Days out guide UK
Official Attractions, A-M - Official Attractions, N-Z - 'Free' ideas

Welcome. This is my place to disucss experiences of taking a family to 'attractions' in the UK. Hopefully you can sense the angle I'm coming from and be willing to share some of your own, both good and bad? Drop me an email: steve.litchfield AT ukonline.co.uk

Beale Park (Reading)

There's a little bit of everything at Beale Park, although nothing is really superlative. As long as the weather's not wet, there's enough here for a complete day out (and the cafe's good, for lunch). Especially fun on really hot days because of the large paddling pools. And I loved watching the radio-controlled boat club in action.

There's a train ride round the park but you have to pay for a ride, which seems a bit over the top after you've just paid to get in as well. Things to avoid: the pigs. really, really smelly!

Beale Park train

See their web site

Cholderton Rare Breeds Farm Park (a.k.a. Rabbit World, a.k.a. Cholderton Charlie's Farm) (Cholderton, A303)

A relatively cheap day out for the family, though make sure you visit in good weather, since indoor activities are very limited (rabbit pens and trampoline/play area). Watch out for the specific rabbit handling times and don't forget to explore the extremities of the park, with pigs, baby goats, chickens and lots more trampolines and outdoor play equipment.

Rabbit World

See their web site.

The Helicopter Museum (Weston Super Mare)

Just as the name suggests, there's hours of exploration and chat here for males older than about 10, but the fun for younger children is limited. Two helicopter shells outside the cafe area provide some climb-on fun and imaginative play, but that's about it. Still, if you're into helicopters... Oh, and the cafe is friendly and very cheap.

The Helicopter Museum

See their web site.

HorseWorld (Whitchurch, Bristol)

A good value day out, as long as the weather's good. There are several dozen horses, ponies and donkeys of all sizes, plus sheep and a few other odd animals. Some are tame enough to wander through the venue, though most are tethered/stabled. Plenty to pat and admire though. Horse/sheep races provide light entertainment and there are some short walks and a big play park area.

Horse shoe painting and other craft activities are cheaply priced and worth doing. The cafe is quite good too, though the queue's get long, so plan for an early food stop.

HorseWorld

See their web site.

Legoland Windsor

A good (if expensive) day out, but you have to plan your trip with near military precision. See my dedicated Legoland mini site for tips and advice. If you live within striking range of Legoland, it makes a lot of sense to stump up for full annual passes and then go 7 or 8 times in your year, treating it like a free day out whenever you need somewhere for the kids in the holidays.

Longleat (Somerset)

The world famous wildlife attraction. The whole thing is well worth it provide you go for a 'passport', giving you a single price for everything. These can be bought more cheaply at tourist centre and camp sites (usually).

The drive through the wildlife is very interesting, though you don't really get that close to many of the animals. And take all external accessories off your car before entering the monkey enclosure. Really.

The Longleat House site, with its dozen or so activities, suffers from overcrowding, with some queues being ridiculously long. For example, the river boat trip queue is quite often over 90 minutes long, which is silly, especially with a family. Your family will probably spend longest in Pets corner. Go for the parrot show but be sure to turn up for a show a good 20 minutes early, otherwise you won't get a seat.

Parrot Show at Longleat

See their web site.

Monkey World (Wareham)

No doubt created with excellent conservation intents and still doing good work in this field, Monkey World fails as a tourist attraction. Visitor numbers through the turnstiles aren't limited and once you get beyond a few hundred people in the park, it's just about impossible to get to a viewing window to have a chance of seeing any monkeys. And that's if the monkeys themselves haven't gone all crowd shy.

If you do go, get there on the dot of 10am and get in your close up viewing straight away before 1000s of others turn up. Also worth mentioning in terms of over commercialisation is the large gift shop, with many things marked up over RRP and some very tacky items.

All this would be barely acceptable if Monkey World was a charity, but it's not, it's a profit-making venture and as such should be approached with caution.

Female ape, up close just after park opening, Monkey World

See their web site.


All text on these pages is Copyright Steve Litchfield, 2007