Boredom busters

Our 10 things to do before term starts again.

During the holidays, parents faced with entertaining the kids day after day can struggle for inspiration.

Why not jump on a train? There are plenty of day-out destinations and entertaining activities to be found.

Head for the Harbour

Bristol Harbour is always a good bet; there’s so much to do.

For nautical amusements, explore The Matthew and the SS Great Britain.

There are lots of school holiday activities to discover at the nearby At-Bristol Science Centre and Planetarium, or the Aquarium.

If that’s not enough, you’re sure to find some other entertainment at one of the other venues that include the M Shed and the Arnolfini.

Nearest station: Bristol Temple Meads

Visit : harboursidealive.co.uk/

Learn to be rock stars

Challenge your kids to learn the difference between an ammonite and a belemnite.

The Charmouth Heritage Centre teaches children how to collect and identify fossils sustainably.

They’ll be begging for their own fossil hammers before you know it.

Fossil walks on the beach take place at weekends and every day during the school holidays (subject to tide times).

Nearest station: Exeter or Weymouth

Visit : charmouth.org/chcc

Find feathered friends for foul kids

Visit the family-run Wheatley Birds of Prey Centre where your children can get toe-to-toe with the fascinating flying hunters.

Owners Clive and Jayne know all there is to know about raptors and will guide you through your time with the birds, letting you get as close as you dare.



Nearest station: Oxford

Visit : wheatleybirdsofprey.com/

Get on board for a nautical outing

Falmouth is not only home to the world’s third-largest natural harbour, it also hosts the National Maritime Museum Cornwall.

Here you can set sail on a journey that will take you from Viking longboats to Olympic medal winning dinghies.

Later, stroll over to the RNLI Lifeboat Station for a free tour. Children can visit the kit room and board the offshore lifeboat stationed at the adjacent pontoon (subject to boat availability).

Nearest station: Falmouth

Visit : nmmc.co.uk

Ewe’ll have lots of fun

The Big Sheep near Bideford, Devon, promises that it has plenty to keep all their visitors entertained.

Obviously, they have sheep, pigs and ducks, but also fluffy animals, rides and activities. There’s even the thrilling daily spectacle of sheep racing.

You’d be baaa-mee to miss this family day out.



Nearest station: Barnstaple

Visit : thebigsheep.co.uk/

Feel like you’re in a movie

So many films have been shot at Blenheim Palace that you may well find some of the rooms and the gardens strangely familiar.

As your kids explore they can easily imagine playing a part in Gulliver’s Travels, 007’s Spectre and Harry Potter and the Order of the Pheonix.

There are treasures to discover including a miniature train, maze, butterfly house and playground, plus a permanent exhibition about Winston Churchill, who was born there.

Nearest station: Oxford

Visit : blenheimpalace.com/

Find your way to the Lost Gardens

The Lost Gardens of Heligan have been carefully restored after years of neglect to become one of the best natural playgrounds ever.

Kids will love to explore the network of magical gardens as well as the jungle, the wildlife – including emus, the sleeping lady and many more.

There are plenty of places to get some delicious homemade food too.

Nearest station: St Ives

Visit : heligan.com

Do something fishy

Dive into the National Marine Aquarium, Plymouth, and have an underwater adventure.

Your children can make friends with starfish, sea horses, turtles and octopuses on your way to the Atlantic reef centrepiece

There are loads of events and activities including a sleeping with the sharks family sleepover.


Nearest station: Plymouth

Visit : national-aquarium.co.uk

Get on your bikes

Use pedal power and head to the Camel Trail to enjoy breathtaking scenery and – most importantly – a largely level trail for cyclists of all ages.

The Camel Trail runs for 18 miles along a disused railway line between Wentfordbridge, Bodmin, Wadebridge and Padstow.

Don’t forget to contact your station to see if you need to book your bike onto your service.

Nearest tube: Bodmin Parkway

Visit : cornwall.gov.uk/cameltrail

Walk across the sea

When the tide goes out, walk across the causeway to St Michael’s Mount and clamber up the rocks to the steep cobbled paths around the island.

There are castle tours, a tiny harbour, a fascinating history and, crucially, a café that sells delicious cake and hot chocolate.

If you can’t wait for the tide, get a ride in one of the small motorboats

Nearest station: Penzance

Visit : stmichaelsmount.co.uk/