It’s official, we’ve settled back into the office after the struggle of the first day back. We’re here, we’re happy – it’s 2018! We hope all our readers had a lovely festive period and a fantastic New Year. With the New Year comes some great new events from up and down the country. We’re here to fill you with some 2018 inspiration, with a list of fun things to do this year.
Here’s our top 5 events, happening in January across the UK!
Although Halloween is 10 months away, some of you just need a little bit of paranormal spookiness in your lives. Hampton Court Palace has the solution for all your needs. This exclusive out of hours tour of the grounds will uncover the mysterious haunting of the palace, with the keen eyed able to spot some ghouls. With over 500 years of history, the palace is teeming with ghosts and stories, like the Tudor royal nurse, whose spirit stalks the old apartments and the mysterious ‘Skeletor’ figure - captured on CCTV in the dead of night.
There’s a family event available too, for the little ones (7/1) Tours are available on selected dates 7th, 14th and 21st, and tickets are priced as follows: Adult Ghost Tours: £27.50, Family Ghost Tours: Adults £14 / Children £7.
If you love learning about the world of crime and spending time with your dog, then boy do we have a day out for you! As it is National #DressUpYourDogDay on January 14th, bring them along to The True Crime Museum and enter them in a fancy-dress competition. Plus, bringing your dog gets you free entry! 1 dog = 1 owner’s free entry. You can even put up your pooch’s pic on the Dog Mug Shot Wall. Admission is between 10am – 5pm.
Every January there is a surge in gym memberships, workout gear and healthy food. But then the novelty wears off, and you’re left wondering why you paid for a gym. If you’re tired of staring at a blank wall on a treadmill, we’ve got just the thing! Run around the beautiful RSPB nature reserve in a fun and active session for all ability levels. With distances from 5km to 12km, there’s enough running to fill your lungs with fresh air and achievement. Running on January 21st, this session only costs £1 – and runs between 9.30 and 10.30.
On January 16th, visitors to the Royal Observatory will be able to attend an exclusive lecture on the latest developments and research in astrophysics. You don’t need to be a pro, just have a taste for space, and come along ready to learn. Renowned astrophysicist at University College London, Professor Raman Prinja, talks the evolution of stars. Stars; from dusty birth to explosive death’ costs £10 for adults and £7 for children (ages 11+).
Marking the anniversary of Guy Fawkes’ infamous ‘confession’, head down to the Tower of London, on January 31st to hear some of the innermost secrets of poets and storytellers alike. This exclusive performance explores the themes of coercion and free will, inspired by Guy Fawkes’ interrogation following the ‘Gun Powder Plot’ failure. Tickets are £25, and this is an over 18s event. Taking place at 7pm in the atmospheric St Peter’s ad Vincula chapel.
For more information on upcoming events in January and beyond, click HERE for our events page. Keep your eyes peeled for some exciting events coming in 2018. HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Christmas is so close we can taste it! We can practically smell the turkey roasting in the oven. However, we can’t help looking forward to the new year to come! With the passing of Christmas comes New Year, and in 2018, there are some amazing things happening all across the UK.
Yes, the new year will hold some of the most exciting and innovative exhibitions we’ve seen to date, in various attractions up and down the county. With some great events coming up, we’ve put together a list of our top 4 exhibitions coming in the new year. If you have the chance, you should definitely check out all these exhibits coming up!
Kicking off our list is The Future Starts Here at the V&A - in fact we went to a preview of the exhibit in November of this year. Curated by the Design, Architecture and Digital Department, this exhibition is a first of it’s kind for the V&A. Instead of focusing on art, this exhibit showcases items of the future, that are available today. Futuristic devices and objects that are in production, prototype stage and even available on the market to purchase.
Supported by Volkswagen Group, this innovative exhibition takes you on a journey into the future, where you can see where the world is heading and look at all the cool gadgets that will impact future life. It’s an informative and interesting experience, suitable for all the family. Demos and displays will feature throughout the exhibit, set to ‘wow’ everyone who attends.
The event opens on 12th May and runs until 4th November in the new year. Catch this exhibit while you can, for a look into the world of tomorrow, today. Advanced tickets are £15 and V&A members go for free. To find out more, click HERE.
Beginning on 8th March, running until 7 January (2019), this fascinating new exhibition at the National Maritime Museum Cornwall, will offer a new insight into the great and infamous legacy of the Titanic. This exhibition will bring to together objects and stories from across the globe, to delve deeper into the true history behind the disaster. Was the ship doomed to fail? Were the women and children really taken off the ship first? The answers can be found at this new exhibit.
