LIVING’s top 15 days out with the kids

Need some more inspiration for places to go and activities to fill for a summer of fun? Here’s our chart-topping days out with the kids 

happy little boy and girl enjoy travel by car at sea, family vacation

Let’s all go on a summer adventure

15. Exploring heritage at Wedgwood Museum

Wedgwood Dr, Barlaston, Stoke-on-Trent ST12 9ER
Open: Monday – Sunday, 10am – 5pm

A great way to explore a little local heritage with the children in a fun and colourful environment. With plenty of facilities and refreshments on offer, it’s a great place for families. Furthermore, the entry fee to Wedgwood Museum was waived earlier this year so you can learn about the history of Josiah Wedgwood for free. A factory tour is also available at an extra cost, although under-12s can go free. A dining hall on the site serves up meals and snacks.

14. Rain or shine at Brampton Park

Brampton Park, Newcastle-under-Lyme ST5 0QP
Open: Monday – Sunday, 10am – 4.30pm

This park is good come rain or shine. Having Green Flag status, if it’s sunny there’s plenty of fun in the park with its play area, sand pit, aviary, miniature railway and gardens, and if it rains there’s the Brampton Museum to explore. Admission is free and the children’s prize trail costs just 50p, including a prize at the end. If that wasn’t enough there’s also Cheeky Monkeys soft play within the park, which at £3.50 per child, it’s another great rainy day alternative.

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13. Animals at Gentleshaw Wildlife Centre

Stone Rd, Eccleshall, Stafford ST21 6JY
Open: Monday – Sunday, 10.30am – 4.30pm

Open seven days a week during school holidays, Gentleshaw is a small sanctuary for exotic animals and birds of prey. Nothing beats a day out with animals and Gentleshaw has plenty of exciting and interesting displays to see. There are reptiles, racoons and cats and often bird-flying displays including owls and buzzards. Admission is £5 for adults and £4 for children and children’s activity packs are available for £1 to keep them busy on the way round.

12. Sporty fun at Beacon Park

14 Swan Rd, Lichfield WS13 6QZ
Open: Monday – Sunday, 9am – 5pm

Set in more than 70 acres of gardens and open space within easy reach of the city centre, this could be a great sunny day out. There’s a play area, crazy golf, tennis, basketball and foot golf and additional summer activities include mini cars, inflatable fun and even donkey rides. There are organised events over the summer such as pond dipping days, and the Beacon Park fun day on Wednesday, August 8. There’s also a bistro and café if you want an alternative to a picnic.

11. Birds of prey at Battlefield Falconry Centre

Battlefield 1403, Shrewsbury, SY4 3DB
Open: Monday – Sunday, 10am – 4pm

Owned by an experienced falconer, Mark Southall, the Battlefield Falconry Centre in Shrewsbury has over 30 different species of birds including owls, falcons and hawks, and exciting new additions such as a Steppe Eagle and Great Grey Owl. You can also enjoy bird handling sessions, photography sessions and a ‘Hawk Walk’, where the experts release the birds to fly in a 200-acre wood on the Albrighton country Estate and call them back at intervals to sit on your fists as you walk through. Entry to the park for two adults and two children is £15; a birds of prey experience costs from £45 and the Hawk Walk from £35.

Read more: 5 outdoor adventures to try in Staffordshire

10. Alton Towers

Farley Ln, Alton, Stoke-on-Trent ST10 4DB
Open: Monday – Sunday, 10am – 4pm

Staffordshire’s best-loved theme park is a good choice for all ages. Children love the rides of course and with plenty of white knuckle roller coasters, including the new Wicker Man ride, and Cbeebies Land for the tiny tots, there are also the beautiful gardens to stroll around for those looking for a more sedate experience. This is definitely a day out to budget for and book in advance. Booking online will help reduce the cost. Adult entry on the day is £55 but bought online five days in advance is £33. Look out for any offers and family deals as these can make it much more affordable.

A beautiful Blackpool Sunrise on the west coast of the UK

Blackpool is just a 2 hour drive away

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9. Alton Towers Water Park and Alton Towers Spa

Farley Ln, Alton, Stoke-on-Trent ST10 4DB
Open: Monday – Sunday, 10am – 4pm

If the rides aren’t your thing or the unpredictable weather is a bugbear then why not try Splash Landings? Ride the slides and flumes as you enjoy a tropical climate and splash fun indoors or relax in the steaming bubbles outside. Entrance is £18 on the day but £16 per person booked online.  Older guests might want to slip away from the high-jinks and enjoy some relaxation in the spa. Based within the grounds of Alton Towers Hotel it offers a range of treatments and facilities include swimming pool, sauna, Jacuzzi, steam room and outdoor log sauna. A number of packages are available, starting from £52.

