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Days Out Blog

It’s official, we can now start talking about Christmas! Yes, we’ve held in our excitement for long enough, but with the passing of Bonfire Night, Christmas feels a whole lot closer! The lights are going up in all the towns and villages across the UK and the decorations are out in full force in shops and homes. So, what better way to get you in the festive mood than with some fun Christmas facts! Stuff to wow your colleagues, friends and family with before the festivities commence.

We’ve created a list of our favourite and most obscure Christmas facts, for you to show off with.

  1. Best Film and Song

It’s a matter of taste, but everyone has their own favourite Christmas song and film. But, if we’re talking about the highest grossing and bestselling, we can confirm that there is one song and film, that take the Christmas cake.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas – Starring Jim Carrey, this film is the highest grossing Christmas film to date. Released back in 2000, this film is a titan of the Christmas film industry and has not been surpassed by the likes of Elf or any other festive favourite.

White Christmas – To much surprise, the bestselling tune of all time is White Christmas by Bing Crosby, with an estimated excess of 50 million copies sold worldwide. (personally, my favourite is from another Carey – All I want for Christmas)

  1. Christmas Creations

Some of the most famous staples of Christmas were created as parts of marketing campaigns and dreams, from the early 1900s and even further back. Santa Claus was originally depicted in green clothing until Coca-Cola swapped the forest green for a vibrant red in the early 20th century.

Whilst Rudolph, Santa’s little red nosed friend, was created to promote Montgomery Ward’s holiday colouring books in 1939. His original name was going to be Reginald and his nose was never supposed to be red – as a red nose emulated the nose of an alcoholic.

Santa’s famous sleigh was created by Washington Irving as early as 1819, in a series of short stories. Irving described a dream where he saw good ol’ St. Nick flying across the sky, in a wagon of sorts. Dicken’s may have even been inspired by Irving when he penned his classic, A Christmas Carol.

  1. Some Stats

An estimated 6.8 million IOS and other mobile and tablet devices are activated on Christmas Day. Whilst, 4.25 million of us Brits will travel abroad for Christmas. 6 million rolls of Sellotape are estimated to be sold in Britain in the lead up to Christmas. One more for the millions, 60 million Christmas trees are gown in Europe, each year.

On to the percentages; 13% of families will attend church on Christmas day and a mere 27% will watch her Majesty’s speech on the telly.

Finally, during the 20th century, there have only been 7 recorded white Christmases in the UK. For a Christmas to be declared as a ‘White Christmas’, officially, a single snow flake must be seen from the roof of the Met office within 24hours.

  1. Historical Facts

Over the years, Christmas has come with some rather odd traditions which we all just accept because, well, they’re Christmas traditions… When you find a tangerine in your stocking, it actually originates from French Nuns leaving socks filled with fruit, nuts and tangerines at the houses of the poor, in the 12th century.

The act of hanging stockings from the fire place comes from Dutch traditions, where food would be left out for St. Nicholas’ donkeys and in exchange, he would leave small gifts. Eating mince pies on Christmas? You could be breaking the law. In the 17th century, Oliver Cromwell banned Christmas pudding and mince pies from being consumed on Christmas day. To this day, the law has never been retracted.

  1. Let’s get global

Whilst we have strange traditions here in Britain, the most popular food of choice in Japan on Christmas day is KFC. Yes, orders for the festive season must be put in 2 months in advance, in order to deal with the increased demand. Whilst in Sweden, it is extremely popular to watch cartoons on Christmas Eve. But, not just any cartoons – specifically, Donald Duck ones. This tradition dates back as early as 1960.

In Norway, families will hide their brooms to avoid them being stolen by witches and evil spirits. One of the stranger traditions, in Norway, it was believed that evil spirits and witches returned on Christmas eve, to find a broom to ride. The most terrifying tradition we’ve heard comes from Australia. Where Krampus, Saint Nick’s evil counterpart, comes out to punish the naughty children and taking them away. Young Australian men dress up as Krampus, running through the streets at night in December with chains and bells – Halloween’s supposed to be over right?

 

And there you have it! Some fun Christmas facts you can show off this festive season. For upcoming Christmas events, stay tuned to our Blog or visit our events page by clicking HERE.

Posted by: Shane Scanlon | Tags:

Next Tuesday is Halloween, and yes, you’ve guessed it, your home is about to be burdened with children asking you for food (wouldn’t really fly on any other day of the year, but let’s get into the spirit of it). The third most anticipated day of the year (next to Christmas and Birthdays) for children and adults with a sweet addiction.

Normally, those houses that don’t want to accept trick or treaters will forgo the Halloween decorations and turn of the lights and electric (don’t want anyone thinking you’re home do you). Alternative to sitting at home in the dark in hushed silence, you could head out on one of our amazing days out for Halloween.

We’ve selected our Top 3 Events to keep you entertained on Halloween and all without having to hand out apples to see the confused look on trick or treaters’ faces.

  1. Halloween Dine and Stay – Hever Castle, Kent

Kicking off our spookily selective list is a unique and interesting event – and a good mini midweek break. Guests to Hever Castle on October 31st can enjoy an evening of food, ghosts and paranormal activity, all under one castle roof.

Starting the evening with a full course meal, visitors will then have the chance to hunt for ghosts and explore the paranormal goings on in the castle and its grounds, all hosted by Ciaran O’Keefe from Most Haunted. After an evening of chasing ghosts, you can enjoy a stay in one of the castles fiver star bedrooms, located in the Astor Wing – including breakfast the next morning.

There’s an option to just go along and enjoy the dinner and paranormal, with cheaper packages available. For more information and ticket prices, click HERE.

  1. Talk Tuesday: Henry VIII – Walker Art Gallery, Merseyside

For the history buffs amongst you, you’ll know all about the origins of Halloween and how ‘American’ it has become. So how about some history that hasn’t been claimed across the pond? Some good ol’ fashioned British history – about everyone’s favourite, larger than life Tudor, King Henry VIII.

‘But, what’s it got to do with Halloween?’ I hear you cry! Well, the history is fairly gruesome, so we’re including that under the Halloween umbrella… At this exclusive one-off event at the Walker Art Gallery on October 31st, you can learn all about the infamous king and his exploits in Tudor England. This FREE, yes FREE, event will educate you about the life of Henry VIII, and you can test your ability to name all his ex-wives and what fates they met at the hands of the big king himself. Just remember DBDDBS…

For more information on the event, click HERE.

  1. The Luna Cinema Presents – Hampton Court Palace, Surrey

Luna Cinema’s has ventured to our favourite Tudor King’s Palace, to show an exclusive outdoor screening of one of the world’s best horror films. Yes, on October 31st, sit, relax and enjoy the outdoor experience. Make the most of the still mild weather before we hit the peak of winter, watch a scary film outside a Henry VIII’s palace. In true Halloween spirit, terrify yourself by watching the critically acclaimed classic, The Silence of the Lambs.

Films and food go hand in hand, so stuff your face and feast your eyes upon this classic film. Reverse roles with the kids, enjoy sweets and other treats, without the hassle of trick or treating. Put your feet up and watch the horror unfold before your eyes. (Obviously not suitable for Under 18s)

For more information on this event and to book tickets, click HERE.

That’s it! Our top 3 things to do this Halloween to avoid Trick or Treaters! For more events up and down the country, click HERE.

