The kids have voted, and apparently if you’re under 12, theme parks are the top place to go for a day out. In a survey of 4-12 year olds and their parents by Southeastern, nearly a third said a theme park was their day out of choice, closely followed by visiting a zoo/safari park and a day at the beach.
I conducted my own survey of top family days out in the UK (I asked my five-year-old daughter about her favourite places to go) and here are the results.
Why she loves it: As a massive fan of Lego Friends, it was all about the Heartlake City area for the five-year-old. She loved watching the stage show and meeting the characters afterwards. Big thumbs up also went to the pirate ship (she’s braver than me) and the Viking’s River Splash, which we went on three times.
Why I love it: Not the cheapest day out for a family (see current prices here) but it’s a proper full-on day with loads of different rides, activities and play areas. Have to admit: my favourite part was Mini Land where they have recreated famous landmarks using 40 millions Lego bricks. #Geek.
2. The seaside
Why she loves it: The five-year-old would be happy with any form of seaside, but the one we go to most often is Minnis Bay near Birchington-on-Sea in Kent. She loves building sandcastles, collecting shells, eating ice cream and running down to the sea.
Why I love it: It’s a bit of a secret on the Kent coast – it does get busy but we’ve always managed to get a parking space and it’s never too crowded on the sand. There’s a great little cafe which does amazing fish and chips, and an actual bucket of ice cream. You can also hire bikes and cycle along the front.
3. Alton Towers
Why she loves it: Simple! Two words, CBeebies Land. This are of Alton Towers is perfect for little ones, with gentle rides themed around their favourite CBeebies characters and her favourite thing: the Octonauts rollercoaster. She also loves the Alton Towers water park.
Why I love it: There’s enough to keep grown ups happy here, too. Mr P went off on his own a couple of times to ride Oblivion and Nemesis, while I loved the Runaway Mine Train rollercoaster.
4. Pottery-painting cafe
Why she loves it: What could be better than being allowed to paint on mugs, plates and bowls? Our little artist loves getting creative and designing something that can be given to Nana on her birthday, or Daddy on Father’s Day. Our local place is Fired Up in Petts Wood, and after we’ve been there we often head to a nearby play cafe for lunch.
Why I love it: Going to one of these places is a GREAT test of your ability to chill out and go with the flow. If I can manage a whole pottery painting session without telling my daughter “Ooh no! Don’t do that!” or “Don’t mix the colours!” or “Wash your brush more than that!” then I’m doing well. Oh, and I get to have a cheeky little paint while she is, too.
5. The farm
Why she loves it: Most kids love farms because they get to look at animals, right? Not my daughter. She is totally indifferent to animals, isn’t fussed by the zoo and actively dislikes aquariums (“Nooo, it’s BOring”). So why does she love going to the farm? Because places like Godstone Farm or Bockett’s Farm have indoor play areas, outdoor play areas, tractor rides, jumping pillows and all sorts of fun stuff.
Why we love it: Despite not being the cheapest day out (you’re looking at around £10 per person) I love going to these farms because you’re guaranteed a full day out and we rarely leave much before closing time. You can also take a picnic which cuts down a bit on how much you spend, while you’re there.
WIN a family day out!
If you fancy a family day out, check out Southeastern’s latest competition. They’ve got two great prizes – a year’s family (two adults and up to five children) membership to the ZSL London Zoo and a year’s access to Dreamland Margate (two adults and four children). Both prizes are accompanied by a Coast and Country picnic basket and £75 voucher for Ottolenghi (valid for 1 year in-store purchase only) and one day return travel for a family of four (2 adults 2 children) to complete your family’s ideal day out! Enter over on their site – good luck!
This post has been commissioned by Southeastern. For details on how I work with brands, see my Work With me page. Image: Shutterstock