Half way through half term (*smiles through gritted teeth*). Please the little people and save your sanity by checking out these 10 family day trips.
There’s nothing lovelier than hanging out in Somerset and Dorset (except, um Cap Ferrat, California and the Caribbean – but there, I’m being churlish). If you’re looking for half term happiness in, around and beyond the county boundaries, take a look at these 10 family-friendly day trips.
WILTSHIRE: Longleat, Warminster
Venture into the Park to discover animals from all over the world by road, rail, boat and foot including the tigers in the Safari Drive-through. Immerse yourself in the animal kingdom with a visit to the UK’s original Safari Park. Gain hands-on experience feeding the lorikeets and sea lions with opportunities to handle tarantulas or snakes in the Animal Handling Hall. Delve into history as you enter Longleat House then discover the Adventure Castle, Hedge Maze, Longleat Railway and much more on your day out. longleat.co.uk
DORSET: Monkey World, Wareham
This half term, visit our only primate rescue centre and discover how important families are to chimps, orang-utans monkeys and humans. Many of the apes and monkeys at the park have been neglected, kept in unnatural conditions, or experienced unbelievable cruelty. At Monkey World, they are rehabilitated back into family groups, where they can all enjoy the company of their own kind in a safe and natural environment, and some are even part of international breeding programmes for endangered species. As well as seeing the park’s 260 rescued monkeys & apes, kids can follow the “where’s the woollies” trail and take part in “find the families” games and half-term activity pack, available every day in half term. To combine fun with conservation, half-hourly keeper talks explain all about man’s closest living relative. Visitors can see the stars of TV’s ‘Monkey Life’, then ‘monkey around’ in the south’s largest Great Ape playground.
BERKSHIRE: Bonnets, Bustles and Top Hats, Windsor Castle, Sat 15 – Sun 23 Feb
Best bib and tucker for a visit to see the queen at Windsor Castle… Queen Victoria, that is. Let your kids run wild-ish and immerse themselves in the bonkers world of Victorian fashion, try on a costume and make a fashion accessory. Plus you’ll get to hear the inside scoop on Queen Victoria’s wedding, which took place 180 years ago this month.
WARKWICKSHIRE: Kenilworth Castle, until Sun 23 Feb
Get set for a truly historic half term and discover what it was like to live, work and fight in a real-life castle. Whether it’s learning to sword fight or transforming into a little lord or lady, there’s plenty of hands-on fun to keep the kids entertained. And once the little adventurers have put their skills to the test, let imaginations run wild as you explore Kenilworth’s mighty castle walls, 11am – 4pm. English Heritage/KenilworthCastle
BERKSHIRE: Go Ape, Swinley Forest Bracknell
No matter what the weather, if you want to get outdoors, get some fresh air and have some fun head to Swinley Forest and tackle the Go Ape course. You’ll enjoy a fun-filled hour exploring the canopy, trailblazing and tackling obstacles – finishing on the zip wire. The Junior Adventure is aimed at 6-12-year-old Tarzans, but if your child is under 6 but over a metre tall they can still join in.
LONDON: Imagine Children’s Festival until Sun 23 Feb
While you’re in old London Town, head saaaaarf for 12 days of jam-packed half-term fun in this brilliant annual kids festival. Aimed at 0-12-year-olds, there’s a mind-boggling array of activities and events, hang out with Michael Rosen, Dermot O’Leary, Cressida Cowell and Konnie Huq.
SOMERSET: Cheddar Gorge & Caves, Cheddar
Put on overalls, wellies and hard hat with torch and descend into the depths of the iconic, prehistoric Cheddar Gorge & Caves. Start in Gough’s Cave (where they found Cheddar Man), then explore the Mushroom Chamber, Sand Chamber, the Bottomless Pit (eek) and out through the Letterbox, all in about 90 mins.
SURREY: Half Term at Hampton Court, until Sun 23 Feb
Queen Elizabeth I is in residence at Hampton Court Palace and is on the hunt for trainee spy masters to solve clues, uncover evidence and stop potential treasonous plots! Little ones will have the chance to become a spy, meeting some of the suspects in her court along the way, whilst deciphering mysterious codes and listening in on secret conversations. It will then be time to report back to the Queen on the discoveries about her wayward courtiers! Visitors can also pay a visit to The Lost Dress of Elizabeth I display, which showcases what is believed to be the only surviving item from her wardrobe.
HAMPSHIRE: Marwell Zoo, Marwell Zoo, nr Winchester
Marwell is always a good day out, with a chance to see tigers, flamingos and other exotic animals. And for the whole of 2020 you can get the kids on the hunt with their Explorer’s Trail. For a suggested donation of £1 you can get the kids actually paying attention to the exhibits and hunting down the clues before receiving the most coveted of prizes, a sticker (kids love a sticker!!) from the cafe at the end.
LONDON: Wonderlab, Science Museum
Heading to the Big Smoke? There’s the brilliant Science Museum‘s ongoing cool interactive gallery – Wonderlab, with over 50 exhibitions including hands-on, live experiments at the Chemistry Bar and daily shows. The Space and AI tech exhibitions are also worth seeing.