8. Wildlife watching at Amerton Farm

Stowe By Chartley, Stafford, Staffordshire, ST18 0LA
Open: Monday – Sunday, 9.30am – 5pm

The attraction, just minutes from Stafford town centre, provides something for visitors of all ages. Children will love getting up close to the animals, including cows, pigs, horses, alpacas and sheep, as well as running free on the play equipment in Billy’s Farm Barn and enjoying a ride on the steam railway. Admission is £5.99 for children and £1.99 adults. Older visitors can stroll around the food hall, craft and gift centre, tuck into cream teas in Finney’s Tea Room and paint a pot at Amerton Pottery, as well as browsing some of the businesses, such as Wendy’s Craft Corner, Amerton Arts Studio and Painted Country Cottage Furniture. The British Wildlife Rescue Centre is also based on site.

 7. Animal magic at Dudley Zoological Gardens

Castle Hill, Dudley DY1 4QF
Open: Monday – Sunday, 10am – 4pm

In the heart of the neighbouring Black Country there is a zoo and castle standing proudly over Dudley town centre – and it’s a great day out for all the family. The zoo is set around the hill which leads to the Norman castle ruins at the top, so on your journey up you’ll see lions, tigers, birds of prey, giraffes and sea lions, take a tour of the reptile house and then get up close to monkeys and meerkats. There’s plenty of history on offer within the castle grounds and you can even climb to the top of the keep. There’s also a vintage chairlift, fairground, play areas and farm. Admission is £15 adults and £9.50 children.

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 6. Journey of discovery at Iron Bridge

High Street, Tontine Hill, Ironbridge TF8 7JP
Open: Monday – Sunday, 10am – 4pm

Historic Iron Bridge offers something for all ages, whether it’s taking a walk across the world’s first iron bridge built by Abraham Darby, or visiting one of the 10 attractions at the world heritage site. Blists Hill Victorian Town takes visitors back to life 100 years ago, there are regular activities at the Jackfield Tile Museum, the wonders of technology are on offer at Enginuity and examples of traditional ceramics can be found at Coalport China Museum. There’s also The Coalbrookdale Museum of Iron, Museum of the Gorge, the Darby Houses, the Tar Tunnel and Broseley Pipeworks. Tickets for the attractions can be booked online, with adults costing £25.15 and family tickets for two adults and children from £66.50.

5. Seaside entertainment at Blackpool

Travel time is approximately 2 hours by car and 3 hours by train

Youngsters will be amazed at the lights along the Golden Mile, the piers, arcades, donkey rides on the beach and Blackpool Tower, not to mention fish and chips on the seafront. There’s also the Pleasure Beach, from £39 per adult but £25 online, and Sandcastle water park, which costs around £60 for a family of four. Strictly fans can watch and even take a twirl around the dancefloor at the Tower Ballroom. There are plenty of bars and restaurants, shows and fair rides to keep young and older visitors happy.

 4. Visiting the capital  

You can get off-peak return tickets to London on the train for as little as £41 per adult from Stoke-on-Trent and £39.50 from Stafford and it’ll take around 2 hours.

Take the kids to see Buckingham Palace, the changing of the guard, paddle in the fountain at Hyde Park, or have fun on the play area at St James’s Park. There are a number of museums offering free entry, including the Natural History Museum where youngsters will love the Earthquake simulator and riding the escalator into “Mars”. Older visitors can join some of the city’s guided walks, including Ghost walks, Jack the Ripper and classic London, or take a walk around Covent Garden, Westminster Abbey and Trafalgar Square.

3. Royal Air Force Museum Cosford

Shifnal, Shropshire, TF11 8UP
Open: Monday – Sunday, 10am – 5pm (last admission 4pm)

If you’re in need of a cheap but cultural excursion one day, pack yourself off to the Royal Air Force Museum in Cosford. It’s extra special in 2018 as it’s the Royal Air Force’s Centenary year and admission is free for all. See life-size models of RAF planes from history and hear the fascinating stories of those who served in the RAF. The aircraft are displayed in wartime hangers adding to the overall atmosphere and making it a great day out for all the family.

Read more: 10 things to do with the kids this summer holiday 

2. Visit the Whitingham Castle

Castle Street, Whittington, Shropshire, SY11 4DF
Open: Free public access to the castle grounds all year round; Castle buildings open Wednesday – Sunday, 10am – 4pm

Owned and managed by the community it sits in, Whittingham Castle near Owestry in North Shropshire is a delightful day trip the children will love. Having undergone a staggering £1.5m restoration project, the romantic ruins from Norman times sit are set in 12-acres of grounds in the centre of the small rural village and steeped in history and legend. There is free admission to the castle grounds and a tea shop and souvenir shop on site too.

1. Gruffalo trail at Cannock Chase

Birches Valley Forest Centre, Birches Valley, Rugeley, Staffordshire, WS15 2UQ
Open: 7.30am – 9pm

Birches Valley is a great place for a day out come rain or shine. Fire up the kids’ imagination on the trail of the Gruffalo, look for the fairy houses in the trees and make music on the forest drums. There are plenty of bike trails, from beginners to more advanced, as well as the Go Ape high wires course through the trees, which is great for all ages. There’s also a kids’ adventure play area to keep the young ones entertained after a picnic.

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