The best recipe for a great family day out usually includes three things: lots of fun, a sprinkling of education, some outdoor activity, and probably a few tears. And for little ones, as long as there’s an ice cream with a chocolate flake, they’re usually happy!
With the six weeks holiday ahead of us, we’ve vetted a variety of things to do across the UK for your whole family to enjoy this summer. With longer and (hopefully) warmer days, it’s the perfect time to start planning your family days out. We know it’s overwhelming - and not to mention expensive - so we’ve pulled together some great recommendations from Mumsnetters to provide you with some ideas that we’re sure everyone will love.
Whether it’s attractions for toddlers, catering for teens, or finding places to visit with babies - we’ve got it all. We’re covering all ages, budgets, and weather conditions. It is the UK after all.
We’ve really mixed it up with a variety of days out, so you can build a memory book with all sorts of adventures. From museums, to wildlife parks, big cities to indoor play. We’re confident we’ve researched high and low to find something for everyone in this list…and of course we’ve included ice cream. Don’t forget the ice cream.
Read on for our guide to the top days out in the UK for families.
What are the top family days out in the UK?
Best overall: Harry Potter Warner Bros Studios, London
Best indoor play area: Kidspace, Romford
Best for babies: Piglets Adventure Farm, York
Best accessible: Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens, Cotswolds
Best free entry: National History Museum, London
1. Best overall: Harry Potter Warner Bros Studios, London
Perfect for Harry Potter fans | Book your tickets now
“We did the tour and thought it was fab. I personally would book yourselves into a hotel and make a weekend of the trip.” Recommended by sleepismysuperpower1
As one of the most famous film sets of all time, a trip to the Harry Potter Warner Bros Studios is a must-do if you’re in or travelling to London. From the Grand Hall to Privet Drive, this experience will allow you to dive into the wizarding world and see the magic behind the scenes of these iconic films for yourself.
The studio offers guided tours and family tour packages for you to devour all the information you could dream of in relation to the Harry Potter franchise. Located just outside of Central London in Kings Langley, it is easily accessible via train or bus and also provides ample parking if you’re driving. Most Mumsnetters recommend booking a hotel nearby and making a weekend of it. In fact, you can even stay in Hagrid’s Hut, which is within walking distance to the studios.
Note: both wizards and Muggles are welcome.
2. Best indoor play area: Kidspace, Romford
Indoor fun for everyone | Book your tickets now
This play area offers everything you could want for some indoor fun if the weather is a little bleak. From Go-Karts, to ginormous play frames, a virtual aquarium and Imagination Rooms, this attraction has it all.
The play frame is one of the biggest out there, but if your little ones prefer something a little more competitive, check out their Thunderdome soft ball arena! If imagination is more their thing, they can watch their drawings come alive with the help of scanning technology, or create their own world in the Imagination Playground.
All tickets must be pre-booked, so make sure you plan ahead to avoid disappointment. Want to stay around a little longer? Book a hotel in Romford.
3. Best for babies: Piglet’s Adventure Farm, York
Farm fun for everyone | Book your tickets now
Located just 15 minutes outside of York, and with easy access off the A64, Piglet’s Adventure Farm offers ample parking for all visitors. With a farm, several parks, a corn maze and jumping pillows, your little ones will surely sleep for you after a day out here.
To book, you select an arrival time on their website. Once there, you can stay as long as you like and trust us, you can easily spend an entire day here!
As well as enjoying the farm animals, Piglet’s Adventure Farm has its own beach and indoor play area so no matter what the weather, you can enjoy some real quality time here. Be sure to grab an early arrival slot so you can make the most of this gorgeous Yorkshire attraction.
If you’d like to explore more of York, a trip to Castle Howard is also worth your while and an easy day out with babies in tow.
4. Best accessible: Cotswold Wildlife Park & Gardens, Cotswolds
Enjoy stunning views | Book your tickets now
Nestled in the heart of the idyllic Cotswolds, this wildlife park is surrounded by some of the most stunning views. Based on a flat site with wide, well maintained paths, it makes for an ideal location to visit with both prams and wheelchairs.
There is easy access to all animal enclosures, as well as the on-site railway, gift shop and restaurant. With viewing windows placed at wheelchair height, this venue has worked hard to consider all their guests’ needs to ensure everyone can enjoy the beautiful surroundings.
5. Best free entry: National History Museum, London
A must-do in London | Book your tickets now
This iconic London attraction offers endless hours of exploring (and getting lost in) the magic of this museum. Ranging from endless animal facts and displays, to the beautiful architecture of the building, this one is not to be missed if you’re in the capital.
Donations are welcome but you can in fact enjoy the National History Museum completely free of charge if you wish. Tickets must be booked in advance, although they do take walk-ins on quieter periods. If you’d prefer a bit more direction during your visit, guided tours are available for a fee by tour guide providers.
Located a 5 minute walk from South Kensington Tube Station, this one needs adding to your list of must do’s. To help you plan your visit, find a hotel nearby.
6. Best for toddlers: CBeebies Land, Staffordshire
A mini theme park for kids | Book your tickets now
“I would say you could fill a week there, its literally amazing, we always only go for a day but weve been back every year since 2 I think and they just love it. Theres so much to do.” Recommended by scully29
Located within Alton Towers, a theme park offering larger rides for the adrenaline junkies in the family, CBeebies Land offers your younger ones the perfect introduction to theme park life. They’ll be sure to jump for joy as they meet their favourite CBeebies friends and enjoy a range of age appropriate rides and attractions.