Collaborating with private collectors and national museums, rare items are brought together to tell the untold stories of the Titanic, it’s crew and passengers. The exhibition will also look into the speedy growth and commercialisation of the disaster, making it one of the biggest and infamous disasters of the 20th century.
This exhibition will run from 8th March until 7th January. It is a chance to glimpse into the past and discover the mystery of the Titanic, from personal accounts, objects and items of the crew, passengers and family of those lost. For more information on the event, click HERE.
Returning again for another year, the annual celebration of wildlife photography begins January 19th, and will be on display until 29th April 2018. Displaying some beautiful and awe-inspiring photos of wildlife from across the globe, taken by some expert and extremely talented photographers. Back for it’s 53rd year, there have been over 50,000 entries from both aspiring and professional photographers, across the world – 92 countries in total have submitted entries to the exhibition.
This exhibition will give you a chance to see the vast wildlife around the world, in beautiful detail captured by artists. Not only can you see animal habits and habitats, but amazing landscapes too. You’ll be transported on a wild tour of the world, to see the beauty of the natural world, up close. With the affect global warming has on the planet, wildlife is rapidly – this exclusive exhibition captures our natural world, and highlights the vast landscape and animal life on our planet.
Running from January 9th until April 29th, and for more information, click HERE.
Exploring the history of relationship of fashion and slavery, this insightful exhibition will feature the history of Indian textiles, Empire, luxury consumerism and enslavement. Running from 19th January until 20th May, more than 20 new artwork pieces by the internationally renowned artists will be on display at the Walker Art Gallery. The Singh Twins have combined traditional hand-painting with digital created imagery, to make beautiful works of art.
Examining the relationship between Britain and India, this exhibition will delve into the details of Europe’s colonial past and the hidden legacies that have been uncovered. Looking into the debates around ethical trade and responsible consumerism too. For more information on this exhibit, click HERE.
Keep your eyes locked on our Events page for all the upcoming events in the New Year. As always, we’ll be back to bring you the best attractions and events in the UK for 2018!
Sorry if we go quiet for the next week or so - we’ll be out of Office enjoying the festive period! From all of us at DOUK, we hope you have a wonderful Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, New Year and any other winter holidays out there! We’ll be returning to the office on January 2nd, to bring a whole New Years’ worth of events and exciting new attractions in 2018.
Unfortunately, there will be no updates on DOUK from December 22nd until the date we return. Blogs and news will resume on January 2nd. Have a wonderful festive period! And stay tuned for all the latest events and attractions in 2018.
Keep an eye on our Facebook! We’ll be posting some stuff on there to hold you all over.
Oh and for New Year’s Eve at 11:59:59… HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Not only has Santa got his annual worldwide trip for everyone on his nice list, but he is visiting the UK for some exclusive appearances. It’s going to take a lot of Christmas magic to get him around the country, with a lot of same day appearances to attend. If you’re looking to bring your little ones along to meet Saint Nick, we’ve put together a list of where he’ll be and when.
Santa’s first stop on his Great British tour is down in West Sussex, at West Den Gardens. Appearing on the 16th and 17th December between 10am – 4.30pm (last admittance is at 4). Kids will get the chance to meet Father Christmas and get a little pre-Christmas present from him. There’s mince pies and mulled win for the grownups, and a chance to make ornaments and Christmas cards too!
Booking to see Santa is a must, as he’s a very busy man and everyone wants to see if they’re on the nice list! Child entry is £5 and Adult entry is £5.50.
Santa returns on the 16th – 17th in his temporary grotto at Sandcastle Waterpark. Enjoy a day of waterpark fun whilst you wait to see the big man himself! Tickets are £7.50 and can be purchased online. Click HERE to see winter opening times for the waterpark.
Appearing on the 16th,17th 21st and 22nd, Santa’s second stop is to the magical woods of Hornchurch, in Essex. He’ll be using some special Christmas magic to make his way between Essex and Sussex on the same day! Wrap up warm to visit Santa’s woodland grotto! You’ll receive a special Christmas present and a chance to have a photo with Father Christmas. Booking is essential, tickets are £7 per child.
