With school bells about to ring summer holidays in, it's time to start planning your family fun time. England’s cities are packed full of festivals, events, new openings and endless experiences to keep all ages entertained, our only worry…how we’re going to fit it all in...
Visitors are advised to always check individual websites and government guidance for the latest information. National restrictions are currently in place. Check out www.visitengland.com
For sunny days out for all the family….
Celebrate Chester Zoo’s big birthday, Chester
As Chester Zoo turns 90, it’s hosting an exhibition that’s utter rubbish. Britain’s best-loved zoo plans to be zero-waste by 2030; cue Love It For Longer, a sustainability spectacular all about trash, from plastic to poo.
New Be sure to check out the Latin American walk through the aviary; walk side-by-side with some of South and Central America’s most colourful, spectacular bird species!
Pricing from £26.36 (adult), £21.36 (children), free – under 2, concessions available
Birmingham’s 19th century canal-side venue has undergone a £3.6 million makeover that will create it into a heritage hub, from which visitors can explore the city by foot, bike or boat. Their Summer programme includes volunteer-powered city walks, canal-based kayaking and canal tours. Why not take the family on a Heritage Boat Walking Tour; explore a 1930’s boat and transport routes along the local canals. Or for keen or budding kayakers explore the city as you glide along the canals with an experienced guide.
Heritage Boat Walking Tour: £6-8.00 per person (suitable for over 5years).
The UK's largest Aquarium is home to over 4,000 animals. Discover sharks, stingrays and octopuses in the underwater world and learn how we all play a part in conserving it. Summer activities include; Beach Fun with Ocean Rangers, explore local wildlife in rock pools, help the rangers to keep the local beaches clean as well as lots of fun beach games. Ocean Snorkel Safaris is aimed at those wanting to take the first steps into snorkelling, learn how to use snorkel equipment, cover basic snorkel techniques and explore everything the Ocean has to offer.
Pricing from: general Aquarium £19.50 (adults), £9.75 (children), concessions available. All day tickets valid for 12-months; unlimited entrance for full year.
Beach Fun – free with weekly sessions throughout the summer. Ocean Snorkel Safaris £17.99 per person - taking place every Saturday at Mount Batten Beach,
Savour the sites of Chester on a Family Food Tour, Chester
Discover the city’s famous rows and much more with Tours Around Chester’s new foodie family walking tour. As well as the sites you’ll discover the best local independent places to eat; guaranteed to keep little taste buds tickled.
Pricing from £24.99 children (6 – 12years), £50.00 adult
24 July – 30 August (Wednesdays to Sundays at 1000 and 1400)
The idyllic grounds of the UNESCO World Heritage Site will play host to 'The Wind in the Willows', an enchanting show for children of all ages, The Wind in the Willows is Kenneth Grahame's classic story of life on the riverbank. This critically acclaimed, outdoor theatre production set against the magical backdrop of Kew Gardens' lake, is packed with much-loved colourful characters, music, song and laughter.
Pricing from £22.90 (adult), £17.90 (1-15 years) children, discount for Kew members
A brand-new family-friendly space open in York Tower Gardens, designed to be a fun and safe urban oasis away from the hustle and bustle of the city centre, with peaceful views of the river and passing boats. The Club will comprise a bar, brightly coloured beach huts on the sand, an open barbeque and a separate canvas-covered children’s sandpit to keep kids entertained.
Dare Skywalk descent, Tottenham Hotspur, North London
Football fans taking a tour of Spurs stadium this summer are in for a breath-taking experience, but you’ll need to have a head for heights! Visitors will now be able to finish off their Dare Skywalk with an exhilarating 42m controlled descent over the edge of the stadium, dropping from the top of the stadium to the South Podium below!
Offering a child (under 17years) and accompanying adult half-price ticket each for the month of August. With over 30 theatres participating and performances like Billionaire Boy, Zog, Mousetrap and many more, you’ll be spoilt for choice in what to see!
Following its major refurb last year, The Story Museum offers the chance for children to celebrate stories, with interactive exhibitions, gallery spaces and workshops. Join Story Explorers: Heroes & Villains - a weeklong workshop exploring the greatest heroes and villains from stories, films and TV, or take the Looking Glass Story Walk; exploring Alice’s adventures starting at the museum, walking through the city with lots of fun and games along the way.