Posted by: Shane Scanlon | Tags:

It's Chocolate Week

Posted: Wednesday, October 11, 2017 |Category: Tips, Features

This week marks arguably the best week of the year, that’s right – its chocolate week. As if you needed a better excuse to stuff your face full of chocolatey treats, there’s an actual week dedicated to eating and celebrating it. Dark, White, Milk, Truffle, Praline, Caramel, Toffee, the list is mouth-wateringly long and is making me really hungry just talking about it…

Yes, if there’s one thing we love just as much as Days Out in the UK, it’s chocolate.

So, if you’re reading this, we’re going to combine two of your favourite things – Days Out and chocolate (because everybody loves chocolate). We’ll even chuck in a few chocolatey facts for you to wow your friends with.

Now for the religious chocolate lovers out there, there’s a few places you can worship. But, the Vatican of the chocolate world, is right here, in the UK. It’s only Cadbury World in Birmingham! Religious metaphors aside, Cadbury World is a must visit for chocolate lovers from near and far. You can tour the factory in true Willy Wonka style, and see the masterful process of how all Cadbury’s chocolate is made. Including the creation of white chocolate… which is a nice Segway into our first fact.

*FACT ALERT*

White Chocolate contains no cocoa at all. (hold for gasps) Yes, white chocolate is the product of fat and sugar… yum. White-sugar-fat bar doesn’t have quite the same ring to it though, does it?

For the chocolate connoisseurs amongst you, white and milk chocolate are merely low tier chocolate, not even present on your radar. You’ve been to a chocolate specialist in Switzerland, you’ve seen a professional chocolatier craft a seven-foot phoenix out of dark chocolate and a small funnel, forged with blood, sweat and tears, in a snowy blizzard… okay, we may be over exaggerating here, but some prefer dark to milk and white, for its high cocoa count.

And where I hear you ask can you get some top quality, high percentage, artisan dark chocolate in the UK? No, not Waitrose – farmer’s markets.

Some of the finest farmer’s markets across the UK, will almost definitely, have at least one stall selling beautiful, homemade chocolate/fudge/chocolatey treat. Markets like Holker Hall & Gardens in Cumbria and Swithens Farm in Leeds, stock some of the finest homemade treats to get your teeth into. From fancy fudge to high cocoa content chocolate, farmer’s markets are a fun and foody day out for everyone.

*FACT ALERT*

According to research, of the chocolatey kind, eating dark chocolate can reduce the risk of heart disease by one-third, as long as you consume it daily – however, you may have a higher risk of contracting diabetes if you eat too much chocolate… everything in moderation – like constantly eating chocolate for only ONE week of the year. #chocolateweek

If you’ve ever wondered about the history of chocolate, we’ve got just the place for you. York’s Chocolate Story, located in York surprisingly, allows you to unwrap the secrets of chocolate. This fully interactive experience immerses you in the world of chocolate and allows you the fully explore the history of your favourite treats and learn the secrets of chocolatiers. York is the epicentre of the UK’s chocolate industry, and has been the home of chocolate in England for the past 300 years. With lots of sweet exhibitions, there’s so much to learn and taste at York’s Chocolate Story.

*FACT ALERT*

This next fact we consider more of a public service announcement than anything, it’s imperative for anyone partaking in chocolate week to read very carefully what comes next… A lethal dose of chocolate for a human is just under 10kg, yes chocolate can be lethal. So, in theory, you could eat around 50 bars of Dairy Milk Chocolate bars that weigh 200g – everything in moderation, right?

Whether you’re a Cadbury lover, cocoa historian or a chocolate connoisseur – it doesn’t have to be chocolate week to visit some sweet attractions.

Happy Chocolate Week everyone!

Posted by: Shane Scanlon | Tags:

Halloween Facts

Posted: Wednesday, October 4, 2017 |Category: Features

 

It’s official, October is here. And that can only mean one thing… Guy Fawkes Night is a month away! But also, Halloween is approaching. Yes, the age old pagan festival – more like painful, right? (hope that pun landed somewhere.) ‘Tis the season of pumpkins, sweets and ridiculous costumes, but Halloween is very much the marmite amongst all the holidays. Some love it, and others, well.

Depending where you fall, you may or may not know about the origins and traditions of Halloween. And because it’s a little early for us to tell you what you can do this Halloween, we’ve put together a list of Halloween facts, to quench your spooky thirst.

  1. Origins

Believed to date back over 2000 years to the ancient Celtic times, ‘Samhain’ or Halloween as it is now known, is the festival that signified the end of the harvest and the start of the new Celtic year. (November 1st) The ancient Celts would adorn costumes and light bonfires in order to frighten off spirits and ghosts. However, when Christianity first arrived in England and Europe, November 1st became All Saints Day, a day for the saints that didn’t have one of their own. The night before this, Christians would partake in a mass - ‘All hallows mass’, just a big ol’ mass which eventually became known as Halloween.

  1. Myths and Superstitions

Famed for being the holiday of magic and mystery, there are many myths that surround Halloween. Some believe that if you see a spider on Halloween, it may be a deceased loved one watching over you and black cats were believed to protect witches’ powers from ‘negative forces’. Whilst other myths state that if you met a witch, you should turn all your clothes inside out and walk away backwards. Also, that ringing a bell will frighten evil spirits away –we can only dream that this would work on unwanted trick or treaters.

  1. Pumpkins

Before American traditions were shipped over, the famous ‘Jack O’lantern’ pumpkin was a turnip (not quite as colourful). The original turnip carving tradition comes from Irish folklore, where a man named Jack, tried to trick the devil and was forced to wander the Earth with nothing but a poorly lit turnip, for eternity. Jack O’lanterns are lit to scare off Jack and other roaming spirits around the spooky season.

Adopting the carving tradition, Americans in the 19th Century chose to carve pumpkins instead of turnips. This is because pumpkins grow in a greater supply and are easier to carve than turnips. And they sent it right back to us, along with trick or treating… Unfortunately, Jack O’lanterns don’t ward off trick or treaters the same way they do evil spirits. Most homes use the lantern to signify they welcome trick or treaters. (seems daft to me) Speaking of which…

  1. Trick or Treat

Whilst trick or treating has been imported from America, the true origins of the traditions remain unknown. Some suggest that the ‘delightful’ activity could date back to the Celtic Samhain tradition. When ancient Celts dressed up as ghosts and exchanging food around a bonfire. By 1000 AD, the tradition had changed. The poor would go to the houses of the rich, and exchange prayers for deceased rich family members, for food. Now, it’s children in spooky costumes and a few teenagers that probably should have stopped a few years prior.

For all the latest updates on Halloween events and attractions near you, make sure you keep an eye out for listings on our Events page and our next blog post. It’s going to be a spooky one…

Posted by: Shane Scanlon | Tags: halloween

Escape the Kids - Adults Only Activities

Posted: Wednesday, September 6, 2017 |Category: Great Days Out, Features

Parents across the country are breathing a sigh of relief, for this Monday was the first day back at school. Time to turn over your ‘little angels’ to the hands of the educational system for another six weeks, before they are returned just in time for half term. Although it was a delight having them around every day, seven days a week, for the entire school holiday, an air of calm has arrived in your home. Until 3pm at least…

It’s good to spend time together but detachment is just as healthy as attachment, and lord knows you need/deserve some time apart. So, kick back, call a baby-sitter or nan and run for the door. You owe yourself an outing after enduring an entire summer with your kids.

To narrow your search, although I’m pretty sure you’d take anything to get away for just one day, we’ve compiled a list of Adults Only days out across the country, to celebrate the return to school.

