VisitHeritage.co.uk, the destination for all things heritage across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, has picked out 10 of the best family days out across the UK, just in time for the Easter Holidays…
Lead images: Castle Howard, North Yorkshire (all images courtesy VisitHeritage)
1 The Tower of London
But of course! The Tower of London’s grim reputation, gory tales and intriguing cast of characters provide endless entertainment for families, while more squeamish visitors can marvel at the 23,578 gems of the Crown Jewels. Visit the ravens and hear the legend behind them to complete the visit.
2 Alnwick Castle, Northumberland
Families can dive into the medieval history of Alnwick Castle in the Knight’s Quest arena, complete with dressing up, swordplay, medieval crafts and traditional games. Alnwick Castle was also used as the location for Hogwarts in the Harry Potter films; time a visit for seasonal Potter-inspired magic shows, alchemy experiments and dragon walkabouts.
3 Beaulieu Estate, Hampshire
Beaulieu Estate is home to the National Motor Museum, tracing the history motoring from 1894 to the present day. There are more than 250 vehicles on display, and plenty of transport-themed rides to enjoy; highlights include a mile-long, high-level monorail and a replica 1912 London open-top bus. Plus parents can arrange a visit to the Estate’s vineyards to raise a glass to the day.
4 Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire
Blenheim Palace is the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill, and an architectural masterpiece, as well as home to over 2,000 acres of parkland and formal gardens. The piece-de-resistance is a ride on the miniature train to The Pleasure Gardens, a dedicated family area complete with a giant hedge maze, butterfly house and adventure playground.
5 Hampton Court Palace, Surrey
Step back into 500 years of royal history and the flamboyant Tudor world of King Henry VIII at Hampton Court Palace. Marvel at fabulous tapestries, exquisite paintings and opulent interiors, and discover the vast kitchens which fed a huge court under King Henry’s reign. Outside, there are 60 acres of riverside gardens to enjoy, and a world-famous maze – don’t get lost!
6 The Shakespeare Family Homes, Stratford-Upon-Avon
Start at Shakespeare’s Birthplace, the Tudor townhouse where it all began, and Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, a beautiful thatched cottage, the family home of Shakespeare’s wife. Discover traditional orchards, woodland walks, and a heart shaped lavender maze, before heading to Mary Arden’s Farm, the childhood home of Shakespeare’s mother. Children will love stepping back in time to encounter the authentic sights, sounds and smells of a working farm in Shakespeare’s day, and there is the opportunity to get involved with the Tudor residents to take part in traditional rural skills.
7 Arundel Castle, West Sussex
Set high on a hill in West Sussex, Arundel Castle truly is home to brilliant views across the South Downs. Climb to the top of Norman keep to spot the sea, whizz up grand staircases and spot Victorian bathrooms. Outside, there are different themed gardens to explore; rare plants in the cutting garden, exotic fruits in the Tropical Glass House and plenty of wildlife in the Stumpery. Spot butterflies and stag beetles, and keep eyes peeled for signs of hedgehogs…
8 Longleat, Wiltshire
Longleat House was the UK’s first Stately Home to open to the public in 1949. The star of the show for families is the Safari Park, taking visitors unbelievably close to some of the world’s most impressive animals. Look out for lions, see how you measure up to a giraffe, walk on the wild side with lemurs and watch out for meddling monkeys in the Monkey Drive Thru. Get lost in the Longleat Hedge Maze and hop on the Jungle Express Train to finish the perfect day out.
9 Castle Howard, North Yorkshire
Children can explore the 300 year old house with the Castle Howard Explorer activity set, including house trail, brass rubbing, woodland challenges, colouring, puzzles and activities. Explore magical woodland paths, have a picnic by the lake, discover wildlife in the walled garden and ride the train through the grounds to the lakeside high-energy adventure playground.
10 New Lanark World Heritage Site, South Lanarkshire
New Lanark World Heritage Site is a fascinating is a restored 18th century mill village on the River Clyde. Families can travel back in time on the Annie McLeod Experience dark ride which features mill girl Annie who magically appears and reveals the amazing story of her life and times in New Lanark in 1820. Children can dress up an learn about what it was like to go to school in Annie McLeod’s time, and visit the Village Store to find out about shopping in the past.
VisitHeritage.co.uk is delivered by the team behind Hudson’s and Signpost Hotels, the UK’s longest established guide to the country’s best hotels. For 2018 Visit Heritage has launched a new website full of guides to historic homes, gardens, castles, museums and other heritage sites. You can also create an itinerary, book tickets and find places to stay nearby.