Summer’s in full swing, we’ve had our annual heatwave and the kids are due to finish school imminently.
However for parents worldwide, that means finding new ways to keep them busy for the next few weeks.
We know it can be difficult to come with new ideas of things to do with the kids during the summer holidays – it can be tough to find the time to look for good events, let alone ones where you won’t be left breaking the bank.
This year however, we’ve done the hard work for you and put together the ultimate guide of the best family days out to to this summer, no matter where you are in the UK.
The kids won’t be bored, you won’t be stressed, and together you’re bound to make some brilliant memories that will last a lifetime.
Check out the full list below…
What’s included in our guide?
- North England
- South England
- Northern Ireland
- Extra ideas for family days out
Face off against Dark Vader at the STAR WARS Identities Exhibition
Held at The 02 in London, this exciting exhibition lets you relive the popular films in a whole new way.
The stunning collection includes some 200 props, models, costumes and artwork from the original Star Wars films, an interactive identity quest, and insightful scientific content, to follow the dramatic journeys of Luke and Anakin Skywalker.
Adult tickets from £20, family tickets from £10. Click here to book tickets.
Watch thrilling shows and comedy acts at Udderbelly
Venture into the fat belly of a giant purple cow at Udderbelly. The cow can be found at London’s South Bank all summer until September 30th and there’s a moo-sive selection of music, cabaret and top comedy on offer inside.
There are also plenty of food and drinks stalls available, perfect for whiling away an afternoon and sipping on Pimm’s.
Ticket prices vary depending on the event – find out more at udderbelly.co.uk.
Enjoy the hustle and bustle of the Vauxhall Art Car Boot Fair
It’s not just art lovers who flocked to Vauxhall’s previous events- with all of the excitement it makes for a vibrant day out.
There’ll be live music, marching bands, a Spirograph workship, picnics, prizes and of course plenty of art on offer. (And for adults after a tipple, there’ll be a Black Cow Vodka Bar!)
The Vauxhall Art Car Boot Fair takes place on Sunday 9th July. Entry is priced at £5. Click here for more information.
Take the kids to the theatre
Tiddler & Other Terrific Tales will be playing at Leicester Square from 8th July to 3rd September, adapted from the bestselling books of The Gruffalo creators Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler.
A host of tales are woven together with live music, puppetry and a whole host of characters from the best-loved titles including Tiddler, Monkey Puzzle, The Smartest Giant in Town and A Squash and a Squeeze.
Funky moves, toe tapping tunes and giggles are guaranteed.
Adult tickets at £19.50 and children tickets £14.50. Click here to book.
Show off your LEGO building skills
LEGO fans will definitely want to check out BRICKLIVE London – it’s also set to head out to Glasgow, Belfast and Birmingham from July until October 2017.
With features including BRICK PITS, Build Zones, and pop-up stalls where you can find exclusive items, the day is filled with activities to keep the whole family entertained – whether young or young at heart!
Ticket prices are £21.75 for a standard admission, or £16.75 for a family ticket. Click here for more information.
Enjoy a beach break in the city
The Beach at Brent Cross makes its return this summer, and this year it promises to be even bigger, better and wetter than before.
There’ll be plenty of exciting water rides, an outdoor cinema, and a host of attractions and games sure to keep the kids entertained all day – including the thrilling Water Zorbing balls and Bumper Boats!
Ends on 10th September. Click here for more information.
Take a trip to new heights with a rooftop day out
Head to Roof East in Stratford) between 12pm – 5pm at the weekend for a fun-filled day out overlooking the London skyline!
Expect crazy golf, hip hop bowls, batting nets and even a roller disco – not to mention plenty of food stalls and a bar for adults after a tipple.
Click here for more information.
Go on an adventure with the gang in Paw Patrol Live
When Mayor Goodway goes missing during the day of the Great Adventure Bay Race, the pups come to the rescue.
Sharing lessons for all ages about community, social skills and problem solving, the characters each use their unique skills and teamwork.
Kicking off at the Wembley Arena on the 4th August, Paw Patrol Live also will be embarking on a tour including major cities such as Manchester, Liverpool and Birmingham.