Not only can little ones meet Santa, but they can enjoy a fun day out at ZSL London Zoo too. Santa will be in the centre of the zoo, along with all the other wonderful animals too. Santa will be using his festive magic again, as he’ll be in London again on the 17th right through to 24th, before he returns to the North Pole to get ready for his big Christmas delivery.
Money from the Santa experience goes to Zoological Society of London conservation charity, so it’s all for a good cause. Ticket prices can be found, HERE. Booking is essential.
Santa is arriving to LEGOLAND, in the form of bricks. Yes, the park has made a full-scale model of Santa and his sleigh. Whilst you won’t be able to meet Saint Nick, it’s a perfect time to grab a picture with this impressive LEGO model. The LEGO Santa will be at LEGOLAND until late December.
More information and tickets are available by clicking HERE.
Expect Santa to have some mini breaks throughout the day, whilst he visits other attraction on the same day! He’s a busy man but wants to see all the smiling faces – so please be patient! The elves will be there to keep you entertained.
For all Christmas events, across the UK. Visit our events page by clicking HERE.
Guess what? As you know, we love a day out at DOUK – and today, we went out for one! Well, sort of. We were invited to an exclusive unveiling of the brand-new spring exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum, in London. The Future Starts Here is the museum’s new, and experimental, exhibition opening in May of 2018. Featuring over one hundred objects and gadgets that are set to enhance the human experience in the future – or in the not so distance future.
Curated by Rory Hyde, Mariana Pestana and the Design, Architecture and Digital Department, supported by the Volkswagen Group, this exhibition is truly an original experience, and an experimental first for the V&A.
All of the items in the collection are either on the market, in development or at the prototype stage. Not only does the exhibition showcase the tech and design of the future, but it asks questions of where our world is heading. Is this technology set to enhance our experience, or will it be a detriment to our lives? How is smart design shaping our future cities? Through the exhibition future technology and design are interrogated and explored on an unprecedented scale.
What we saw
Although we only saw the exhibition in part, it gave a fascinating insight and left us wanting more. From a 3D printed rendering of Chelsea Manning’s face made entirely from DNA, to a portable lab, from Bento Labs - the size of a keyboard with the power to analyse, manipulate and explore DNA on a scale that was only available to scientists and experts up till now. The Future Starts Here outlines the limitless potential of the future, through real futuristic tech – things you couldn’t imagine but are in development and tangible.
Huge tech giants have invested in new creations as well, with Facebook rolling out a light aircraft that brings the internet to the two thirds of the world, that don’t have it. The Aquila transmits internet to parts of the world without it, and the aircraft is light, hovering and solar powered. Mark Zuckerberg believes that connection is a basic human right. A look at Apple’s newest headquarters and a Crowd Funded pedestrian walkway in Rotterdam, shed a light on the architectural design of the future.
Other features include a drone sailing ship, Protei, that collects rubbish and oil spills in the ocean. The Svalbard Global Seed Vault preserves seeds in the event of large scale crisis– this tech is shaping the future but set to save and preserve it as well. The tech on display dances a fine line between the good technology can do, but also the harm it can inflict.
The Future Starts Here aims to not only help you envision the future to come, but question what this tech and design can do. To inspire a wide audience with design and tech that seems impossible to imagine but is here, now. For the visitor, ethical and speculative questions are asked to engage you in the future, with tech that inspires and innovates – there’s a robot that does all the laundry for you, who wouldn’t want that? We could go on and on about all the fascinating design and tech we saw, but instead we’ll tell you what’s in it for you.
Why YOU should go
This daring and experimental exhibition is nothing like we’ve seen before. A first for the V&A, it features so much to see and engage with. It explores tech in 4 large main scales. The self, public spaces, the planet and finally the vast cosmos above. This exhibition can teach, both adults and children, so much about the future and engage an interest in technology and design. The Future Starts Here can educate and engage everyone. From a curious child who is inquisitive about what their adult lives will be like, to the sceptic grandma/parent anxious of where the world is heading. This exhibition has something for everyone. The ‘wow’ factor for everything on display can’t be measured. The Future Starts Here is a truly fascinating exhibition.
Opening on 12th May 2018 and running until 4th November, this exhibition is not one to be missed. A year in the making, The Future Starts Here is an informative and engaging insight as to where our world is heading. Advanced tickets are £15 and V&A members go for free. You can book your tickets by either calling 0800 912 6961 or visiting the V&A’s website, by clicking HERE. Supported by Volkswagen Group, the exhibition will be held in the Sainsbury Gallery for the duration of Spring and Autumn. The future has arrived to our world and truly, #TheFutureStartsHere at the V&A, Spring 2018.