Heroes & Villains - 26 – 30 July. Pricing from £38.00 per person. Suitable for 8-12 years
Seven Stories, The National Centre for Children’s Books, Newcastle
The perfect setting for young book-lovers with its unique and interactive exhibitions bringing children’s books to life. This summer experience the packed programme of fun activities; join Winnie & Wilbur at the Seaside Afternoon Tea Summer Special, with story-telling adventures, games, craft and scrummy delights. Or, explore the new immersive experience Shifter of Shapes exploring The Lost Spells; stepping into nature, witnessing the powers and joy it brings.
Seaside Afternoon Tea - various dates throughout August. Pricing from: £15.00 per person.
Shifter of Shapes – from 17 July. Pricing from £6.50 per person.
For the film buffs…Children’s Film Club, Soho House, London
25th July and 29th August
Keep the family entertained during the school holidays with The Soho Hotel's Children's Film Club. Choose from Peter Rabbit 2 or The Croods: A New Age in the hotel's state-of-the-art cinema and enjoy a buffet brunch, popcorn and drinks included. Pricing from: £25.00 per person or £15.00 (film only)
Join Coventry as it celebrates UK City of Culture with special family events over the summer holidays.
Dare to experience the dangers and delights of Dinosaur World Live
15 July – 1 August
Grab your compass and join an intrepid explorer to discover a pre-historic world of astonishing (and remarkably life-like) dinosaurs. Meet a host of impressive creatures, including every child's favourite flesh-eating giant, the Tyrannosaurus Rex, a Triceratops, Giraffatitan, Microraptor and Segnosaurus!
27 July - 4 September (Family summer season - Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays)
Plymouth’s new museum, art gallery and archive, offers nine permanent galleries showcasing the city’s incredible collections. This summer there’s a fun series of family-friendly activities. Drop-in activities will take their inspiration from a different gallery or collection each week including the Bronze Age, Ancient Egypt, insects and archives. There’s also an exciting series of outdoor film screenings from 22 July playing family friendly films including ‘Ice Age’ and ‘Night at the Museum’.
Pricing: general admission is free (including drop in sessions and movies). Small charge may apply for additional exhibitions or activities.
The amazing Brain Zone and Space Zone are back – including a recreation of part of the International Space Station and the stunning digital globe, the Sphere. Clever LEGO® Creations built by pro LEGO® artists. Highlights include brick models of the Houses of Parliament, a huge four-metre-long airport – both the handiwork of Warren Elsmore – and Stephenson's Rocket locomotive, by local artist Steve Mayes. Catch a new live show full of exciting bangs and explosions. (Recommended for ages 5+.) There’s also the chance to create a windmill or wind-powered moving toy to take home in the Making Studios and pop-up play areas for under-7s
Children under 4 go free, ages 5-7 £7.25, adult £13.50, family of four £30.50.
This summer dinosaurs are taking over Norwich, with the showstopper attraction The Natural History Museum’s iconic and much-loved Diplodocus. Dippy will become a temporary resident in the Norwich Cathedral Nave on his only stop in the East of England. Plus, as the last stop on the tour it’s the last chance to see all 26 metres of him outside the museum! There will also be a programme of events announced in July to include film screenings, and Saturday Stories – giving children the unique opportunity to hear dinosaur tales read under the tail of Dippy.
Take a Jurassic jaunt around Norwich with the GoGoDiscover sculpture trail. 20 large Tyrannosaurus-Rex sculptures will be situated around the city, each one individually decorated by local and national artists.
Take on a 9-hole mini golf adventure inside the old Wizard pub, search for the missing Gargoyle Grobblenook, journey through a magical portal, take on bubbling cauldrons and avoiding the flying golf club!
Pricing from: £6.99, standard ticket, £14.99 VIP ticket (includes a potion bundle of 4 magical drinks), £44.99 family ticket (ticket x4, including winning potion with Cauldron Cake each in the Wizard Tavern and Spellbound Butterscotch Beer to take home)
An exhilarating 1,850m² purpose built climbing centre, featuring the North’s highest and largest Clip ’n Climb; an action packed climbing activity for the whole family to enjoy. There’s also two ValoClimb walls using the ‘world’s first’ interactive gaming technology, combining great physical exercise and gaming experience.