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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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…
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…
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.
Summer has been fun hasn’t it? But even though it's coming to an end, there's still plenty to look forward to! With the end of summer, comes a new dawn, rising over the horizon, like a well-cooked sponge… The Great British Bake Off emerges from the fiery ovens of production onto its new home, Channel 4.
For fans of the show, it’s make or bake. Will Noel Fielding and Sandi Toksvig live up to the legacy of Mel and Sue? And let’s not even talk about losing Mary Berry from the show… Will Bake Off ever be the same? Or will it be better? In any case, the country's still got Bake Off fever.
But, how can the nation expel this baking fury? Bake at home? Don’t be silly… the kids might get involved and you know you’d win in a cooking contest against them (where’s the fun in that?) Alternatively, instead of watching series after series of Bake Off past, you could get out the house and get hands on. Here’s a list of fun, food related things to do round the UK.
Seasoned Cookery School
The Seasoned Cookery School is located in Walton Upon-Trent, in Derbyshire. I like to think of the name as a pun rather than foreshadowing the level of cooking expertise required. But in all seriousness, anyone of any cooking ability or level can come down and dive in. The school’s ethos is ‘inspiring everyone with food’ and has a whole host of talented TV Chefs at their disposal, to teach you some star techniques.
Ranging from classes in making your Indian take away into a beautiful homemade meal, preparing the perfect pastry (with help from 2013 Bake Off Semi Finalist – Beca Lyne-Pirkis) or creating cuisine to host your own swanky dinner party. The school offers a wide array of classes for everyone to enjoy. And you can pretend that the dashing, grey haired man across the kitchen is Paul Hollywood, if you please.
For more information on Seasoned Cookery School, click HERE to visit their website.
The Nick Nairn Cook School
Set up in April 2000, The Nick Naim Cook School now has two schools in different locations. The mission? To arm people with the necessary skills to turn ‘raw ingredients into fantastic food’. The school offers the finest classes for cooking novices to seasoned chefs.
Equipped with amazing facilities, the best tuition and even a place to grab some top shelf produce. The Nick Nairn Cook School has a class to please everyone… even Mary… what was wrong with the base Mary, soggy bottom?
To find out about the cooking classes or for more information on the school, click HERE.
Now, I hear what you’re saying. Some, love to cook and learn, and others? Well, we like to eat. ‘I’m too lazy to cook normally, so why would I want to go to school and cook?’ I hear you cry! No matter, why make, when you can taste…
DID SOMEONE SAY CHOCOLATE? Oh, that was me. I did. Now you’re thinking about chocolate, let’s talk about a place that is MADE OF CHOCOLATE. Well, makes chocolate but I had to draw you in somehow… Cadbury World is the Crème Egg of the crop, of foody days out.
An ideal destination for chocolate lovers, the Birmingham based factory not only takes you behind the magic of the confectionary, but also teaches you a thing or too. Learn about the greatest gift from mother Nature, aside Oxygen, the cocoa bean. Responsible for making the world a more chocolatey place.
And guess what? They’ll be chocolate there. If you’re feeling daring ahead of Bake Off, pick up some chocolate on your way out and give that chocolate gateaux a go.
This tour is guaranteed to be popular, so pre-purchase your tickets to avoid disappointment. Visit the website by clicking HERE, to book tickets or find out more info.
Savouring Bath Walking Tour
Don’t be fooled by the name, you won’t be looking at a collection of bathtubs with legs, no. You’ll be walking around the beautiful city of Bath, soaking in the history and culture of the city, tasting the local cuisine.
Offering a platter worthy selection of tours, experience Bath like never before. Through the taste of local produce. Artisanal food and drink, sweet or savoury, there’s a taste for anyone palette. And don’t worry about eating all that food, it’s a walking tour, designed to aid you in burning off every calorie you eat… well maybe not every calorie but I’ve got to at least try and make you feel better, right?
To find out about all the different food tours head to Savouring Bath’s website, by clicking HERE.
