Avoid boredom-induced tantrums with our selection of the best half-term days out across the UK.
Finding ideas to keep children entertained every few weeks when school holidays loom can be time-consuming. That’s why our dedicated attractions specialists have done the hard work for you, by pulling together their guide to everything from outdoor adventures and literary inspiration to Shakespearean history and jousting.
Contact us to book tickets to any of these attractions and for more suggestions in your area.
Alternatively, if you’re going abroad for half-term, just let us know where you’re jetting off to and we’ll happily provide you with details of the top attractions to visit on your trip.
Stretch their legs
Soar at Intu Braehead
If you shiver simply at the thought of a day out in the Scottish winter, this indoor activity centre on the banks of the river Clyde is a great alternative. There’s the ever-popular tenpin bowling and on-site Odeon cinema but we recommend making the most of the less traditional options – rock climbing, indoor skiing or snowboarding on fresh snow, adventure golf, dodgem cars and the aerial adventure course.
Llangorse Multi Activity Centre
Brecon Beacons National Park
Family adventure is the order of the day at this activity centre. Take advantage of the beautiful location by spending as much time outdoors as the weather allows, by riding horses, undertaking the various challenge courses and zigzagging down the mountainside on 14 connected zip wires. If the wet weather does roll in, there’s indoor rock climbing, bouldering and abseiling to choose from.
Ignite their imagination
Imagine Children’s Festival
Southbank Centre, London
Whether you’re raising the next Darcey Bussell or JK Rowling, they’ll find something to inspire them here. Celebrate Roald Dahl’s centenary year by venturing into the interactive Wondercrump World of Roald Dahl; test poetry and lyric writing skills in a Rap Factor battle; or how about discovering the beauty of silence through dance? There will also be an assembly of top authors on hand to read stories and feed imaginations, including Judith Kerr, Cressida Cowell and David Baddiel.
Stick Man at the Eden Project
St Austell, Cornwall
Where better to see the popular children’s book character, Stick Man, than in these oasis-like natural surroundings near the Cornish coast? Meet the man himself, play Poohsticks and follow the Stick Man trail through the biome grounds. Alternatively, encounter the creepy crawlies brought along by Crocodile Joe, or attend survival workshops to learn fire and shelter-building skills. Half-term is also the final week of the on-site ice rink which closes on 21 February.
BBC Interactive Tours
Salford and Newcastle
Is your child destined to become a news anchor or radio presenter? Let them try their hand in front of the camera at one of these interactive tours. At MediaCity in Salford, the tour focuses on CBBC, so guests can discover how programmes like Blue Peter and Newsround are made. Over in Newcastle, children can take part in the Horrible Histories Gory Games plus there’s a chance to learn tricks of the trade and a bit of industry jargon to show off with back at school.
Expand their knowledge
There are plenty of opportunities to learn in this impressive building that was once home to Anne Boleyn, but don’t forget to head out into the fresh air. Wind your way through the yew maze, take aim at an archery taster session, watch a jousting tournament or stroll through the ornamental gardens. During half-term, visitors can take part in the Living with Birds event, by joining the castle’s team in making bird boxes and taking a bird-spotting trail in the castle grounds.
Shakespeare Birthplace Trust
It may be 400 years since the Bard’s passing but his power over the English language remains and there is no better place to learn about the master than where it all began. At Shakespeare’s Birthplace, intrigued minds can meet rats, tarantulas and other animals linked to Tudor times, watch actors perform sonnets, enjoy a 20-minute version of Romeo and Juliet and discover what was inside Shakespeare’s toy box.
Pictured: BBC interactive tours