‘Get me a drink’

The best secret a parent can tell you about how to handle children in summer, is to soothe yourself with a drink or five after a ‘fun’ packed day. The loose term ‘fun’ applies to your children’s amusement as opposed to your own, although I’m sure we all love crawling on our knees and touching sticky surfaces, no? There’s lots of things to do revolving around drinking in a more social setting than your home. If you fancy a bit of problem solving accompanied with a gin, I’ve got just the thing for you. And no, I’m not talking about having a drink whilst you help with your kids’ Maths homework.

LockedIn The Distillery – Pickering Gin Distillery

In this exclusive experience unlike any other, team up with a group of up to five friends to foil the plot against the distillery, as someone is planning to destroy it, along with the gin! (oh god, not the gin). The Edinburgh based experience is unique and is perfect way to enjoy a gin and act like the children you’ve worked so hard to get away from. For more information, click HERE.

Wine Tour - Yorkshire Heart Vineyard & Brewery

‘This? This is grown-up grace juice, you can’t have any.’ If you’ve always wanted to know how your favourite ‘parenting aid’ is made, head to Yorkshire Heart Vineyard & Brewery. For a mere £15 a head, in a group of 6 or more, you can enjoy a tour round the vineyard and even an accompanied wine tasting. The vast countryside, beautiful scenery and remote location makes this vineyard an ideal get away from home and/or your children (and a good excuse to drink huge quantities of wine). Click HERE for prices and more info.

‘A bit of relaxation and culture’

Now, remember that time you had to leave that quiet place or gallery because you’re precious one was crying due to the fact he/she was tired, hungry, wet or all three? The beauty of having children is that as they become older, you can pass the responsibility to nurseries/relatives/schools/babysitters, so you can unwind and soak in some culture. Meaning, that museum or gallery you’ve wanted to wander around without the nagging ‘can we leave?’ in your ear is finally possible. That spa trip you need can be taken whilst the kids are at school, is now possible. All thanks to Mr or Mrs. *insert teacher name*.

Modern & Contemporary Art - Halcyon Gallery

Halcyon is defined by the Oxford dictionary – ‘a period of time in the past that was idyllically happy and peaceful’ i.e. a pre-child filled summer. The Halcyon Gallery allows you, however temporarily, to enjoy that peace once more, while you look at some of the finest works of modern and contemporary art from around the globe. Founded in 1982 and located in Mayfair, you can take in some world renown artists’ work as well as viewing the works of emerging artists. It might give you a new perspective on the finger painting on the fridge (oh, it’s a butterfly? I thought it was an unrecognisable blob...). For more information on exhibitions and the venue, click HERE.

Pampering Days – Oceana Day Spa

When it’s all too much and can’t quite get rid of the feeling of ice cream stuck to your skin and hair, you need to be cleansed of the summer. You need a spa day and a long one at that. Luckily, the Oceana Day Spa, located in Bournemouth, has every treatment you need to ease your tension. Bring balance to your mind and body, with a wide array of treatments to soothe the soul in a relaxing setting. For a list of treatments and additional information about the spa, click HERE.

‘Sing and Laugh it off’

Laughter is the best medicine, and let’s face it, probably better than drinking Night Nurse just to get some sleep… They say that laughing once a day could make your life span longer, so that you can live to see your little ones become successes, then cash in on that sweet nursing home, reminding them of all the times you looked after/paid for them.

Stand Up Comedy – The Stand

Now whilst some people may enjoy the simplistic humour behind CBeebies, I’m afraid it’s not for everyone. I mean, when was the last time you heard a good dirty joke without having to cover a little person’s ears? Sometimes, you just need to just be in the company of adults, hearing another adult tell adult jokes that aren’t suitable for non-adults (I don’t think I said adult enough times).

Situated in Newcastle, Glasgow and Edinburgh, the Stand has a whole host of comedy events on every night. The Newcastle venue, being the newest addition to the family opened in 2011. The club promises to have you in stitches and not the kind of pain you get post ‘running after a rogue toddler’. The Stand promises not to disappoint, providing all visitors with an evening full of fun and laughs in high supply. For more information, click HERE.

Karaoke – Lucky Voice

When you feel close to chucking that ‘Now That’s What I Call Kids Music’ CD out the window (and then remember the music is downloaded to your phone, damn technology). While wishing that you could reverse roles and scream your favourite song at the top your lungs, well now you can. By no means a new invention, karaoke is a great way to sing away your summer blues and have a drink or two whilst doing it (Dutch courage and all). Lucky Voice is a swanky karaoke/cocktail bar with many locations up and down the UK. With over 8000 songs to choose from, you can sing the night away in the company of friends in a private room or go full Rockstar and imitate the last concert you saw (The Wiggles: Live at O2 arena), singing in front of a crowd. The choice is yours. For more information, click HERE.

Whatever the weather, no matter the time – there’s always a child free day out waiting for you! There is the small matter of passing your kids off to someone else to be looked after, but hey, that’s what school and relatives are for, right? I say we vote for a longer school day/week and shorter school holidays but that’s just me.

Posted by: Shane Scanlon | Tags: adults, drink, food

Easter Holidays- Put a spring in your step!

Posted: Tuesday, March 28, 2017 |Category: Tips, Great Days Out, Features

It’s hard to believe how fast the year is going! It seems like barely a week ago I was shaking off the memories of New Year’s fireworks and writing my huge list of resolutions that I was totally, definitely going to get done this year, regardless of my previous year’s track record. Yet here we are: Spring has sprung, blossom coats the trees and the next major break for the kids is coming up fast, the Easter Holidays. Cue the panic!!!

We at Days Out UK pride ourselves on bringing you the best events to do alone or with your family, and around Easter-time there are a plethora of activities to experience throughout the UK, so I couldn’t possibly list them all, but I can try to give you a few suggestions and also point you in the direction of our EVENTS page for all the fun happening over the coming weeks.

So Easter… the season of chocolate, rebirth, chocolate, baby animals, relaxing, family and of course… chocolate. There is a lot to cover so let’s get started (Read to the end for some fun facts about Easter and let's see how many terrible egg puns I can fit in).

Egg-celent Egg Hunts!

Let’s begin with the most classic of Easter past-times, (besides feeling violently ill after overdosing on chocolate), the classic Egg hunt! 

There are ones popping up all over the country soon, bringing some sugary magic to some already amazing sites. Between the 14th-17th April, the National Trust has partnered up with the titan of sweetness: Cadbury, and is putting on their ever-popular Chocolate Egg Hunt at a number of properties throughout the UK. From Knole, to Quebec House, to Sissinghurst, you and your family can track clues around some beautiful historic properties and claim a delicious Cadbury Treat! Make sure to check out https://easter.cadbury.co.uk/find-an-egg-hunt to find the nearest egg hunt to you.

(Hunts cost £2-£3 per person to participate dependant on the venue)

For something a little different and magical, why not try a special glow in the dark Easter Egg hunt at the Cheddar Caves? Running from the 1st-23rd of April, take a trek through the beautiful caverns and see if you can find all the luminescent eggs that have been carefully hidden throughout the world famous Gough's Cave. There's a chocolately treat that await all who hand in a completed challenge form. For those looking for a real task, or for egg-stra fun, then take on the 'Hard Boiled' challenge, taking note of ALL the different colours and locations to really prove that you've got the challenge cracked! 

For a number of other egg-citing hunts and trails, make sure to check out Kensington Palace and Hampton Court Palace for their own activities as well as the Hever Castle Bunny Hunt and the Easter Eggstravaganza at Chatsworth Houseall running throughout April just to name a few!

