Being a parent, don’t you just love it? It takes the resolution of Julius Caesar, the cunning of Machiavelli, and the humour of Groucho Marx – never more so than when planning a day out with the children.
Deciding what to do can be a problem, especially if you have different age groups to cater for. If you are considering something expensive, then it has to be something that everyone will enjoy.
That said, the major theme parks can be a huge success. Just make sure that there are sufficient rides to suit all ages, and don’t gamble on your adventurous youngster being able to get onto the ride they have set their heart on if they are borderline on the height test.
The best zoos will normally entertain all ages. If you are taking little ones, be prepared to spend ages playing with a carved alligator but then wander past the real thing with a cursory glance. It’s hard to let the children set the pace when there is so much you want to show them, but it will work out better for everyone. There are zoos of various sizes within easy reach of most parts of the UK.
There are some excellent science centres in Britain, and many of them provide an absorbing visit for children and youngsters of a wide age range. London, Cardiff, Winchester, and the old Royal Observatory site in East Sussex, offer excellent facilities.
There are many outside activity venues across the country. Some offer water-based fun, like the Cotswold Water Park with many exciting (and more sedate) ways to enjoy the water. Others take you into the trees, like the various Go Ape locations. Or try one of the many rock climbing locations.
It is outdoors that you can save more money, by planning your own entertainment as you explore Britain’s woods, beaches and hills. Geocaching or following a nature trail can add an extra dimension to an adventure in the countryside, as can traditional games.
When the weather is against you, there is no shortage of museums in Britain, many with specialised approaches, from the gruesome to the quirky – check out their websites to discover if they offer something that would suit your tribe. National Trust locations often have surprisingly good resources for children to experience different aspects of life in the past.
Sometimes the weather can impose an impromptu day out in an airport when flights are grounded. If you have been forced to improvise with entertainment, you may at least qualify for compensation. Learn more about your rights to compensation when flights are delayed due to bad weather.
Planning a day out with the family can be an exhausting business. The internet provides us with a way to explore the possibilities from home. Although no outing is ever guaranteed to be a success, take heart from the fact that the ones your family will remember will be the good ones.
Daniel Lee is a Father of two sons, and there’s another bundle of trouble on the way! He is a keen traveller, enjoying a round-the-world trip when he was younger, who now enjoys day trips and family holidays.