February half-term is fast approaching, which means it's time to start planning any outings or activities to help keep the kids entertained, as many things tend to get booked up pretty quickly.
If you’re racking your brains for ideas for things to do, we've rounded up our pick of some of the very best family-friendly activities that promise a week full of fun.
From beaches and castles to horse riding and sleepovers, we bring you the best family days out and attractions during half-term from every corner of the UK.
East Anglia: Have your mind boggled
BeWILDerwood in Norfolk is the place to go for wholesome, outdoor fun this half term. This forest adventure park has treehouses, high wires, marsh walks and loads more family-friendly activities.
Between 16-24 February, kids and adults alike can attend a Boggle Wish Bonfire. Find a pinecone somewhere around the park and send it into the flames of the bonfire while making a special wish for someone you love (don't worry, kids don't need to go near the flames themselves!) Aside from clambering around a Sky Maze, tucking into hot chocolate and participating in a spot of face-painting, kids can enjoy a storytelling stage and interactive shows. Prices are based on height rather than age — and those under 92cm won't be charged admission.
South East: Capture the castle
Kids and parents can follow a 'Wildlife Detective' walk led by the castle's gardening team, to investigate animal footprints and tracks, as well as taking part in a wildlife workshop and following a fun-fact-led trail around the castle. With the 'Snowdrop Walk' also open to visitors, it's a fantastic time to visit the childhood home of Anne Boleyn.
or...ride the rail
Our modern transport system may not be quite as romantic as the beautiful old steam trains of the past, but you can experience some of that chugging charm at Spa Valley Railway in Tunbridge Wells which offers different services all across the surrounding lush countryside.
During half term, kids can board for just £1 each — so there couldn't be a better time to soak up some glorious British countryside from the warm confines of a retro railway carriage.
london: Have a wizard time
If you haven't already visited Warner Bros. Studios Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter, half term is a great time to book tickets. With such a broad fan base, adults will enjoy the tour as much as kids – included are the sets used in the films, a variety of animatonic creatures (including Hedwig and Dobby the house elf) and elaborate costumes.
Even drinks and snacks (hello Butterbeer) are Harry Potter-appropriate. Tickets are free for 0-4 year olds but cost up to £43 for adults.
or...Let imaginations run wild
This year, the Southbank Centre in London's annual Imagine Children's Festival falls 13-24 February and features a jam-packed programme of children’s theatre, literature and music.
Over half of the events are free, with enough variety to cater from all ages, from newborn up to 12 years – truly something for everyone! Highlights include a celebration of Elmer the patchwork elephant's 30th birthday, which includes a talk by his creator, David McKee.
Or...get involved with some role play
What child hasn't at least fleetingly dreamt of becoming a pilot, a firefighter, or the next big pop icon? A brilliant experience your kids will love, Kidzania (in Westfield, Shepherds Bush, London) offers more than 60 real-life role-play adventures in an epic 75,000sq.ft play space.
Children can learn financial literacy in the bank, dramatics on stage, the essence of beauty in the salon, or justice on the streets as a police officer! Each ticket allows for a 4-hour visit, and as each activity lasts roughly 30 minutes, meaning your little ones should be able to take part in around 8 activities per session.
Northeast: Go back in time
Visit Beamish, the Living Museum of the North, near Stanley in County Durham to get a glimpse of what life in an industrial working town was like in the 1820s, 1900s and 1940s. During half term, kids (and adults) can try their hand at printing in the style of William Morris in the 1900s Masonic Hall, or get stuck into a bit of patchworking in the 1940s Land Girl's cottage.
Visit a tea shop, fried fish shop or farm kitchen for some sustenance, and make sure to check out the 1900s Jubilee Sweet Shop for snacks for the road. Admission is £11 for children and £19 for adults.
midlands: Learn how to become a spy
Do your kids love espionage and all things Jason Bourne or James Bond?
Si5 Spy Missions is suitable for children and adult secret agents, and takes you on an hour-long mission where you test your mettle in a series of mental and physical puzzles and challenges aboard the battlecruiser, UND Steadfast. Spy Missions has sites in Croydon, Cambridge, Milton Keynes, Northampton and Nottingham with prices starting at £12.50 per person — head to their website to book into your nearest basecamp.
west midlands: have a royal sleepover
There are all sorts of things going on at Warwick Castle in Warwickshire this half term: the Horrible Histories maze challenges kids to uncover evil plots, survive the trenches and, ultimately, escape the maze.
See the Castle Dungeon brought to life by actors, or watch a spectacular Birds of Prey show – or get a taste of life in a castle by sleeping over in the 14th century Caesar's Tower.
east midlands: out of this world
For any kids fascinated by life beyond Earth, a visit to the National Space Centre in Leicester is a must. The Destination Space event, taking place from 16-24 February, is geared towards families and offers visitors the chance to learn about the new European Mars mission, satellites and a brand new telescope!
Half terms are always busy at the National Space Centre, so don't forget to book ahead to make sure you get to visit all the main attractions.
southwest: explore the world at the Eden Project
If you can't actually leave the UK this half term, Cornwall's Eden Project is possibly the next best thing. This popular attraction is encouraging visitors to experience a 'Passport to the World: Five Continents in One Day' event from the 16-24 February. From an Arctic story to Flamenco performances and Carnival crafts, we can't think of a nicer way to while away a chilly February afternoon.
northwest: Get serious about science
Manchester's Science and Industry Museum is holding a 'Get a Move On!' event this half term, in which kids can design their own 'train of the future', witness a scientific experiment showdown and learn how to build a bridge between two cities.
And there's more, including a man-made hurricane, one of the world's first train engines and the opportunity to see your own skeleton. And that's not forgetting the museum's Victorian Fairground, where you can roll up and try all of the old school rides this February. Phew, that'll keep them occupied, eh?
wherever you are: Head to the coast
Whether you're in Yorkshire, Norfolk, Scotland, Northumberland, Sussex or Cornwall, venture out to your nearest beach for a lungful of sea air. There's nothing like it. There's also nothing quite like a hot parcel of vinegary chips after a brisk walk!
The UK has so many beautiful beaches – the awe-inspiring Jurassic Coast, stretching from Exmouth in East Devon to Studland Bay in Dorset, is bound to impress kids as they hunt for fossils.
wherever you are: Get out into the garden
Weather permitting, there's nothing better than a bit of lush scenery and fresh air on those rare days off.
RHS is offering plenty of activities and days out for families to enjoy this half term, including Super Hero-themed trails (RHS Hyde Hall, Chelmsford), and a LEGO® brick sculpture hunt (RHS Wisley, Woking). There are also craft sessions at RHS Harlow Carr in Harrogate, where kids can make their own bug house and have a go at planting seeds.