14 best family days out in the Midlands: Cheap things to do with your kids
You can identify the various plants and trees, like cashew, rubber, banana and cocoa. What to do: Kids are trivia sponges, and the facts and figures of this site will blow young minds. The very sight of this monument will also make a big impression on children and get them pondering an era that is mysterious even for grown-ups. Like an Ewok village for children, BeWILDerwood adapts to mature woodland and poses a natural and healthy alternative to indoor play parks.
You can clamber over the rocks, picking out the weird and wonderful formations, and seeing if they match their old nicknames. Park up at the visitor centre and get to the site via the special shuttle, which has reduced rates for kids. And shopping of course: The largest Lego store in the UK awaits you at the exit. What to do: All children have a dinosaur phase, right?
What to do: There are six hands-on galleries for kids to get stuck into, as well as immersive shows at the largest planetarium in the UK. Children will have no trouble imagining knights and wizards at this awesome setting, in which the ghostly ruins of castle walls mingle with cliffs and sprawl onto a little rocky island. Kids will be dazzled by the Crown Jewels, and gripped by the story of the Princes in the Tower, two young heirs to the throne who disappeared right here in the 15th century. What to do: Duxford will indulge that young fascination for high-octane hardware and feats of wartime daring.
This is dreamland for kids who love big machines. One, Housesteads Fort, encourages children to dip into the ancient past by clambering over these evocative ruins. In a few minutes you can walk down to Sycamore Gap, a spectacular valley made famous by movies. What to do: Little adventurers are encouraged to explore tunnels, mazes, a creepy mausoleum and hidden passages at a large garden where getting completely lost is all part of the fun.
Source: youtube. What to do: A former slate quarry is now a fantasy-like subterranean space where bottomless sheer walls are fitted with zip lines, rope bridges, climbing grips and even a massive bouncy net.
This activity centre is fun, awe-inspiring and exhausting all at the same time and includes the first four-person zip line in Europe. Beamish puts kids in touch with the rigours of historic rural and city life in the most direct way possible. Just in case they think they have it tough now! What to do: Whippersnappers can board heritage ships like HMS Victory and hear accounts of the swashbuckling battles that were fought on these decks.
Aboard HMS Alliance you can peep through the periscope of a real World War II submarine, while the Mary Rose is a real life shipwreck lifted from the depths of the Solent and displayed before your eyes. What to do: Steam engines hold a real fascination for many kids, and this mile heritage line is powered by the hulking locomotives built for the Great Western Railway.
Little passengers can meet a working Thomas the Tank Engine, while older parents can watch the beautiful North Wales scenery scroll by from the window. What to do: Investigate one of the few medieval British castles that has remained habitable to this day.
After the outside and inside of the building starred in the Harry Potter films, Alnwick Castle has reached out to younger audiences. What to do: Llandudno has way more than the average beach escape.
You do have time-honoured favourites like the puppet shows on the promenade, amusements at Llandudno Pier and the vast open sands at West Shore Beach. But the resort is also set off by Great Orme, a monumental limestone headland, primed for visits via the sweet heritage tram and the cable cars that carry you to the top. What to do: Alton Towers has a menu of gravity-defying rollercoasters pitched at adolescents and young adults.
Smiler sends you upside down more than any other ride in the world at present and Thirteen is the first vertical drop rollercoaster on the planet. There are old-school fairground rides, playhouses and activity centres for the youngest family members. The centre has won accolades for its hands-on tractor rides, trips on horse-drawn wagons, petting zoo and a range of workshops blurring the line between fun and learning.
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Scenes like Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove will stay with them for the rest of their lives. What to do: There are eight floors of free, hands-on galleries explaining how video games, television and movies work and inspiring you about their potential. You can make your own animations, delve into the history of video gaming and track the latest Internet trends. There are always cool workshops and exhibitions in the school holidays and movies at the IMAX screen.
What to do: Stare astounded at the towering basalt columns that look like they might have been made by an ancient race of giants. On calmer days you can go right inside the cave in your boat, and go ashore to scrabble over the polygonal rocks. What to do: Peppa Pig has taken over toddler society in the last few years, and Paultons Park is where you can feed that obsession.
All the rides, play areas and shows have characters from the cartoon. The Cornish Seal Sanctuary rescues some 50 injured pups a year and nurses them back to health. Well, clean may not be the best way to describe it!
The messy faces are worth it though. The rules are easy to understand. And a face full of flour is universally funny! For this one, you only need one item. In this game, the kids often have the advantage.
On other family game nights when the older ones may have an easier time with whatever the activity is, this game evens those odds. Our neighbour taught us this game. It is always a hit. I love this personalized version of the game 20 questions from Teach Mama.
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It gives a Headbands type of spin to it and allows you to use pictures of people you know or are familiar with. It would be easy to create themed versions of this game such as a Disney theme or famous families theme. The ideas are easy. Why not put them to good use?! You could mix it up by changing up the prizes.
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How about making your own holiday themed twister game? You can create lasting memories sitting around the kitchen table with a bowl of popcorn and a board game or puzzle. I love how our family has a culture of playing board games together. Sunday afternoons, you can usually find us sitting at the table playing Settlers of Catan, Splendor , Sequence , Ticket to Ride , or some of our other favourites.