Tickets are available from £25 and go up to £55 for the “VIP Meet and Greet Package”. Click here for more information.
Explore the real Emmerdale
Now it’s filmed at a closed set, but Emmerdale was once shot on location and this summer you could think about heading to key filming points across West Yorkshire. Join a guided tour and visit the market towns of Otley and the village of Esholt.
Adult tickets from £30, children’s tickets from £22. Book your tour here.
Unleash your inner gamer
The Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester has a jam-packed summer schedule from craft fairs to exhibitions, but one particular highlight is gaming extravaganza Power Up. Test your skills on games from Pacman to Minecraft or Mario, whether with the kids or at the adult-only sessions.
Tickets start from £5 for a 90-minute session, £15 for a full day pass, or £10 for adult-only events. Find out more at msimanchester.org.uk.
Discover vintage cars at the Motor Show
Incorporating the Yorkshire Classic Car Show, this fun day out at Harewood is sure to appeal to car enthusiasts and families alike.
Expect sports cars, performance, kit and custom cars, as well as exhibition stands, street food stalls, competitions and an exciting Children’s Entertainment Zone (extra charges apply).
The Motor Show takes place on 2nd July. Adult tickets £15, family tickets £40 – click here to book.
Face off against dinosaurs at the Rheged Centre
The T-rex makes a triumphant return in this wild Natural History Museum Dinosaur Encounter exhibition, packed with animatronic versions of these prehistoric icons. The beast will be 4 metres high and 7 metres wide, joined by a whole host of fellow dinosaurs nestled away throughout the museum.
The interactive exhibition will also feature art workshops and explore 3D printing technology recreating ancient fossils – not to mention there’s a huge cinema screen where you can watch BBC Earth Film Walking with Dinosaurs: Prehistoric Planet, narrated by Benedict Cumberbatch.
Running until the 3rd September. Tickets from £6.50 for adults – click here to book.
Celebrate the most famous pop group at International Beatleweek Festival
You don’t have to be a big fan of The Beatles to enjoy the host of activities hosted by Cavern City Tours.
There will be plenty of live music on offer with over 70 bands from over 20 countries taking to the stage in the city where it all began for George, Ringo, John and Paul – Liverpool. Plus, there’ll be plenty of guest speakers and a massive Beatles marketplace for those wanting to pick up some mementos.
Running from 23rd-29th August. Click here for information on packages and tickets.
Listen to world-class musicians at the Lake District Summer Music Festival
Opera, ballet, orchestras and piano concertos – nothing is off limits during this quaint festival, which runs from the 29th July to 11th August.
You can see the full list of events and book your tickets on lsdm.org.uk here.
Explore Nickelodean Land at Blackpool Pleasure Beach
There’s loads to do at this Blackpool institution, but Nickelodeon Land continues to be a firm favourite with little ones. Go on a world voyage with Dora the Explorer, brave thrilling rollercoasters or squirt waterguns with Spongebob Squarepants.
Click here to book tickets.
Go on a family quest at the Sage Gateshead in Newcastle
Let the Beat Go On! is a new quest orientate theatre with clues and puzzles. It’s a chance for the kids to make noise and for kids and adults alike to get a rare sneak peak behind the scenes of Sage Gateshead.
Grab a map, solve mysteries and release sounds trapped around Sage Gateshead on a mission that leads to an unforgettable finale!
Running from 27th July to the 26th August. Click here for tickets.
Indulge at the Bolton Food and Drink Festival
One of the most anticipated events in the North West, this festival is a foodie haven. Expect cooking demonstrations, speciality markets, live music and plenty of fun for the whole family.
The festival takes place from the 25th-28th August, with a host of special events on offer. Book your tickets here.
Explore a labyrinth
The Forbidden Corner in the Yorkshire Dales is a labyrinth of tunnels, chambers and follies in the heart of Tupgill Park.
There are surprises at every turn, including extraordinary statues, paths and passages that lead nowhere, and a huge pyramid made of translucent glass. Older kids will love the scary sections.
