Days out for kids

Great ideas for day trips with the kids near London

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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.

Hampton Court Palace

Henry VIII had many homes, but this one positively oozes historical drama.The world-famous gardens are truly wonderful, with the maze taking centre stage in any child's itinerary. Themed activities are plentiful during the school holidays, and on selected bank holidays and weekends Tudor cookery demonstrations take place in the huge kitchens, where children love the bubbling cauldrons and game-bird carcasses.

  1. East Molesey, Surrey, KT8 9AU
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Eltham Palace

Two palaces for the price of one. The remains of the Tudor palace include a bridge over the moat, as well as the impressive Great Hall. The biggest draw now, though, is the art deco property erected adjoining the Great Hall in 1936 by textiles heir Stephen Courtauld. The furniture and fittings look like a film set. Upstairs there's a chance to enjoy a home movie of Stephen and Virginia with their pet lemur, Mahjong (who had his own, specially designed quarters).

  1. Off Court Rd, SE9 5QE
More info

Hever Castle

Hever Castle is quite small, but what stories its walls can tell. Most famously, the castle was the family home of Anne Boleyn. Children are always riveted by the violent life and times of Henry, and this is a great place to introduce the subject. There's also a brilliantly designed water maze. Visitors must choose a path across the pond using stone slabs and trying to avoid the surprise jets of water that surge into the air if they stand on a forbidden path.

  1. Hever, nr Edenbridge, TN8 7NG
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Hatfield House

Children love random facts, and Hatfield House has many juicy ones to its name. It was here that Queen Elizabeth I spent her childhood and learned of her accession to the throne while reading under an oak tree in the park. A children's quiz encourages youngsters and adults to discover and study fascinating individual items within the house. There are tantalising views of the private maze and family gardens from the windows, and recently Hatfield Park Farm and Bloody Hollow Adventure Playground have been added to the attractions.

  1. AL9 5NQ
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Syon House and Park

This magnificent turreted pile looks out over the Thames towards Kew. It was here that Henry VIII's fifth wife Catherine Howard awaited her execution. The rooms, designed by Robert Adam, are breathtaking. Outside, children will love the nineteenth-century Great Conservatory, and running around in the Capability Brown-landscaped gardens. Then there's the London Tropical Zoo enclosure, full of endangered animals like piranhas, snakes, crocs and poison tree frogs.

  1. Brentford , Middx, TW8 8JF
More info

Users say

6 comments
Penningtonpr
Penningtonpr

How about Groombridge Place near Tunbridge Wells.  Plenty to do for a whole day including adventure opportunities in the forest from giant tree swings for adults and children to having pirate adventures in Crusoe's World or playing cowboys and indians in the teepees!  Two birds of prey displays every day except Mondays, lovely walled gardens with a giant chess set which children love to play on.  Moat, Canal boat, animals including the famous Zedonk.  Extra events during the school holidays.  Lovely refurbished restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating www.groombridgeplace.com  The attraction is also one of the Seven Wonders of the Weald www.sevenwonders.org.uk

Snuffles
Snuffles

We love days out and there are some great nominations here. Go Ape is a favourite, a good excuse to get active and let off steam. Recommend http://www.daytripfinder.co.uk/ for finding discounts and offers to attractions.

Layla
Layla

I seggest you go to Mad Hatter's Tea Party.It's a absolute delight!My favourite is the pops which turn your tongue from hot to cold!

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Anna McQuaid
Anna McQuaid

A great way to escape the madness of London is to visit the Betty Blythe Teashop in West London. A very family friendly spot, Betty Blythe is full to the brim with tasty treats and is the perfect excuse to make time for tea and cake! West London's top spot for Children's parties too - tables are set up for a grown up tea party (complete with teapots filled with hot chocolate!) the venue offers everything a little girl can dream of from dressing up to cupcake decorating, jewellery making and fairytale face painting.