Just visiting friends and family, or organising a picnic can be fun, but if you want to do something a bit different, there are loads of events taking place all over the UK all the time.
If you’re wondering about the sort of activities which might suit family members of all ages – including your older relatives – then here are some ideas to consider.
Visiting a beautiful garden can be a very enjoyable experience for all the family.
The National Trust has 200 gardens and parks to explore and many hold special events throughout the Spring and Summer.
Throughout the summer, the National Garden Scheme (NGS) showcases around 500 wonderful gardens across England and Wales. And by visiting an NGS garden, you’ll be helping to support many nursing and caring charities. Since it began in 1927, the NGS has donated more than £45 million to charities such as Marie Curie and Carers Trust.
Another option is to visit one of the many gardens participating in the The Open Garden Scheme, which provides a fantastic opportunity to see the fruits of many green-thumbed amateur gardeners who are happy to open up their gardens for the visiting public.
Here is a round-up of the best gardens and zoos for fun days out across the UK.
Anglesey Zoo, where you can visit the Shark Pool, as well as the Big Fish Forest. The Shipwreck has huge tanks full of local marine life and an “Octojump” bouncy castle, as well as radio-controlled boats.
Bodnant Garden in Conwy boasts 80 acres includes beautiful lawns, rivers, valleys and gardens with many exotic plants, as well as walking trails with fun for all the family.
Chester Zoo hosts over twelve thousand animals and 400 different species to be seen in 110 acres of gardens at Chester Zoo. Prepare to be enthralled.
Culzean Country Park in Ayrshire has a 18th-century castle on the Firth of Clyde has impressive armoury and wonderful woodland paths through woodland, as well as hosting a deer park.
Drusillas Park in East Sussex is home to monkeys, meerkats, lemurs, reptiles and birds. There is also a Thomas the Tank Engine experience and jungle-themed play area.
Inverewe Gardens in Wester Ross enables you to see unusual exotic species of plants and flowers, such as Tasmanian eucalyptus and Chinese Himalayan blue poppies, as well as red deer, pine martens and otters. There are also guided walks available.
Longleat Safari Park in Wiltshire hosts varied wildlife, including giraffes, zebras, rhinoceros, camels, lions, tigers and wolves. You can also see the 16th-century house, travel on the miniature railway and play in the Adventure Castle playground.
Slimbridge Wetland Centre in Gloucestershire allows you to build your own dams, jump in puddles and get very wet! There are also 4×4 safaris, toad demonstrations and canoe safaris.
Snettisham Park Farm in Norfolk is a massive 320-acre farm, you can where children can feed lambs and collect eggs, as well as going on a deer safari and riding on tractors.
Woburn Safari Park in Bedfordshire affords a look at lions, lions, tigers, giraffes, bears and wolves. Visit at feeding times for the most fun. Good children’s playground.
Great Britain is rightly famous for its wealth of historic castles, stately homes, museums, art galleries and other unique attractions.
Alnwick Castle in Northumberland, where you can explore this beautiful 700-year-old castle and enjoy lots of extra activities including a tour of the various castle locations used in movies, and some Harry Potter broomstick training.
Snettisham Park Farm in Norfolk – where children can feed lambs and the whole family can go on a deer safari and ride on tractors.
Beamish Museum in County Durham enables you to see how people lived and worked in the Victorian era with reconstructed houses, shops and buildings, plus a colliery village.
The Yorkshire Sculpture Park boasts 500 acres of historic landscape, near West Bretton, Wakefield, with artworks by international artists, plus five indoor galleries. Admission is free, although there are parking charges and it’s open almost every day.
The Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery is based in the city centre, this museum and art gallery are completely free! There are over 500,000 objects in the collection, some of them thousands of years old, covering art, social history, archaeology and ethnography from every continent on the globe
The Lighthouse in Glasgow is Scotland’s centre for design and architecture celebrates the work of Charles Rennie Mackintosh along with many other designers. If you climb the helical staircase, which leads you up to the viewing gallery at the top of the Mackintosh Tower, you will be rewarded with spectacular views of Glasgow. With six exhibition spaces over six floors, including a Digital Design Gallery, there is a busy programme of creative exhibitions and events running throughout the year
The Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich is the gateway to the Maritime Greenwich World Heritage Site and all its attractions, Greenwich Palace and the Royal Hospital for Seamen for example. The Royal Observatory is close by and the highly regarded market, with a huge range of stalls and shops to browse in, is on hand to. You’ll find plenty of interesting, fun activities to fill your free day out
The Winter Garden in Sheffield is located right in the heart of Sheffield, this is one of the world’s biggest greenhouses , where you’ll find around 2,500 plants growing in a specially-controlled microclimate. Amazingly, they’re all watered by hand (seriously); a group of green-fingered gardeners goes round with a hose or watering can to ensure the plants receive exactly the right amount of water. It’s thirsty work
Maiden Castle in Dorset is an enormous Iron Age hill fort, which covers a site the size of 50 football pitches. There are ditches and ramparts galore (an attempt to keep the Romans out), if you take the steep(ish) climb to the top, you’ll be rewarded with views out over the rolling Dorset countryside. Don’t forget the camera
The Sherwood Forest Country Park in Nottingham allows you to immerse yourself in the Robin Hood myth with a wander through his famous stomping ground. Don’t miss the Major Oak, the tree where RH is rumoured to have hidden while fleeing from the Sheriff of Nottingham – or the nearby visitor centre, which separates the fact from the fiction
The Royal Armouries Factory in Leeds is where you can find all the knights in shining armour are these days, The Royal Armouries Museum houses 70,000 pieces of armoury altogether – and you can see a lot of it in action in the tiltyard, as two knights battle it out in a Henry VIII-style joust
Bath Walking Tours allow you to find out what the Romans smelled like and how tight a Regency corset was. Follow in Jane Austen’s footsteps with a free tour of her favourite city, where your guide will give you a potted history that’s not straight out of a textbook
Godolphin Estate Cornwall lets you take a stroll around the atmospheric and ancient estate of this 17th century house, you may discover the Leeds engine house and stack, the remains of the Godolphin family mine. Visit Godolphin Hill on the south-westerly reaches of the estate and breathe in the beautiful views looking out over St Ives Bay and the famous St Michael’s Mount. Explore the peaceful woodland. Charge for house and formal gardens
The Coal Museum in Wales is a real coal mine, with a working shaft you can go down for an authentic experience: be lowered 90 metres (300 feet) down for an underground tour (50 minutes) around the original workings wearing the very same equipment – helmet, cap lamp, belt, battery and ‘self rescuer’ – used by miners. Visit the pithead baths and museum
Eyam i Derbyshire is a very special village in the Peak National Park, known for its remarkable history during the Plague of 1665, with buildings and emotive commemorative plaques, is well worth a visit as are the Riley graves close by.
The International Slavery Museum in Liverpool focuses on three main areas Life in West Africa, Enslavement and the Middle Passage and the Legacies of Slavery. Hear the untold stories of enslaved people and learn about historical and contemporary slavery
How about going to the races? Amongst the various annual meets, there is fabulous Goodwood in Sussex. T
There’s something about a ride on an old-fashioned steam train that appeals to kids of all ages. Steam train enthusiasts around Britain work hard to keep these beautiful old trains running.
Ever wanted to get up close and personal with an owl? Is someone in the family a Harry Potter fan? Then how about handling and free flying a barn owl, tawny owl, or eagle owl at The Bird of Prey Centre, Wilstead, in Bedfordshire
The National Arboretum at Westonbirt is managed by the Forestry Commission and is located in the Cotswolds, near Tetbury, Gloucestershire.
For something completely different (if you’re in Wales) how about attending the World Bog Snorkelling Championships Held in at Waen Rhydd bog on the outskirts of Llanwrtyd Wells, Wales, this annual August event attracts hundreds of participants and spectators from all over the world.