Prices from £42 for a family of four: adult tickets start from £12 and children tickets from £10. You’ll need pre-booked tickets to attend.
Dive into the deep
Meet 3,500 fish, including sharks, penguins and rays, at the world’s only submarium in East Yorkshire.
The huge attraction tells the story of the oceans from the dawn of time. Youngsters can get up close with hermit crabs and starfish.
Adult tickets from £12.50, child tickets from £10.50 but you can save up to 10% off when you book online. Click here for more information.
Soak up the rays in Costa del Solihull
Touchwood is giving visitors the chance to be transported to sunnier shores with this urban beach from the 15th July until the 3rd September.
Set the kids free on the sand where there are plenty of spades, buckets and deckchairs, or head down for exciting unique events including dinosaurs and state-of-the-art robots.
Meet the Octonauts at Sea Life Birmingham
If your little ones love all things CBeebies then you’ll want to head to Sea Life Birmingham where beloved characters Octonauts will be inviting you to join them on an exciting deep sea adventure!
The National Sea Life Centre’s Octo-Glow Explorers event runs from 15th July-13th August and includes a host of interactive activities to discover how creatures hide from predators using light.
Included in the admission price – online tickets start from £12.75.
Get your festival fix without the mud
With a line-up including the Kaiser Chiefs, Busted, and Spandau Ballet’s Tony Hadley, this year’s Splendour Festival in Nottingham is sure to be a hit.
There’ll be plenty for the kids too thanks to dedicated play areas, a funfair, as well as independent market stalls for mouthwatering snacks and dishes.
Taking place on the 22nd July. Tickets are £50.60 online, but if you have a City Card you can get them for £39.60.
Explore Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter at a fun-filled festival
One of the city’s liveliest places is about to get even more bustling. The Jewellery Quarter is hosting its third festival.
Eat some street food, browse the stalls, listen to live music or dance the day away, from July 28-30. See jewelleryquarter.net.
Spot exotic wildlife
West Midland Safari and Leisure Park is home to some of the world’s most beautiful and endangered species.
Head on a safari drive-through to see white rhino, giraffes, elephants, lions and cheeky meerkats.
And young thrill-seekers will love the rollercoasters, slides, a ghost train and pirate ship.
Adult tickets start from £23, child tickets from £18. Book your tickets here.
Magic Light Pictures and Forestry Commission England have teamed up to bring The Gruffalo characters to life in the forest through a new augmented reality app.
Designed for exclusive use at twenty six forests across the country where visitors can join the adventure through the deep dark wood.
Families will follow clues on an interactive self-guided trail and track signs of their favourite characters based on The Gruffalo, best-selling picture book written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler.
Once families have spotted the characters, they can use the free app to bring the 3D character animation to life and take photos alongside them.
Click here for more information.
Enjoy a free day out at the Bristol Harbour Festival
There are two miles of entertainment along Bristol’s iconic harbour, including a Dance Village, three music stages, boating entertainment on the water and unusual vessels, not to mention a children’s and circus mecca created by Cirque Bijou.
The regional markets tend to be a hit with foodies, and the prices don’t tend to be too bad to satisfy your cravings.
Click here for more information.
Meet Thomas the Tank Engine and his friends
One of the world’s most famous trains will be at the Watercress Line waiting to greet visitors this summer in Winchester who will be flocking there for unlimited rides, bouncy slides and even rides on a miniature railway.
Experience a ride on a real steam engine, shake hands with The Fat Controller and take part in Thomas themed activities in the Imagination Station, and make the most of the travel ticket which includes an entire day’s travel on the steam trains on the line.
Tickets: £18 per adult, £12 per child, £54 per Family. Click here for more information.
Meet Magical Monsters
Wildlife enthusiasts should head to Longleat Safari Park where 20 larger-than-life animatronic bugs have taken over. Learn all about these impressive creepy crawlies from the majestic tailless whip scorpion to the striking Hercules beetle. See longleat.co.uk for more information.
Watch live entertainment at the Henley Festival
With headliners including Jess Glynne, The Pet Shop Boys and Chaka Khan, this year’s Henley Festival promises to be another music extravaganza. Comedy more your thing? There’ll be a host of stand-up acts including Stephen K Amos.
