We’ve said it before, and we’re about to say it again: finding affordable activities for you and your kids to do in the school holidays is challenging. However, with help from the RadioTimes.com Going Out team, your worries will disappear, and all that's left to concern you are things like the great British weather and whether a trip to a theme park is a recipe for a paper bag in the car ride home…


In our best list of the top family days out, we’ve thought of all ages and interests; there are National Trust and English Heritage sites for those who like to be among nature and learn about history, alpaca walks and donkey picnics for the animal lovers amongst us, plenty of theme parks like Thorpe Park and Chessington World of Adventures for fearless teenagers, and — what did we say about the weather? — we’ve also considered indoor activities, too, like SEA LIFE London and Shrek’s Adventure! London.

Plus, plenty of attractions have special discounts, such as the Virgin Experience Days discounts on Merlin attractions, where you can get 50 per cent off some of the most popular attractions in the UK.

Not only that, Merlin themselves are offering a discount on their Merlin Annual Pass, taking it from £99 to £79. They also have discounts on membership options like silver, gold and platinum memberships, which are available on an annual or monthly basis.

A quick top tip from us to you before we crack on with the best days out list: be sure to check the expiration date on the activity you purchase. For example, sites like Virgin Experience Days and Buyagift often give you up to a year or 18-months to use the voucher, so if you don’t get a chance to do the activity this summer holiday, don’t sweat, simply use it on your next available weekend.

More like this

Buy the Merlin Annual Pass for £99 £79 at Merlin

Save on Merlin attractions at Virgin Experience Days

You can also entertain your kids this holiday with the best kids theatre shows. Plus, find more of the best musicals on tour UK.

Best family days out in the UK at a glance:

Best UK family days out to try in 2024

Chelsea Football Club Tour for One Adult & One Child

chelsea fc stadium tour best family days out uk
Activity Superstore

If this doesn’t get the Christmas holidays off to a cracking start, we don’t know what will. If your little one is a fan of Chelsea FC, then this stadium tour is just the ticket; you’ll both get to visit iconic spaces inside Stamford Bridge, such as the dressing rooms, press room, player’s tunnel, and manager’s dugouts, and you’ll also get the opportunity to go pitch side, too. Although players such as Thiago Silva and Raheem Sterling won’t be present (unless they fancy a behind-the-scenes tour of their own club), the atmosphere and excitement definitely will be.

After the tour, you’ll head to Chelsea FC Museum, then receive a free Chelsea FC gift to remember this special day with.

Buy Chelsea Football Club Tour for One Adult & One Child for £46 at Activity Superstore

Here are the best stadium tours to take in 2024, and did you know one of our Digital Writers climbed Tottenham Hotspur stadium? You can find out all about it in our best London experience gifts guide.

Visit to SEA LIFE London for Two Adults and Two Children

sea life aquarium best vr experience london 2023 uk
Visit Sea Life Visit Sea Life

Was Little Mermaid’s Sebastian right when he said life under the sea is better? Well, there’s only one way to find out: take a trip to SEA LIFE in London. Inside the centre, you’ll see sea creatures like sharks, stingrays and starfish, and as you walk through the glass tunnel, a variety of fish and other swimmers will glide over your head. There’s also Penguin Point, where you’ll meet the Gentoo penguins, a graceful underwater penguin which can swim up to 22 miles an hour — faster than any other diving bird! A good thing about this experience, too, is that it’s indoors, so is suitable for all weather conditions.

For a limited time only in Merlin attraction's special offer, you can save 40 per cent on tickets most Sundays.

Buy a SEA LIFE London tickets from £21.60 at Visit SEA Life

Buy the Merlin Annual Pass for £99 £79 at Merlin

Save on SEA LIFE tickets at Virgin Experience Days

Visit to LEGOLAND Windsor Resort for Two

legoland best family days out uk
Virgin Experience Days

LEGOLAND is one of the UK’s most popular theme parks, and it’s easy to see why: the park boasts over 55 rides, as well as live shows and attractions dotted across 150 acres of land. This experience gift card will get the two of you all-day entry to LEGOLAND, and some of the highlights include the LEGO City Driving School where your little one can get their very first driving licence — perhaps they can drive the two of you home after your day out? — Ninjago The Ride, Miniland, and LEGO Mythica, a mythical world which features three exciting rides.

Buy LEGOLAND tickets from £35 at LEGOLAND

Buy the Merlin Annual Pass for £99 £79 at Merlin

Save on LEGOLAND tickets at Virgin Experience Days

For more great offers at LEGOLAND, read our how to get cheap LEGOLAND tickets article.

