Let me entertain you
Kids going off the walls? As part of our #pukkafreestuff series, Susie Lodge, founder of Wikiplacesforkids.com unveils the top FREE attractions for your full clan
What happened to the heatwave? The problem with rain is it can close the door on fun, especially when you’ve got used to having free range kids, smugly watching them from a safe distance as they romp about a park or forest. As I type this in the cinema café at 10am on a rainy Sunday while my partner takes the kids to Movies for Juniors, I’m as clear as anyone that rain means spending money to keep them busy… but does it have to? If rain has stopped play for a bit or you’re feeling the pinch after the summer hols, then here’s a raft of suggestions that won’t cost a thing. I’ve searched top to bottom of my brilliant parent recommended “Wiki List” to give you some amazing FREE days out across the UK… come rain or shine.
If you’re a Harry fan, (wizard, I mean), you’re family will love the Potter Trail in Edinburgh, a guided tour of the magical locations that inspired the character’s and scenes for the famous JK Rowling, visit the places she wrote the books and learn a few spells while you’re there. Muggles welcome!
Other brilliant options in Edinburgh are, the National Gallery of Scotland, the National Museum Scotland, The Royal Botanic Garden and Holyrood Park!
The Discovery Museum, Angel of the North, Quayside and Newcastle City Parks are fab places to visit in Newcastle, or if you want to visit the coast the gorgeous Whitley Bay is a must!
If you love rock pooling, then one awesome spot is Robin Hoods Bay, near Bradford, where you’ll also find loads of incredible fossils on the beach. Or for something indoors, you can’t go wrong with the hugely recommended National Science and Media Museum.
If you’re in the Blackpool area, then visit the wonderful Penny Farm Ponies, a great day out and supporting a great cause!
The Tate Liverpool, fab for all visitors also has a dedicated area for little ones to romp about and provides activity packs for the kids to explore as they go around and specific children’s workshops all year round, all free.
For an outdoors option in Liverpool, Sefton Park comes highly recommended too!
Who doesn’t love a Miniature Railway? Also home to a wicked adventure playground, the one at Worden Park near Leyland, Lancs is a great suggestion.
Nottingham’s Sherwood Forest sounds incredible, and this year’s Robin Good festival has a huge line up of amazing crafts, entertainment, music, re-enactments… the lot!
The Tolkien Trail in Birmingham is an amazing opportunity to walk the steps of JRR Tolkien, spot familiar place names – Shire Lane – and absorb the surroundings of an incredible woodland landscape that inspired Middle Earth and the Lord of the Rings stories!!
Tring National History Museum! A mecca of incredible taxidermy (it’s not as scary as it sounds), this place is feast for the eyes, with plenty of space for excitable kids you’ll see all sorts from dogs to hippos, crocodiles and lions!
One of the best recommended splash parks on the list is the Embankment in Wellingborough, although these get super busy on hot days they are great and the kids love it, and this one’s brilliant for a free day!
Irchester Country Park has a huge outdoor play park with areas for all ages, there is also a short walk to discover dinosaur bones and eggs!! Plus the woodland itself is great.
Another great suggestion is Ferry Meadows at Nene Park for a great run around for kids – and pets!
N. Ireland is stunning, and The Giants Causeway is one of the most breath taking natural coastlines on the planet, despite being National Trust it’s free and families with all ages will love exploring these awesome stones!
There’s soooo much to choose from in London, but here’s a few of my picks…
Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London is the home of the 2012 Olympics and the London stadium, and it’s now filled with play parks, cafes, parkland and waterways. A great day out in an iconic location.
Visit Vauxhall City Farm for a bit of the countryside in the city, lots of animals, events and horse riding on offer (at a small cost).
Corams Field in London is ace, with playgrounds tailored to all ages, a small area holding goats on the left, and a big pool with fountains in the summer… and a basketball/ 5 aside pitch at the back!!
Margam Country Park, near Port Talbot, Wales, has a stunning Castle, Deer, a narrow gauge train, fairy tail village and adventure playground!
Slieve Gullion Forest Park, Meig, sounds awesome, a Giants lair among the woodland trails where you can spot fairy houses and even Dragons!!
On a rainy day the National Showcaves Centre in Swansea looks totally epic!
There’s so much amazing stuff to do in Cornwall, but I’ve had to pick and love the sound of Heartlands in Redruth, an amazing visitor attraction, with botanical gardens, interactive exhibitions, and kids play park set on the grounds of the old mining landscape.
Roskilly’s Farm in Cornwall sounds ace, it’s the home of an award winning ice cream brand, as well as lots of wonderful animals. This working farm has meadows to stroll about, milking to observe and events each week (some have a small charge).
My pick of the south, among loads of recommendations is Bedgebury Pinetum – An incredible adventure playground, set in the heart of a stunning arboretum, ideal for walking, cycling and all sorts of outdoor recreation!
If in Norfolk, where to start, there’s tonnes to choose from on the site, but all the beaches are EPIC, miles of sand and stunning scenery. See the site for a few great suggestions from other parents.
In Essex, near Braintree, the Great Notley Country Park, looks epic, with a 1.2 KM play trail giant seesaw, tyre swings, huge sandpit and climbing forest.
You can go crabbing in loads of great places, but we love Brightlingsea where you can find loads of the little nippers all ready and willing to take the bait!
So, deep breaths, as from this massive edit, you can literally fill up your calendar with free days out, but for loads of other ideas, take a look at wikiplacesforkids.com – brilliant days out all recommended by people, with kids, who’ve actually been.
Written by: Anna Whitehouse.