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Days Out Blog

Make the most of your festive season

Posted: Tuesday, November 22, 2016 |Category: Tips, Great Days Out

It's that time of year again! The scent of mulled wine and mince pies are in the air, the radio stations are playing the same 10 songs over and over again, and everyone has their tissues ready for the festive supermarket adverts. Yes, Christmas is coming up fast, and with so much to do before the big day, make sure to take some time to have some festive fun beforehand. There are a number of fun Christmassy events and attractions you can visit all over the UK this festive season. With so much fun going on throughout the country, I could not possibly list them all, so make sure to check our Events page to keep up to date with all the goings-on throughout the UK.


Icy Fun!

While snow can sometimes be a fleeting dream in some parts of the UK, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy some icy fun with several ice skating rinks popping up for the Winter Season, especially around the Greater London area. Take a skate around the rink currently standing at The Tower of London or glide around another that's popped up at Hampton Court Palace for plenty of freezing fun and none of the frostbite!

Festive Food

Since ‘tis the season for fun but also stuffing ourselves silly, there are a variety of amazing festive food experiences to try all over the UK. From festive afternoon teas available at Titanic Belfast and the Tropical Butterfly House Sheffield, to food markets appearing all over the place including: The Welbeck Estate and Chatsworth House!


Also, if the stress of cooking Christmas dinner is too much this year, fear not, as there are several attractions offering their own amazing Christmas dinner experiences. Enjoy a full Christmas Dinner aboard the Wealdon Pullman steam engine with the Kent and East Sussex Railway on a scenic journey, or try one of the many festive dining experiences available at the Spa Valley Railway.


Santa Claus is coming to town!

With December approaching fast, Santa is certainly keeping busy as he will be dropping into several attractions throughout the country to say hi and spread all the festive magic he can. 

Seperate grottos along with a lot of other Christmassy activities will be popping up at:

- Legoland Windsor

- ZSL London Zoo

- Groombridge Place, Tunbridge Wells

Willows activity Farm, Hertforshire 

- Hever Castle ... just to name a few! 

Make sure not to miss the big man when he's around in your area.

Winter Wonderland

One could not talk about Christmas attractions in the UK without mentioning arguably one of the most anticipated Festive events of the year, Hyde Park's annual Winter Wonderland. Celebrating it's 10th anniversary, there is no shortage of Chritmas cheer here! With FREE entry onsite, there are many amazing things to see and do, from seeing the sights aboard the giant observation wheel, to grabbing a drink in a bar made of ice, to experiencing the four rollercoasters and other thrill rides and so SO much more, there's a reason this event is one of the most popular Christmas attractions in the country.


 With so much to do and see over the next few weeks, there's plenty you can do to make sure your Christmas this year is the best one yet. Make sure to take some time to enjoy yourself and wherever you are this festive season, from all of us at DOUK, have a very Happy Holidays. 🎄🎅🎄🎅🎄🎅🎄


Posted by: Shane Scanlon | Tags: 2016, Christmas, festive

There are only 2 weeks left of the Summer Holidays and here at Days Out UK we want to make sure you don't waste a single second of your time. In order for you to make the most of the final weeks, we have put together a simple guide, giving you some helpful hints and tips for planning ahead.

Think Local

Instead of travelling miles away to find fun things to do this Summer Holiday, why not check out your local area for great days out!? Whether you are from London, Essex, Greater Manchester or Merseyside, there are heaps of things to see and do, so find out what’s on your doorstep - instead of venturing far and wide. The time and money you can save by not travelling far away, can be spent on having fun, with all your family and friends. 

Make Travel Plans

Try planning your route in advance, being sure to check for updates on traffic etc. before setting off. Whether you are travelling by car, bus or train, by planning ahead you will be able to: learn the quickest routes; save money - by avoiding toll booths, splitting travel costs etc. - and; plan how to get from attraction to attraction – if you are going on a multi-stop trip. 

Squeezing in Attractions

If you do have to venture outside of your local area and plan well enough, you may be able to fit more than one attraction into one day out. For example, if you are looking for a day out in Liverpool, you could start off by visiting the animals at Knowsley Safari Park, followed by a visit to the Albert Dock. Here you can make the most of all the award-winning attractions, from The Beatles Story to the Merseyside Maritime Museum. By planning a multi-stop trip you not only will save time on travelling, but you can also save money - with lots of attractions offering combined rates. 


