Rainy day ideas
Shake off those dark clouds...
he occasional rain shower is part of England’s charm. It’s also the reason we have such a great array of things to do indoors. When a dark cloud appears, a treasure trove of activities and days out is on hand to excite, entertain and fascinate the whole family.
Science days out for wannabe Brian Coxes
Return to where time, in one sense, literally began with a visit to the Royal Greenwich Observatory in London. You can see all sorts of early scientific instruments, admire the stars and straddle the east and west hemispheres by standing on the Prime Meridian line. Until 17 February 2013 you can see the mesmerising Astronomy Photographer of the Year exhibition and it’s absolutely free.
Budding astronauts should pay a visit to the National Space Centre in Leicester. Not only does it contain the UK’s largest planetarium, but you can jump on the ‘moon’ and test your driving skills in the Micro-G Manoeuvre module. During the October half-term holidays a team of mad scientists descend to explode pumpkins, engineer slime and explore the scarier side of space. Why not join in the fun?
Travel back in time with little historians
If you really want to escape the rain, discover a netherworld dating back to the Dark Ages hidden in a labyrinth of caves beneath Nottingham in the City of Caves . It can get pretty dark down there, so take a torch and see what lies beneath. Back up top, the RAF Manston History Museum in Kent is one of the last remaining airfields that participated in the Battle of Britain. Come here for a close-up look at classic aircraft, including the famous Spitfire.
Don a horned helmet and explore a real Viking kingdom at JORVIK in York. Travel back in time and get a taste of Viking life 1,000 years ago. Find out more about colourful characters like Ivar the Boneless and experience the disorientating bustle of a busy market from the first century.
For more medieval adventure, head to Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery . You’ll learn about warrior Queen Boudicca and see history played out before you with the help of sound, video and interactive exhibits that the kids will love. Or for everything from Egyptian mummies to ancient relics, head to the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery – it’s packed to the rafters with them. Under 7s can try out new activities in the museum's popular play and learn space.
Talk to the animals
Head to the sub-tropical Isle of Wight and you can visit tropical birds and animals at the award winning Amazon World . With everything from Lemurs and Crocodiles, to Toucans and Tarantula’s you can truly escape the rain – they even have their own desert.
If you don't mind a little rain
With both its indoor and outdoor facilities, you can have a great time at Conkers in the National Forest even if it’s pouring outside. Inside, there are four discovery zones designed for children and adults of all ages. Explore the Enchanted Forest Adventure Play area, or climb onto the simulated Tree Top Walk with a moving bridge through the skies.
For more forest fun, you can make some new friends in the Lake District at The World of Beatrix Potter Attraction. You’ll find Peter Rabbit and all the gang sheltering from the rain in their cosy hideaway. It’s an interactive adventure, with the sounds and sights of the surrounding countryside conveniently recreated inside.