40 Places in the UK to See with Your Kids Before They Are All Grown Up

We’ve put together a list of the most fun, the most innovative and the most covertly educational days out in all of the UK.

Many are geared towards testing brains and coordination, and helping kids develop while having fun.

Others, like the UK’s biggest theme parks, are the sort of organised silliness and mayhem that all children need now and again.

There are places so magnificent and awe-inspiring that they might even bring you closer together, and buildings and museums so fascinating that parents won’t help but be engrossed as well.

Here’s our list of the best places to visit with your kids before they are all grown up!:

1. Science Museum

Science Museum London

Source: wikipedia

Science Museum London

South Kensington, London

Why you’ve got to go: To enlighten inquisitive young minds about the physical world and the people who advanced our understanding. Well deserved one of the best things to do with your kids!

What to do: It could be civil engineering, robotics or vacuum technology: If there’s a certain sphere that your budding young scientist is just getting into, well, the cavernous Science Museum will have whole galleries devoted to it. The movies at the IMAX theatre will only enhance that sense of wonder.

Get there when kids are: All ages

More info: http://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/

2. Warner Bros. Studio Tour

Warner Bros. Studio Tour

Source: flickr

Warner Bros. Studio Tour

Leavesden, Hertfordshire

Why you’ve got to go: To be enchanted by a trove of items and places from the Harry Potter series.

What to do: For a young Harry Potter fan , what could be more exciting than stepping into the Great Hall or boarding the Hogwarts Express? You can go behind the scenes for secrets about the special effects and animatronics, and browse a decade’s worth of costumes, sets and iconic props.

Get there when kids are: All ages

More info: https://www.wbstudiotour.co.uk/

3. National Railway Museum

National Railway Museum

Source: flickr

National Railway Museum

York, North Yorkshire

Why you’ve got to go: There’s a vast hall of engines that will cater to your young ones’ steam train fixation, and then some.

What to do: If steam engines are all the rage with your kids, this attraction will have them riveted. The Great Hall will be a kind of cave of treasures for them, packed to the steel rafters with golden age steam locomotives and a Shinkansen from Japan to hop aboard. You can even see a cross-section of an engine to understand how it works. And it’s all absolutely free to boot.

Get there when kids are: Up to 12

More info: http://www.nrm.org.uk/

4. Camera Obscura and World of Illusions

Camera Obscura, Edinburgh

Source: flickr

Camera Obscura, Edinburgh

Edinburgh, Lothian

Why you’ve got to go: Six floors of puzzles, special effects, games and other interactive craziness at one of Britain’s oldest attractions.

What to do: The whole thing started in 1835 with the Camera Obscura, a live projection of a bird’s eye of Edinburgh from atop a tower. Like mini gods, kids can pretend to pick people up or smoosh them into the ground, if that’s their thing. The five floors below are a fabulous miscellany of optical illusions, light and magic and smoke and mirrors.

Get there when kids are: Primary school age

More info: http://www.camera-obscura.co.uk/

5. Eden Project

Eden Project

Source: flickr

Eden Project

St Austell, Cornwall

Why you’ve got to go: To journey into landscaped worlds within futuristic domes and get immersed in botany on the way.

What to do: One of the best bits here is the Canopy Walkway, a raised platform high among the treetops in the rainforest biome. You can identify the various plants and trees, like cashew, rubber, banana and cocoa. For young thrills there’s England’s longest zip line, the SkyWire, and lots of interactive gadgets at the Core Building.

Get there when kids are: All ages

More info: http://www.edenproject.com/

6. Stonehenge

Stonehenge

Source: flickr

Stonehenge

Amesbury, Wiltshire

Why you’ve got to go: One of the UK’s most special locations will seem even more magical through a child’s eyes.

What to do: Kids are trivia sponges, and the facts and figures of this site will blow young minds. It’s amazing to think what was achieved 5,000 years ago with just man and ox-power, ropes and stones. 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.

Get there when kids are: All ages

More info: http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/stonehenge/

7. Bewilderwood

Bewilderwood

Source: flickr

Bewilderwood

Hoveton, Norfolk

Why you’ve got to go: For all the energy-burning fun of a soft play park, in 50 acres of whimsical woodland.

What to do: There’s interactive story-telling and puppet shows for toddlers, as well as mazes, zip-lines and rope bridges for bigger kids. Like an Ewok village for children, BeWILDerwood adapts to mature woodland and poses a natural and healthy alternative to indoor play parks. It’s all the brainchild of kids’ author Tom Blofeld and the characters from his books show up to make things even more fun.