When planning a day out, especially when you have little ones to contend with, there is so much that can go wrong. By booking beforehand you can save time by avoiding queues, you can plan other activities around them and you will be able to stick with your planned budget (see Multi-stop trip and plan your budget).

Plan your budget

Your budget can massively effect your options, when planning a day out with the family. Before setting off on your big day out, try to think about all of the things you will need to pay for during your trip, in particular taking into consideration the following things:

  • Entertainment & Activities
  • Food & drink
  • Group size
  • Travel expenses
  • Little extras/emergency money

From free family events to paid excursions, there are heaps of things to see and do nationwide, this Summer Holiday. Be sure to check out our events and attractions pages, for some great days out ideas!

Check the Weather

Before setting off on any trip, it is good to know what the weather is going to be like. This way you will be able to know what preparation is necessary, for example, what clothes to pack for the family. Visit our area pages, for an up-to-date weather forecast. 

Have a Back-up

It’s always a good idea to plan a back-up activity that can still go ahead, if all else fails, especially when there are little ones involved. So if the weather takes a turn for the worse or your car breaks down, you will still have something planned to keep the whole family entertained.

With these helpful hints the whole family can enjoy a stress-free day out, making sure to not waste a single second of the precious Summer Holidays.  


Posted by: Shane Scanlon | Tags:

Top Things to Do in Essex this Summer Holiday

Posted: Tuesday, July 12, 2016 |Category: Tips, Great Days Out

‘We’re all going on a Summer Holiday….’ or maybe not and that is why we all could do with knowing what’s going on in our local area, this Summer Holiday.

We all want to make the most of the precious 6 week holiday and with so much to see and do nationwide, it is hard to narrow down the choices. Here at DOUK we understand the importance of planning ahead...especially when it comes to having fun...so we have put together a list of activities and events for you to get your teeth into this summer.

Much like our '10 Things to do in Essex this Father's Day' piece, we will be focusing on Essex…the birthplace of DOUK! From themed family events to wildlife walks, there are heaps of things to see and do over the Summer Holidays in Essex and here are just a few that we have hand-picked, for the whole family to enjoy!

Schools Out for the Summer

Venue: Adventure Island

Sat 23rd & Sun 24th July | 12:00-close | Included in admission price

Schools Out for the Summer and Adventure Island is inviting the whole family down to celebrate with them. Everyone is sure to be entertained with face painting, live performances, fancy dress and so much more!

Super Hero Weekend

Venue: Adventure Island

Sat 13th & Sun 14th August | 12:00-close | Included in admission price

Calling all Superheros! Adventure Island is hosting a fantastic themed event this summer, with face painting, dancing and lots more! 

Fairytale Circus

Venue: Audley End House & Gardens

Thu 28th – Sun 31 July | Thu-Sat 19:00 | Sun 11:00 | £14 Adult | £9 Child

The circus is coming to Audley End House and Gardens this summer, where visitors of all ages are welcomed to step inside the Big Top, to travel into a fairytale world full of surprises.

Ugly Bug Safari

Venue: Audley End House & Gardens

Mon 15th – Fri 19th August | 11:00-17:00 | £18.30 Adult | £11 Child | £16.50 Conc. | £47.60 Family

Grab a magnifying glass and join Audley End this Summer Holiday, as they hunt for some mini beasts throughout the beautiful gardens.

6 Weeks of Summer

Venue: Barleylands

Mon 25th July – Fri 2nd Sep | 10:00-17:00 | Included in admission price

Throughout the Summer Holidays, Barleylands is hosting a different theme each week, with heaps of activities to keep everyone entertained. Plus the farmyard is open as normal, with a full timetable of activities, including sheep racing and birds of prey.

Week by week:

25th – 29th July Bubblemania 

1st-5th August Family Hoedown

8th-12th August Deadly Creatures

15th-19th August Crazy Entertainer

22nd-26th August Ultimate Inflatables

29th-2nd August Treasure Hunters

Summer Holidays

Venue: Colchester Zoo

Sat 23rd July – Wed 31st Aug | 09:30-18:00 | Included in admission price

Enjoy a family day out at Colchester Zoo this Summer Holiday, where the whole family can learn about the amazing species at the zoo and take part in some brilliant activities with their award winning education team!

Summer Late Night Opening

Venue: Colchester Zoo

Sat 6th & 20th Aug | 09:30-20:30 | Included in admission price

Colchester Zoo is hosting two special Summer Late Night Openings, over the Summer Holidays, with extra special events and activities throughout the day…and night.