 

Animals Antics 

Easter is the time to celebrate rebirth, so why not take advantage of some great Easter Holiday offers to visit all the fluffy, scaly, or feathered friends you could imagine? Knowsley Safari Park has a great offer on from 1st-23rd April, offering 20% off all online bookings so you can enjoy the vast expanse of the safari park and all the amazing animals within for an even better rate! Home to free romaing lions, giraffes, tigers, zebras, monkeys: why not take a trip this Easter and take advantage of this great offer! 

At the same time, the  ZSL London Zoo is launching it's Dear Zoo trail based on the popular children's book of the same name! Kids can explore the zoo following the beloved story's characters and take part in a number of themed activities, collecting stamps and listening to the tale at the Storytelling hub! Definitely an event not to be missed!!

April sees the launch of Willows Activity Farm's Easter Event giving the whole family the oppurtunity to get up close and personal with a number of adorable farm animals as well as some amazing themed activites like the ever popualar Pig Racing! So make sure you hop to it and don't miss out!

For a full list of fun wildlife activities occuring throughout the Easter Holidays click HERE

Magical Miscellany

Why not try some historic-themed Easter fun? While many people hear the word "history" and want to go straight to sleep, fear not, as the Canterbury Tales in Kent is running it’s own fun Easter Event from the 3rd-14th April and it promises to be an fantastic time! Be transported back to the days of Chuacer and enjoy a plethora of  activities including: Maypole Dancing, a Knight’s School, finding out all about medieval medicine and (of course) classic storytelling. The perfect way to enjoy the sunshine and partake in some of the weird and wonderful fun of yesteryear.

 

For more storytelling action, why not visit the Horniman Museum and Gardens for their Alice in Wonderland themed Easter fair over the Easter Weekend? Hop along themed trails, get creative with crafting workshops or really throw yourself down the rabbit hole with all a special Alice in Wonderland storytelling performance suitable for the whole family! 

For those looking for a more EGG-STREME activity, then make sure to take advantage of Aerial Extreme's special Easter offers. Defy gravity at these death-defying High Ropes Courses located throughout the country as you jump, climb and zip past obstacles. Best of all, during the Easter period, there's 25% off sessions at all locations when you book online.  Plus, on the 14th April, you have the chance to take on their special Easter event. All you have to do is take on the perils of the course whilst carrying a raw egg around! Simple right? For those who try it , there's plenty of chocolate up for grabs so why not see if you have what it takes? It's the perfect oppurtunity to experience a bunbelievable adventure!

If you're looking for something that's more nautical, then there are TONNES of events during the Easter holidays over at the National Maritime Museum of London and the Cutty Sark that'll make you egg-static!! From meeting famous characters from history, to sessions aimed specifically for your youngest ones, to discovering the museums through arts, music and dance as well as a number of sessions talking about culture and fun from all over the world, there is certianly not a lack of things to do either location! Clcik HERE and HERE for a full list of what's going on!

 

So whatever you feel like doing around this time, whether it's something highflying, crafty, or if you just want to stuff yourself silly with chocolate eggs for days, just make sure you're doing something you enjoy while we all pray for good weather. And from all of us at Days Out UK, have a very Happy Easter!!! 

 

 

Eggs-tremely Fun Facts!

So how about some fun facts about the most chocolatey of holidays?

  1. The world's tallest Easter Egg was 10 meters and weighed over 7,000 kg!! That’s the equivalent of over 70,000 regular chocolate eggs! Thank you, Italy!
  2. The amount of money spent on chocolate during the Easter period makes up 10 per cent of UK chocolate spending for the entire year!
  3. When do you think the first Easter Egg was made? Take second to have a guess.... It was first made in 1873 by Fry’s of Bristol and dentists everywhere I’m sure are forever thankful.
  4. The classic past time of this holiday is that of the good ol’ Easter Egg Hunt and the world’s largest Easter Egg hunt ever recorded took place in Florida where almost 10,000 children went on the hunt for over 500,000 eggs! (And that's no yolk!)

(Did you spot all 10 puns?)

 

Posted by: Shane Scanlon | Tags:

Mama Mia! Mother's Day Ideas for 2017

Posted: Friday, February 24, 2017 |Category: Tips, Great Days Out, Features

Ah Mother’s Day. Undoubtedly mums are some of the hardest working people around, doing so much without respite or holiday to the point where having merely one day per year dedicated to their efforts seems a little frugal of the calendar! With this day now rapidly approaching, (after we’ve gorged ourselves on pancakes but before we gorge ourselves more on chocolate eggs), I have compiled a few suggestions of things you and your mum (or other special lady in your life) might like to try on this day. I’ve tried my best to come up with a few ways to personalise this day which, like so many other holidays has become awash with commercialism so that the individuality of the day can be lost. Mothers are all individuals, so while I’m going to do my best to give you some awesome suggestions on what to do on this special day, ultimately, it’s what you think she'll enjoy the most.

From gardens, to cakes, to castles and more, there is not a lack of Mother’s day events being held throughout the UK and make sure to check out our Events Page for a full list of goings on!

 

 

Floriography and Gardens

 

A bouquet is a classic gift idea for any mother (unless they happen to have a pollen allergy in which case maybe not) but can seem a little cliché. A gift of flowers is always appreciated, so why not personalise them? After all, flowers are a unique language within themselves, so if you can, try and craft your own message! For your aid (and because I spend too much time on google) please take a gander at these suggestions for combinations. For a Mother’s Day flowers I’d suggest one or several of these:


Pink carnations or Lilies (A Mother’s Love). Both these flowers are symbolic of motherhood, so using these is always a good place to start! (Moss and wood are also symbols of maternal love, but that a big pile of moss and wood might not make your ma so pleased)
Lavender (Devotion). Besides looking really pretty and having been used to scent everything from soap to dog shampoo, the smell is also great for relaxation and I know that mothers can be more than a tad stressed at points.
Lily of the Valley (Returning Happiness) A more specific meaning, but a really lovely sentiment if you’d like to express the reciprocation of all the happiness your mam has given you over the years.
Dark Pink Rose (Gratitude). Different coloured roses have a variety of different meanings but I think those of a dark pink colour have the most appropriate meaning for this day.
Violets (Love, Faithfulness) Yet another flower with the meaning of love, but I think in a bouquet for your mum, you can’t have too many!
Pomegranate Flower (Mature elegance) … If you want to have a laugh or get slapped, I think it depends on your mum’s sense of humour.
The flower dictionary is huuuuuuuuuuge, so make sure to look up a few different meanings yourself if you want to get really specific and/or weird (e.g. Milkvetch: Your presence softens my pains)

 


Since this is a Days Out website, of course I’m going to mention some places to visit on this day as well. If a bouquet isn’t enough, how about acres of flowers by taking a trip to one of the UK’s many beautiful gardens, plenty of which are offering special events on Mother’s Day itself. From the restored West Dean Gardens in Chichester, well known for their stunning features and large variety of flora, to the acres of greenery and plant life surrounding Highclere Castle in Berkshire, or the greenery and waters Ripley Castle and Gardens and so many more! (All previous mentions have Mother’s Day events). While perhaps a clichéd suggestion, it’s a cliché for reason, because they are some of the most beautiful and thought-provoking places in the country.

 

FOOD!!