Get there when kids are: Up to 12

More info: http://www.bewilderwood.co.uk/

8. Giant’s Causeway

Giant's Causeway, Bushmills, UK

Source: flickr

Giant’s Causeway, Bushmills, UK

Bushmills, Antrim

Why you’ve got to go: It’s a UNESCO-listed natural phenomenon, an epic system of basalt columns that look like stepping stones for giants.

What to do: The name alone will spark kids’ active imaginations, but when they see the causeway their sense of awe will be off the charts. 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.

Get there when kids are: All ages

More info: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/giants-causeway

9. Legoland

Legoland, Windsor

Source: flickr

Legoland, Windsor

Windsor, Berkshire

Why you’ve got to go: Because it’s a theme park made with 80 million Lego blocks. You can’t get cooler than that in a kid’s eyes.

What to do: Go on interactive adventures like Coast Guard rescue or the Lego City Driving School where little ones can get their Lego driving licence. Or ride Lego-themed rollercoasters like the Dragon, which swoops over the park’s plastic block rooftops. And shopping of course: The largest Lego store in the UK awaits you at the exit.

Get there when kids are: 10 or under

More info: https://www.legoland.co.uk/

10. Natural History Museum

Central Hall of the Natural History Museum

Source: flickr

Central Hall of the Natural History Museum

South Kensington, London

Why you’ve got to go: To see the dinosaur fossils and eggs to teach kids about the real monsters that once walked the earth.

What to do: All children have a dinosaur phase, right? The moment you step into Hintze Hall and catch sight of the diplodocus you’ll know you’re in a place that can bring them to life, at least in a child’s imagination. Grown-ups can marvel at the museum’s architecture, while brave kids can confront an animatronic T-Rex and feel what it’s like to be in an earthquake.

Get there when kids are: Primary school age

More info: http://www.nhm.ac.uk/

11. National Space Centre

National Space Centre, Leicester

Source: flickr

National Space Centre, Leicester

Leicester, Leicestershire

Why you’ve got to go: There isn’t a child that hasn’t dreamed about space exploration, and this attraction will make the dream a little more real.

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. The Rocket Tower is 42 metres high and you’ll speed to the top in a glass lift. It’s one of those days out that is informative for adults, but also keeps kids’ attentions with kinetic exhibits and multimedia.

Get there when kids are: Primary school age

More info: http://spacecentre.co.uk/

12. Tintagel Castle

Tintagel Castle, Chapel & Village

Source: flickr

Tintagel Castle, Chapel & Village

Tintagel, Cornwall

Why you’ve got to go: For King Arthur, who was born right here according to the famous legend.

What to do: Explore to your heart’s content, at a place where real Dark Age history and folklore collide. 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.

Get there when kids are: All ages

More info: http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/tintagel-castle/

13. Tower of London

Tower of London

Source: wikipedia

Tower of London

Tower Hamlets, London

Why you’ve got to go: The Beefeaters at the Tower can tell you more about the history of London and England than a week’s worth of school!

What to do: See Traitors’ Gate, where famous Tudor prisoners like Sir Thomas More and Anne Boleyn entered, never to leave with their heads attached to their bodies. 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.

Get there when kids are: All ages

More info: http://www.hrp.org.uk/tower-of-london/

14. Imperial War Museum Duxford

Imperial War Museum Duxford

Source: flickr

Imperial War Museum Duxford

Duxford, Cambridgeshire

Why you’ve got to go: It’s all about the aircraft, with more than 200 machines to wow the bigger kids in the family.

What to do: Duxford will indulge that young fascination for high-octane hardware and feats of wartime daring. In the American Air Museum there’s an enormous B-52 Stratofortress filling the entire hall, and suspended above your head are jet and propeller planes from all periods. This is dreamland for kids who love big machines.

Get there when kids are: Around 12

More info: http://www.iwm.org.uk/visits/iwm-duxford/

15. Hadrian’s Wall

Hadrian's Wall

Source: flickr

Hadrian’s Wall

Hexham, Northumberland

Why you’ve got to go: This was the northern boundary of the whole Roman Empire, a titanic wall between the civilised world and northern tribes.

What to do: Hadrian’s wall is the largest single Roman artefact in the world, and its length was marked with mile-castles and forts every five miles. 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.