Summer Wildlife Trail

Venue: Beth Chatto Gardens

Sat 23rd Jul – Sun 4th Sep | All day | FREE Friends of the Garden | £6.95 Adults | £1 Under 16’s

Throughout the Summer Holidays, the whole family are welcomed to the beautiful Beth Catto Gardens to take part in one of the Wildlife Trails, where you can discover the heroes and villains of the garden…and the children go FREE if you book your tickets online in advance.

My Garden Kitchen

Venue: Beth Chatto Gardens

Tue 9th Aug | 10:30-14:00 | £5 accompanied child | FREE 1 adult per child | £2.50 additional adult

Bring the little ones along for a fun-filled activity day which is all about food and the garden, this Summer Holiday. From pizza making to dish creations (for some of the creatures found in the garden) the little ones are sure to have a fantastic time in the Garden Kitchen.

Glow by Night

Venue: Hadleigh Park

Fri 22nd Jul | 21:15-22:30 | £4 Adult | £2 Child

Bring the whole family along to Hadleigh Park for a wonderful evening, where you will search for the magical and elusive glow-worm, meeting at Benfleet Station (south side) at 9.15pm.  

UCI Junior World Series XCO

Venue: Hadleigh Park

Sat 30th Jul – Sun 31st July | FREE to spectate

Hadleigh Park is holding their first UCI Junior World Series event, as part of the Hadleigh Park International UCI HC-class event, a fantastic mountain bike event with exciting cross-country races to keep the whole family entertained this Summer Holiday.

Wind in the Willows

Venue: Mercury Theatre

Fri 29th Jul – Sun 21st Aug | 14:00 | 18:00 | Prices vary, see website or call for details

The Mercury Theatre is hosting the brilliant musical adventure, of the children’s classic Wind in the Willos. Join Toad, Badger, Rat and Mole on the adventure of a life time this Summer Holiday!


Venue: Marsh Farm

Sun 14th Aug | 10:00-18:00 | £19.99 Over 2’s | FREE Under 2’s

Bring the family along to Marsh Farm this Summer Holiday, for a fantastic event that is just like Glastonbury…but for kids! Enjoy a great line-up of activities, from performances by popular children’s acts to workshops for everyone to join in on.

Puppet Festival

Venue: Southend Pier 

Sat 2nd Aug – Sun 3rd Aug | 11:00-17:00 | Included in admission price

Oh I do like to be beside the seaside…do you? This year is the Southend Borough Council’s 26th annual Puppet Festival, where the whole family can enjoy a classic day at the beach, with seaside entertainment and much more…all on the world’s largest pleasure pier.

Summer Holiday Activities

Venue: RSPB Rainham Marshes

Tue 26th July – Wed 31st Aug | 10:30-12:00 | 13:00-14:30 | £1pp + normal admission price

Join Rainham Marshes for some special family activities. Every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of the Summer Holidays, there will be special family activities to keep you entertained, from pond dipping to playing mini-beast detective.  

Although we have focused on Essex, there is so much to see and do nationwide - from family friendly (Viking) Bear Hunts to Beer Festivals and Shakespearean performances - throughout the Summer Holidays. So make sure to check out all the other fantastic attractions and events, in your local area, so you can make the most of those valuable 6 weeks! 

Wind in the Willows photograph credit: Darren Bell
Posted by: Shane Scanlon | Tags:

10 Things to do in Essex this Father's Day

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

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

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

Classic Cars at Audley End House and Gardens

Time: 11:00-17:00

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

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

Father's Day Trains at East Anglian Railway Museum

Time: 10:30-16:30

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

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

Father's Day - Dads go free at Barleylands

Time: 10:00-17:00

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

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

Big Sunday 2016 at various locations in Colchester

Price: Free

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

Father’s Day at RHS Garden Hyde Hall

Time: 10:00-16:00

Price: Free

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

Father’s Day at RSPB Rainham Marshes

Time: 09:30-17:00

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

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

 1940s Weekend at Epping Ongar Railway

Time: 09:00-17:00

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

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

MotorFest at Marsh Farm

Time: 10:00-17:00

Price: £11.50 (on door)

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

Father’s Day – Dads go free at Tropical Wings

Time:  09:30-17:30

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

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

Gentleman’s Afternoon Tea at Museum of Power

Time: 10:00-16:00

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

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

Posted by: Shane Scanlon | Tags:
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