With half term coming up, and the weather (hopefully!) getting nicer soon, you might be planning some family days out. I might be biased but I think the South Coast is the best place to live in the UK and there are lots of great family-friendly attractions to choose from in the South of England, and in my 7 years of parenting, we have visited a lot of them!
I have listed some of my favourite days out with the kids below, and have also got some more great suggestions from my fellow mummy bloggers of places to go with children.
So whether you’re into theme parks, zoos, castles, museums or something else, read on for some inspiration for your next day out with the family…
35 family days out in the South of England
1. Natural History Museum, London
The Natural History Museum is our favourite day out in London. We’ve visited twice, once when Little H was 4 and again when she was 5. In fact, it’s about time we visited again! Both times it was a great day out and has something to keep all kids entertained whether they love dinosaurs, bugs, volcanoes or animals. As well as moving dinosaurs, you can experience an earthquake, learn about the body and of course see the life-size replica of the blue whale.
It’s free to enter the museum and there’s more than enough there to keep you amused for a whole day out.
2. Cheddar Gorge, Somerset
Cheddar Gorge is a great day out for the whole family if you’re looking for something a little bit different to do in Somerset. We used Tesco Clubcard vouchers for our tickets which made it a free day out – even better!
There is a lot to see, even on a rainy day like when we visited, including several different caves, a museum, open-top bus ride, a viewpoint, tea shops, and of course the famous cheese shops.
3. Warner Bros. Harry Potter Studio Tour, Hertfordshire
My absolute favourite attraction – I’d go all the time if we could afford it! We’ve been once on our own and once when Little H was 5 – despite having only seen the first 2 movies at that point she loved it. We’d already been to Universal Studios so she was very excited to go to Hogwarts again.
As well as all of the sets, costumes, props and memorabilia from the Harry Potter films, there’s lots of interactive things to do and facts to learn about. This studio tour is an absolute must for any dedicated Harry Potter fan.
4. Longleat Safari Park, Wiltshire
Longleat Safari Park is amazing fun – driving around in your car guarantees a better look at the animals and you don’t have to drag tired kids around like at most zoos! The highlight has to be driving through the monkey enclosure and having monkeys jumping all over your car. There’s also playparks, a boat trip, train ride, and lots of animals you can get up close to.
We first visited in winter to see the Festival of Light which was a fantastic Christmas day out, and have also been in the autumn when we had more time to wander around without the Christmas crowds., it’s a great day out in Wiltshire at any time of the year. Both times we’ve been we have used Tesco Clubcard vouchers for our tickets making it a cheap day out.
5. Windsor Castle, Windsor
Our visit to Windsor Castle last summer was unfortunately ruined by a combination of the crazy heatwave and a million tourists, but never the less it is a fantastic day out with the family and a must visit for your list.
Any kids interested in history will love it and there’s lots to see, including the Queen’s throne room, lots of treasures, the changing of the guard and of course the church where Kate & Will and Harry & Meghan got married. It’s the perfect place if you are a fan of the royal family but don’t want to venture into London with children in tow.
6. The Mary Rose, Portsmouth
A few weeks ago we visited The Mary Rose in Portsmouth which was a really interesting day out for the whole family. We all learnt a lot about The Mary Rose, had a look around the dockyard, and it was fun to visit somewhere different.
If you are looking for a day out near Portsmouth, have a read of our review of The Mary Rose Museum.
7. Weymouth Sealife Adventure Park, Dorset
I can remember going to Weymouth Sealife Adventure Park when I was at school so I love taking Little H now. We have been lucky enough to have been invited a couple of times in the last year or two, the last time was at Christmas to see Santa.
There’s a lot to see here from sharks and turtles, to tropical fish and penguins. You can watch the different creatures being fed, get hands on in the rock pools and there’s an amazing park to play in. We’d recommend Weymouth Sealife Adventure Park whether you live nearby or are looking for things to do on holiday in Dorset,
8. Durdle Door, Dorset
Another fabulous day out in Dorset! We count ourselves very lucky to live in Dorset, and Durdle Door on the Jurassic Coast is one of our favourite places to go, especially in the summer months.
It’s unlike anywhere else you can visit in the UK, and on a sunny day you can be forgiven for thinking you’re abroad. The views are amazing and you can spend time sat on the beach or going on a cliff top walk. If you’re looking for things to do in Dorset, Durdle Door has to be on your list of places to visit.
9. Furzey Gardens, Hampshire
This place is a bit of a hidden gem in the New Forest and is a really great place to take children who love to be outside and explore. Furzey Gardens is on the edge of the New Forest near Ringwood and is an amazing setting. You get a map and explore the gardens looking for fairy houses and fairy doors.
