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. . . And there’s no foreign holiday this year . . . so, here are some ideas of places that we have experienced and want to share...


Meet all sorts of strange woodland and bogland characters at this curious tree-house adventure park in East Anglia.

From Mildred the Crocklebog, who is the Queen of the Scaaaaary Lake to Swampy the Marsh Boggle who tells brilliant tales of undiscovered lands to the Tiggles who love colour, protect all the animals but hate litter and mess. All this and great natural food (don’t be put off by the names of the dishes!)

Moors Valley Country Park and Forest

The park in East Dorset is a trip back to nature with all the amenities blended into the area between the park and forest. It also has a steam railway for the ‘big boys’ as well as the children to enjoy. This is a joint venture between East Dorset D C and the Forestry Commission where the rangers put on special activities as well as leading walks through the nature trails at certain times. If you don’t like being led then the play trail has the most wonderful series of climbing structures in the forest, built of course out of timber, for children of all ages and sizes to clamber over.

There is also a tree top trail for those who don’t suffer from vertigo but should you prefer to keep your feet firmly on the ground there are signed walking routes from one mile to five miles long.

Bowood House

This spectacular house just off the M4 motorway on the way to Bristol is home of the Marquess of Lansdowne. The main house has been added to and improved over the past three centuries. The kids, however, will make a bee-line for the adventure playground centred around the ‘Centaur’ pirate galleon complete with climbable rigging and a crow’s nest. For gentler activities it has facilities ranging form sand and ball pits to swing-boats and revolving discs right up to the modern take of a Victorian ‘death slide’ – a 19 foot drop!

Close by is the Soft Play Palace for more genteel playtime, as its name suggests.


The National Children’s Museum, Halifax is the visit to top all visits when it comes to playing: the place “where children play to learn and grown-ups learn to play.” Enshrined in the museum’s philosophy is one of the basic tenets of the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of a Child – “the right of the child to rest and leisure, play and recreation.” The buildings are superb with facilities for activities inside and out (Yorkshire weather permitting!)

The programmes are varied and exciting and range from fairy tales to rocket science and cater for all ages – they also have a childcare programme during weekend and holidays. It well deserves its latest accolade: “Unique Venue of the Year Award”

A little R & R?

Do those evocative Mary Wesley summers still exist? We have come across one of those holiday places that only seem to be captured in novels about idyllic, carefree summers. The Rosevine, situated on the Roseland Peninsula in Cornwall, a pebble’s throw from the beautiful Porthcurnick Beach (a National Trust beach), is a real find.

The hotel has been designed and refurbished specifically with ‘families in mind’. The 12 apartment/suites in the house allow you to organise your holiday routine just how you like to live. There are lots of ‘seafaring’ things to do; renting boats on the River Fal, learning to sail at one of the local clubs or for the families who like to explore on two wheels try the eight mile Camel Trail along the old railway line – with only slight inclines!

Or a stroll?

Perhaps you prefer to walk a little way along the coastline, around the hills or into country and break your journey at a pub for lunch for a child-friendly snack and a drink? If you do – then go no further than

This very informative website will guide you to any part of the UK and suggest places to visit at the same time locating that pub or inn that won’t be ‘sniffy’ about children or buggies and all the paraphernalia of family days out. By way of example, we found numerous places in Cornwall this way and supplemented our research by buying ‘50 brilliant things to do with kids in Cornwall’. Truly Brilliant!