Days out for kids
Great ideas for day trips with the kids near London
Stuck for things to do with the kids? As much as we love London for its museums and attractions, sometimes an excursion is what’s called for, which is why we’ve rounded up fab family days out near the capital. With theme parks, palaces, animal attractions, easy trips to the seaside and great outdoor adventures, we've got the best ideas for things to do with the whole family. Think we've missed a great family day trip outside London? Let us know in the comments box below.
There are some brilliant attractions at this adventure theme park within the rolling Berkshire countryside. New for 2013 is Duplo Valley Splash and Play featuring the Drench Towers water play structure. Recent additions include the Lego themed hotel, a 150-room hotel with themed accommodation, and ‘Atlantis Submarine Voyage’, a ride where visitors travel through a one million-litre tank in a slow-moving underwater vehicle to see live sharks and stingrays swimming amongst Lego mermaids.
- Winkfield Road, Windsor Park, SL4 4AY
The zoo, opened in 1931, is still deservedly popular and has ten gorillas, two tigers, two lions and a family of leopards, as well as smaller animals. At Chessington World of Adventures, many rides are geared towards families with young children, unlike the more extreme offerings at nearby stablemate Thorpe Park.
- Leatherhead Road, Chessington, KT9 2NE
Many of the rides here are designed for teens and older children, and have height restrictions. That said, parents with young (or short) children will find plenty to do at Neptune's Beach (a big paddling spot) and Octopus Garden (little, friendly rides). Teenagers will love the gore of horror-themed white-knuckler Saw, and the spiralling water drop raft ride Storm Surge. The staff at Thorpe Park are mostly young and extremely friendly
- Staines Rd, KT16 8PN
Set in Britain's woods and forests, Go Ape centres are fantastic places for monkeying around in the treetops. The high rope courses offer adrenaline-packed aerial adventures for the over-tens (height and weight restrictions apply). Families can swing, scramble, climb and slide to their hearts' content amid the rope bridges, trapezes and zip slides. Climbers are fitted with sturdy safety harnesses, so there's no need for the gripping skills of an actual ape.
- Black Park Country Park, Wexham, SL3 6DS
For any child who has ever dreamed of driving a vehicle or controlling a digger, this is a real treat. In this earthy barrow in Kent, there are giant machines, dirt diggers and a sky shuttle. Many of the attractions have height restrictions, so do check before you set out, but there are lots of attractions aimed at young children including mini Landrovers, mini dumper trucks, mini tractors and dodgems.
- Roman Way, Medway Valley Leisure Park, ME2 2NU