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Laura Hall of Kid & Coe introduces 18 of the very best things to do with children in the United Kingdom

With its castles, countryside, world-class museums and vibrant cities, the United Kingdom is a wonderful location to visit as a family. A week-long stay can introduce you and your kids to a variety of culture, adventures and relaxing escapes; come for longer and you may not want to go home. From taking afternoon tea to visiting ancient ruins, there is a lot to keep you entertained.

 

Kids in the Natural History Museum

Kids in the Natural History Museum

Just one thing though: bring an umbrella. The weather is far from predictable (and that’s why so many of us locals talk about it so much!).

  • Stonehenge

This ancient pile of stones is Europe’s best-known prehistoric monument. Stroll round it with the kids and an audio guide in hand and discover what it was like to live 5,500 years ago. Along with the stone circle itself, there is a museum with multimedia exhibits and Neolithic houses to discover. Tip: nearby Avebury has a Neolithic stone circle too – and at this one, you can walk beside and touch the stones.

  • National Trust houses and castles

Wherever you are in the UK, you are never far from a National Trust house, castle or protected space. These special places are not just points of interest for history fans – with excellent children’s trails, imaginative play areas, dressing up opportunities and cafes, they can keep a whole family entertained for hours. Bodiam Castle in Kent is one of the best – but there are many more to discover on www.nationaltrust.org.uk

  • The Eden Project

Cornwall is always worth taking a detour for – this leg of land covers the far southwest of the country, has great beaches and even better local food. The Eden Project is its blockbuster family attraction, a series of enormous curvaceous greenhouses full of tropical plants designed to educate children about the importance of protecting the environment. It also hosts seasonal events for families, with ice-skating in winter, egg hunting at Easter and plenty more.

  • London’s South Bank

Walk beside the River Thames, admire Tower Bridge, sit and watch street performers or visit Tate Modern and be amazed at the installations and contemporary art. There’s always something to see beside the river here on London’s South Bank, and most of it is free.

  • Oxford or Cambridge

Take your pick – you don’t need to visit both. These ancient university towns are both cultured and beautiful but have a different feel. Oxford, an hour from London, is more urban, with a bustling high street and ornate colleges hidden behind rows of shops, while Cambridge is a small market town with the grand buildings of its colleges at its fore. Taking a punt – a shallow boat – down the river is a great way to see the sights in either town.

  • Edinburgh

With a brooding castle overlooking the city, a zoo with a pair of Giant Pandas and ghostly walks to be taken under the city’s streets at The Real Mary King’s Close, there is a lot here to entertain kids. Art galleries, shopping and walks up Arthur’s Seat complete the picture.

  • Take in a football match

You don’t have to have tickets to a top level game – in fact, these are as hard to come by as gold dust – experiencing what we call the ‘beautiful game’ is part of the British experience. Local teams slog it out over 90 minutes cheered on by their fans. Make sure you buy a pie at half time.

  • The Lake District

Altogether more genteel, the Lake District is one of the UK’s most visited national parks, an area of mountains and lakes close to the Scottish borders. Strap on some hiking boots and walk up a mountain or two, or if you’re not feeling so active, take a boat tour of Coniston or Windermere. If you like climbing, hiking, boating and fishing, it is an unmissable spot.

  • Afternoon tea

Hotels around the country regularly offer an afternoon tea for non-residents, so why not join in? The tradition is to have a pot of regular tea, china cups and a variety of finger sandwiches, savoury baked goods and cakes. It’s a special treat with kids, and no, we don’t have it every day. It’s a special treat for us Brits, too.

  • Seven Stories, Newcastle

The National Centre for Children’s Books is called Seven Stories and is in Newcastle. If your kids love to read, or love children’s book characters, this is the place for them! They have a packed program of events and several daily story times.

  • The Natural History Museum

If you only visit one London museum, make it this one. Kids of all ages will find something here to inspire and entertain them, from towering dinosaur bones to an earthquake room, explorer trails and animatronic dinosaurs. Regular exhibits include the Wildlife Photographer of the Year award and an ice rink outside at Christmas.

  • The Cotswolds

For a taste of English life outside the main cities, the Cotswolds are a wonderful place to explore. This area to the west of London is made up of pretty villages with thatched cottages, fields, and winding rivers. Throw bread to the ducks, shop for antiques and watch a local team play cricket on the green in summer. It is quiet and idyllic and just what we all wish English daily life really was like.