The festival takes place on the 5th July. Tickets from £50 – book yours here.
Put your skills to the test in a Maize Maze
Penshurst Place and Gardens has a bumper pack of family-friendly activities planned for the summer. We’re talking live-action story pantomimes, interactive falconry displays,overnight summer camps for the kids and of course the iconic Maize maze.
See the full list of programmes and ticket prices on its website here.
Hang out with Peter Rabbit and his friends
The Summer Spectacular at Willows Activity Farm in Hertfordshire is running from the 22nd July to the 3rd September will have a host of funfair rides, indoor play and a jam-packed programme of activities.
Not to mention fans can celebrate Beatrix Potter’s birthday this year and meet and greet the characters of Peter Rabbit in real life – not to mention go exploring in the unique PETER RABBIT™ Adventure Playground.
Adult tickets from £15 online. Click here to book.
Tee off with the kids at TOPGOLF
You don’t need to be Tiger Woods for this fun interactive golf game – it’s all about hitting micro-chipped golf balls at giant dart-board targets (the closer you get, the more points earned).
Plus, as a bonus, for the six weeks of the summer holidays (excluding Bank Holidays), Topgolf will be offering the Eat, Drink, Play deal, where you can get a meal, drink and two games of Topgolf for just £10 for juniors and £16 for adults.
Click here for more information.
Earn your knighthood at Arundel Castle
Arundel Castle will be hosting a range of medieval-themed tournaments throughout the summer, but one that’s particularly caught our eye is the Norman Knights Tournament on the 15th-16th July.
Knights and crusaders will meet for a battle on foot on the upper grounds of the castle, while there’ll be a tented encampment for visitors including a variety of crafts and demonstrations, falconry displays and storytelling.
Adult tickets from £11, children from £10. Family tickets £46. Click here to book your tickets.
Create your own real ale trail by train for under a fiver
For as little as £4.20, you can bag a hop-on, hop-off day return on the St Ives Bay Line in Cornwall will take you past real ale pubs in Lelant Saltings, St Erth, Penzance and St Ives.
Find a trail at greatscenicrailways.co.uk.
Take to the skies in a hot air balloon
If you’re scared of heights, stay on the ground at Bristol’s International Balloon Fiesta and take in the spectacular sight of over 150 hot air balloons in action.
This year’s event takes place from 10th-13th August. See bristolballoonfiesta.co.uk.
Watch some Shakespeare in Cambridge
Running from the 10th July until the 26th August, the Cambridge Shakespeare Festival continues to be a hit with fans looking to discover the best of the bard’s plays. This year’s programme includes classics from Hamlet to Romeo and Juliet.
For more information visit cambridgeshakespeare.com.
Have an adventure at BeWILDerwood
BeWILDerwood is an adventure park with magical treehouses and intriguing characters in the heart of the Norfolk Broads.
Attractions include the Sky Maze, a puzzle made up of connecting tunnels, walkways and bridges.
Mysterious characters to meet include Swampy, a little Marsh Boggle who loves sweetsludge pie and nutbug crunch.
Ticket prices are based on height: Born to BeWILD’s under 92cm free, 92-105cm Almost WILD £13.50, over 105cm BeWILD £15.50. Click here to book.
Explore mysterious caves
Wookey Hole is the UK’s largest cave system, deep in the Mendip Hills in Somerset.
Used by humans for 45,000 years, the caves are noted for the Witch of Wookey Hole, a stalagmite that legend says is a witch turned to stone by a monk.
See a river flow underground in this land of mysteries and explore the unexpected in the Chambers 10 and 20.
Adult tickets from £19 and children tickets from £15, but you can save up to 10% off if you book online here.
Cross the Edinburgh Fringe Festival off of your bucket list
One of Britain’s most popular and largest arts festivals, The Edinburgh Fringe Festival is a must see. Every August Scotland’s capital is transformed into a cultural hub. See edfringe.com.