Been a bit cold, hasn’t it? With the passing of Bonfire Night and Halloween, it officially feels like winter has arrived. Mornings will now be spent with the kitchen spatula, a jug boiling water and a bottle of anti-freeze, to battle the ice that has formed all over your car. With the rest of the UK tackling slightly frosty terrain and major disruptions caused by the smallest amount of snow, the season is officially upon us. The struggle is really felt in winter. Luckily, we’re still at a luxurious 1-2 degrees, for now at least, which is a perfect time to get out and explore the UK, without 4+ layers on.
This November, in the lead up to Christmas, there’s lots of things to see and do around the UK. We’ve selected our Top 5 events for this November from all over the country.
Prior to the release of the next instalment in the series, the Royal Observatory in London will be showing The Force Awakens at their Silver Screen series this November. On the 11th, Star Wars Fans can enjoy seeing the action-packed blockbuster in the amazing atmosphere of the planetarium, and live out their space fantasy. Accompanied with an exclusive talk after the film, one of the astronomers will discuss the physics of lightsabres and planet destroying space stations.
With the change of name from At-Bristol Science Centre to We the Curious, Bristol’s premiere ice skating rink is returning to Millennium Square this November. The huge ice rink will open on November 18th, paired with other winter attractions, food and drink from surrounding stalls in the Millennium Square. Including a carousel, the ‘Skyview Wheel’ and At the Movies – from Big Screen Bristol, showcasing films throughout the season.
Enjoy an evening of classical music in the beautiful venue of Norwich Cathedral. Conducted by Ashley Grote, Norwich Cathedral Chamber Choir and Norwich Cathedral Players will be joining forces for an evening of spectacular music. Playing the music of Haydn and Mozart at the Cathedral, critically acclaimed soloist Simon Munday will be joining the proceedings to pay homage to these composers. This event is on November 11th.
On November 25th, visitors to Chiddingstone Castle can experience their annual Christmas Fair. With over 70 stalls spread over the Castle’s historic rooms and a unique marquee. All of the beautiful Christmas gifts and items available are unique and will not be found in any high street shop. Gift ideas ranging from drinks, homeware, clothing and even toys, this Christmas fair is perfect to get your hands on some completely unique gifts for your loved ones. The atmospheric setting of Chiddingstone Castle adds to the magic of the festive season.
Retuning for a sixth year, the annual comedy show is returning all in support of the conservation charity ZSL. On 30th November, join comedians Alan Carr, Katherine Ryan, Rob Delaney, Sara Pascoe, Stephen K Amos, Terry Alderton and Rob Deering – as they perform stand up in the beautiful venue that is the Eventim Apollo in Hammersmith, London. This event is a fundraiser, to aid the animal conservation work ZSL does for wildlife all across the globe.
For more events all across the UK, click HERE.
Halloween has officially passed and now it’s perfectly acceptable to talk about Christmas. BUT, let’s not forget the last big day before the season of Christmas cheer begins – yes, it’s Bonfire night. A night that celebrates one of the most ridiculously planned out plots in history, which was foiled by a single letter being sent to one of the members of parliament. Essentially reading, ‘we’re going to try and blow up the King today, don’t come in to work’.
Whilst we look back and at appreciate the failed plot, it gives us an evening to let off fireworks and celebrate with sparklers. Most of the fun is letting off fireworks in your back garden, but there’s always that one disappointing one that never goes off… damn Catherine wheel…
To avoid some underwhelming fireworks, we’ve put together a list of our top firework displays, across the UK this weekend, ahead of Bonfire Night on Sunday.
Batter Sea Park: On Saturday the 4th November, enjoy a spectacular display of fireworks on the banks of the Thames. The displays from the pyrotechnics team at this event have won awards, meaning this event is not one to be missed! Accompanied by amazing food and wintery drinks, an impressive 22-minute display with the theme of Power will illuminate the Thames this weekend. Order your tickets online to avoid disappointment. Tickets MUST be pre-purchased before the event. Click HERE for more info and to book.
Crystal Palace Fireworks: This fireworks show has not one, but TWO firework displays! Kicking off with the kids display at 7, with vibrant and colourful fireworks (with less noise), followed by a monumental display of fireworks set to music. Taking place on the 5ht November, food and drink will also be served throughout the evening. Again, all tickets must be pre-purchased. For more information, click HERE.