Get there when kids are: All ages

More info: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/hadrians-wall-and-housesteads-fort/

16. Forbidden Corner

Forbidden Corner, Middleham

Source: flickr

Forbidden Corner, Middleham

Middleham, North Yorkshire

Why you’ve got to go: For a spooky, offbeat and brain-teasing afternoon of discovery.

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. In this large folly you have a checklist of things to track down but there’s not a map to be found. Children will have a whale of a time solving problems, and grown-ups will fall in love with the garden’s wit and imagination.

Get there when kids are: Primary school age

More info: http://www.theforbiddencorner.co.uk/

17. Zipworld

Zipworld, Blaenau Ffestiniog

Source: youtube

Zipworld, Blaenau Ffestiniog

Blaenau Ffestiniog, Gwynedd

Why you’ve got to go: For safe and challenging fun in an extraordinary underground environment.

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.

Get there when kids are: Ten and up

More info: https://www.zipworld.co.uk/location/detail/blaenau-ffestiniog/

18. Warwick Castle

Warwick Castle

Source: flickr

Warwick Castle

Warwickshire

Why you’ve got to go: To see living history at its best, at the most complete medieval castle in the UK.

What to do: Survey the scene from the walls, climb the towers, see the huge siege engines in action, watch birds of prey shows and solve the ‘Horrible Histories’ maze. And for the bravest souls there’s the Dungeon Experience, in which you go back to the plague-ridden 1300s to meet characters such as the judge, torturer and a cook with questionable culinary standards.

Get there when kids are: All ages

More info: https://www.warwick-castle.com/

19. Beamish

Beamish

Source: flickr

Beamish

Stanley, County Durham

Why you’ve got to go: To drive trams and steam engines, dress up in old-time clothes and meet a cast of characters from the past.

What to do: There’s a breathless variety of activities to take part in, from ploughing fields, to attending Victorian school, baking bread and descending into a coal pit. 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!

Get there when kids are: Primary school age

More info: http://www.beamish.org.uk/

20. Portsmouth Historic Dockyard

Portsmouth Historic Dockyard

Source: flickr

Portsmouth Historic Dockyard

Portsmouth, Hampshire

Why you’ve got to go: For the warships and the tales of maritime life from real sailors on a genuine naval base.

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.

Get there when kids are: Ten and up

More info: http://www.historicdockyard.co.uk/

21. Llangollen Railway

Llangollen Railway

Source: flickr

Llangollen Railway

Llangollen, Denbighshire

Why you’ve got to go: For the UK’s ultimate steam train ride, in the romantic landscape of the Dee Valley.

What to do: Steam engines hold a real fascination for many kids, and this 10-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.

Get there when kids are: Up to ten

More info: http://www.llangollen-railway.co.uk/

22. Alnwick Castle

Alnwick Castle

Source: flickr

Alnwick Castle

Northumberland

Why you’ve got to go: So that kids can tell their friends they’ve been to the real Hogwarts.

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. Courageous kids can join the Knight’s Quest, dressing up in chivalric gear, visiting a medieval market and venturing into a dragon’s lair.

Get there when kids are: Primary school age

More info: https://www.alnwickcastle.com/

23. Llandudno

Llandudno Beach

Source: flickr

Llandudno Beach

Clwyd

Why you’ve got to go: To treat children to an old-fashioned s day at the seaside.

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.

Get there when kids are: Up to 14

More info: http://www.visitllandudno.org.uk/

24. Alton Towers

Alton Towers

Source: flickr

Alton Towers

Staffordshire

Why you’ve got to go: For exhilarating white knuckle rides that will meet the approval of even the most jaded teenagers.

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.

Get there when kids are: Ten and up

More info: https://www.altontowers.com/

25. Dorset Heavy Horse Centre

Dorset Heavy Horse Centre

Source: flickr

Dorset Heavy Horse Centre

Verwood, Dorset

Why you’ve got to go: To meet, groom and bond with rescued working horses.

What to do: There’s never a dull moment for young animal lovers. You’ll meet, care for and get to know the pasts of the giant working horses, which are incredibly gentle despite their size. 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.

Get there when kids are: Primary school age

More info: http://www.dorset-heavy-horse-centre.co.uk/

26. Jurassic Coast

Jurassic Coast

Source: flickr

Jurassic Coast

Devon and Dorset

Why you’ve got to go: For collecting fossils and impressing youngsters with wild coastal scenery .

