Throughout lockdown, I’ve been thinking about all of the wonderful places I’ve visited with my family over the past few years. I’ve been drawing up lists of places I’d like to return to once we return to some sense of normality, hopefully in the very near future! I’m sharing with you my favourite 10 places to visit in England with children, aside from the usual theme parks!
1. Brodsworth Hall and Gardens
My family and I really enjoy our English Heritage membership. This means we are lucky enough to go and explore some amazing sites up and down the country for an annual fee. The £9 per month is money well spent! One of our favourite sites is Broadsworth Hall and Gardens.
Located in Doncaster, this magnificent Victorian home is set is the most beautiful gardens you could ever hope to experience.
My 6 year old daughter, Aurelia and I have spent hours exploring all the various rooms of the hall. We have then spent many more hours exploring all the paths ans trails throughout the grounds. English Heritage hold events here throughout the year, there is always something exciting for the children to do. Last Easter, we took part in a Dragon Egg Hunt.
There is also an excellent playground for children!
There’s a lovely little tea room too!
Because a visit to Brodsworth Hall and Gardens is always a win with my child, it had to be on my top 10 list of places to visit in England with children.
2. Longleat Safari Park
If you ever find yourself in the beautiful county of Wiltshire, you really need to make a visit to Longleat Safari Park. I have been to this beautiful place numerous times and I have experienced something new each time I have been.
Longleat estate was home to the late Lord Bath who sadly passed away last month from Covid-19. His family estate was transformed into a Safari Park in 1966.
Since then, various other attractions, such as a small zoo have opened.
The park also contains play areas for children and shows are held throughout the day. There’s plenty of activities to try, including the giant maze and some fairground style rides for children. And of course, you can also explore Longleat House and gardens!
3. Dovestone Reservoir
Dovestone Reservoir is local to me and one of my favourite places to visit in the world! You’ll find Dovestone in Greenfield, close to Saddleworth.
The reservoir is the perfect place for a walk at any time of the year. There are many paths that allow you to explore the hills and moors of Oldham.
The RSPB now maintain the site and it’s a wonderful place for bird watching! Aurelia and I will often take a kite up to Dovestones and go on a beautiful walk around the water.
4. Manchester Museum
I spent many a happy day during my childhood at Manchester Museum. And it’s great that I can still take my own children on an exploration through time and space at this marvellous site.
The museum hold a vast collection of items, from mummies to Roman coins The stuffed animals and space exploration stimulated my imagination as a child.
The museum also holds a collection of small exotic animals, inlcuding poison dart frogs and snakes.
Events are held for children throughout the year and especially during the school holidays.
5. Jurassic Coast
We’ve been on a number of wonderful road trips over the past few years. One of the most memorable of these was our trip to the Jurassic Coast. Identified as a World Heritage Site, the Jurassic Coast spans 95 miles of coastline in the south of England.
The Jurassic Coast earnt its name from the sheer amount of dinosaur fossils that have been excavated on this coastline.
We started our journey at Lym Regis, playing on the sandy beach, hunting for fossils and paying a visit to the Fossil Museum.
We then drove down the coastline, stopping off at various points. We finished our journey in Weymouth. Weymouth is a beautiful seaside resort, complete with a funfair!
6. Scarborough Castle
Another English Heritage site we love to visit is Scarborough Castle. Some of our most treasured family memories were made at this beautiful medieval castle. The structure itself is is but a remnant of the former glory of the castle. But the location is utterly breathtaking.
The castle overlooks the Scarborough coastline. The grounds of the castle are incredible – they’re the perfect place to enjoy a picnic or to play some outdoor games with the children. A few years ago, we took part in the kite festival, just one of the many activities the castle holds throughout the school holidays.
7. Legoland, Trafford
So as this is a recommendation of places to visit in England with children, I’ve naturally involved my daughters in this post. For my 6-year-old, Legoland has to be her favourite place in the world! We live in Manchester, so Legoland Trafford is very local to us. Located in the Trafford Centre, a visit here will fill an entire afternoon.
There are plenty of Lego activities – building, filming and creating. And also small rides for younger children. There’s also a climbing wall and a play area.
Aurelia really cannot wait for lockdown to be over so she can return to her favourite place!
8. Legoland, Winsdor
Because she absolutely loves Legoland in Manchester, last year we took Aurelia to Legoland Windsor.
It was a little more expensive and extremely busy but to see the look on Aurelia’s face as we explored the attraction was worth it! Because the queues were about an hour-long, we didn’t get the opportunity to go on many of the rides. But we did enjoy the other attractions, such as the show. And the lego cities.
9. Yorkshire Wildlife Park
Of course, a zoo simply had to feature on this list! One of the best zoos we have ever visited is Yorkshire Wildlife Park. The animals here are incredibly well cared for and all have extremely spacious enclosures.
The variety of animals is staggering!
The wildlife park is set in over 70 acres of land, so be prepared for a full day visit!
My daughter burnt off some energy on the playgrounds, whilst we took a break on the picnic benches.
10. New Forest
I’ve spent many a happy holiday with my children in the New Forest! This area simply has to be seen to be believed. The New Forest covers 219 square miles and spans across South Hampshire, South East Wiltshire and Devon.
Donkeys, ponies and cows roam free throughout the roads and villages of the New Forest. You don’t have to go far for an encounter!
My children loved these encounters with wildlife. They also have fond memories of playing in the forest and climbing trees.
There are some picturesque villages throughout the forest. All offer some quaint little shops and cafes. And of course, the odd animal encounter!
I hope you’ve found some inspiration in my little list of places to visit with the children in England. I’m so excited to explore all of these places again when ‘lockdown’ is over.
Of course, this isn’t an exhaustive list. Let us know if you have any recommendations.
For similar posts, see my Adventures category.