All this talk of food, cake and chocolate has got me feeling full. Paired with that pre Bake Off buzz, I think we all deserve a drink to relax, no? Queue the distillery tour…
Pickering’s Gin Tours
The ideal destination for Gin Lovers, tour the beautiful distillery and learn all about how the masterful gin is created. Learn how the gin is bottled and sample all three of Pickering’s gin expressions. And, as if it couldn’t get any better. There is a bar. Finish your tour at the Royal Dick bar.
What could be better than trying and drinking gin? Throw in a little detective work to add to that excitement. Experience the event of a lifetime, LockedIn the Distillery has you solving clues with up to five friends, working together to save the distillery from destruction! I would pay just to watch five, gin fuelled adults attempting to solve clues. Think that could be an idea for BBC to fill the gap Bake Off has left? Just a suggestion…
For more information about the distillery, click HERE.
Now you’ve digested this five-course meal of food related fun, you’ll finally have a creative outlet for all your Bake Off needs. From cooking master classes to become a baking legend, to food tours to sink your teeth into or just to put your feet up with a nice drink from your favourite distillery, I hope I’ve eased the wait before we welcome Bake Off back to our screens.
The Great British Bake Off is back August 29th on Channel 4.
British Summertime is a wonderful thing, when we’re managing to avoid the rain that is. Yes, come showers or shine, it’s important to keep yourself busy this time of year. But what happens if a trip to the shop isn’t entertaining enough? Or your picnic is being invaded by wasps? Look no further than us for inspiration!
If you’re in a crowded city, out in the countryside or even exploring further afield in the UK, there’s a lot going on. There’s plenty of fun to be found for adults, kids and even the whole family, so here’s a list of some amazing upcoming events this summer.
The National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, London, is hosting an event on Extreme Fashion on August 20th and 29th. And no, I’m not talking nautical themed clothing, I’m talking about essential clothing and equipment for explorers to aid them in harsh conditions. At this 2-hour session, you can learn all about what those adventurers need brave the wilds of the world. You can even design your own extreme clothing for your very own adventure.
All year round the National Maritime Museum is full of fun and nautical exhibitions for the whole family. You can experience the history of the high seas, without the risk of scurvy…
To find out more about the event click HERE
This is one for the kids, especially if you want to show them how good they have it. Take a trip into Prehistoric Britain at the Beecroft Art Gallery on August 9th and 30th. This hour-long session in Southend-on-Sea, Essex will help educate the little ones and show them about life during the Palaeolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic periods (yeah, I couldn’t pronounce those either). They’ll learn about the technology of the old world including original and replicas of prehistoric tools.
If you don’t fancy living the prehistoric life with your kids, the Beecroft Art Gallery is full of beautiful art and photography, with something different with every visit.
Discover more about the event by clicking HERE
Museum After Hours: Friday Fringe Takeover
If I told you that you could visit a museum, at night, with exclusive handpicked performers from Edinburgh Fringe and a bar, would you go? Of course, you would. You can even poke around some of the museums exhibitions in-between acts (so much culture and entertainment in one place). Spanning over three nights, from August 11th, the adults-only event showcases a different take on the Fringe.
By night, there’s an entertaining showcase of talent (as well as a bar) and by day it’s a place for the whole family. With stunning exhibitions and artefacts, a day out in the National Museum of Scotland is nothing to turn your nose up at. Just try not to drink too much the night before, it may look like a bucket but it’s probably an ancient vase…
Click HERE for more info.
Dining Experience on board the High Weald Belle
Dinner on a train? No, I’m not talking about a sandwich on the tube, I’m talking about a luxury dining experience in Tunbridge Wells, Kent. This evening dining event, takes place on the High Weald Belle on August 12th and other selected dates. It’s the perfect way to enjoy the beautiful English countryside accompanied by dinner, without getting rained on and sitting on grass.
Spa Valley Railway not only host dinner on the rails, but offer trips to beautiful parts of South-East England by steam train.
For more information click HERE
While I can’t promise you the heat of India, I can promise you a look into the amazing culture. Every Wednesday throughout August from the 16th, you can experience art, music and films inspired by Indian traditions, with a little bit of dancing thrown in too. Suitable for adults and children of all ages, immerse yourself in the wonderful story-telling of India at The Horniman Museum and Gardens, in Forest Hill, London.