What to do: If everything seems bigger through a child’s eyes the cliffs and gnarled rocks of the Jurassic Coast will be a craggy wonderland. Scenes like Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove will stay with them for the rest of their lives. But there’s an educational element on the Jurassic Coast, as you can pore over beaches like Chamouth for fossils freezing 185 million years of history in stone.

Get there when kids are: All ages

More info: http://jurassiccoast.org/

27. National Media Museum

National Media Museum

Source: flickr

National Media Museum

Bradford, West Yorkshire

Why you’ve got to go: To broaden horizons about the possibilities of the moving image and the Internet.

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.

Get there when kids are: Up to 14

More info: http://www.nationalmediamuseum.org.uk/

28. Fingal’s Cave

Fingal's Cave

Source: flickr

Fingal’s Cave

Staffa, Argyll and Bute

Why you’ve got to go: For a marvellous natural wonder that your kids will remember their whole lives.

What to do: Stare astounded at the towering basalt columns that look like they might have been made by an ancient race of giants. If your kids are reading Lovecraft they’ll be wild about this sight, which is the goal of a quest into the Inner Hebrides. On calmer days you can go right inside the cave in your boat, and go ashore to scrabble over the polygonal rocks.

Get there when kids are: 12 and up

More info: http://www.nts.org.uk/Property/Staffa-National-Nature-Reserve

29. Paultons Park

Paultons Park

Source: flickr

Paultons Park

Romsey, Hampshire

Why you’ve got to go: One reason: Peppa Pig World .

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. Little nippers can jump in Muddy Puddles, walk the Rainbow Road in Mr Potato’s playground and go on seven gentle rides made for little Peppa Pig fanatics.

Get there when kids are: Five or younger

More info: https://paultonspark.co.uk/

30. Cornish Seal Sanctuary

Cornish Seal Sanctuary

Source: flickr

Cornish Seal Sanctuary

Gweek, Cornwall

Why you’ve got to go: Because you’re never too young to learn about animal conservation and help injured seal pups.

What to do: It’s nice to be in an animal attraction where nearly all the residents are only there temporarily. The Cornish Seal Sanctuary rescues some 50 injured pups a year and nurses them back to health. Come to watch common seals, grey seals, otters and penguins feeding, and go behind the scenes in the seal hospital to see the great work being done.

Get there when kids are: All ages

More info: http://www.sealsanctuary.co.uk/

31. Folly Farm Adventure Park and Zoo

Folly Farm Adventure Park and Zoo

Begelly, Pembrokeshire

Why you’ve got to go: Little ones can make friends with farmyard animals, feed giraffes, groom ponies, and a lot more .

What to do: There’s a lot of interactivity at this multi-award-winning farm and zoo attraction. So that means befriending miniature pigs and finding out how to milk cows and goats. There’s a barn for petting goats, rabbits, donkeys and miniature ponies, as well as a zoo with wilder animals like lions, Humboldt penguins and meerkats.

Get there when kids are: Up to ten

More info: https://www.folly-farm.co.uk/

32. Matlock Bath

Matlock Bath

Source: flickr

Matlock Bath

Derbyshire

Why you’ve got to go: To bring kids to a place of magic, innocence and fun high in the Peak District.

What to do: Potter around this lovely gorge-side town and catch the cable-car to the Heights of Abraham atop Masson Hill. This attraction has been running since the 19th century and conducts you around two enormous show caverns that were mined since Roman times. Gulliver’s Kingdom is a theme park aimed at under 12s and the Victorian amusement halls in Matlock bath can provide hours of traditional fun.

Get there when kids are: Primary school age

More info: http://www.visitpeakdistrict.com/Matlock-Matlock-Bath/details/?dms=3&venue=6070460

33. Caernarfon Castle

Caernarfon Castle

Source: flickr

Caernarfon Castle

Gwynedd

Why you’ve got to go: To scale the labyrinth of spiral stairways and conquer the powerful Eagle Tower.

What to do: Be awed by a castle that was intended to make an impact. Caernarfon has UNESCO status and is a must for any child studying the bloody reign of Edward I, nicknamed Long Shanks by his foes. Even today every monarch’s first son has the Prince of Wales title because of this menacing hulk of stone built in the 13th century.