 

What says love more than food? Well, probably a lot of things, but you can’t really go wrong with something tasty. For something that is a necessity, how food is prepared can really impact it’s meaning. From a nice breakfast, to a heart-warming dinner, to delicious (or even burnt) bakes, there are a number of ways to express feelings of love and gratitude to your mum through food on the Sunday. However, if you just plain can’t cook or want to treat her to something extra special then a number of attractions throughout the UK are offering a selection of lunches and afternoon teas perfect for treating your mum to something as sweet as she is (Feel free to use that genius line on actual Mother’s Day).

Hever Castle is offering a whole weekend of fun and food for mothers: from flower pot decorating a and biscuit decorating, as afternoon tea or pre booked lunch which can be enjoyed in the surrounding of this 13th century country house once the seat of Anne Boleyn. (Lunch: £29.50 pp, £12 per child/ Afternoon Tea: £19.50pp, £10 per child)

If you’re looking for something more nautically themed, then how about a tasty tea aboard the SS Great Britain- Also offering a Mother’s Day Afternoon Tea, you can enjoy the lap of luxury in the First Class Dining Saloon aboard this former passenger steamship with scones, sandwiches, sponge cake and more! (Adult: £25/ Child: £15/ Family £70)

Perhaps you’d like to choo choo choose a nice railway lunch (shush I’m hilarious), and if that is the case the Kent & East Sussex Railway can provide. Every mum travelling on the railway on Sunday 26 March 2017 can choose from a delicious ploughman’s or cream tea including tea and coffee on either the 1.15 or 3.35 departures from Tenterden Station and will receive a beautiful bouquet of flowers to take home as a reminder of their special day! (£29.50)

 

FUN!!!

 

So what does your mam like? Animals? Crafts? Shows? Sky Diving? There are MANY special events happening throughout the UK to make this day special and luckily for you, many can be found by visiting our EVENTS PAGE, so make sure to take a gander for some inspiration. While it would be impossible for me to list them all here, I'll still give you a few suggestions of miscellaneous events to give you some ideas (plus I'm looking for some inspiration myself so it's helpful I work for a Days Out website.)

For the rustic touch, Mum’s can go free to the National Museum of Rural Life on Mothering Sunday. This venue is so much more than a museum with it also being a working farm and farmhouse with animals and attractions to enthrall all. March is the perfect time for a visit to this attraction with a tonne of new and cuddly baby animals to see and winter finally melting away to reveal the blooming of beautiful plants throughout the farm. This venue is also a perfect Mother’s Day out for you and your littlest ones with plenty of child-friendly activities and exhibits to explore.

Why not try a fun day of crafting and hands on activities at the Amberley Museum in Arundel? Set in 36 acres of the South Downs National Park, there isn't a lack of hieritage to disocver and on Mother's Day itself, there is a plethora of different things to try. From steam train trips, to pottery and craft activities, as well as birds of prey displays, there's something here for you, your ma and whoever else you bring with you to enjoy!

If you or your mam likes animals, why not try the Wild Mother’s Day weekend at Howletts Wild Animal Park in Kent? As per usual it has over 100 acres of amazing wild friends to discover: From gorillas, to rhinos, elephants and more as well as free animal talks to learn all about them, but in honour of Mother’s Day, there are also free crafts to try.  With wooded walkways, the tree top challenge and the chance to really be part of conservation to protect the animals found here, it's the perfect stop for any wildlife loving mother and family.

For a fun history lesson, why not discover how mothers have been represented in media throughout history with a special Mother's Day event at the Museum of Brands . in London. With trails and talks to enjoy on the Sunday, find out all about how the idea of the mother has been used to sell everything from chocolate to dish soap and how the evolution of womens rights changed the image of how women were used advertising. It also gives the perfect oppurtunity to feel nostalgic over all a number of old advertsing campaigns which is always fun... until you realise how old you really are...

 

 

So all in all, I do hope this post has been able to give you some inspiration for you and your ma/ other special woman in your life, for something to do for Mother's Day, but whatever you end up doing, no matter how big or small, doing anything to show you care can really leave a lasting impression throughout the year. But anyway... who want to hear some Mother's Day facts??

1. Mother's Day marks the day when more phone calls are made than any other day of the year... yet Father's Day has the highest volume of reverse charge calls. make of that what you will...

2. While our current Mothering Sunday celebrations are a fairly modern incarnation, celebrations of motherhood have existed throughout history. For example: the Romans and Greeks held celebratory festivals of their mother goddesses, Cybele and Rhea. 

3. In the U.K., our Mother’s Day is the Christian celebration of Mothering Sunday, though originally it wasn’t a celebration of mothering, rather a day when one must return to their “Mother Church” on the fourth Sunday of Lent for a celebratory service. While keeping the same date, it ended up becoming a much more secular celebration where children would give their mothers gifts before this custom merged with the values of American Mother’s Day founded in the early twentieth century.

 

Posted by: Shane Scanlon | Tags:

With January drawing swiftly to a close, the season of love is now fast approaching. The supermarket shelves once again are piled high with novelty chocolates and stuffed animals marking to countdown to Valentine's Day. Many can feel rather a lot of pressure to make this day special for their significant other and we at DOUK feel it as out duty to inform you of some of the most romantic goings on in the country that you and your partner can enjoy. However, I’m also aware there are a great many of you who either don’t like this particular day or perhaps would prefer to do something a little different as this time of year can leave some with more of a bitter taste in their mouths. I therefore present to you, Valentine’s spots for those struck by Cupid’s arrow as well as events and inspirations for the anti-valentine’s crowd or for those looking to do something a little different this time, as regardless of your relationship status, everyone deserves for this day to be fun.

(Make sure to read to the end for some fun Valentine’s Day facts!)

Romantic inspirations

 

What screams love more than prison? Wait wait, let me explain. Not only is Oxford Castle a site steeped in a rich history, but Oxford Castle Unlocked is offering people the chance to have a very different experience with the ol’ ball and chain. One really wouldn’t expect this almost thousand-year-old ruined castle turned prison complete with crypts and cells and a general aura of mystery and death to offer anything romantic, but you’d be surprised. On Valentine’s day, couples can enjoy a romantic, candle-lit three course meal served in a the unique and intimate location of… an actual prison cell. Don’t get put off by the location! You can enjoy a delicious dinner in this fun and unique setting and certinaly isn't your average Valentine’s day dinner for sure, plus it makes the perfect setting for any history-lover in your life!

From £90 per couple

Click HERE for more information

 

 

You know what’s also romantic? Trains! (I promise I’m being serious). Sometimes when travelling, the journey can be just as important as the destination, and the UK is certainly not lacking in scenic views, so why not take a Romantic ride somewhere? There are heritage railways dotted all over the country that offer scenic views, relaxing trips as well as special dining/drink packages. Why not book dinner, brunch or afternoon tea on the Avon Valley Railway or enjoy the variety of trips offered by Dartmouth Steam Railway? Click HERE for a more comprehensive list of rail tours throughout the UK and to find ones near you. For something specifically Valentine’s themed, for those around the Kent area, the Spa Valley Railway has a Valentine’s special on the 12th of February where you can appreciate the relaxing beauty of traveling on this amazing heritage railway as well as enjoying a complimentary bottle of wine!