  • The Harry Potter tour

The magic of Harry Potter comes alive in the London Warner Brothers Studio Tour. Step into the Great Hall of Hogwarts, try a cup of frothy butterbeer and watch the kids ride a broomstick. It’s terrific fun for fans of all ages.

  • Alnwick Castle, Northumberland

One of the filming locations for Harry Potter, Alnwick Castle near Newcastle is one of the UK’s best castles to visit as a family. It has a huge tree house, a beautiful garden and hosts a variety of family events, from dressing up as a medieval peasant to broom riding and artisan crafts.

  • The Changing of the Guards at Buckingham Palace

A rite of passage for any child living near London, the ceremonial changing of the guards is a riot of color and takes place at 11.30am almost daily outside the palace. In it, one regiment of scarlet-clad guards with enormous fluffy black hats takes over from another, with pageantry and drumming making it special.

  • The Tower of London

England’s grisly history doesn’t get more colorful than this: this palace on the Thames has played host to queens and kings, beheadings and executions, unlawful imprisonments and even a medieval zoo. The full tour, complete with red-clad Beefeater guards and black ravens, is an impressive introduction to the country’s history and is worth every penny.

  • Durdle Door, Dorset

On the south coast of England, Durdle Door is a limestone arch near to the similarly impressive Lulworth Cove, a semi-circle of golden sand enclosing a shallow, calm bay. It’s a beautiful place to play, build sandcastle and enjoy a quieter side of England.

  • The Roald Dahl Museum, Hertfordshire

Close to London and housed in the town where the author lived and wrote, the Roald Dahl Museum sheds light on the creative processes and ideas behind the writer of Danny the Champion of the World, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda and more. Great Missenden is fun to explore, especially at the weekend when the museum runs family trails themed around characters including The Twits, and you can walk to the graveyard where Dahl is buried and the BFG has left a pair of footprints.

About the author:

Laura is the Director of Communications of family travel website Kid & Coe www.kidandcoe.com, and has traveled widely with her two young children. The website offers a variety of accommodations worldwide for families looking to travel, with properties specifically set up with baby care items, toys and bikes to help make your vacation easier and more enjoyable.

 

Amazing Things To See and Do With Kids in the UK

Amazing Things To See and Do With Kids in the UK

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Australia is the largest island in the World and two thirds of the country actually consists of desert landscape which is more often than not referred to the ‘Outback’. Over the years the country has become a hot spot for tourists from all over the World, interesting visitors from the likes of the UK and USA on a regular basis.

Due to Australia being some 24 hours flight time from the UK and 16 hours from Los Angeles, visitors to Oz tend to spend the best part of a month or more on holiday there.

 

Australia with kids

Australia with kids

For families with kids this can often be a long time spent away from home so it’s important to head there with a plan of where you are going to visit and what you are going to do. Luckily, Australia being as large as it is, has plenty of things on offer for the whole family from as far North as Darwin (crocodile country) right down to Melbourne and Tasmania in the Northern part of the country.

To help save you the time from having to manually write-down an itinerary of places to visit we are going to do all the leg work for you, so grab yourself a cup of coffee and let us show you the top 10 family destinations for families in Australia.

Royal Botanic Gardens

Many people mistake Sydney as the capital of Australia, and it’s not hard to see why when you see the types of things that are offered to visiting holidaymakers. First up on our list is the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney which you will find in the heart of the city. If you do decide to head here with the family then be sure to take a picnic and some refreshments (if you are heading here during the heat of summer especially, which actually runs from December through to February).

Royal Botanic Gardens of Melbourne, Australia

Royal Botanic Gardens of Melbourne, Australia – Image source: https://flic.kr/p/rzZFjw

The Botanic Gardens offer plenty of space so you can let the kids burn off some energy while you take it easy sitting under one of the many trees catching some shade.

Swan Bell Tower

The Swan Bell Tower stands loud and proud in Perth which you will find in the Western region of Australia. The kids can stand and listen to the bells chime, while Mum and Dad can venture down to the gift shop to get those little gifts to take back home to friends and relatives.

 

Swan Bell Tower, Australia

Swan Bell Tower, Australia – Image source: https://flic.kr/p/rzZFjw

As the tower stands directly by the side of the Swan River you can also capture some fantastic photos of the city from the top. A great day out for all the family, especially if you want to give bell ringing a go!

