With the school holidays fast approaching, it’s time to think of some fun things to do with the kids during their time off. We have some amazing family self-catering homes, mansions and cottages so you can enjoy a fantastic overnight stay in a home away from home; plus here are some fun, exciting, educational and culturally uplifting activities you can do with children of all ages. And you don’t have to travel too far to enjoy them, because they’re all right here in the UK.
Here are 27 things to do with the kids this summer!
1. Go Boating on Windermere
Set sail on England’s largest lake, the beautiful Lake Windermere on your own self-drive cabin boat. Each boat carries up to 6 people so the whole family can come along and under 16s usually go free. Hired by the hour, these motor boats are extremely affordable for a day out and they can be hired from Bowness Bay or Low Wood. If you don’t fancy operating your own boat, you can always hop on the ferry cruise which will take you from Bowness to Ambleside.
2. Spend a Day at Windsor Castle
Visit the royal residence of Windsor, a superb day out for the kids. During the summer months, the castle is open to the public daily (from 9:30am to 5:30pm) and family tickets are available whilst under 5s can go in for free. Other than exploring the castle grounds, family activities and children’s workshops are put on every Saturday.
3. Visit Madame Tussauds
Every kid loves Madame Tussauds and you will find plenty of fantastic restaurants and cafes (child-friendly ones) in nearby Soho to refuel afterwards. From wax models of the Royal Family to the latest celebs, a visit to Madame Tussauds is a lot of fun. Don’t forget to bring your camera to capture all the star-studded moments!
4. Go to London Zoo
Another fantastic day out in the capital is London Zoo, located at the North end of Regent’s Park. It’s currently home to lions, lemurs, tigers, hippos, giraffes, penguins, kangaroos, otters and meerkats –and children can now interact and help feed the animals under the supervision of expert keepers with the ‘Meet the Animals’ package.
5. Have a Picnic in Regent’s Park
This royal park is so beautiful in the summer; flowers in full bloom and the manicured plants and trees at their finest. There are open picnic spots everywhere you look and if you contact the park organisers in advance, you can find out which zones are also suitable for ball games (as this is restricted in most areas). Alcoholic beverages are permitted (great news for parents) but you must abide by the rules and use only plastic drinkware.
6. Weekend in Edinburgh
There’s so much to see and do in the city of Edinburgh that it definitely deserves at least 2 nights. Spend the morning touring Edinburgh Castle, take a spooky Witchery Tour and let the little ones get lost in a world of optical illusion at Camera Obscura. And when it comes to kid friendly dining, you’ll find a great choice of restaurants down Grassmarket and other areas nearby. There are lots of luxurious ways to treat yourself, and for family friendly accomodation in Edinburgh look no further!
7. Visit the Eden Project in Cornwall
The glass domes at the Eden Project in Cornwall resemble futuristic architecture and from a distance, they’ll have your little ones saying, “Wow!” – and once inside, there’s even more to see. Mums and dads can get top gardening tips whilst kids can explore the fun Eden trails.
8.Have Fun at Blackpool Sands
Not to be confused with Blackpool Beach, the glorious Blackpool Sands has been named one of the UK’s best beaches on numerous occasions. Set along the idyllic coast of Dartmouth in Devon, Blackpool Sands is a family-friendly beach sheltered with pines and evergreens and has gained Blue Flag status for excellence. The water is safe and shallow for swimming in and the whole family will enjoy spending the day here.
9. Ride the Avon Valley Steam Train
Kids will love this and adults will find it wonderfully nostalgic riding a steam train. Day Rover Tickets purchased at Avon Valley allow unlimited train rides for the whole day, with both steam and diesel trains running several times a day across various locations.
10. Visit Yorkshire Sculpture Park
Inspire your young creatives with a trip to Yorkshire Sculpture Park, one of the most interesting and unique managed parklands in the Yorkshire county. Located in West Bretton near Wakefield, this open air gallery is the perfect day out. It’s free entry and with 500 acres of rolling rural landscape to explore, a trip to the YSP will combine exercise in the great outdoors with a healthy dose of art! Check out our holiday homes in Yorkshire for a beautiful place to stay nearby.
11. Camping in the Cotswolds
Camping in the Cotswolds is so much fun and with so much unspoilt beauty around you, camping here is great in any weather! Hire some bikes if you want to explore the region on two wheels – because the area is mostly flat, riding will be easy even for the younger kids. Top family friendly campsites include Thistledown Farm, Cotswold Farm Park and Bracelands Camping In The Forest Site.
12. Explore Powis Castle Gardens
This medieval castle, fortress and grand country mansion offers a fantastic day out for all ages. Explore the castle grounds and interiors or take a leisurely stroll around the beautiful Italianate terraces and flower gardens which have been perfectly maintained by the National Trust. There are also art collections inside for the adults and giant games outside for the kids.
13. Have a Day Out in York
York is a wonderful day out and it’s got something for the whole family. From the old fashion sweet shops down The Shambles to York Minster and the York Castle Museum, there won’t be a single dull moment. It’s definitely one of the places you have to visit in the UK. For shopping, head to Coppergate Shopping Centre and for family friendly dining, book a table at Jamie’s Italian, Turtle Bay or The Rattle Owl.
