A trip to England provides many exciting and affordable opportunities to for parent to indulge their children’s imaginations and provide hands-on learning and fun. (Where applicable, prices below are for a family of four: two adults and two children. At the time of writing one Pound Sterling = 1.67 US dollars.)
When visiting London with kids, drop by the Science Museum (FREE). With an IMAX theatre, a 4D holographic cinema, and 3D printers that the kids can use to make their own toys, the Science Museum can easily fill a rainy day.
Of course you will want to visit the Tower of London (£59) to discover more than just the bloody history of one of Europe’s most famous buildings. See the Crown Jewels on display, take a tour and learn so much more!
Delve into London’s bloody history at the London Dungeon (£90) with exciting live action shows and rides. Check out 1,000 years of history into 90 minutes of laughs, scares, theatre, shocks, rides, special effects, characters, jokes, mazes and storytelling. Recommended for 8+.
Watch the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace (FREE), the London residence and principal workplace of the monarchy of the United Kingdom. Visitors may also tour the the palace’s opulent private and state rooms as well as the gorgeous garden. (£50.75+)
Don’t forget to take in an unrivalled magical view of London from the London Eye (starting at £64.89), a giant Ferris Wheel on the South Bank of the River Thames in London. Also included in the ticket price is a 4D cinema experience.
Hyde Park is one of the largest parks in London, and one of the Royal Parks of London. It is popular as a picnic destination for tourists and locals alike.
South East England
Situated just off England’s South coast and less than 2 hours from London via the Isle of Wight Ferry, the Isle of Wight is the perfect destination at any time of year. The Isle of Wight has an endless number of places to explore and entertain you and the kids, many of which are open all year round including beaches, theme parks, historic castles, and Roman Villas!
Arundel Castle (£41+) is a restored medieval castle and stately home in Arundel in West Sussex offering self-guided tours. The Castle dates from approximately 1070 and is one of the most complete remaining British castles. Exhibits within the castle include various works of art, armour and period furnishings and a visit includes the opportunity to view the Gothic architecture of the 14thC Fitzalan Chapel as well as explore the established gardens.
Situated within a working Naval Base, Portsmouth Historic Dockyard is the only place in the world to see the Royal Navy past, present and future – a must see for anyone visiting Hampshire in the south of England.
If you are visiting Hampshire, another must-see is The Great Hall and Round Table to discover a timeless legend! Admission is free but donations are welcome.
Just a short trip from London, close to Bromley in Kent, are the Chislehurst Caves. This family attraction is an amazing adventure involving a guided tour of miles of passageways dug by hand deep beneath the ground. Grab your lantern and go! This attraction will only cost your family £20!
While in Kent, stop over at the historic Hever Castle (£39.70), located in the village of Hever. The Castle offers visitors an enchanting double-moated castle with 125 acres of gardens to explore. It was once the family home of Anne Boleyn, the second wife of Henry VIII.
South West England
Visit the Eden Project (starting at £52) in Cornwall for a great day out for the whole family: explore the largest indoor rainforest in the world and enjoy special events.
Explore Britain’s biggest gorge from the dramatic cliffs rising 450ft to the stunning stalactite caverns. Cheddar Gorge (£48.75+), located in Somerset, is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, providing a fun-filled day out for the family.
While in Somerset, stop in at Wookey Hole (£56+), spectacular caves and legendary home of the infamous Witch of Wookey along with other fun attractions for the family.
One of the most famous sites in the world, Stonehenge (£36.10) is the remains of a ring of standing stones set within earthworks. Stop by for a look, it is located in Amesbury in Wiltshire. You must book your visit ahead of time to guarantee your visit.
Longleat Safari & Adventure Park, (£91.78+) also in Wiltshire, has been one of the UK’s best-loved attractions for over 60 years. It features an extensive Safari Park, is home to BBC Animal Park and CBBC Roar and also has over 15 fabulous attractions, including the newJungle Kingdom and Longleat House, one of the most stunning stately homes in Britain.
North West England
Blackpool in Lancashire is England’s family playground, and its amusement park, Pleasure Beach, with Ferris Wheels and a 50 mph roller coaster is at the center of this lovely coastal resort town. When booking on-line, a family wristband is just £48, a savings of £22.50.
Stop in Halifax in West Yorkshire to visit Eureka! The National Children’s Museum (£47.80), an interactive educational museum aimed at children up to 11 years old. They have hundreds of interactive, hands-on exhibits designed to inspire children to learn about themselves and the world around them through play and discovery.
York Dungeon ( £35.00+), located in York in North Yorkshire, depicts history of the dungeon through hilarious and sometimes a little bit scary actor led shows. Get a check-up from our resident plague doctor, get lost in the Labyrinth of the Lost and learn about the legend of The Golden Fleece.
North East England
If one wants to stretch the feet and quite literally step into history, do visit Hadrian’s Wall, built by the Roman Emperor to keep the unruly Scots and Picts out of their colonies in England. The best section is near Newcastle – itself a great city for the family with boat tours and outdoor markets on weekends. Besides seeing the ruins and restored areas along your walk, for a more formal exhibit there is Vindolanda, a Museum and exhibits built around the days when Rome ruled Britain (£29).
While touring the country, stop by Conkers, set in the National Forest in Leicestershire. For £34, a family can enjoy over 100 interactive exhibits not the least of which is the Enchanted Forest where children will lose themselves in a tree top adventure up to 20 feet high. Watch out for the spider, the scary troll, and fairy grotto.
The world famous Blue John Cavern (£28) in Castleton in Derbyshire is a series of caves in the peak district providing an educational and interesting family day out.
Warwick Castle, ( £80.52+) located in Warwickshire, is a medieval castle developed from an original built by William the Conqueror in 1068. You will be able to enjoy dramatic shows, interactive experiences, storytelling, demonstrations, activities and more.
All these above are just the tip of the iceberg. Whatever a family’s specific interests, there is definitely something wonderful in store in England.
Elizabeth Lampman is a coffee-fuelled Mom of 2 girls and lives in Hamilton, Ontario. She enjoys travelling, developing easy recipes, crafting, taking on diy projects, travelling and saving money!