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Unexpectedly awesome days out / holidays

(32 Posts)
MellowMarshmallow Wed 26-Mar-14 09:08:23

Ds1 (8) can't cope with crowds, noise, confined space, queues, waiting as he has anxiety problems. Ds2 (7) can't cope with noise, crowds, queues, lots of walking, lots standing about.... so other people's ideas of fun days out are not in any way fun for them.

Legoland was fine on a non-pupil day so it was quiet.

Our most unexpectedly awesome day was a trip to Bekonscot model village where ds2 spent six hours flapping his hands, chasing the trains, and talking to every attentive old lady in ear shot. He spent 2 hours super glued to the same bridge so he could get the best view of the trains.

Mostly they love repetition or doing the same thing for hours and hours - 90 minutes in a canoe at Wicksteed Park, an hour going round in circles on Lake Windermere - this is fine, we are patient people, but ideally need access to a chair and coffee so we can watch them doing the same thing over and over again in relative comfort.

We'd also love to take them on holiday but am a bit stumped as theme parks not a great idea, nor would they like to be too hot, or around lots of people.

Please help us find more unexpectedly awesome days out, or somewhere to visit for short break.

ouryve Wed 26-Mar-14 09:28:18

We like quiet beaches, where we can just walk. Neither of mine are going to stay put and play, so being able to walk then length and then back again is perfect. There's a few like that in Northumberland. We normally end up at beadnell bay.

Beamish is great - not too crowded off season and lots of wide open space.

And there's a farm near us with an adventure woodland, with rope ladders and tree walks and everything. That's brilliant for the boys. DS1 has asked if we can go again, some time. Maybe when the ground's dried a bit, mind!

MellowMarshmallow Wed 26-Mar-14 09:40:00

That farm sounds great ouryve - if you're worried about outing yourself maybe you could PM me?

DH has fond childhood memories of Beamish so maybe we should head up there. We are lucky enough to live by the beach which is where we go most weekends and all Summer holidays.

I am really struggling to get excited about taking them anywhere blush

PolterGoose Wed 26-Mar-14 11:22:30

There's nothing wrong with just going to the beach if it's easy and close. We are lucky to be a spit away from rural walks/river/forest/caves, and ds is happy with a trip to a fish shop (the fish in tanks type!) so dp and ds rotate a specialist fish and reptile store with 2 garden centres that have fish/reptile shops. Again we aren't far from the 'Jurassic Coast' so fossil hunting is good. As is rock pooling. Ds has always loved the National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth, as well as zoos and traditional museums. Legoland was very disappointing for him.

MellowMarshmallow Wed 26-Mar-14 12:05:11

I was wondering about heading over to Devon. Will ask DH if he can face the journey. We've also just bought a massive tent so going to try camping somewhere local to start with then maybe further a field if we feel brave.

Holycowiloveyoureyes Wed 26-Mar-14 12:13:11

DS loves to be in a forest, something about them keeps him calm.

He'll walk and walk, climb and generally seem at ease.

Theme parks wouldn't go down well here, he'd hate the crowds.

PolterGoose Wed 26-Mar-14 12:21:28

Forests are fantastic. Haldon Forest in Devon is lovely.

Goblinchild Wed 26-Mar-14 12:25:26

We do camping and youth hostelling, just DS and me.
Tip for camping, do it in your own garden, or a relative/friend's first.
Then locally, then further afield.

ArtisanScotchEgg Wed 26-Mar-14 12:42:11

If you can get to the Isle of Wight - do it.

There's a cafe in Yarmouth where you can sit and watch the ferries come in and out. Next door to a pier from which you can do the same.

In Ryde you can watch trains, catamaran, ferry and hovercraft.

There's steam trains - and a cafe and playground in Havenstreet station.

There's Blackgang chine theme park - not especially busy.

Plenty of empty beaches and lots of odd little places like Fort Victoria (model railway/planetarium/cafe), Calbourne mill (paddleboats/cafe), Waltzing Waters (google it!)

And forests like Parkhurst.

ouryve Wed 26-Mar-14 12:51:07

It's Broom House Farm, near Durham. Nice teashop there and the best butchery imaginable. Very reasonably priced high welfare meat. It's not the sort of place you'd trek across the country for, but great to visit if you're handy for it. We also like trudging around the Botanic Gardens. Peaceful, with lots to see (including amorous students on a warm Spring day!)

