Boredom buster! 10 summer day trips
Pack a picnic, bundle the kids in the car and head off to one of these family fun sites for the day – all doable in a zippy 90-minute window.
WILTS: Longleat Safari Park
For wild animals that aren’t of your own doing, head to Longleat for the zoo’s drive-through safari. It’s ideal for social distancing (just watch out for the monkeys – they have been known to steal sandwiches) and is guaranteed to captivate the kids for an afternoon thanks to the tigers, rhinos, zebras and lions. Booking essential.
LONDON: Science Museum
This super-cool museum opens to the public on 19 August. Kids will be fascinated by the The Equinor Gallery (part of the museum’s Wonderlab exhibition) which features 50 interactive elements. You can also visit the new addition, ‘Medicine: The Wellcome Galleries’, which features one of the largest medical collections in the world including the first MRI scanner, Fleming’s penicillin mould and specially commissioned artwork including Marc Quinn’s ‘Self-Conscious Gene’ and portraits by award-winning photographer Siân Davey. Entrance is free but booking is essential.
HERTS: Hatfield House
Exhausted all the stately homes in Bucks & Oxon? Hop just over the border to Hatfield House for Jacobean gloriousness and gorgeous gardens with space to play. The actual house is closed but bring a picnic and sit in the gardens amongst the modern sculptures. Booking essential.
BERKS: Wellington Country Park
This family fun palace has got it all. Particularly good for under-8s, it contains an awesome adventure play area with giant zip wire, dinosaurs, mini golf, animal farm, jumbo bouncy pillow, miniature railway and so much more. There’s also a superb cafe serving quality local produce, much it from Wellington Estate itself.
WARKS: Warwick Castle
It’s business as usual at this spectacular family attraction with both the grounds and castle open (although you’ll have to wear face masks inside). This summer you can see the UK’s biggest birds of prey show, The Falconer’s Quest, visit the spooky castle dungeon, plus the popular Luna drive-in cinema will be popping up throughout Aug for twilight screenings with the stunning castle backdrop.
This cleverly transformed Victorian warehouse contains a climbing wall and indoor man-made cave so if you’re harbouring a young Ranulph Fiennes, chances are you’ll discover that here as they scale the impressive 13m wall or ditch the ropes to go bouldering in the lower levels. You can book in as a small group of the same household or social bubble.
The former gaff of The Jungle Book creator Rudyard Kipling, this 17th-century National Trust property has re-opened the gardens, estate and Mulberry Cafe for take-out food and drinks. You will require a pre-booked ticket.
HANTS: Marwell Zoo
Marwell is always a good day out, with a chance to see tigers, flamingos and other exotic animals. The zoo also has a new Supersized exhibition featuring lego models of curious animals (ever heard of the venomous blue-ringed octopus?) in 25 locations across the park.
BERKS: Windsor Castle
The Queen’s weekend hangout, Windsor Castle is the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world – pretty impressive, right? Inside the castle you can see a collection of WWII pantomime pictures, painted as backdrop for the shows Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret performed to raise funds for troops at the front (they’re usually covered by portraits), or outside you can take a family tour of the Castle’s secret gardens nestled below the round tower (every Thurs). There is a timed ticket system and booking is essential.
SURREY: Hampton Court Palace
The stunning former home of Henry VIII has 60 acres of formal gardens and 750 acres of historic parkland so easy-peasy to social distance and plenty of space to park your picnic blanket. The inside of the palace is also open (the Great Hall is a must-see), plus there’s a food market planned for the end of the month (29 – 30 Aug).