Bonfire and Firework Spectacular, Kent Life: A display with a twist? Do tell more… Well, this firework display in Maidstone, is kicking off with the lighting of a bonfire by fire breathers. Watch as these human dragons ignite the bonfire ahead of a fantastic display of fireworks and much more! This event takes place on Saturday November 4th, for more information and to book tickets, click HERE.
Southend Seafront Fireworks: This FREE event takes place throughout October and November, however this Saturday (Nov 4th) is a spectacular display ahead of bonfire night! For the first time in 21 years, this display of pyro technical marvel will feature music in the show! And of course, fish and chips will be available to enjoy whilst the fireworks go on! Sit along the beach and watch the glow of the fireworks bright up the sea. For more information, click HERE.
Leeds Bonfires and Fireworks Spectacular: Friday November 5th in Leeds will burn brightly in the sky, as bonfires across the city will be lit in parks, with firework displays accompanying them. This free event will take place with an estimated 70,000 people, with beautiful firework displays. The massive bonfire in Roundhay Park will be lit at 7.30pm, followed by an epic firework display at 8. For more information, click HERE.
Gosforth Firework Extravaganza: The annual event returns this year in all its glory! The ‘firework extravaganza’ takes place on Saturday November 4th with a whole host of fun things going on throughout the evening. With attractions and refreshments, the evening will be topped off by an impressive display with over 120 effects per minute! For more information on this event, click HERE.
Bath Rotary Fireworks Display: Accompanied by the beautiful backdrop of the city of Bath, this annual event hosted by the Rotary Club promises an impressive show of firework amazingness. Taking place on November 4th, fireworks can be seen at various locations across the city with sitting and standing tickets available. This event is usually a sell out, so order your tickets early to avoid disappointment! For more info and to book, click HERE.
For more information on events across the country, visit our events page by clicking HERE.
Happy Bonfire Night!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Half term is almost upon us! With only one week to go, parents up and down the country are all thinking the same thing… ‘Half Term, really? Already?’ The fact that dawns on us all, having your little angels (subject to opinion) back from the education system for the week. As well as realising, you’re going to have to keep them occupied somehow.
Luckily, we’re here so you don’t have to stretch your brain too far. Here’s our Half Term round up, of the top 5 things to do this October break. If you read carefully enough, we’ve got an exclusive giveaway and discount code somewhere in this post. So, keep those eyes peeled!
In the spirit of Halloween, Hampton Court Palace, in Surrey, is putting on an exclusive week of horrible history. Visitors to the palace can discover the most rotten parts of Tudor history, even joining in the fun and taking part as an apprentice. Performing the dirty jobs needed to make to the palace run smoothly, your precious ‘babies’ can get stuck in and do some gross Tudor jobs, while you kick back and relax.
Click HERE for more information on this horrible half term event. Horrible Hampton runs from October 22nd – 28th.
If you, or more likely your children, are a fan of kids’ TV characters, then boy do we have the event for you! Taking place at the ExCel Centre in London, Kidtropolis has a huge line up for 2017. Featuring live performances from acts such as The Next Step, Flawless, Peppa Pig’s, Fireman Sam and many many more! (Seriously I’d be typing forever if I listed everyone appearing) But, it’s going to be big! Live performances and activities run throughout the day, and ticket holders are free to book TWO live shows, with their purchase (included in ticket price).
For those of you that have read this far, thanks. You’re the lucky few who can use our discount code! Which we will provide… at the end of the post. Can’t have you not reading until the end, can we?
Get hands on in spooky Halloween fun at Hornchurch Country Park & Ingrebourne Valley Visitor Centre in Essex. With a whole ghost of Halloween events! (get it, whole host/ghost. Spooky puns) Between Monday 23rd and Sunday 29th October, Hornchurch Country Park will be putting on a special week of events. From spooky arts and crafts, to pumpkin carving there’s tonnes of Halloween related fun ahead of the holiday – which isn’t actually a day off, so, not really a holiday but hey ho.
For more information, times and prices for the Halloween fun, click HERE.
Fancy something out of this world? Well, Richard Branson hasn’t offered a trip in his spaceship as of yet, but fingers crossed. But, fear not! World Museum’s Planetarium in Liverpool is as close to the stars as you’ll get without ol’ Branson. Yes, more cost effective than a trip into Space, the World Museum is putting on not one, not two, BUT THREE fantastic and brand-new shows this half term.
