Cracking Days Out – Top UK Destinations for Summer Adventures with Kids

Cracking days out - Top UK destinations for summer adventures with kids
Cracking days out – Top UK destinations for summer adventures with kids

The sun (hopefully) starts peeking through the clouds, the promise of long lazy days hangs in the air, and the cries of “I’m bored!” echo through the house. Yep, summer hols are upon us! Fear not, frazzled parents, because the UK is a treasure trove of epic adventures for you and your little ones. From seaside shenanigans to historical explorations, here’s CJ Digital’s lowdown on the hottest spots to keep your crew entertained this summer.

London Calling: City Slickers on the Move

Our capital bursts with enough energy to tire even the most enthusiastic mini-me. Start your day with a whizz on the iconic London Eye, offering panoramic peeks at Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, and Buckingham Palace. Feeling peckish? Refuel at Farmshop Café in Marylebone, a haven of healthy and delicious fare for the whole family.

Next, get your Harry Potter fix at the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter. Be mesmerized by the movie magic, from recreated sets like Diagon Alley to animatronic creatures. Top tip: book in advance, it’s perpetually popular!

For a dose of history, head to the Tower of London. Explore the crown jewels, peek inside the medieval fortress, and maybe even catch a glimpse of the resident ravens (don’t worry, they’re well-fed!). Afterwards, grab fish and chips from Poppies – a London institution for a reason!

Seas the Day: Coastal Capers and Seaside Fun

The UK boasts a glorious coastline, perfect for building sandcastles, paddling in the waves, and scoffing ice cream. Blackpool in Lancashire is a classic British seaside resort, with its Pleasure Beach packed with thrilling rides and arcades. Refuel at The Palm Beach for classic British seaside fare: candy floss, donuts, and of course, fish and chips.

Cornwall, with its dramatic cliffs and hidden coves, offers a more rugged charm. Kids will love exploring rock pools at low tide, searching for crabs and starfish. Rest your weary legs (and sandy toes) at The Fish Shack in St Ives, a relaxed spot with stunning sea views and the freshest seafood.

Wild Things: Encounters with the Animal Kingdom

The UK is home to a menagerie of magnificent creatures, guaranteed to ignite a sense of wonder in young minds. Chester Zoo, consistently rated one of the best in the world, offers a chance to see everything from playful otters to majestic lions. Pack a picnic or grab a bite at the on-site restaurants – there’s something for every taste bud.

For a more immersive experience, head to Longleat Safari Park in Wiltshire. Here you can drive through animal enclosures, spotting rhinos, giraffes, and even tigers! Refuel at The Retreat, a relaxed restaurant with views over the African Adventure section. Another great option is Bucklebury Farm with one of the best indoor soft plays in the UK as well as an outdoor safari to see the animals.

Jurassic Journey: Stepping Back in Time

The UK is packed with historical gems that bring the past to life. Take a trip back to the dinosaur era at the Natural History Museum in London. Explore the incredible dinosaur skeletons, marvel at gigantic blue whale models, and lose yourselves in the interactive exhibits. Refuel at The Diner, a vibrant American-style restaurant inside the museum, perfect for refuelling after a prehistoric adventure.

For a taste of medieval life, Warwick Castle in Warwickshire is a must-visit. Kids will love exploring the towers, watching jousting demonstrations, and even having a go at archery (with a safe, foam-tipped version of course!). Refuel at The Knight’s Feast restaurant, where you can dine like royalty (minus the uncomfortable thrones!).

Delicious Eats: Dinners and Lunches for the Little Ones

Fuelling little explorers is key to a successful summer adventure. The UK offers a fantastic range of family-friendly dining options. Chain restaurants like Wagamama and Pizza Express are lifesavers for fussy eaters, while pub gardens provide a relaxed setting for a post-outing meal. For a fun and affordable option, buffets are a winner. Look out for chains like Pizza Hut with their salad and pasta options alongside everyone’s favourite cheesy slices, or head to Aroma Buffet in Shepherd’s Bush, West London. Here, families can choose from a vast selection of Chinese, Japanese, and European dishes, with plenty of options to satisfy even the pickiest palates.

The Great Escape: Theme Park Thrills and Spills

The UK has a fantastic selection of theme parks, catering to all ages and thrill levels. Alton Towers in Staffordshire is a white-knuckle ride lover’s paradise, with heart-stopping rollercoasters like The Smiler and Oblivion. Younger kids will enjoy CBeebies Land, with its gentle rides and character meet-and-greets. Refuel at The Alton Towers Dungeon restaurant for a spooky (and delicious!) themed dining experience.

Paultons Park in Hampshire offers a delightful mix of rides for all ages, from the runaway train-themed The Great British Tea Party to the thrilling rollercoaster, Flight of the Pterosaur. Younger kids will adore Peppa Pig World, with its themed rides and life-size characters. Refuel at Critters Restaurant, a vibrant family-friendly spot with a view of the park.

Wet and Wild: Making a Splash This Summer

Escape the heat (or lack thereof, depending on the British weather!) with a trip to a water park. Splash Pad Lido in London Victoria Park offers a paddling pool paradise for younger kids, with fountains, water jets, and a shallow pool. Older kids can cool off at the nearby lido pools like Tooting Bec Lido, offering a large open-air pool and diving boards. Refuel with a picnic lunch in the park, or grab some snacks from the on-site cafes.

Creative Sparks: Unleashing Inner Picassos

Get your little ones’ creative juices flowing with a visit to a museum or art gallery with kid-friendly exhibitions. The V&A Museum of Childhood in London is a treasure trove of toys, games, and costumes from throughout history, guaranteed to spark imaginations. Refuel at The Gallery Café, with its light bites and kid-pleasing options like mini pizzas and smiley-face pancakes.

For a more hands-on experience, head to We The Curious in Bristol. This interactive science centre boasts fascinating exhibits on everything from the human body to space exploration. Kids can build robots, create mini-tornadoes, and generally have a blast while learning. Refuel at their on-site cafe, offering sandwiches, salads, and kid-friendly meals.

The Great Outdoors: Getting Back to Nature

The UK boasts stunning landscapes, perfect for exploring with little adventurers. The Peak District National Park offers hikes (suitable for all fitness levels), bike rides, and even caving adventures for older kids. Refuel at a traditional pub like The Peak Cavern in Castleton, where you can enjoy hearty pub classics like bangers and mash or a ploughman’s lunch.

For a coastal adventure, explore the Jurassic Coast in Dorset. Hike along the dramatic cliffs, discover hidden coves teeming with rock pools, and maybe even spot some fossils peeking out from the rocks. Refuel at The Hive Beach Cafe in Burton Bradstock, a relaxed spot with stunning sea views and delicious homemade food.

Festival Fun: Family-Friendly Feats

The UK summer festival scene is a vibrant affair, with many offering dedicated areas for families. Camp Bestival in Dorset boasts a magical atmosphere with live music, theatre performances, and creative workshops aimed at little ones. Refuel at the various food stalls offering everything from gourmet burgers to wood-fired pizzas.

The Edinburgh International Festival offers a taste of high culture for the whole family. Take in a family-friendly concert or performance, or explore the free street entertainment that pops up around the city. Refuel at one of Edinburgh’s many cafes or grab some classic Scottish grub from a pub like The Elephant House, a popular spot with Harry Potter fans.

Remember: With a little planning and these top tips, your summer adventures with the kids are sure to be epic. So pack your bags, embrace the (hopefully) sunny weather, and get ready to make memories that will last a lifetime!

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