Entertain the kids on a budget
Let off steam and learn something new...
It doesn’t have to cost the earth to keep the little ones entertained. England is packed full of museums, galleries, gardens and exciting activities, where they can let off steam and learn something new. And with the money you save on getting
1. National Gallery , London
Get your budding Picassos down to the National Gallery’s Drawing Sunday. This weekly event is totally free, giving youngsters an opportunity to create their own masterpieces using a supply of colouring pencils, paper and copious amounts of glue. Best leave some space on the fridge at home for them to hang their creations…
2. Blackpool Pleasure Beach , Lancashire
Blackpool Pleasure Beach has been entertaining children for over 100 years,and today you’ll find cartoon-inspired rides like Dora’s World Adventure and the Rugrats’ Lost River. There are attractions for big kids, too,like the Pepsi Max Big One – among the tallest, fastest and steepest roller-coasters in the world…
3. National Railway Museum , York
With 100 locomotives under one roof, the National Railway Museum is the ideal place to let your little ones let off some steam. Highlights include the Hogwarts Express(the train used in the Harry Potter films) and the gleaming Art Deco Duchess Of Hamilton.
4. Swallows and Amazons Cruise , Lake District
Arthur Ransome used the lakes and rivers around Coniston Water as inspiration for his legendary children’s book, and on this cruise you’ll visit Wild Cat Island, Holly Howe, the Amazons’ boathouse and other spots that feature in the story – all aboard a 1920s solar-electric launch boat.
5. Jimmy’s Farm , Ipswich
At Jimmy’s Farm in Ipswich, kids can pet the resident rabbits, pigs and sheep, stroke a ferretor two and run around chasing butterflies. The farm is laid out over a 40-acre nature trail and woodland walk, and there’s an adventure playground and den building sessions, which should tire them out before the drive home.
6. Roald Dahl Museum , Buckinghamshire
Kids and adults alike are encouraged to dress up as Roald Dahl characters and create their own stories at this exciting museum in the author’s home village. There are free story-telling sessions, too, which take place outside – or in Miss Honey’s classroom if it rains.
7. Go Ape , Kent
Normally it’s a nightmare when kids ‘go ape’ but at this treetop assault course in Kent, it’s actively encouraged. The course involves zip lines that fling you 65ft above the forest floor, plus 38 rope crossings and a 12m Spider’s Web. Altogether now, Tarzaaan...
8. Imperial War Museum , Manchester
How about taking the gang along to the Big Picture Show at the Imperial War Museum North? They can experience 360-degrees of sights and sounds fromthe Second World War – with films projected onto the gallery walls, floor and even themselves.There’s an ex-Iraq War tank to check out, too, and the 13-pounder field gun that fired the first shot in the First World War.
9. UK Wolf Conservation Trust , Berkshire
Take your pack to see the resident wolves at this enormous enclosure in rural Berkshire. Kids can get up close to these misunderstood creatures on the children’s wolf walk – or how about shadowing a wolf keeper for a the day and watching the animals being fed? FYI: they’ll get mucky so old clothes are essential…
10. Alnwick Garden , Northumberland
Kids will have a great time dodging the water jets in the Grand Cascade, playing hide and seek in the Bamboo Labyrinth and getting a head for heights on the Treehouse’s wobbly rope bridges. There are opportunities for them to learn stuff, too,with experts on hand in the Ornamental Gardens to answer questions about the exotic plants.
Taking the kids to see newborn lambs at the Big Sheep in Devon.Big Sheep
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