Boredom-buster days out
Days out to leave your brood inspired, entertained and (hopefully) tired out. From treetop hideouts and steam trains to vintage clothes and Disney dogs…
Fill a day or two during the October holidays with our ideas for cheap days out in London, York, Newcastle and Edinburgh…
Roam among the tree-tops at Kew
The one for: Young explorers with a thirst for adventure (and loads of energy)
These world-famous gardens are known for being tranquil and calming.
But that depends on who’s joining you on the visit. Grab a Kew activity map and let your little ones run off some steam.
Start in the Wild Wood – searching out the Japanese Gateway and the Badger Sett, before going leaf-spotting among the branches atop the Treetop walkway.
When everyone’s worn out, the fish in the Palm House aquarium offer relaxing viewing.
Where is it? Richmond, Surrey, TW9 3AB
How much? Children aged 4-16 £3.50, under-3s go FREE
More info: Kew Gardens
Take in the top-12 kids’ exhibits at the British Museum
The one for: Kids who enjoy their history classes and stories about travel and olden times
The British Museum is chock-a-block with ancient artefacts from all over the world. It’s the best free museum in London, according to TripAdvisor.
But if you’re short on time its 12 objects to see with children guide is just the ticket.
It takes in the mysterious days of Ancient Egypt with the bust of the ‘warrior and living god’, Pharaoh Ramesses II.
Equally amazing is the Anglo-Saxon warrior’s helmet – known as the Sutton Hoo helmet and found alongside the remains of a 27-metre ship.
Where is it? Great Russell Street, WC1B 3DG
How much? FREE!
More info: British Museum
Vintage shop ‘til they drop in trendy east London
The one for: Style-savvy teenagers heading into sixth form or college
Vintage has long been shorthand for cool. And the capital of vintage shopping is east London.
Your fashion-obsessed teenagers will love to spend an afternoon shopping in the same stores as their fave celebs. Beyond Retro is probably the best place to start.
It was among the first vintage stores on trendy Brick Lane and has since grown into a vintage empire, with stores across London and as far afield as Sweden.
Whatever your teens try on will be on-trend, thanks to the store’s ‘sophisticated trend analysis’, and they’ll love the ‘cluttered and unconventional’ layout.
Where is it? 110-112 Cheshire Street, east London
How much? Depends how generous you’re feeling
More info: Beyond Retro
See the world’s fastest steam train
The one for: Locomotive-loving dads, lads and lasses
Who says trains are boring? (Okay, we’re biased.) But seriously, trains are fun.
The National Railway Museum is packed full of trains, and it made TripAdvisor’s top 10 UK museums last year
Make sure you see Mallard – still the world’s fastest steam locomotive. The train set the record when it reached 126 miles per hour nearly 80 years ago.
Considering it was designed and built in the 1930s, it still looks pretty futuristic today with its slinky curves and shiny paint job.
Where is it? Leeman Road, York, YO26 4XJ
How much? FREE!
More info: National Railway Museum
Be groovy, baby at The Sixties exhibition
The one for: Dad rockers and teenagers with retro tastes
Soak up the sights and sounds of this amazing decade – from Beatles’ records and mini-skirts to mod scooters and the Summer of Love.
See how teenage life has changed since the ‘60s. From vinyl and Dansette record players to Spotify and iPods, and tiny black and white TVs to iPads and Netflix.
It was a decade of huge social change. See how, for the first time, teenagers dressed differently to their mums and dads. And learn about the working-class heroes of ‘60s pop culture.
Where is it? Eye of York, YO1 9R7
How much? Adult, £9.09, Children under 16, free with paying adult
More info: York Castle Museum
Stroke your chins at the Baltic
The one for: Cool (but moody) teenagers studying GCSE art
Forget Geordie Shore, Baltic is one of the coolest things about Newcastle – particularly if your family is a bit arty.
It’s a modern art gallery housed in an old flour mill on the banks of the River Tyne. It has that post–industrial hipster thing going on and is the north’s answer to Tate Modern.
Annoy your teenager by failing to understand the piece of conceptual art they’ve found so meaningful, then make up for it with lunch at the riverside restaurant.
Before leaving find time to take in the views of the Tyne from the fifth-floor viewing box – spectacular stuff.
Where is it? Gateshead Quays, Gateshead, NE8 3BA
How much? FREE!
More info: Baltic
Meet a dog who inspired Walt Disney
The one for: Kids who love their pets and Disney movies
Greyfriars Bobby is one of Hollywood’s most famous dogs – right up there with Lassie and Beethoven.
And his story belongs in Edinburgh.
Greyfriars Bobby was a little Skye terrier who, so legend has it, sat by his master’s grave for 14 years. The dog only stopped guarding the grave at the Greyfriars Kirkyard when he too passed away.
The story became part of local folklore and inspired Walt Disney to make a film about it – Greyfriars Bobby: The True Story of a Dog (1961).
The bronze statue of Greyfriars Bobby in Edinburgh Old Town, close to the churchyard, is well worth a visit. The shops and cafes at the nearby Grassmarket area are fab, too.
Where is it? Candlemaker Row, George IV Bridge, Edinburgh
How much? FREE!
More info: Edinburgh Museums & Galleries