All year round, the beautiful Gardens are open to the public and the Museum is packed with beautiful natural history. There’s even an aquarium for you to explore.
For more information about the event, click HERE
Wild West Adventures
Pull the snake out your boot and hop on your horse down to Groombridge Place Gardens & Enchanted Forest. From August 21st till September 3rd, you can take the kids to experience being a Cowboy or Cowgirl in Tunbridge Wells, Kent. With action packed Cowboy shows, storytelling and singalongs it’s not a day to miss out on. And prepare yourself for the ‘yee haws’ all the way home.
The award-winning gardens are there to keep you entertained, while you let your little one loose in the ‘Wild West’. Packed with ‘birds of prey’ displays and have a go archery, there’s a lot to fill your time.
Click HERE for all the info
The Wedding Singer
Ever wanted to go back to a simpler, more musical time? Here’s your chance. Take a trip back to the 80s, with the classic musical based on the Adam Sandler hit film. Re-live the huge hair and music of the era at the Leeds Grand Theatre and Opera House. On August 22nd, find out if Robbie Hart will get his grove back and follow his dreams in the all singing, all dancing show.
The beautiful Leeds Grand Theatre and Opera House only houses the very best shows and musicals at the prestigious venue. They even do tours of the theatre if you fancy yourself a history buff.
For tickets and more info click HERE
Military week and camp
Now the nay-sayers out there will tell you that you can’t enlist your child into the military. Well, I’m here to tell you, that you can! (to the Medieval Military at least). Transport the kids to medieval England, as they pitch up camp outside the walls of Bodiam Castle in East Sussex. The castle itself is a marvel of medieval building, what survives of it. It’s surrounded by an overwhelmingly, huge moat and shows a real insight into medieval architecture.
Watch medieval black smiths forge amour to be tested against the powerful bow of English archers. (No children will be harmed in the firing of arrows). Put them through their paces with medieval marches and drills between August 21st to August 25th. Join Sir Edward and his finest knights in the castle bootcamp.
Click HERE for more information
Sleep under the stars at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo
Ever seen an empty enclosure at the zoo and wondering what’s there? You wander over to the information about the animal and see that it is nocturnal. Some of the most interesting and fascinating animals only come out at night, and the zoo is never open for you to see them. Until now.
ZSL Whipsnade Zoo in Bedfordshire, on selected dates throughout August and September, are putting on camping events in the darkness of night. You’ll have the chance to stay overnight and explore the massive 600-acre zoo to find the nocturnal animals, under the cover of night. With park entry, the next day, included in the price and an exclusive morning park tour open to you before the public. This camping trip is perfect for all the animal loving family.
Click HERE for all the info
So, get out the house and explore the UK. Summer doesn’t have to be as dull and dreary as the weather. For a complete list of events happening all over the UK, visit our events page on DOUK.
If like me, you’re constantly telling yourself to visit new places, yet find yourself frequenting the same attractions time and time again because “hey if the ol’ routine ain’t broke don’t fix it?” then this post is definitely for you!!
There are a wealth of amazing museums to visit throughout the country yet many are often ignored by people making snap judgements by their names. I will admit that when I was but a wee lass and my mum told me we were taking a trip to the Pencil Museum, I did do everything in my power to get out of it. Yet, after a while I found myself really enjoying everything it had to offer and there are a tonne of similar places throughout the UK!
Much like not judging a book by its cover, can you really judge your enjoyment of a museum by a cursory glance at its title? You’d be surprised at the fascination that can be found in things considered mundane. Who decided that the story behind the creation of pencils, textiles or brands was boring? Each of these places were built because they have a story to tell and I believe all of them are at least worth one visit. Plus after visiting each you will be LOADED with random facts to spam your friends and family with!!
Museum of Witchcraft: Boscastle Cornwall
Do you hear the sound of cackling?
For something a little more magical in your life, you can’t really go wrong with a museum dedicated to the art of witchcraft. Home to the world’s largest collection of witchcraft related items, this is THE place to visit for fans of certain old crones. Opened in 1960 and located by the harbour in Boscastle, you can see the development of modern witchcraft and the aspects of it that have dripped down into popular media! From Mandrake roots utilised in Harry Potter, to depictions of famous witches in literature such as the witches of Macbeth as well as the fabled witch of Wookey Hole, you'll find yourself lost in a world of spells and mystery!