Spa Valley Railway Valentine's: £40 per couple (includes a bottle of wine)

 

For classic romance, how about a romantic evening under the stars? Even better, how about a romantic evening under the stars where you don’t have to go outside into the freezing cold and, more likely than not, rain? London’s famous Royal Observatory is offering exactly that on Valentine’s night itself. Discover all about the romantic sights seen in our night sky in a visually stunning planetarium show and do your own stargazing through a real 18-tonne Victorian telescope. You can also enjoy a complimentary glass of bubbly whilst standing on the famous Greenwich Prime Meridian whilst enjoying the twinkling lights of our own night sky (If we are granted clear weather.) The Glasgow Science Centre is also getting in on the Valentine’s spirit with a Valentine’s screening of “Her” starring Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlett Johansson. As well as a complimentary glass of fizz and treats to enjoy during the film, the event will also begin with a stunning planetarium show exploring the surrounding cosmos. 

Royal Observatory Valentine's Stargazing: £30.00 adult, £28.00 concession

Glasgow Science Centre Her Screening: £40 per pair of tickets (18+).

 

Walks are about as much of a romantic cliché as you can get but, they’re a cliché for a reason and are a tried and true romantic activity if you can get past the blisters. For the rambler in your life, there are many beautiful locations dotted around the country perfect for Valentine’s Day strolls. I could go on for hours about the many MANY places in the country perfect for walking, but this blog post would be about 10,000 words long so instead I've made a few suggestions of some of my personal picks. For Castle lovers, Hever Castle and Gardens has its wonderful snowdrop walk around it's grounds offering a great perspective as these beautiful flowers emerge from their winter hibernation.

To see some stunning views of the coast, try one of the trails near the Giant’s Causeway if you can. Often considered the 8th wonder of the world, views across this amazing rock formation are enough to take anyone’s breath away. Made up of over 40,000 basalt steps, this natural rock formation has a number of natural features dotted along its length including the Giant’s Boot, the Wishing Chair and the Camel. Visit to find out the story behind these eclectic names.

If you’d prefer a walk that isn’t so down to earth, then the Tree Top walkway at Kew Gardens is the walk for you. Set 18 metres above the ground and surrounded by a grand canopy of chestnut, oak and lime trees, this walkway offers great close-up views of the birds and insects that make those trees their home as well as an unparalleled view of the surrounding skyline. Make sure to check out the rest of Kew whilst there for some of the most amazing and well-kept gardens in the country. Plus Valentine’s night itself coincides with one of the Orchid Late events, offering an intimate evening celebrating the bright and exotic culture of India. Click HERE for more information.

 

Anti-Valentine’s events

Now for those of you not really into the season, cripplingly lonely or just looking for a completely off the wall date idea, then why not check out a few of these rather different activities that I’ve compiled.

 

Calling all sketch artists! For a special anti-Valentine’s event, the Tower of London will be hosting a sketch-special covering all those who died in the name of love in the Tower. For all those that aren’t the biggest fans of the romance at this time of year, why not hear the tales of someone who met a grizzly end because of it a.k.a: Anne Boleyn. Enjoy the opportunity to sketch lovingly costumed models posing as ghosts at the site of her burial in the Chapel of St Peter ad Vincula after her execution. Capture the gruesome consequences that sometimes follow love. This is an event the proves that Romance truly is dead.

£24/£20 concessions

Click HERE for more information

 

 

If this is a time of year you'd like to escape, the why not try breaking out of the norm by visiting one of many MANY escape rooms across the UK. For those unfamiliar with the setup, the basic premise is that you ar locked in a room and usually have one hour to solve the room's puzzle to find your back back out whilst more often than not solving a grizzly mystery at the same time. Definitely not your usual Valentine's activity to be sure as well as being a thought-provoking and fun activity to try. If you haven’t experienced an escape room before,  I highly recommend it as it is the perfect activity for friends, couples and co-workers alike. See HERE  for a full list across the UK.  

 

For a more unique date idea or if you just want to bounce away your crippling loneliness doing something fun and silly then you should definitely try out one of the country’s trampoline parks. I bet some of you haven't touched a trampoline since you were kids, but as one of the biggest up and coming event industries in the country, these parks offer a number ways to burn off energy and proving that trampolining certainly isn’t just for the younger generation. Whether you're taking full advantage of being surrounded by wall to wall trampolines or enjoying the Slam dunk courts and airbags offered by many, these parks have so much fun to offer if you decide to jump in!

Click HERE for a complex list

 

What’s the opposite of romance? How about Horror! Chase away any notion of romance by taking a look at any of a number of haunted spots across the country. For the best experience, there are a number of fun tours run at night that highlight these terrifying spots and give you all the grusome details of the terrifying events that occured in these places. From the well loved Ghost walks of Yorkto the dark secrets of Lincoln, to the Witchery tours of Edinburghwhichever spooktacular tour you choose to embark on, they each ofer a horrifyingly good time and are a far cry for traditional Valentine's Day events. Halloween might be the season for spooks but with these tours, plenty of creepy fun can be had all year round. Click HERE for a full list of ghost tours available. 

 

 

Ultimately whether you love, hate or are just indifferent to Valentine’s day in general, there are a tonne of fun things you can do around this time of year regardless. While some people find enormous pressure in making this day special, ultimately (and this really might sound cliché but it is true) it is the thought that counts and sometimes the simplest and even strangest gestures can mean the most. So whatever you end up doing on the 14th of Feb, we at DOUK.com want to wish you a very very happy Valentine's Day!

Let’s finish off this post with some fun facts about Valentine’s day! 

 

  1. St. Valentine, whilst being the saint of Romantic love, is also the patron saint of beekeeping, epilepsy, plague and against fainting. (How Romantic.) What’s more interesting is the story behind Saint Valentine himself. Not much is known about him specifically as there have been multiple Saint Valentine’s recorded, but the most pervading story is that he was a Priest in Rome during the 3rd century AD who was killed for marrying Christian couples who were being persecuted at Rome at the time.
  2. Valentine’s day is the second most popular time of year for sending cards, with it estimated that on average about one-billion cards being given! Not only that, but over one-billion dollars’ worth of chocolate is consumed on Valentine’s Day in the U.S.A alone! And they say money can’t buy love.
  3. It was widely accepted by doctors in the nineteenth century that eating chocolate would help people pining for lost love… something which isn’t exactly uncommon today either.
  4. Every Valentine’s Day, the city of Verona receives over one-thousand letter addressed to Juliet from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. 
  5. The number of love heart sweets produced around the Valentine Season is so great that when put together they could stretch from Valentine, Arizona to Rome, Italy and back again. That is a distance of over 10,000 miles!!

 

Posted by: Shane Scanlon | Tags:

Ten Historic Must-Sees for 2017!

Posted: Tuesday, January 17, 2017 |Category: Great Days Out, Features

Hello once again from DOUK.com! With 2016 now just a memory and with the new year rolling on, I’ve taken this time to take a look back to our country’s past. The UK is a place with thousands of years of history surrounding us everywhere we go: from the ruins of medieval castles, to ancient monuments standing tall, to attractions dedicated to our predecessors, we are certainly not lacking in areas rich in historical intrigue. So why not take this year to visit some of them? This list covers some of the most interesting historical places to visit or re-visit that offer both a fun and educational experience for everyone involved (I know that historical places have a notorious reputation for being boring but I am here to assure you that that is absolutely not the case!) As a former history student please accept my humble insight into some of the best places to visit to discover all about this country’s fascinating past.

