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Hever Castle
Hever Castle

Five family days out of town this half-term

Fancy something more intrepid than the local park? Here’s some super excuses to head off for adventures by train or car

By Laura Lee Davies
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Mersea Island

Less than an hour by train from London, Mersea Island is actually only separate from the rest of Essex at high tide. There are boats to wave at, seals to spot and castles to be built on more sandy beaches. Cudmore Country Park is great for bird-watching and the Mersea Regatta takes place every August.

Fitzwilliam Museum

Museums Art and design Cambridgeshire

For a lovely day out with a difference, Cambridge’s Fitzwilliam Museum offers a fabulous gallery and performance space. Family activities include the regular First Saturday session – free drop-in arts and crafts events based around artworks from the collection – and regular artist-led groups (£8 per child).

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Chessington World of Adventures Resort

Attractions Theme parks Borough of Kingston upon Thames

A wildlife park, rollercoasters, a place to stay overnight and a Sea Life Aquarium: Chessington’s come a long way since its humble beginnings as a zoo. The new Gruffalo River Ride Adventure takes you through the deep dark wood with the infamous mouse.

Hever Castle

Attractions Parks and gardens Kent

What stories the walls of this castle could tell. The family home of Anne Boleyn, it holds a fascination for children who love all things Henry VIII. There’s also a brilliantly designed water maze – choose a path across the pond and try to avoid the surprise jets of water that surge up if you stand on a forbidden path!

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Willows Activity Farm

Attractions Farms Hertfordshire

This farm and adventure playground near St Albans welcomes Squirrel Nutkin into its fold from this half-term and visitors can meet the bushy-tailed chap himself from May 27. In Cottontail Village and the Peter Rabbit Adventure Playground there’s plenty of opportunity for fun in the fresh air, plus special shows featuring Master Nutkin and chums in the farm’s Peter Rabbit Theatre. Perfect for Potterphiles (Beatrix, not Harry).

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