruined fortress castle will capture the imaginations of children big and small.
Belfast Castle, Belfast: This stunning mansion and its grounds look like they’ve been plucked straight from a fairytale. Children of all ages will have hours of fun at the Cave Hill Adventurous Playground, which is open every day throughout the summer months.
For an activity that will keep the kids entertained for the whole summer, take a trip to your local library and sign up for The Reading Agency’s Summer Reading Challenge. Encouraging children aged 4-11 to borrow and read six library books over the course of the summer holidays, this year’s theme is ‘Space Chase’, and is absolutely free to participate in.
Find out more about how you can get involved here
Spend a day in the Big Smoke
A family day out exploring our nation’s vibrant capital doesn’t have to cost the earth. With dozens of free museums (the Science Museum in South Kensington is fantastic for families), fun to be had navigating the tube, and iconic London landmarks to spot, the only problem you’ll have is how to fit everything into a day trip! Plan your trip on a weekday if you can - you’ll avoid the weekend crowds and be able to make the most of quieter public transport - a lifesaver when you’ve got kids in tow.
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