Click HERE to find out more
British Lawnmower Museum: Southport Merseyside
Ever wanted to know more about lawnmowers? Of course you do! While a title like “The British lawnmower Museum” might seem groan worthy, you’d be surprised at the number of fun exhibits there are to visit here. From records of lawnmower racing (yes that is indeed a thing) to models of expensive (luxury) model mowers, to the first solar powered motor and even a number of celebrity items, you are truly missing out if you don’t visit at least once!
Click HERE for more information
Cumberland Pencil Museum, Keswick Cumbria
Of course I was going to talk about this one! The Pencil Museum does exactly what it says on the tin, but has a few fun surprises thrown in as well. Ever wanted to know who invented the first pencil? How about how pencils were used to send secret codes during the wars? Or maybe find out all about the pencils used to create the beloved “Snowman” Christmas short? If anything it boasts the world’s largest colouring pencil measuring 26 feet long and weighing an impressive 984 llbs!!
Click HERE for more information
Verdant Works Dundee Dundee
You know what Jute is? If not, do you want to find out? One of the most versatile textfile fibres known to man didn’t just make itself, and the Verdant Works was once a thriving Jute producing mill. This beautifully refurbished building is home to many stories of Dundee’s rich textile past: from the strikes against lowered wages, to the unions formed against cruel working conditions, to the tales of it’s workers and the terrible living conditions of the working class in Dundee in the twentieth century! It's definitely worth checking out!
Click HERE for more information
Museum of Brands, Westminster London
Today so much of our identity in wrapped up in the media we’re exposed to. Not just films and television, but the marketing media we’re seeing every day. Who hasn’t been annoyed at the constant exposure meerkats or opera singing? Is there anyone in this country who if you start singing “0800 00” at them, won’t answer “1066?”
Brands and advertising have a way of working themselves into our minds and this isn’t a phenomenon limited to the 21st century as the Museum of Brands in London quite clearly points out with it’s massive collection of over 12,000 pieces of brand and marketing memorabilia. It's guaranteed to give every visitor either a gut punch of nostalgia or (for the younger patreons) a fascinating look into marketing campaigns from times gone by. Economic frocks and toothpaste from the war? Packaging from the original Action Man action figures? Rimmel make up from the end of the nineteenth century? If anything this museum does show that rampant materialism is hardly a trait of recent years.
Click HERE for more information
Shoe Museum, Burnham-on-Sea Somerset
There is a good chance you’ve might possibly have worn shoes at some point in your life so why not step into this attraction and learn about the garments that have been helping you get from point A to point B for so long? While a title like ‘The Shoe Museum’ really does not sound like the most thrilling place in the world, this blog is here to show you how names can be misleading (and I hope the previous five paragraphs have helped illustrate that point). This FREE to enter attraction boasts a rather impressive collection of footwear ranging from Roman sandels, to the hideous crocs of modern day, showing that this place certainly isn't any old cobbled-together attraction!
Click HERE for more information
The Museum of Piping, Glasgow, Glasgow
Is that the sound of Amazing Grace I hear? Why not take a gander into the world of Scotland’s national instrument! Everyone should have a go at playing the bagpipes before they die, and a visit to the Museum of Piping in the National Piping Centre in Glasgow gives the perfect opportunity to toot to your heart’s content. This museum is THE authority on the history of piping, with over three-hundred years of history to explore, the oldest chanter of the Highland bagpipe found anywhere in the world, as well as a huge range of different pipes to marvel at.
Click HERE for more information
I do hope this post has sparked some inspiration in you as I've barely scratched the surafce on interesting places to visit! (If I went into detail this post would probably be about 20,000 words long!)
If you still aren't sure as to where your next adventure will take you, make sure to check out our attractions page for a full list, as well as checking out the areas near you for all the fun going on!!
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 House, all running throughout April just to name a few!
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
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?
(Did you spot all 10 puns?)
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.
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.
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)
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.