14. Watch the Henley Royal Regatta
The annual Henley Royal Regatta may be a champagne playground for adults but kids will have just as much fun watching the rowing races from the riverbank. Whilst some enclosures have a dress code and require ticket purchase, there are other areas open to the public and the atmosphere is always wonderful. The whole family will be made to feel welcome and parents can enjoy a few glasses of tipple whilst the little ones cheer on the rowers, before heading back to your own beautiful group accommodation in Henley.
15. Go Cycling at Brecon Beacons National Park
If your family love to cycle, Brecon Beacons is not to be missed. This is the safest place to cycle in the UK due to most cycling routes being 100% traffic free so you don’t have to worry about cars or motor vehicles. The Brecon to Talybont Towpath route is made up of easy flat terrain and there’s a designated picnic area for hungry cyclists.
16. Walk the Harry Potter Trail in London
Not only is touring the Harry Potter Trail in London one of the most significant cultural activities you can do with your kids, but it’s also free of charge with a downloadable route for anyone who wants to visit the famous filming locations. Stand on Platform 9 ¾, walk through the Ministry of Magic and visit the location of the Leaky Cauldron – this self-guided tour is set to keep Potter fans entertained for hours.
17. Have a BBQ at Loch Lomond
Loch Ness may be famous for its mythical Nessie but Loch Lomond is one of the most beautiful bodies of water in Scotland and it’s a great spot for a family BBQ in a beautiful holiday home. With amazing views over the lake and the beauty of The Trossachs National Park all around you, it will be a meal to remember. And our Grade A listed Stuckgowan House is the perfect place to retreat to after.
18. Eat Gingerbread in Grasmere
There’s nowhere better to eat gingerbread than in the quaint little village of Grasmere in the Lake District. Why? Because this is where gingerbread was first invented! Visit the famous Grasmere Gingerbread Shop to learn all about the history of this cult biscuit treat before taking on one of the many scenic walking trails in the area.
19. Stay Overnight at the Alton Towers Hotel
Kids love themed hotels so an overnight stay at Alton Towers Resort will feel like such a treat. Rooms are themed as Moon Voyage explorer rooms and CBeebies rooms with a themed lobby to boot and talking elevators for added fun. So it’s a children’s paradise! But don’t worry mum and dad – a full English breakfast is included plus there are 2 themed restaurants and 1 themed bar on site so you can wind down and relax at the end of the day.
20. Visit Shakespeare’s House and Gardens
Discover the world of William Shakespeare in Stratford-upon-Avon and learn about one of the most significant figures of the 20th century in England. Share our important heritage with the younger generation and visit his place of birth, Anne Hathaway’s cottage (Shakespeare’s wife), Hall’s Croft (the home of Shakespeare’s daughter) and Mary Arden’s farm (Shakespeare’s mother).
21. Cake Tasting at the Bakewell Baking Festival
The world’s first ever baking festival takes place in the pretty market town of Bakewell and if you know any little monkeys with a sweet tooth, this event is a must for the summer. Taking place in mid-August, the Bakewell Festival welcomes everyone to come and enjoy their baking theatres with GBBO winners, custard pie fights, tea tastings and more than 75 baking stalls to get your cake fix.
22. Explore Haledon’s Butterfly Trail
Is there anything more magical than butterflies in the summer? Kids of all ages will love walking this 3 mile circular route at Haldon Forest and they’ll be completely mesmerised every step of the way as they hunt for pretty butterflies – including the rarest of them all – the Pearl Bordered Fritillary. This route is of moderate difficulty and suits most age groups, and you’ll find a fantastic picnic site so you can refuel afterwards.
23. Shambala Festival
This family friendly festival is all about great music, cool camping, kid-friendly entertainment and lots of fancy dress. Set in the East Midlands countryside, Shambala Festival has a bit of a hippie vibe and there are plenty of glamping options for families who don’t want to slum it. You can hire a hot tub, dine out at chic pop up restaurants, get involved in arts and crafts, or watch theatre performances if the music’s not your thing – and there’s even a crèche in case you fancy some time off.
24. Feed the Penguins at Harewood House
Harewood House near Harrogate and Leeds is a wonderful day out for the whole family. With an award winning oriental garden, a Victorian terrace garden, a children’s play area, and a bird garden where kids can go and feed the penguins, there’s something for everyone to do. There’s a café serving sandwiches, salads and hot food with both indoor and outdoor seating – and there’s even an extensive second hand bookshop with great reads going for less than £1.
25. Tree Surf in Tamar Valley
Tree surfing is the ultimate outdoor activity for little monkeys. The Tamar Valley bird’s eye assault course features high ropes for climbing, leaping, gliding and zip wiring. There’s a junior course for 4-12 year olds and an advanced course for big kids and adults. Great fun for the whole family if you’re not scared of heights!
26. Get Lost at Wistow Maze
Young kids will love the famous Wistow Maze. There are 3 miles of pathways for you to get lost in (so you could be here all day if you don’t find your way out!) and over the years, the maze has taken the shape of a dinosaur, a space rocket, a galleon ship, a wicked witch and most recently, a boar – King Richard III’s emblem. There are also shops, a gallery and model village on site too just in case all that excitement isn’t enough.
27. Watch a Show at Minack Theatre
It’s not always easy to encourage young kids to get into theatre but this dramatic setting will have them won over in seconds. The Minack Theatre in Cornwall is an open air theatre right next to the glorious Porthcurno Beach, with spectacular views overlooking the Celtic Sea.