Diggerland Family Ticket for Four

diggerland best family days out ok
Activity Superstore

The Diggerland theme park centres around, you guessed it, mechanical diggers. The parks in Durham, Kent, and Yorkshire include rides such as Land Rover Safari Ride, Spin Dizzy, Dump Trucks, and Skyshuttle — an exhilarating ride which takes you 50-feet into the air — as well as soft play areas, arcade games, and computer digging games. There’s also some Land Rovers and go-karts to test your driving skills on, too.

Buy Diggerland Family Ticket for Four for £129 at Activity Superstore

Want to know the top theme parks in the UK? Our guide has you covered.

The York Dungeon

the york dungeon best family days out uk

This next family day out activity comes with the following warning: it may cause nightmares! Once upon a time, York was declared by The International Ghost Research Foundation the most haunted city in Europe, and it continues to reign amongst the most haunted cities in the UK. The York Dungeon pays homage to York’s grizzly and gruesome past, with live actors, spooky scenes, and special effects in rooms such as The Plague Doctor and Curse of the Witch.

Although The York Dungeon is a mix of scary and fun, kids under five aren’t allowed in the dungeon, and the recommended minimum age is eight. This is because it’s a dark environment with some loud noises.

Buy The York Dungeon tickets from £18 at The Dungeons

Take a look at the best York ghost tours, best zombie experiences and best Edinburgh ghost tours, if you dare...

Hot Wheels City Experience

Families walking around the Hot Wheels City Experience with life-sized vintage cars
Hot Wheels City Experience. Hot Wheels City Experience

Europe's first ever Hot Wheels experience has just pulled up to Manchester. This interactive exhibition spans 10 separate stations across a whopping 6,000 square metres, all of which is dedicated to bringing the iconic cars to life.

Not only will fans of the franchise get to learn more about the history and development of Hot Wheels, they'll also be able to enjoy a peek behind the curtain at the top range Hot Wheels collections.

Buy Hot Wheels City Experience tickets from £32

The Blackpool Tower Dungeon

blackpool dungeon best family days out uk

Blackpool isn’t all seaside, slot machines, and delicious fish and chips, you know, it also has a spooky side. Like The York Dungeon, The Blackpool Tower Dungeon also has a mix of live actors, terrifying scenes, and special effects in areas such as The Labyrinth and The Dark Chapel, plus, it has a ride, too. The Drop Dead Ride is sure to get your heart racing if the blood-curdling rooms haven’t already.

Buy The Blackpool Tower Dungeon tickets from £13 at The Dungeons

Cadbury World

cadbury world best family days out uk

A trip to Cadbury World seemed to be a right of passage when we were youngsters, so we’re happy to see the chocolatey paradise is still going strong. At Cadbury World, you’ll discover the history of Cadbury confectionery through rides, a 4D cinema, chocolate tasting, workshops, and more, plus you’ll find out top secrets about the making of the sweet treat.

Buy Cadbury World tickets from £12 at Cadbury World

Paintballing for Four

paintballing best family days out uk
The Gift Experience

Are you and your family competitive? Then paintballing could be a great activity to see how well you work together as a team, and see if that competitiveness can be channelled into making your team victorious.

Your experience will begin with a safety briefing, target practice, and a full kit of head and body protection, before you’re unleashed in one of two games, either the Tomb Raider game which includes trekking through the jungle to find an ancient stone pyramid, or a mission to protect the President on his tour of the UK. To help you in your quest, all four of you will use a rapid-fire semi-automatic machine gun with a hip-mounted 400-shot battle pack, and you’ll start with 100 paintballs each.

Buy Paintballing for Four for £49 £24 (save £25 or 51%) at The Gift Experience

Family Steam Train Experience

steam train

All aboard your next family day out! Whether you and your family are interested in steam trains or just fancy a wholesome day out, the steam train experience will transport you to a simpler time as you’ll roll through acres and acres of untouched countryside. At the various stop-off points, you’ll be given a rover ticket, which means you can hop on and off to explore the local areas, with the chance to visit a train museum, too.

Buy Family Steam Train Experience for £39 at Find Me A Gift

For more like this, here are the best steam train experiences in the UK.

Madame Tussauds

madame tussauds best london experience gifts for families
Photo by Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images Photo by Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images

At Madame Tussauds in London you can come face-to-face with your favourite celebrities from around the world. The impressive wax figurine experiences houses celebrities from the sporting world, such as Cristiano Ronaldo, music legends like David Bowie and Beyoncé, and superheroes in the Marvel Hall of Legends like the Black Panther, Captain America and The Incredible Hulk.

Plus, from now until the end of March, you can save 40 per cent off tickets most Sundays with Merlin attractions' special offer.