Adventure Park

Adventure Parks are scattered right across the country from North to South and everywhere in between so you won’t be too far away from one of these. If you’re looking to wear the kids out so they go to bed at night and leave you with a bit of down time then these are perfect in doing that job. With zip wires, trampolines, wooden mazes and even a BBQ area at most parks you make a great day of it.

 

Adventure Park

Adventure Park

It’s not just for the kids either, adults can have just as much fun climbing up and down trees and reliving their youth. Just don’t go too mad as you may not be able to move the nest day.

Melbourne Zoo

Everyone loves a good zoo so if you are staying in or around Victoria then you will want to pay a trip to Melbourne Zoo where you can get up close and personal to wildlife. For kids there is nothing better than seeing bird and seal shows at close hand, and watching native Australian animals get on with their daily routines. Whether it’s a Koala gripping on a tree eating Eucalyptus plants, giraffes reaching tall into trees or reptiles clambering up branches it can make the perfect day out.

 

Melbourne Zoo

Melbourne Zoo

Food can be purchased on site but if you wanted to take a picnic then there are plenty of spots where you can unwrap a blanket and take some time out.

Monster Skate Park

If you are spending some time in Sydney and you want to take the teenagers somewhere then the Monster Skate Park could just be what they need. Besides that you will end up winning parents of the year when they see the place.

 

Monster Skate Park Sydney

Monster Skate Park Sydney

Based indoors and outdoors this massive skate park will be heaven for your teens, and as they scoot around for the best part of the day, you can sit back and watch the world go by with a coffee.

Jamberoo Action Park

You don’t need to be in Sydney to enjoy parks though, and perhaps New South Wales has one of the best ones if you really want an action packed family day out. The Jamberoo Action Park does exactly what the name states…provides plenty of action for all the family in the form of a massive water park and a small theme park that is connected onto it.

 

Jamberoo Action Park

Jamberoo Action Park

If you are going in the summer periods you can cool down in the water park while enjoying time with the kids.

Bondi Beach

You just can’t head to Australia without having the opportunity to go to one of the most famous beaches in the World. Whether you have seen it on a documentary or on a TV program this beach which can be found on Campbell Parade in Sydney offers everything for the family. With safe enclosed playgrounds for the kids to run around and play in without having to worry, and a nearby skate park, Bondi will leave you with no end of things to do.

 

Bondi Beach

Bondi Beach

The Ocean is perfect for a quick swim, and for younger kids you also have a smaller pool that is located at either end of the beach itself.

Lifeguards are in numbers up and down the beach and with acres of fresh white sand it can set you up for a great day.

Galactic Circus

Back to Melbourne we go for the 7th activity on our list, and this one will certainly get the hearts racing from gambling fans and gaming fans. Galactic Circus is one of the largest amusement buildings in the entire country and you can experience everything from interactive games and motions rides all under one roof.

 

Galactic Circus

Galactic Circus

Best of all, you will get free entry here so anything you do pay will be once you get into the complex.

Sea Life Melbourne Aquarium

Every young kid enjoys looking at the wonders from under the sea and the best place to observe sharks, stingrays and now the largest species of crab in the World is no other than Melbourne Aquarium. This particular Sea Life is unlike any other in the world due to its size, there are a total of 12 themed zones in the aquarium and you can bet your bottom dollar that your kids and even you are going to come out of this exhibit learning a lot about what goes on under the waves!

 

Sea Life Melbourne

Sea Life Melbourne – Image source: https://flic.kr/p/uhiwbn

Enchanted Maze Garden

Finally we end our list of 10 things to do in Australia for the entire family with a maze garden, but not just any maze garden. This maze garden situated in Melbourne is an enchanted one and happens to be the largest in the Southern Hemisphere.

 

Enchanted Maze Garden

Enchanted Maze Garden – Image source: https://flic.kr/p/9J1Y5Y

For kids it really is a playground with high hedges, twists and turns, plenty of dead ends and real fun experience. Once you are done in the maze (and eventually have managed to find your way out) you can take your kids for a real treat to end the day, by stopping off at the Lolly Shop. It will be a day they never forget and with all the running and excitement you can get them to bed early, and have some you time come the end of the day.

Summary

These are just the ten best places that we have selected with kids and families in mind when you head to Australia for your break. With a population that stretches over 23 million and 6 major cities you already get an idea on the scope of this country. From the Great Barrier Reef to the Golden Coast and Ocean Road there are plenty of other opportunities to make the most out of this wonderful country and explore what it has to offer you and your family.