With a variety of live shows and performances throughout the day, you’re guaranteed to get your money’s worth, however it’s worth noting that under three’s visit for free - music to our ears!
7. Best for older children: Bounce Below, Snowdonia
For mini thrill-seekers | Book your tickets now
Never mind the kids, we want to try this one. This attraction is for children over the age of 7, and it isn’t a full day out with the activity lasting just an hour. However, don’t let that put you off!
Located in beautiful Snowdonia, there’s ample scenery to enjoy before or after your little ones have tired themselves out bouncing around in the enormous underground net experience. You can really unleash your inner thrill-seeker here and escape into a world of hidden adventure.
Again, tickets here must be pre-booked so be sure to plan ahead with this one.
8. Best for teenagers: Central London, London
A memorable trip for everyone | Find a hotel in London
“The boat trip that starts opposite The Eye and heads to Greenwich is great; you see numerous buildings from a different angle and the running commentary incorporates a number of historical stories. My teens loved the Sky Garden and eating at the Oxo Tower brasserie with a view of the river.” Recommended by Adele64
Whether near or afar, when it comes to family excursions with teenagers, nothing quite compares to a trip to our capital city. It’s easy to spend hours and hours together making memories as you explore London, finding all of its hidden gems.
From the street entertainment in Covent Garden to the indulgent food at Borough Market, from the crown jewels at The Tower of London to shopping on Oxford Street, there are plenty of things to do for teenagers in London. And for a special treat, why not go and enjoy the iconic views from the Sky Garden? It’s free entry, after all!
9. Best budget attraction: Eureka! Children’s Museum, Halifax
Tickets include an annual pass | Book your tickets now
Now, you may look at the ticket prices here and wonder why we’re classing this as a budget option, hear us out! Tickets are up to £14.95 per person, however, the ticket automatically gives you an annual pass. The price per visit is well worth your money at this incredible venue.
It serves the perfect balance of play and education, with a whole host of role play areas for your children to enjoy. They have a bank, supermarket, post office and car garage just to name a few. With a craft room and interactive zones, you can also enjoy their onsite café or chill in their picnic areas with your own pack up. Located in the heart of Yorkshire in Halifax it has ample car parking on site, and a train station right outside.
10. Best Castle Venue: Alnwick Castle & Gardens, Northumberland
One for the entire family | Book your tickets now
“It’s worth it, fantastic gardens especially the water features and the poison garden. I think the tickets lasts for a full year if you have your photo taken when you buy it”. Recommended by SkelingtonArgument
There’s plenty going on for all visitors of all ages here. Their events are designed to bring history to life, so your family can learn more about the castle’s past. Not forgetting it’s a famous filming location where Harry Potter first took flight - you can even enjoy broomstick training! A perfect activity for any budding Hogwarts students. Don’t forget to book a guided tour, too, to help you get around.
Located just off the A1 it’s easily accessible via train and bus. It’s based right in the heart of Northumberland, nestled nicely away from the hustle and bustle of city life.
What to pack for a fun filled family day out?
Thank goodness our backpacks have Mary Poppins power, because packing for a family day out is never a short list.
We’re talking about spare clothes - for everyone. You never know…! Baby wipes, all life problems can be solved with baby wipes and a cup of tea, right? Snacks - do not forget the snacks! Whether it’s for the journey, or to enjoy at the destination, these children will devour them and it could save you in some long wait times, save you in traffic jams or just give you peace of mind that you’ve got a good variety of snacks that you know your family will enjoy.
Other recommended items are hand sanitiser, sun cream, rain coats, water and of course your phone and a spare charger.
Top tips for planning a day out with the kids
Find the balance between organisation and going with the flow. Logistics have to be on your side, so find a date that will work for all the family. We’d recommend a summer planner, taking into consideration work commitments, play dates, appointments, clubs… After all, it’s an endless list isn’t it and the last thing you want to do is book tickets and realise it’s going to clash with something. So choosing a date, tickets, and bags packed the night before are going to steer you well.
On the day itself, remember you’re there to enjoy quality time with your family. It’s easy to get muddled up in the stress of actually getting out of the door (we’ve all shared those cross words and silent car journeys). You’ve all been looking forward to this day, so remember why you’re going.
The best backpack for family days out
Let’s be honest, these bags are going to come everywhere with you, so why not treat yourself. You want to be able to fit your kitchen sink in, without it being a big dark hole of never ending supplies.
Tiba + Marl would be our go to here. They are pricey, averaging at an eye-watering £135 a pop, but they are trusty, large and comfortable, which is great for when you’re lugging around half your family’s belongings “just in case”.
How we chose our recommendations
To help us create this list of tried and tested family days out, we first searched our Mumsnet forums for trusted ideas from parents themselves. We listened to the experts on what families want to provide a successful trip for everyone to enjoy, and weighed up a variety of considerations such as location, accessibility and budgets.
Our research allowed us to round up the best family days out in the UK that Mumsnetters rate to help you plan your next day trip.
Why should you trust us?
We work hard to provide unbiased, independent advise you can trust. We do sometimes earn revenue through affiliate (click to-buy) links in our articles. This helps us fund more helpful articles like this one.