Once again, summer is almost upon us – and that means it's time to plan some fun activities to keep the kids occupied! Whether it's grey and drizzly outside or gloriously sunny, there's always fun to be had somewhere...
Here's our round-up of the best things to do with kids over the summer.
1. Learn to surf in Watergate Bay
No summer would be complete without a visit to the beach! If you're going to do it, why not do it in style by learning to surf? In Watergate Bay, Newquay, kids as young as six can try their hand at surfing. If you'd rather stay on land, there are jaw-dropping sandy beaches to enjoy, too.
2. Have a picnic with the deer in Bushy Park
When the sun comes out, what could be better than a peaceful picnic in the park? Well, we'll tell you: a picnic surrounded by beautiful wild animals! Nothing is more magical for little ones than seeing animals roaming free. In London's Richmond Park and Bushy Park you can enjoy your jam sandwiches in the presence of wild deer. With a huge number of ponds, remember to take some scraps of bread to feed the ducks!
3. Sleep with the wild horses in Dartmoor
The ultimate staycation, kids of all ages will love camping (or glamping, if you'd prefer) in one of the most ecologically rich countrysides the UK has to offer: Dartmoor, Devon. Why Dartmoor, you ask? With rich hilly countryside, flora, fauna, and even horses right on your doorstep, it's the obvious choice for nature-loving children. Forget about hiking - enjoy the countryside on horseback instead.
4. Become an engine master in Llangollen Railway
Thomas The Tank Engine enthusiasts rejoice! If your kids love trains, there's nothing more spectacular than taking them on a day-long steam train journey. Chug along the Llangollen Railway, North Wales, taking in the rugged surrounding countryside.
5. Chase witches underground in Somerset
Head underground to explore the UK’s largest cave system at Wookey Hole, Somerset. As well as the caves themselves, kids will enjoy going on boat rides and seeing amazing natural phenomenon such as stalagmites. They will also love hearing all about the pagan and Christian legends of the caves, including the spooky resident Wookey Witch! Truly an experience to remember, the kids will be talking about it for the rest of the summer.
6. have a dinosaur-themed day out
Fancy heading to the Jurassic Coast to hunt for fossils? How about visiting the colossal skeletons at the Natural History Museum? Or – more impressive yet – why not walk in dinosaur footprints on the Isle of Skye? There are so many fun day out ideas for dino-loving kids. On the so-called 'dinosaur isle' of the UK, they can gawp at some of the best preserved dinosaur footprints in the world while imagining what life was like over 165 million years ago when the dinosaurs roamed the isle. It is truly awe-inspiring to be exactly where these massive creatures once stood.
7. Become a knight at Warwick Castle
Warwick Castle is so steeped in medieval history and pageantry that even reluctant role players will enjoy donning robes and learning to joust. With over 1,100 years of history, a fascinating castle dungeon and Horrible History maze to explore, your kids will be captivated. For those who really want to make it an experience to remember, you can even stay in your own themed lodge!
8. Go on an animal safari at Longleat
While a safari might be on most people’s bucket list, you won't need to travel across the world for the experience. Instead, pack up the car and head to the UK's most popular safari park, Longleat in Wiltshire. The popularity is well deserved: with everything from big cats and zebras to rhinos and giraffes crossing your path, this is true escapism a mere car ride away. Keep your windows closed when you pass those rascally monkeys, though, else they might just climb in!
9. See a theatre production at the Minack Theatre
The Minack Theatre in Cornwall is the most famous open-air theatre in Britain. With spectacular views over choppy, coastal waters, you can watch a play high upon the granite cliff tops and experience theatre like they did in Ancient Greece. While you’re in the area, don’t forget to take a trip to Land’s End – overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, you can gaze across to the Longships Lighthouse, the Isles of Scilly, and beyond that, North America.
10. Star gaze like a Roman at Cawfields Roman Wall
Hadrian’s Wall in Northumberland is home to some of the darkest skies in Britain, and it’s been pretty much untouched since the Romans were there almost 2000 years ago. That means that you can imagine gazing upwards at the galaxy just like the Romans did. Set up camp at the Dark Skies Discovery Site at Cawfields, and don't forget to bring a telescope!
11. Try over 50 flavours of ice cream at the Ice Cream Farm
Summer just wouldn't be summer without indulging in some ice cream, so why not take the whole family to the actual Ice Cream Farm in Cheshire? An award-winning farm that has been producing ice cream for nearly 30 years, the kids will be delighted when they realise that they can choose from over 50 flavours! From scrumptious sticky toffee pudding to honeycomb, stem ginger, salted caramel and bubblegum flavours, you won’t be disappointed. You can even find out how the classic summer treat is made by getting a tour of the factory and visiting the cows that make the milk. Tasty and educational!
12. Seek out Robin Hood in Sherwood Forest
The legendary stomping-ground of Robin Hood, the kids will love exploring this 450 acre country park. Complete with veteran oak trees, resident fairies and even a yearly Robin Hood Festival (5-11th August), there’s something for all the family in this wonderful forest. Adventure junkies can try exploring the forest from a whole new perspective with Segway tours by Go Ape.
13. Get dancing at an outdoor festival
Just because they’re kids doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy a good summer festival – in fact, most festivals nowadays are very child friendly. They'll love boogying to the music, watching films outdoors and taking part in fun crafty activities. From Dorset's smallscale Camp Bestival or Larmer Tree Festival to large festivals like Latitude, there are plenty of excuses for the whole family to get out and have some fun this summer!
14. Catch some fireworks in Plymouth
If you enjoy fireworks, you might as well experience the best the country has to offer - The British Firework Championships that take place in Plymouth, Devon in August. Complete with spectacular panoramic views and six professional displays of fireworks to watch, you'll be able to get stuck into some of the best fish and chips in the country, too.
15. Tuck into afternoon tea
Afternoon tea isn't just for adults – no, siree. At the Chesterfield Hotel in Mayfair, London, kids can enjoy a quaint 'Original Sweetshop Afternoon Tea' (inspired by Hardy's Original Sweetshop). Freshly made finger sandwiches, homemade scones and cakes are inspired by different sweets, which both kids and adults can get stuck into.
16. Go crabbing at Anglesey, Wales
It’s the simple pleasures in life that make summer so fun, so spend a long day rock pool fishing at Anglesey – one of the best places for rock pools in the UK. The island's coastline is beautiful and rugged, peppered with Blue Flag beaches and plenty of rocks full of shrimp, crabs and little fish. Don’t forget your bucket and children’s net (and be careful not to get your fingers pinched...).
17. Set sail on the Titanic in Belfast
Be part of history and relive an iconic movie at the same time aboard the Titanic in Belfast. With nine impressive galleries boasting special effects, dark rides, full-scale reconstructions and cool interactive features, kids will enjoy being part of the ships maiden voyage (and catastrophic demise). Older kids will love The Sinking Gallery, where, along with special sound and lighting effects, you can actually experience the sinking of the world’s most famous ship in real time. Little ones will enjoy going on deep sea missions in the Ocean Exploration Centre.
18. Get an adrenaline rush at England's oldest amusement park
When it comes to themeparks, the UK sure has some good ones to choose from. Consider going retro and treat kids to an experience they’ll never forget at Dreamland, Margate. Completely revamped in 2014, this iconic park dates back all the way to 1880. With gripping rides and traditional fair-side treats, this nostalgic park will delight kids and adults alike.