Get there when kids are: All ages

More info: http://cadw.gov.wales/daysout/caernarfon-castle/?lang=en

34. Windermere

Windermere

Source: flickr

Windermere

Cumbria

Why you’ve got to go: For the majesty and outdoor fun of the largest lake in England.

What to do: A huge list of family-friendly activities is on offer, from rowing, sailing, swimming and canoeing on the water, to horse riding, climbing, abseiling and walking on the shore. And trips on the old steamers that criss-cross the water are sure to wow the youngest family members. The high fells that slope down to the lakeshore never cease to make your heart soar.

Get there when kids are: All ages

More info: http://www.lakedistrict.gov.uk/visiting/placestogo/explorewindermere

35. Culloden Battlefield

Culloden Battlefield

Source: flickr

Culloden Battlefield

Inverness, Highland

Why you’ve got to go: This is where the last hand-to-hand battle on British soil was fought, in 1796, a turning point in Scottish history.

What to do: The high-tech new visitor centre is a dream resource for bigger kids keen to know more about the Battle of Culloden. There’s an immersive 360° movie of the battle, an animated battle table and a roof-top viewpoint of the site. The galleries have artefacts and firsthand accounts, and you’ll find out why life in the Highlands and Scottish islands would never be the same again.

Get there when kids are: Ten and up

More info: http://www.nts.org.uk/Culloden/

36. New Forest National Park

New Forest National Park

Source: flickr

New Forest National Park

Hampshire

Why you’ve got to go: For the ponies! There are 3,000 wild ponies in the New Forest, going where they please and grazing in woodland glades.

What to do: The New Forest is a safe place for kids to get to know the natural world in person, with gentle country that young legs can handle and piles of kid-friendly attractions: There are bird and reptile centres, deer sanctuaries, tree-climbing adventure parks and activity farms. Be here in summer when the pony foals promise a cuteness overload.

Get there when kids are: Primary school age

More info: http://www.thenewforest.co.uk/

37. Ironbridge

Ironbridge, Shropshire

Source: flickr

Ironbridge, Shropshire

Shropshire

Why you’ve got to go: At this one location you can trace the very genesis of the industrial Revolution at 10 incredible museums.

What to do: Don a hard-hat and journey underground in the Tar Tunnel, see where nearly all of the country’s tobacco pipes were once made, design your own tiles at the Jackfield Museum, dress up as a old-time potter at the Coalport China Museum. No single place can inform children about the upheaval of the UK in Georgian times like Ironbridge.

Get there when kids are: Primary school age

More info: http://www.ironbridge.org.uk/

38. White Cliffs of Dover

White Cliffs of Dover

Source: flickr

White Cliffs of Dover

Kent

Why you’ve got to go: To conquer the immense chalk walls that have been England’s front porch for 2,000 years.

What to do: Amble along the gentle grassy trail and look across to France, see the South Foreland Lighthouse where Marconi conducted his radio experiments and put on a hard hat and head torch for a guided tour of the Fan Bay Deep Shelter. Precocious antiquarians can go on a history frenzy as three castles, Dover, Walmer and Deal, flank the cliffs.

Get there when kids are: Aged five and up

More info: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/the-white-cliffs-of-dover/

39. Llancaiach Fawr Manor

Llancaiach Fawr Manor

Source: wikipedia

Llancaiach Fawr Manor

Caerphilly, South Wales

Why you’ve got to go: So kids can tell their friends that they’ve braved a real haunted house.

What to do: Young ones can engage with living history, meeting an array of historical characters from the top to the bottom of the social order. These residents are in fact knowledgeable guides who will dish the dirt on this fortified Tudor manor, its role in the English Civil War and all the eerie goings-on that have spooked visitors for centuries.

Get there when kids are: Five and up

More info: http://your.caerphilly.gov.uk/llancaiachfawr/

40. World Museum

World Museum, Liverpool

Source: flickr

World Museum, Liverpool

Liverpool, Merseyside

Why you’ve got to go: There’s a crazy miscellany of things to see, perfect for the shortest attention.

What to do: It’s not called the World Museum for nothing: Kids can be grossed out by Egyptian mummies, marvel at real casts of dinosaur skeletons, see authentic samurai armour and inspect the creepy crawlies at the Bug House. And if that’s not enough they can blast off on their own space odyssey at the planetarium.

Get there when kids are: All ages

More info: http://www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/wml/


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40 Places in the UK to See with Your Kids Before They Are All Grown Up


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