 

1. Canterbury Cathedral (Canterbury)

I must admit I’m being a little bias here as in my final year of university, I spent a LOT of time here taking notes for my dissertation. However, despite the many MANY gruelling hours I spent here mapping stained glass and marble, this building never ceased to amaze me. With Canterbury being a Christian centre of the UK and the landing site of the great Christian mission from Rome over 1,000 years ago, when built, this Cathedral became the heart of religious democracy and the post of Archbishop of Canterbury a highly sought after position by the orthodoxy. The story of Archbishop Thomas Becket’s gruesome martyrdom under the orders of the King Henry II in the thirteenth century is a famous one and this incident still stains the space of the cathedral to this day: from his saintly miracles depicted in the East end windows, to the strange pink colouring of the marble around where his tomb once stood. It’s a great shame that many of the original artefacts housed within the building were taken or destroyed during the sixteenth century reformation, including the beautiful golden shrine dedicated to Becket, however, what remains is still a marvel. From the crypts, to the stunning stained glassworks, to carvings hidden on walls throughout, a trip here has much to see and explore. If you really want to get into the cathedral’s story, make sure to join a guided tour for a detailed description of the long and vibrant history of this amazing building.

  • Adults £12.00
  • Concessions (65+) £10.50
  • Children (under 18) £8.00
  • Children with valid Voucher free
  • Family ticket (2 adults, up to 3 children) £32.00
  • Family ticket (1 adult, 2 children) £22.50

Click HERE for more information

 

2. Stonehenge/Woodhenge (Wiltshire)

As a site of mystery and magic, Stonehenge has a LOT of different history to explore. From its original construction, almost 5000 years ago, to the influence it’s had on popular culture and religion over the centuries, this site is certainly one of the country’s most well known and loved landmarks. I’ve been here enough times to practically sneeze out the entire history and label each of the individual pieces of this stone circle, yet every time I see them, these great standing stones still takes my breath away. While many consider the ‘mystery’ of Stonehenge to be very much alive, thanks to years of research, a lot of the design history and construction methods have been uncovered and you can find out all about this is the visitors centre that was recently finished in 2013. While you are no longer allowed within the stones themselves due to much damage sustained over the centuries from tourists, it is still a stunning sight to behold. The surrounding areas also have a rich history to explore, Woodhenge being an often-forgotten gem. Close to Stonehenge, Woodhenge marks the site of another henge dating to around 2300 BC. While the wooden structure has since rotted away, fear not, as now concrete posts mark the shape of the original timber posts that once supported this structure. While possibly the world's most famous named henge, I must admit, my favourite thing about Stonehenge is that it is in fact not a henge at all! A “henge” is defined as having a ditch inside and a bank running around the outside and Stonehenge is the other way around, so I’m not even sure what Stonehenge’s official title should actually be. #FunFactsWithDOUK

Since this site has been the subject of countless documentaries, films of varying quality (I highly recommend Stonehenge Apocalypse), books and even songs, if you haven’t already, you must come and see this place for yourself!

  • Adult: £15.50
  • Child (5-15): £9.30
  • Concession: £13.90
  • Family (2 adults, up to 3 children): £40.30
  • English heritage Members: Free
  • Woodhenge: Free admission

Click HERE for more information

 

3. Roman Baths (Bath)

How about looking at the ancient methods of relaxing and health treatments? The influence of Romans in Britain can be seen in many places in the UK but one of their lasting and most awe-inspiring monuments is the Grand Bathhouse located in the city named for it, Bath. The temple within was constructed in around 60AD and the rest built over the next 300 years, but continued to be modified over the centuries where people still drank the spring water for its percieved healing powers. Much of the original structure still remains today and a museum of interest has been built throughout it, giving every visitor a wealth of history to enjoy: from the Sacred Spring, to the Temple, to the original Bathing pools, to the many finds that have been discovered hidden in the bathwater. For the full experience, there are audio guides available, giving unique and interesting facts about each individual area as well many anecdotes about some of the archaeological discoveries. Make sure to try a sample of the bath water at the end of the experience and find out for yourself if the springs really do have the powers that they claim. (Don't worry, it's clean and filtered I promise). 

Janaury-June Prices

  • Adult: £15.50
  • Student: £13.75
  • Senior: £13.75
  • Child (6-16): £9.80
  • Family (2 adults and up to 4 children): £46.00

Click HERE for more information

 

4. Edinburgh Castle (Edinburgh)

For a castle steeped in a history of war, look no furthur then Edinburgh Castle! Set in the centre of Scotland's grand capital city, this site is surrounded by amazing landscapes and has a number of places within to marvel at. From James IV setting out to Flodden in the sixteenth century to the power struggles between the Douglas and Hamilton families this isn’t a site that was ever short on action! As a stronghold during many conflicts due to its gradual decline as a place of residence and increase in use as military barracks, it has had 26 sieges during its life making it one of the most besieged buildings in British history! Come and visit the famous Stone of Scone or the stone of Destiny as it is known, once stolen to England by Edward I during his violent campaigns in the thirteenth century, but now sitting proudly with the crown jewels in the castle and is only ever removed from Scotland for coronations. Make sure to join a complimentary guided tour or pick up a free audio tour to find out a number of fun anecdotes about this amazing castle.

Prices April 2016 - March 2017

  • Adults: £16.50
  • Child (5-15 years): £9.90
  • Concession: £13.20

Click HERE for more information

 

5. Westminster Abbey (London)

Yet another place I went to for my studies, standing in the heart of London for over 1000 years, Westminster Abbey naturally has a great number of amazing sites to see within. This is the place to visit for anyone interested in religious history as, next to Canterbury, this is the religious centre of the nation as well as a building steeped in the best of British history. Home to the burial grounds of a number of famous royal figures: from the virgin Queen Elizabeth I, to James VI as well as many historic artefacts including the country-wide famous Coronation Chair, originally built for Edward I to enclose the Stone of Scone, and also many famous poets buried and commemorated in Poets' Corner, one visit is hardly enough to appreciate everything to see here. The site of the abbey itself has served as the coronation church since the days of William the conqueror after 1066, but the present building dates to the reign of Henry III in the 13th century. To really get behind all the history housed within the abbey, make sure to join a verger-led guided tour which covers the Shrine, the Royal Tombs, Poets’ Corner, the Cloisters and the Nave for just £5 per person.

  • Adults: £20
  • Concessions: £17
  • Children (6-16 years): £9
  • Family (2 adults and 1 child): £40
  • Family (2 adults and 2 children): £45

Click HERE for more information

 

6. Warwick Castle (Warwick)

Who doesn't like castles? If Edinburgh castle wasn't enough for you, then along the River Avon stands the stunning remains of Warwick Castle. It was originally built by William the Conqueror in 1068 as a wooden motte and bailey structure before being rebuilt with stone in the 1100s. It was then used as a strategic military base and stronghold until the 17th century when it was converted into a country house and became renowned as a place of great beauty. Housed within are a number of well preserved grand interiors that transport you back to what this great castle was like in its heyday, with original artworks, furniture and chandeliers decorating the grand rooms. This is a great attraction to bring the whole family to as it has a number of fun activties to enjoy, from the Horrible Histories Maze where you can get lost in a number of time periods, to the amazing audio-visual expereince of the Time Tower where you can find out all about the castle's long history, to hearing about the bloody tales of the dungeons and so much more, both inside and out of this building, history is made fun for all!!

