Wind up your windows and hide all the sandwiches – at Longleat it’s all about safaris. We recommend going on the Jungle Cruise, where Californian sea lions will escort you, hoping for some fish. You’ll also sail past Gorilla Colony, a lakeside retreat for the venue’s band of lowland gorillas. New for 2019 are two giant river otters, Inny and Gordito, and the chance to get up close with crocodiles. For extra special occasions, opt for a VIP experience, where you can feed the tigers, take a safari tour with an expert guide or capture some up-close photos.
Warminster, Wiltshire, BA12 7NW
Bekonscot Model Village, Buckinghamshire
Bekonscot in Beaconsfield is the oldest model village in the world. With 90 years of history, a huge model railway, 1.5 acres of immaculate gardens and finely detailed model buildings, a trip to Bekonscot makes for a great day out. Stuck in a 1930s time warp, kids can see how England used to be. A narrow gauge miniature railway, where children can climb on for a ride, weaves its way behind the model village, criss-crossing the gardens and pond. There’s also a children’s playground area, plus remote-controlled boats and pirate blast water cannons.
Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, HP9 2PL
Warner Bros Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter, Hertfordshire
The Harry Potter film series made Leavesden its home for more than ten years. Once filming wrapped on Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in 2010, the production crew were left with a treasure trove of thousands of intricate and beautifully made artefacts. Now fans can visit the studios to view these iconic props, costumes and sets first-hand via two soundstages and a backlot filled with original sets, animatronic creatures and a special effects workshop. Our favourite spot has to be Platform 9 3/4, where kids can clamber inside the original train carriages and booths. Make sure to stop off for a butter beer on your way through Hogsmead.
Leaveden, Hertfordshire, WD25 7LR
ZSL London Zoo, London
‘Mini Keepers’ returns to London Zoo for May half term. From animal dentistry to dung sweeping, kids will have the chance to get stuck-in and experience zookeeper life in this role-play experience. After arriving through a secret entrance within the zoo, new recruits will be kitted out in uniform and given their daily check lists, before embarking on a journey behind the scenes into the specially recreated keeper kitchen. Becoming part of the action, children will help keepers prepare lunch for the squirrel monkeys, create fun activities for the meerkats and experience the biggest job in a keepers’ daily life – mucking out. A must for animal lovers.
Regent's Park, NW1 4RY
Legoland Windsor, Buckinghamshire
At Legoland Windsor Resort there are over 55 rides and attractions where children can fly through the treetops to escape fearsome dragons, ride rapids with a Viking fleet, join Lego divers on an underwater adventure or enjoy the UK’s only Lego Star Wars model display. The park has lots to offer for families with children between the ages of three and 12. New for 2019 is The Haunted House Monster Party, a ride through Lord Vampyre’s abode. The experience continues after park closing time in the Legoland Hotel, where visitors can spend the night in a fully themed bedroom.
Windsor, Buckinghamshire, SL4 4AY
KidZania is an indoor city, run by kids. Here, children can independently choose from a number of real-life activities in one safe and secure space. Designed for children aged four-14, KidZania blends learning and reality with entertainment. Activities range from hands-on spots at the doctors, dentist, police station and fire station, and kids can see what it’s like to be an actor or dancer. At check in at the British Airways Airport, kids will each receive a security RFID bracelet, 50 ‘kidZos’ for spending and a hairnet to wear underneath any hats or helmets. If your kids are aged eight or above, you can check them in and pick them up at the end of their slot.
Westfield London, White City, W12 7GB
Zip World Caverns, Wales
Home to a wealth of North Wales slate mining history, Slate Caverns now houses the world’s first underground playground. With views across Snowdonia from the top of Titan, visitors can begin their experience by zipping 1,890m from half the height of Snowdon. Whatever the weather, there’s always something to do: top of the list is subterranean playground Bounce Below and the Caverns, an underground adventure zip line and adventure course which runs throughout a 200-year-old former mine.
Llechwedd Slate Caverns, Blaenau Ffestiniog, LL41 3NB
Shrek’s Adventure, London
Shrek’s Adventure in London is an interactive and immersive walkthrough experience, where the whole family can step into and star in a misadventure with Shrek and his DreamWorks friends. The journey begins when you board the magical flying 4D bus to Far Far Away. Here you’ll visit Cinderella in Shrek’s swamp, bump into Puss in Boots, rescue Pinocchio from the wheel of torture and cook up a magic spell with the Muffin Man. The experience involves 12 fairytale-themed live shows, incorporating actors, storytelling, special effects and DreamWorks animation which allows you to see, hear, touch, smell and feel the adventure.
County Hall, Westminster Bridge Road, Waterloo, SE1 7PB
SEA LIFE Brighton, East Sussex
Brighton Aquarium first opened in 1872. Today, you can see all sorts of creatures, from the curious and the rescued to the rare and enigmatic. Away from the main tanks – which house clownfish, seahorses and jellyfish – kids can head into the hot and humid rainforest. Here children will wind through roots and tree trunks and meet rescued terrapins. New this year is the attraction’s ‘Loop’ initiative, where children and adults will learn all about the importance of recycling and the effect plastic pollution is having on marine life. Educational and entertaining.
Brighton, East Sussex, BN2 1TB
Natural History Museum, London
At the Natural History Museum, children can get up-close with nature, discover fascinating creatures and intriguing science, and enjoy fun, family-friendly activities. With plenty of hands-on, interactive activities and action-packed school holiday programmes, there's something for children of all ages. Kids can do their best T. Rex impressions as they stomp through the Dinosaurs Gallery, drop into Investigate – a science centre where children and adults can get hands-on with the museum's collections – and visit the Wildlife Garden, which is home to thousands of British flora and fauna.
Cromwell Road, South Kensington, SW7 5BD
Port Lympne, Kent
Home to the UK's original safari experience, Port Lympne Hotel & Reserve offers a true family adventure. Set in over 600 acres, visitors will be transported to the plains of Africa and Asia to see over 700 animals roaming freely, then explore on foot to see big cats, small cats, primates, gorillas and many more animals before discovering life-sized prehistoric creatures in Dinosaur Forest. With regular animal births and new species coming in every year, there’s always something different to see.
Aldington Road, Lympne, Hythe, CT21 4LR
BeWILDerwood is an adventure park for families in Norfolk. The park is set up to give a more natural appearance than typical urban adventure parks and makes extensive use of natural materials. Self-described as a ‘curious treehouse adventure’, the attraction is located in the woods and features treehouses, rope bridges, slides, boat rides, zip wires, a maze and two special areas for children under five. Each day, events range from fancy dress parties, storytelling, treasure hunts, puppet shows, lantern parades and lots of craft-making activities.
Horning Road, Hoveton, Norwich, NR12 8JW
Drusillas Park, East Sussex
Widely regarded as the best small zoo in the country, Drusilla Park is an animal- and child-friendly environment where the focus is always on discovery. However, animals are only half the fun; Go Wild!, Get Wet!, Go Safari!, Amazon Adventure, the Eden's Eye maze and the Hello Kitty Secret Garden turn the attraction into a theme park. Children can take part in the ‘Zoolympics’ challenge where they can stamp their way through the Animal Spotter Book, watch the animals being fed and learn new facts at one of the keeper talks. Meanwhile, walk-through enclosures feature lemurs, lorikeets bats, sloths and golden lion tamarins.
Alfriston, East Sussex, BN26 5QS
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