There are lots of play areas, plenty of space to run wild, and a thatched cottage to explore. In the summer you can have picnics outside, and in the colder months, there’s a cafe serving hot food and drinks.
10. Legoland, Windsor
What kid doesn’t like Lego?! Legoland Windsor is a really fun day out that kids of all ages will love. We went when Little H was around 3 and again when she was 5, we found it was actually better when she was a little bit older as she could go on more of the rides the second time around.
There are lots of rides for all ages, areas where you can build things out of Lego, amazing play parks, a great splash park for the summer and the Lego driving school.
11. Winchester Science Center, Hampshire
If your kids like science or you want to take them on an educational day out, the Winchester Science Centre is a good choice. We visited last year on a special Dinosaur Weekend and it was absolute bedlam! We’ve been meaning to go back ever since on a quieter day but haven’t quite made it yet.
Everything is interactive and hands-on which is what makes it so much fun for children. Little H loved the fossil digging, the Lego area and exploring space, and also the bit where you get to go inside the human colon – lovely!
Because it was so busy when we went I didn’t end up writing a blog post about Winchester Science centre, but Katie at Mum 2.5 has a great review here where you can find out more.
12. Peppa Pig World, Hampshire
Peppa Pig, every parent’s favourite! If you have a small child you will not escape the delights of Peppa Pig World near Southampton in Hampshire. We took Little H for her 3rd birthday and it was actually a lot of fun – if you can ignore the constant Peppa Pig theme tune playing in the background!
There are lots of great rides for little children, you can meet the characters, and if you have time you can go into the rest of Paulton’s Park to go on some non-Peppa rides. We’d definitely recommend it for a family day out with small children.
I visited Peppa Pig World before I started blogging, but Catherine at Rock & Roll Pussycat has a great review on her blog.
Those are some of my best days out with kids in the South, here are loads more fun family days out from some of my fellow mummy bloggers…
13. Monkey World, Dorset
Kate from Lesbemums recommends Monkey World – we can also vouch that this is a great day out for kids as we’ve been a few times. Monkey World is an ape and monkey rescue centre and sanctuary originally set up to look after injured and mistreated monkeys from around the world. You might have seen it featured on the TV series Monkey Life, if so it’s lovely to see some of the famous little faces up close. One of the best days out on the South Coast if you ask me!
14. Shrek’s Adventure!, London
Beth from Twinderelmo suggests a day out with Shrek in London for some fun with the family. The attraction is located on the South Bank next to the London Eye and takes you on a tour through various scenes from the Shrek films with lots of great photo opportunities. This sounds like a good option if you don’t fancy the usual London sightseeing with small children.
15. The Cornish Seal Sanctuary, Helston
Emma from Ready Freddie Go says “The Cornish Seal Sanctuary is really fab for the kids, feeding experiences, talks and learning points as well as close up viewing areas. We all learnt loads about the rescue and care of the seals and pups”. This sounds like a great suggestion for a family day out in Cornwall.
16. Gruffalo River Ride, Chessington
Emma from Boo Roo and Tigger Too recommends a visit to the Gruffalo River Ride at Chessington World of Adventures for small children. You can meet the Gruffalo and go on a ride through the popular Julia Donaldson story. It sounds like a great chance to go on some child-friendly theme park rides.
17. Beaulieu Motor Museum, Hampshire
Katie from Mummy in a tutu recommends Beaulieu for a family day out. There’s the motor museum with lots of famous cars, monorail, play park, Beaulieu Abbey, a military museum and lots more to explore. The village of Beaulieu is a lovely place to explore if you have the time.
18. Paradise Wildlife Park, Hertfordshire
Jaymee from The Mum Diaries recommends Paradise Wildlife Park which is somewhere I’d never heard of before. It sounds like a brilliant family day out with the Tiger Treetops bridge, reptile temple, outback trail, world of dinosaurs and lots more.
19. Bristol Zoo
Jess from Tantrumstosmiles suggested Bristol Zoo – we used to go as kids when we visited my Nan & Grandad in Bristol and loved it! Bristol zoo has different zones which include the Reptile House, Aquarium, Gorilla Island, Twilight Zone, Butterfly Forest, Zona Brazil, Seal and Penguin coasts and Bug World. This would make a really fun children’s day out.
20. Diggerland, Kent
Emily from EmilyandIndiana recommends Diggerland which sounds like amazing fun for anyone with a child who loves diggers – you can ride, drive and operate real diggers, dumpers and other full-size machinery. Sounds like the grown-ups might have just as much fun as the kids!
