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Five great things to do with kids a short hop from London

Leave the capital behind for spooky caves, tiny windmills and a theme park that both you and the kids are guaranteed to dig

By Time Out in association with Cadbury
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You could spend a decade’s worth of summer holidays in London without visiting the same place twice, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth venturing out of the city once in a while. Add these out-of-town outings to your agenda and give the fam a taste of life beyond the big smoke.

We at Time Out aren't the only ones saving the day for parents this summer. Freddo, the adventure-loving cartoon frog, is all about seeking out fun and helping out his friends. You can experience Freddo's first ever comic and audiobook adventure – ‘The Missing Hop’ – by searching 'Missing Hop' on the iTunes store. Perfect for those long car journeys...

Diggerland
Scott Wishart

Diggerland Kent

We may never know exactly what it is about bright-yellow construction vehicles that kids find so enthralling, but the important thing is that they’re guaranteed to entertain, making this niche theme park a nailed-on hit. There are more than 20 rides to check out, including Spindizzy, in which riders take a seat in the bucket of a JCB and… well, the clue’s in the name.
Strood, Kent, ME2 2NU. www.diggerland.com

Bekonscot Model Village

There’s plenty for kids to do at this cutesy family attraction beyond stomping around pretending to be a giant. As well as intricate models of more than 200 buildings, including windmills, thatched houses and a castle, there’s a ride-on miniature railway, a play area with remote-controlled boats and beautiful gardens packed with appropriately bonsai-sized plants.
Beaconsfield, HP9 2PL. www.bekonscot.co.uk

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Shepreth Wildlife Park

From the scaly to the feathery, critters come in all shapes and sizes at this sprawling park near Cambridge. The family of red pandas are among the biggest crowd-pullers, but make sure to plan your visit around the busy schedule of talks and feeding times – there’s not much more adorable than a hungry otter getting its lunch.
Shepreth, SG8 6PZ. www.sheprethwildlifepark.co.uk

Bluebell Railway

A go-to filming location for period dramas, this preserved heritage line hosts vintage trains that date back as far as the 1880s. The return service from Sheffield Park to East Grinstead takes just under two hours – plenty of time to bask in the old-timey charm of the steam era. Look out for special family-orientated events during the school holidays.
East Grinstead, RH19 1EB. www.bluebell-railway.com

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Kumar Sriskandan / Alamy Stock Photo

Chislehurst Caves

If they get more excited about Halloween than they do about Christmas, this spooky network of man-made underground tunnels will have them cackling with glee. The caves were carved out by Druids, Saxons and Romans, so there’s plenty of history behind them – book onto a tour for the full, often grisly lowdown.
Chislehurst, Kent, BR7 5NL. www.chislehurst-caves.co.uk

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