My family are from Hull and the Deep is fantastic, if a little busy (but everyone's moving in the same direction, which takes some of the stress out of it. DS1 also enjoyed his visit to the Maritime museum, last year. Back up our way, the Centre for Life in Newcastle is brilliant for hands on fiddly stuff (though a noise sensitive child might want to take some ear defenders for when the Tesla coil clock "chimes") and RSPB Saltholme is another place for peaceful trudging.

ouryve Wed 26-Mar-14 12:53:17

Oh - and there's an offshoot of the National Railways Museum in our county, at Shildon. Another one that happily fills 90 minutes rather than a long, tiring, meltdowny day.

Holycowiloveyoureyes Wed 26-Mar-14 18:35:46

Yes the lights in the floor are usually the highlight of The Deep for us!

National Railway museum in York is another fave.

It wouldn't be everyone's cup of tea, but DS2 really enjoyed the Harry Potter Studio Tour. He still talks about it a year later.

MellowMarshmallow Wed 26-Mar-14 21:17:41

ThreeBeeOneGee - Harry Potter was their world last year, this year it's Minecraft. I was tempted by the HP tour but won't there be other people on it an they might be near us. This is often an issue as ds1 gets very very stressed by the sound of them breathing etc. Trying to find fun things to do that noone else goes to is proving problematic. Are there times when HP tour might be quiet? A non-pupil day when all other children are in school maybe or is that wishful thinking?

I would phone them and ask. They were really helpful and understanding when DH took DS2. They limit numbers by staggering entry time. DS2 didn't feel overwhelmed or crowded, which is saying something.

Minecon would be the ultimate day out, but not sure when it will be coming to the UK. Also likely to be very busy, which wouldn't really work for DS2.

CoolCadbury Wed 26-Mar-14 21:39:41

We go to a lot of National Trust properties (we are members) - DS loves the gardens and the open spaces/wooded walks. Most of them have play areas which DS goes to for a short while and then says he wants to go somewhere quiet instead.

ouryve Wed 26-Mar-14 21:50:01

Another one - DS1 went on a school trip to Forbidden Corner in Leyburn, a few years ago, and loved it. There's a good feature for kids with a water fascination, in particular!

Castles are a mixed bag, with some being fairly stuffy and untouchable, but Warkworth castle, near Alnwick is a good one because it's a ruin with bits that you can walk through.

Cathedrals can be an excellent diversion for a child with any level of fascination with architectural details. DS1 loves Durham Cathedral, but is rather bemused that one of the streets we walk up to get to it bears his name grin

colditz Wed 26-Mar-14 21:52:05

The thinktank science museum in Birmingham.

CoolCadbury Wed 26-Mar-14 22:08:39

Thinktank would be too busy, noisy and crowded for the OP's boys I think.

Castles are good, but only ruins. smile

Borka Wed 26-Mar-14 22:16:05

The Observatory Science Centre in Herstmonceux is good. It has indoor and outdoor sections so it's quite easy to get away from other people and it doesn't seem to get too busy, especially in the mornings.

MellowMarshmallow Wed 26-Mar-14 23:00:20

The Observatory looks fab.

Thanks all for your suggestions. Inspired by this thread I have booked tickets for a gaming festival over Easter as I know they will love it. It will be crowded, but not much pressure as can wander around the arena at will, and ticket not expensive so not end of world if we have to cut our loses and head elsewhere.

MellowMarshmallow Wed 26-Mar-14 23:01:34

I'm also looking for national trust properties nearby so we can cut our loses and get outside if we need to.

Yes to the IOW for all reasons previously mentioned plus Robin Hill Country Park, lots of open space, woods, fields and best of all for my DCs a free pirate ship ride that you can go on over and over and over again. There is an entry fee to the park but once you're in the pirate ship is free.

MellowMarshmallow Wed 26-Mar-14 23:22:34

IOW is definitely nosing ahead for our Summer holidays - and it's not a million miles from where we are now, but should feel like a proper holiday as we will need to go on a boat. OK am starting to get a little excited now.

Bilberry Thu 27-Mar-14 16:40:42

New Lanark is good in Scotland, as is the Royal Yacht Britannica.

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