  • Adults: £19.20
  • Child: £16.80
  • Senior: £15.80
  • Family of 4: £63.20
  • Family of 5: £79.00

Click HERE for more information

 

7. Hadrian’s Wall (Northumberland)

For the ramblers in your life, Hadrian’s wall stretches for 73 miles and there are a number of fun trails to be walked along it. Originally built in 122 AD by the Romans as a fortification under Emperor Hadrian, large pieces of the original wall still remain today and have several areas of interest peppered along the length of it. From the remains of Roman towns, to a number of surviving military turrets, to many temple ruins, there are A LOT of sites to be seen along this route. If you’re in the mood to see more than one, or are looking for inspiration for your next walking holiday, you can tackle the intense 84 mile coast to coast to walk following the path of the wall, or for those wantong to avoid too many blisters there is also the easier 7.5 mile Greenlee Lough walk as well as the family friendly Steel Rigg and Sycamore Gap walk. However far you travel along this ancient structure, there is always something to see and perfectly illustrates how intense and masterful the Romans were when building both their military defences and structuring the surrounding towns.

Click HERE for more information

 

8. Caernarfon Castle (Caernarfon)

Here comes castle suggestion number three! (We're in the UK, there are a lot of them). This medieval fortress has stood proudly in North Wales for over 700 years after King Edward I began replacing the original castle wooden structure with stone and gained a reputation as being a site not to be messed with. This is one of the best castles situated within Wales and that's hardly surprising as it marked the site where the son of Edward I became the very first Prince of Wales, an act to furthur solidify his conquest and power in the country, and even marks the site where the investiture of Prince Charles took place in 1969. Looking at Caernafron it marks a more uniquely designed castle with its Polygonal towers and such grand design work was perhaps used to symbolise the strength of the English rule then present throughout the country. Today, there is much fun to be found here with the Royal Welch Fusiliers Museum spread over two of the towers and events often run. If nothing else, it is an amazing piece of architecture that very much reflects the iron will of the man who built it.

  • Adult: £7.95
  • Family: £21.50
  • Concessions: £5.60

Click HERE for more information

 

9. Jorvik Viking Centre (York)

If Vikings are your thing, then there is nowhere better to find out all about their life, wars and conquests then at the Jorvik centres in York. The Viking Centre, re-opening on 8th April 2017 after extensive rebuilding work following flood damage, stands on the ground of the excavations the Viking city of Jorvik and gives you a full experience of life in York during the Viking age. If you can’t wait until April, don’t worry, as Jorvik will be hosting it’s 33rd Viking festival running from 20th-26th February! This fun-packed week has a number of different events and activities to come and see, from the opportunity to try real Viking sword combat and archery, to crafting Viking jewellery, watching re-enactments of a Viking army marching through the streets and, of course, the annual beard competition! Discover all about the terrifying army of Eric Bloodaxe in England and see just how much of culture today stems from these big bearded invaders.

  • Adult: £10.25
  • Child (5-16): £7.25
  • Concessions: £8.25
  • Family of 4: £30.95
  • Family of 5: £32.95

Click HERE for more information

 

10. The Wallace Monument (Stirling)

Why not take some time to learn all about Scotland’s national hero, William Wallace? Putting aside the famous and annoyingly inaccurate (history student sorry) representation in Braveheart, discover the TRUE story of his exploits at this the monument built to venerate him. Allegedly the site where he watched the gathering of the English army before the battle of Stirling Bridge, marvel at a great collection of artefacts from the battle including Wallace’s own sword as well as plaenty of other battle memorobilia. While this is a monument that post-dates Wallace’s death by centuries, it is the place to visit to discover all about his story. Visit the Hall of arms and see how the armies of Wallace and Edward I came to blows at Stirling Bridge and how the Scots fought through to victory.  

There are a number of events hosted throughout the year to enjoy: from re-enactments of famous moments from the battle, to treasure hunts, as well as events celebrating the anniversary of important times including Wallace’s eventual capture and execution. Despite his grizzly end at the hands of the English, there is a lot of fascinating history surrounding this figure and, when in Scotland, it would seem a shame not to find out about one of their most famous national heroes.

 

  • Adults: £9.99
  • Concessions: £7.99
  • Children (5-15): £6.25
  • Families (2 adults and 2 children): £26.23
  • Families (1 adult and up to 3 children): £22.49
  • Families: (2 adults and up to 3 children): £32.48

Click HERE for more information

 

So whether you’re interested in castles, monuments, landmarks or walks, you can see that the UK is certainly not lacking in historical places to visit with somewhere guaranteed to pique your interest. This year why not visit a few sites and see just how far we’ve come since centuries past as well as how our culture today has been influenced by our ancestors: from the language we speak, to the places we habit and even in how we live our lives!

Posted by: Shane Scanlon | Tags:

10 Things to do in Essex this Father's Day

Posted: Friday, June 17, 2016 |Category: Great Days Out, Features

It's hard to find that perfect present for that special man in our lives, so why not treat Dad to a day out in Essex this Father’s Day, instead of the usual pack of socks or football mug? Here at DOUK we strive to find you great days out whatever your budget, across several locations nationwide, but today we are focusing on Essex…the birthplace of DOUK! 

Here are 10 things to do in Essex this Father’s Day, that we have hand-picked especially for dads:

Classic Cars at Audley End House and Gardens

Time: 11:00-17:00

Price: £18.30 Adult | £11 Child I £16.50 

Treat your dad this Father’s Day with a trip to Audley End House and Gardens, where the whole family can enjoy their brilliant Classic Cars event, with a charming collection of classic cars on display.

Father's Day Trains at East Anglian Railway Museum

Time: 10:30-16:30

Price: £9 Adult | £8 Senior | £4.50 Child

This Father’s Day, dads are invited to drive the vintage diesel engine at East Anglian Railway Museum…for FREE!

Father's Day - Dads go free at Barleylands

Time: 10:00-17:00

 Price: £9 Child | £10 Adult | £9 Concessions | £34 Family

Barleylands are offering dads free entry this Father’s Day, when you book online, to meet the farmyard animals and join in on the family fun!

Big Sunday 2016 at various locations in Colchester

Price: Free

Treat your dad to a special day out in Colchester this Father’s Day, with a fantastic festival of dance, theatre, comedy, food and so much more across several venues.

Father’s Day at RHS Garden Hyde Hall

Time: 10:00-16:00

Price: Free

Take a wander around vintage horticultural and garden machinery, as well as a number of vintage tractors on display at RHS Garden Hyde Hall this Father’s Day.

Father’s Day at RSPB Rainham Marshes

Time: 09:30-17:00

Price: £5 Adult | £3 Child | £9 Family

There are heaps of activities for the whole family to enjoy at RSPB Rainham Marshes Nature Reserve this Father’s Day, as well as a special Ploughman’s lunch and free entry…just for dad!

 1940s Weekend at Epping Ongar Railway

Time: 09:00-17:00

Price: £15 Adult | £8 Child | £40 Family

Travel back in time to the 1940s this Father’s Day, with re-enactors, vintage vehicles and live entertainment for the whole family to enjoy. 

MotorFest at Marsh Farm

Time: 10:00-17:00

Price: £11.50 (on door)

Treat dad to a fantastic day out, with this Custom/Classic Car & Bike Show at Marsh Farm this Father’s Day, plus dads go free!

Father’s Day – Dads go free at Tropical Wings

Time:  09:30-17:30

Price: £10.95 Adult | £8.95 Child (2-15) | £9.95 Senior | £36 Family

Dads are invited to Tropical Wings for FREE this Father’s Day, where the whole family can come and see the amazing selection of animals.

Gentleman’s Afternoon Tea at Museum of Power

Time: 10:00-16:00

Prices: £15.95pp Afternoon Tea | £17.95 Guided Tour

Treat dad to a Gentleman's Afternoon Tea this Father's Day, at the Museum of Power. 

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