It can be tricky at times to work out the best places to take the kids in the UK. The combination of distance and cost always needs to be assessed, especially if you’re taking a full car-load of excited children. The good news, however, is that you don’t have to spend a fortune, and it’s not all about theme parks and waiting in long lines either. Ideally, the best places to take your kids are those destinations that will entertain them, and if you can squeeze in a little learning as well, then that’s just the icing on the cake. If you’re struggling to find somewhere to take the kids that tick all of the boxes, then these top four options might be your best bet.

The Science Museum, London

If you have any up-and-coming scientists in your family, then you’re definitely going to want to take them to the Science Museum. Perfect for those inquisitive and curious minds, the Science Museum has a wide range of interactive experiences, as well as movies shown in the IMAX theatre. With everything from robots to rocket ships, the budding scientists will be sure to find some inspiration and wonder after just a few hours. Perfect for kids of all ages!

Warner Bros Studio Tour, London

For Harry Potter fans, nothing is going to beat a day at the Warner Bros Studio Tour. This one is a bit of a no-brainer, especially as the tour gives you the chance to board the Hogwarts Express and even step into the Great Hall where the characters enjoyed so many experiences. There are behind the scenes exhibitions which will reveal some of the secrets to the magic, as well as a full range of iconic costumes and props that were used in the films themselves. There are public transport links to the tour, but many people find that it’s quicker, cheaper, and easier to simply rent a car for the day and drive straight there; click here to find out more. You’ll have to judge your children’s enthusiasm for this one, because if they’re not fans of the series, then they’re not going to enjoy it as much.

Camera Obscura and World of Illusions, Edinburgh

If you’re close to Edinburgh, then you certainly need to take the time to visit the Camera Obscura. With six floors of special effects, puzzles, interactive games and much more, this is one of the UK’s oldest attractions, and it’s still going strong today. Finish the day with a trip to the top of the tower to check out the Camera Obscura itself, where your children can stand inside a live projection of Edinburgh, and pretend to squish people with their fingers! It might not be the ideal venue for older teenagers, but for younger teens and even toddlers, the smoke and mirrors and magic will keep them spellbound.

Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland

If you are close to Antrim, Northern Ireland, then you’re going to want to take the kids to see the Giant’s Causeway at some point. This is the perfect destination for those parents hoping to introduce a little magic and mystery into their children’s lives. The UNESCO-listed formation of rocks are enough to spark the imaginations of any child, and you’ll be able to see the awe on their faces when they spot the Causeway for the first time. Spend the day scrambling over rocks, and you’ll also exhaust them too!

There’s plenty to do with your children that doesn’t mean bland, sterile theme parks. Use your time with them to spark some creativity and curiosity, and you’ll all gain much more from the experience than you ever would standing in line for the latest rollercoaster.

Best Family Days Out In UK

3 Little Buttons

It’s that time of a year again, the kids are off from school and you are frantically searching for last minute breaks or holidays to keep the whole family entertained. However, it can be difficult to find a holiday that has something for everybody. Most people assume children love beach holidays but there are plenty of places/holiday destinations jam-packed with activities for the whole family to enjoy. Which is why I have teamed up with Compare and Choose to round up four alternative family holiday destinations you should book for next year.

Costa Rica

Costa Rica is a mecca of fun packed activities and unforgettable scenery. A week here can be spent exploring the plethora of rain forests, discovering volcanoes or even visiting the Tortuguero National Park, where you can come face to face with some of Costa Rica’s most striking animals. Not only is Costa Rica a colourful playground for family activities but it can also be a haven of relaxation. You can finish off your holiday by exploring the Pacific Ocean on a snorkelling trip or soaking up the sun on the rolling golden beaches.

India

India is a great holiday destination because its colourful backdrops and its architecture is exciting for both parent and children alike. Watch the sun rise over the awe-inspiring Taj Mahal or explore the picturesque towns. There’s plenty to keep you busy, whether you are looking to discover the rich history of the heart of rural India or get up close with wildlife at Ranthambore National Park.

Nepal

Popular with outdoor lovers, the Himalayas offers a wealth of stunning backdrops for your family holiday. A break here combines the thrill of hand on activities with exciting excursions such as adventures through the countries tropical jungles. Adrenaline junkies can feel the thrill of white water rafting or come face to face with some of the countries most feared animals. Keep an eye out for rhino, monkeys, birdlife and even tigers from your safari jeep or river canoe.

Cuba

Explore the vibrant culture of one of the world’s most iconic islands. A holiday here is jam-packed with history, culture and nonstop action. Discover the country’s rich history and explore the capital of Havana by a classic car. Although famous for its vibrant cars and architecture, Cuba’s countryside has a lot to offer families too! Head to the outskirts and explore by foot or bike. If you are feeling adventurous you can always enjoy Cuba’s countryside on a canopy and zip line tour in Las Terrazas. If you’re looking for a relaxing day from the beach, then you will be spoilt for choice with local towns boasting a plethora of beautiful beaches such as Cayo Santa Maria Island.

Alternative Family HOliday Destinations

Making the most of your budget on a holiday in Spain effectively means you can create more magical memories for less money. I remember a family holiday to Spain with my parents many years ago. We were joined by my Auntie Margaret and Uncle Cyril and my cousin Sean. There was tension sometimes as my parents were keen to spend whereas my aunt and uncle were keen to save as much money as  possible. So I thought I would suggest some ways you can save money on a holiday in Spain such as those available from Holiday Gems online.