Step back in time for a traditional Scottish day out
Pipe bands, highland dancing, traditional wrestling and, of course, ceilidh music are all on the agenda at the Cowal Highland Gathering. It’s a great day out for the whole family from 24th-26th August in Dunoon, Argyll. See cowalgathering.com.
Unlock city secrets
Head to Scotland’s capital to explore a warren of underground streets and spaces.
The Real Mary King’s Close was one of Edinburgh’s most interesting areas in the 1600s, complete with murders and plague victims. Your costumed tour guide will regale you with tales. See realmarykingsclose.com.
Learn to make chocolate
The Cocoabean Company in the south-west of Scotland is tailormade for a family day out. Book your kids on a chocolate-making workshop where every yummy creation can be taken home.
If the weather’s bright, feed the animals and ride on a tractor in the extensive outdoor play area. If it rains there’s plenty of soft play fun to be had indoors.
Chocolate workshops start from £16 per child. Click here for more information.
Have a boozy afternoon without the kids
Try not to get too tipsy while following Scotland’s Malt Whisky Trail which covers Benromach, Cardhu, Dallas Dhu, Glenfiddich, Glen Grant and Glenlivet. See maltwhiskytrail.com.
Say farewell to summer with a bang
If you’re in the area then don’t miss the dazzling Virgin Money Fireworks Concert in Edinburgh, on 28th August. There will be dance music as well as pop. See eif.co.uk/virginmoneyfireworks.
Channel your inner miner
Go 300 feet underground with a real miner and see what life was like for the thousands of men who worked at the coal face. If you prefer to stay above ground there are also multi-media tours and exhibitions at Big Pit National Mining Museum, Blaenavon. See museumwales.ac.uk/bigpit.
Go on an exciting train journey
Get on track for a thrilling day out and hop aboard the Brecon Mountain Railway, a steam train that travels through stunning Welsh countryside. For information see breconmountainrailway.co.uk.
Be bold and try zip lining!
Children aged five and up can climb, balance jump and zip through the trees in this brand new Tree Hopper adventure launched in North Wales.
The high rope adventure experience is perfect for smaller hands, and has been created by the team at Zip World in Betws-y-Coed.
At seven meters above the forest floor, children aged 5-12 negotiate a two stage course, wearing safety harnesses, traversing between trees and zipping along 12 wires – including a 20m long stretch – for the 1.5 hour adventure.
Tickets from £18. Click here for more information.
Enjoy the great outdoors
GreenWood Forest Park in North Wales is packed full of fun for the whole family.
Jump on the world’s only people-powered rollercoaster, master the jungle boats and sled down the Great Green Run. Take in a live show, meet the park’s furry friends or play indoors.
Adult tickets £15.50 during peak season, child tickets from £14.95. Click here for more information.
Make the most of sunny days by the seaside!
Grab your swimmers and head for the waves. Book surfing or bodyboarding lessons at Rest Bay in Porthcawl. With plenty of cafes and an ice-cream shop there is plenty to keep you busy for the day. See porthcawlsurf.co.uk.
Go on an adventure in Lough Erne
Soak up the beautiful surroundings of Lough Erne on the Share Inishcruiser. It sets sail from Share Discovery Village each Sunday throughout the summer at 10.30am. See discoverireland.com.
Step back in time to the world of the Titanic
Join a fascinating free Titanic walking tour and go back in time 100 years to when Belfast’s Harland & Wolff was the busiest shipyard in the world. You will visit the key historic sites where the world’s most famous ship was conceived, constructed and completed. From July 2 to 5. See visit-belfast.com.
Indulge your sweet tooth with an ice cream dream
Enjoy a sumptuous array of ice cream at Tickety Moo’s farm in County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland. See the Jersey cows as they visit milking robots and lie against brushes for a massage.
Oghill Farm, in Killedeas, is free to visit.
Extra ideas for days out with the kids
As well as all of the the fun activities and events taking place this summer, there are plenty of British classics from water parks to picnic spots where you don’t need to go on specific dates to catch the action.
Check out some of our favourite offerings below for budget-friendly (or even free!) things to do with the kids to keep them entertained come rain or shine!