From October 23rd until 29th, you will be able to see titles such as Earth, moon and Sun, Fly me to the Moon and From Earth to Universe. Running throughout the day, these fantastic shows will give you a glorious insight into the vast cosmos above, without Branson’s hefty price mark up.
For more information, click HERE.
Now, if the Red Sun on Monday got you excited about freaky weather, Cutty Sark in Greenwich have got the perfect event for you. If you love the sea, ships, sailors and storms, (and alliteration) you can learn all about the spooky tales from the ocean this half term.
Discover the tales from the sea as you learn about lucky sailors, gigantic waves and mysterious stowaways. And for the inspired audience members? There’s the chance to create your own pop-up book to take home as well as learning story telling skills, to create your own sea adventure.
For more information and ticket prices, click HERE.
So, there you have it. Our pick of the Top 5 things to do this half term. And congratulations for reading this far, that means that you’re entitled to our exclusive discount code.
For a DOUK exclusive discount to Kidtropolis 2017, simply add the discount code ‘PLAY’ when reaching the check out. To book your tickets visit the website, by clicking HERE.
To enter our competition to win a family ticket to Kidtropolis, visit our Facebook page by clicking HERE.
Judging by the weather, I’d say it’s time to say a fond farewell to summer. With the torrential rain and rapid winds, the hottest time of year is officially over, and it was a nice 4-week period, wasn’t it? (At least, I think that’s the total amount of time we had ‘summer weather’, but, hey, this is Britain after all.) As the evenings slowly become darker and the air becomes bitter, you know one thing… Winter is coming.
However, Autumn is coming first. With piles of fallen leaves coating the ground, vibrant reds and soft yellows colouring the streets and the smell of pumpkin spice permeating the air, Autumn is one of the most beautiful times of the year. Close enough to winter to not feel guilty about putting the central heating on, but this season is still one of the last opportunities to get outside in less than 5 layers of clothing.
To take full advantage of the still mild(ish) weather, we’ve put together a list of autumnal things to do in the UK, before winter arrives and chills you to the bone.
This is our list of top 5 Autumn Outings.
Located in Kent, this 13th century moated castle was once Anne Boleyn’s childhood home. From October 1st, visitors to Hever will be free to roam the grounds of the beautiful castle and marvel at the vivid seasonal colours. With beautiful gardens and a unique splashing water maze, Hever Castle is a sight to behold in Autumn. The beautiful Boston Ivy, that scales the side of the castle, turns a vibrant red making the castle and its grounds, beautifully photogenic.
For more information, visit Hever Castle’s website, by clicking HERE.
The 17th century country house, is one of the landmarks of what people believe to be an example of a typical English country home. Located in the countryside of Grantham, in Lincolnshire, in Autumn, the history of the house comes alive in the gardens and surrounding landscape. Visitors can only imagine how past residents may have wandered the grounds in Autumn amongst nature’s vibrant colours.
Visit Belton House’s website for more info, just click HERE.
Hole Park Gardens, situated in Rolvenden, Kent, is one of the most beautiful gardens in the UK, especially in Autumn. The gardens light up with the colours of autumn, making this a visual experience that is unforgettable. Wander freely around the 16-acres of grounds, exploring through the seasonal colours of Autumn and even find a new sculpture carved out of an old oak tree.
Click HERE for more information.
Offering a family walk around one of their beautiful nature trails, Savill Garden in Windsor is an unmissable sight to see in autumn. Whilst walking through the beautiful grounds and park, visitors can view the famous maple trees and cherries that grow there. See the wildlife in the Deer Park as in Autumn it is rutting season, when stags lock antlers. This beautiful and exciting display of nature and wildlife is not to be missed in this colourful season.
For more information, click HERE.
A vibrant mix of heritage and ecology, Hornchurch Country Park is a sight to see in Autumn. The country park is packed full of natural beauty and varied wildlife, in the autumn, the crisp air coats the ground and the fallen leaves paint the landscape, making the country park very photo moment worthy. Accompanied with a visitor’s centre full of fun activities and information, Hornchurch Country Park is an ideal day out, this Autumn.
For more information on the park, please click HERE.
Keep your eyes fixed on our events page for more upcoming Autumn and seasonal days out, coming in the near future. For more walks through nature and other Autumny things, search for the ideal day out near you, on our Days Out page.
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.