21. Arundel Castle, West Sussex
Steph from Renovation Bay-Bee suggests Arundel Castle for a historical day out in West Sussex. You can explore the castle, cathedral and gardens, and they hold various events and activities throughout the year. A great idea for a family day out in the South East.
22. Kidzania, London
Louise from A strong coffee has recommended Kidzania which is somewhere I’ve wanted to visit since I first heard about it. Kids get to role-play different activities and jobs such as being a firefighter, shopping in a child size supermarket, being a weatherman, and even earn money for doing jobs. This would make a really fun day out with the kids in London.
23. Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, Hampshire
Emma from Bubba blue and me suggests Portsmouth Historic Dockyard which we can vouch for as it’s the home of The Mary Rose we mentioned above. In addition to our suggestion of The Mary Rose, you can also visit the HMS Warrior and various museums and exhibitions around the dockyard.
24. Hampton Court Palace, London
Mary from Over 40 and mum to one recommends Hampton Court Palace for a royal family day out. You can explore the palace and see how Henry VIII lived, see a replica of his crown and go on different missions around the palace. A brilliant day out for kids who are studying the Tudors at school.
25. RHS Wisley Gardens, Surrey
Jenny from Midwife and life has recommended RHS Wisley Gardens as a great day out for the family. You can follow a fantastic sculpture trail and walk through the orchards and greenhouses. This looks like the perfect summer day out for the family.
26. Watermouth Castle, Devon
Emma from Bubba blue and me recommends Watermouth Castle as a quirky but fun family day out. Watermouth Castle is a miniature theme park for kids, with a purpose-built castle, as well as activities, rides, gnomes and historical museum pieces.
27. ZSL Whipsnade Zoo, Bedfordshire
Mary from Over 40 and mum to one also recommends Whipsnade Zoo. You can see tigers, giraffes, rhinos and hippos as well as many others, and can also take a steam train ride around the enclosures to get a better look.
28. Drusillas Park Children’s Zoo, East Sussex
Laura from Autumns Mummy has recommended Drusillas for a day out with toddlers. Drusillas Park boasts 196 different species and is home to over 1600 animals, as well as rides, play areas and even Hello Kitty’s house!
29. Sudeley Castle, Gloucestershire
Victoria from Lylia Rose recommends Sudeley Castle and gardens for kids of all ages if you’re looking for a day out with kids in the South West. The castle houses an exhibition of 15th-century artefacts and was a royal residence of King Henry VIII. The gardens include a nature trail, adventure playground with zip wire and obstacle course, sculptures and a living willow maze.
30. Chatham Dockyard, Kent
Erica from The Incidental Parent suggests 400-year-old Chatham Dockyard for a day out. You can visit the HMS Cavalier, a Lego display area and both indoor and outdoor activities and play areas. Definitely one to add to your list of things to dow ith kids in the South East.
31. The Big Sheep, Devon
Kerry from Blissful Domestication recommends The Big Sheep in Devon. The Big Sheep sounds like a different kind of family day out and includes the Milking Show, the Sheep Show, bottle feeding lambs, sheepdog trials and sheep racing, as well as lots of rides and an indoor play area.
32. Hever Castle
Julie from Pondering Parenthood suggests a day out at Hever Castle for anyone interested in Tudor history. If you think your kids are a little bit too young to be interested in the house, you can just buy tickets for the grounds. The beautiful gardens include a lake, topiary maze and a water maze so there is lots to do for children.
33. Dinosaur World, Torquay
Jennifer from Mighty Mama Bear has recommended the hidden gem Dinosaur World for a family day out, surely a hit with any little (or big) dinosaur fan! With a dinosaur explorer quiz, interactive activities, models and facts this day out sounds like a must-visit if you are in the Devon area.
34. Port Lympne Reserve, Kent
Michelle from Mummy from the heart has suggested a Safari at Port Lympne Reserve which I’ve heard about and really want to do! Port Lympne sounds like one of the best things to do in Kent. You get to drive around the reserve drove in a safari truck and can see Giraffes, Water Buffalo, Antelopes, Rhinos, Eland, Greater Kudo, Ostrich, Zebras, Deer and Wildebeest all roaming free. You can even stay overnight!
35. Stourhead, Wiltshire
Angela from The Life of Spicers recommends Stourhead which is actually one of our favourite National Trust places to visit too. Stourhead includes the house and gardens, but also many paths to walk around the lake, a village, pub, church, temples, grottos, a tower and more. If you have a National Trust pass this one is a must for a family day out.
I hope this list has given you some inspiration for family days out in the South of England – especially if you’re looking for things to do in February half term.
Have you been to many of these places? Which attractions will you add to your list to visit in 2019?