Dates

If you go to Spain in the school holidays, you will pay more and you may find the resorts are annoyingly busy. As a home educator, we really can benefit from taking breaks outside of school holiday periods. That is not possible for everyone but if you can travel out of season, it is worth considering.

Packing

Firstly remember you probably don’t need designer luggage. Is it better to have that or to have money available for a special day out whilst you are away? Ensure you know the size and weight restrictions for your luggage set by the airline. Excess charges can really hurt your wallet. Bring your own plastic bags to take your liquids through security. Take items that you love with you such as salt, pepper, tea bags, washing powder, dishwasher tablets and bin bags.

Research

In the olden days, my Dad used to do as much research in the library about our holiday destinations. Nowadays if we are savvy we can use the Internet well in advance not only to check out places we want to visit but also special discounts and deals. Yes, you might have to sign up to email newsletters but if it means saving some pennies and pounds it might just be worth it.

Food and drink

You can easily spend way too much money on food and drink. On days out you can make your own picnic rather than relying on food outlets. Not only will this save you money but you can tailor the picnic to your family’s food preferences and cater for any allergies and special diets. If you do go to a restaurant lunchtime eating tends to be cheaper and look out for the menu del día. As for drinks try the local wine and draught beer or cerveza de barril is cheaper than bottled beer. Ask for tap water rather than laying out for expensive mineral water. If you see servicio incluido on a bill, you do not need to leave a tip.

Getting around

Walking is free and often results in you finding hidden gems as you go off the beaten track including cheaper cafes, restaurants and bars.  If walking is too much for you or family members, ensure you look into travel passes. Check out any special provision for older people, younger people, disabled people and students.

Other places where savings can be made include car hire and fuel costs, banking and the use of technology. It’s back to doing that Internet research before you go. Finally ensure you take out travel insurance and get your free European Health Insurance Card.

Do you have any tips for making the most of your budget when on holiday in Spain?

Making The Most Of Your Budget On A Holiday In Spain
 

My Random Musings

When the temperature heats up, we seek a cooling tonic and that often comes in the form of a swim.

There is the sea to cool off in and the cooler temperatures of open swimming in lakes to enjoy too. Increasingly, we are buying swimming pools to enjoy in the garden too, with pool and landscaping design becoming far more commonplace in family homes.

Unfortunately, we aren’t always prepared for the cold water shock that comes with plunging into a deep swimming pool, lake or the sea.

Even strong swimmers can get into trouble quickly in cold water so it pays to be safe around water, whether that is a pool in the back garden or a dip in the lake.

Being Pool Safe

From small paddling pools to larger, deeper family swimming pools, the range of temporary and semi-permanent swimming pools has grown in recent years.

But being safe around water is something we should all be vigilant about but do you really know how to stay safe around water?

This clever infographic Staying Safe by the Pool is a family-friendly guide to pool safety and why we need to take more notice of how we use the pool.

It gives clever hints on what to look for around the pool area, as well as what you should be looking out for when your family and friends over enjoying the sunshine and the pool in your backyard.

Staying safe

Staying safe is not difficult when you know what to look out for. It also helps us to understand why our behaviour changes so much for other times – in the summer, when the sun is shining, we want everyone to relax and enjoy the pool.

But sometimes that means we relax too much leading to some dangerous stuff happening before our very eyes! But with these hints and tips, you will enjoy the summer in the swimming pool, or at the lake or a swim in the sea – just make sure you are really safe!

Safety In The Pool

Winnettes

Dorset is a county that I don’t know very well at all. My parents took me all over England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland but some counties slipped through the net. Dorset was one of them and I visited there for the first time when I became a nanny many years ago.

Of course, so many friends have recommended the county to me as a holiday destination. It’s about time I took Dorset off the bucket list and actually booked a holiday cottage break for us all. I think most people know about the fine beaches and the Jurassic nature of the coastline. Fossils and dinosaurs always appeal down the generations. However, I decided to look into the other things families might enjoy in Dorset before we make your trip there.

Nature

I love to encourage my children to get away from screens and outdoors as often as possible. My parents used to take me to country parks as a child and it is great to know that Durlston Country Park offers 280 acres for them to explore. There are walking trails which we always enjoy, beautiful views and wildlife which can inform our home education journey.

I have always admired the work of the RSPB. My late Mum loved watching birds and knew a lot about them too. So in her honour it would be great to visit RSPB Arne Nature Reserve where you can also see beautiful butterflies and six British reptile species. Again, this visit would add loads to our home education journey.

History

I was brought up with a love of learning and my oldest son has a passion for it shared by my parents. My younger two did not enjoy history much in school but they do now. Dorset is full of historical locations including Sherborne Abbey, Maiden Castle and Dorchester’s Roman Town House I am particularly interested in Tyneham village which was evacuated in World War Two and stands still deserted as a memorial to those very challenging times in British history.

Beaches

There are lovely beaches around the UK but Dorset’s really do stand out. Studland Beach is one example where you can swim safely and even catch a glimpse of the Isle of Wight. I am not really a fan of beaches which are not sandy but you have golden sands in plentiful supply here and in the county as a whole. Check out Durdle Door’s arch and beach. This is part of the Lulworth Estate and the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site.

I have more research to do but Dorset clearly has so much to offer for a great family holiday. I would love to hear your tips about the best places to visit especially those that  might appeal most to teens.

Days Out In Dorset For The Family

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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