Buy Madame Tussauds tickets from £22.80 at Madame Tussauds

Buy the Merlin Annual Pass for £99 £79 at Merlin

Save on Madame Tussauds tickets at Virgin Experience Days

Drayton Manor

drayton manor best family days out uk

Whether you’re planning a day out for a little one or a teenager, Drayton Manor has you covered with exciting things to do for all ages. For teenagers who crave thrilling rides, there’s Thor, Shockwave, and Maelstrom which are sure to get hearts pumping, and for youngsters, Drayton Manor is home to Europe’s only Thomas Land: an interactive park for Thomas the Tank Engine and all his friends. There’s also Drayton Manor Zoo, a 15-acre zoo which boasts over 500 animals from red pandas and capybaras to tigers and monkeys.

Buy Drayton Manor tickets from £45 £40 (save £5 or 11%) at daysout.co.uk

National Trust locations

national trust best family days out uk
Caiaimage/Paul Bradbury via Getty Images

Picture this: you and your family have just walked around a stately home rich with hundreds of years of history, you’ve sauntered through beautiful gardens with flowers, lakes, and more, and now you’re enjoying a coffee and sandwich in a National Trust café. Sounds idyllic, right? Well, this winter, with a National Trust membership card, you can get free entry to over 500 National Trust properties, free parking at most National Trust car parks, as well as a copy of the National Trust Magazine three times a year, and a National Trust handbook.

Family memberships start from £91.20 a year, and there’s also the option to buy individual junior and adult memberships, plus joint memberships and lifetime memberships, too — under 17s' annual memberships cost just £10.

Buy a family membership from £91.20 a year at National Trust

The London Dungeon

The London Dungeon
Photo by Ben A Pruchnie/Getty Images Photo by Ben A. Pruchnie/Getty Images

If your youngsters aren't afraid of things that go bump in the night, then take them to The London Dungeons to uncover the capital city's darkest moments in history... Inside the dungeons, there are 19 interactive shows with live actors which cover 1,000 years of history, each themed area has gripping special effects and you'll be on the edge of your seat as the actors tell their tales, plus, there's two underground rides, too.

For a limited time only, you can save 40 per cent on Sunday tickets with Merlin attractions' special offer.

Buy The London Dungeon tickets from £20.40 at The Dungeons

Donkey Picnic for Four at Dashing Donkeys

donkey picnic best family days out uk
Find Me A Gift

This Donkey picnic does exactly what it says on the tin: your family of four will enjoy delicious food and beverages on some green grass, while being surrounded by adorable donkeys.

After the picnic, all four of you will stroll through the field with a donkey, and there will be plenty of photo opportunities during the day as well.

Buy Donkey Picnic for Four at Dashing Donkeys for £139 at Find Me A Gift

Check out the best animal experience days up and down the country.

Chessington World of Adventures Resort

Chessington ride

If you’re local to Surrey, Chessington World of Adventures is a brilliant theme park to take youngsters to this summer holiday. Not only does the resort have over 40 rides, including Tiger Rock and Croc Drop, and areas such as the world’s first Jumanji World, but Chessington World of Adventures also boasts a SEA LIFE centre and a zoo, with animals like iguanas and rhinos.

At the moment, Chessington has a special offer on the theme park, taking tickets from £66 to just £34 – it’s almost like the site knew you’d be looking for things to do during the Christmas holiday!

Buy Chessington World of Adventures Resort tickets from £66 £34 (save £24 or 40%) at Chessington

Buy the Merlin Annual Pass for £99 £79 at Merlin

Save on Chessington World of Adventures tickets at Virgin Experience Days

Looking for a saving? Check out how to get cheap Chessington World of Adventures tickets.

Alton Towers Resort

how to get cheap Alton Towers tickets

Another theme park to test even the most fearless of riders is Alton Towers. There’s so much to do and to see at Alton Towers: there’s over 40 rides, including The Smiler and Wicker Man, as well as CBeebies Land, Sharkbait Reef with real-life sharks and rays, as well as a dungeon… Luckily, Alton Towers Resort offers short breaks and there are plenty of hotels nearby, too, so you can make a couple of days of it if you’d prefer.

Buy Alton Towers Resort tickets from £68 £35 (save £33 or 49%) at Alton Towers

Buy the Merlin Annual Pass for £99 £79 at Merlin

Save on Alton Towers tickets at Virgin Experience Days

Here's how to get cheap Alton Towers tickets for even more top offers on the UK theme park.

English Heritage locations

english heritage best family days out uk
Morsa Images

The English Heritage membership will give you unlimited access to over 400 hundred historic sites up and down the country, as well as free entry for up to six children. Plus, that’s not all, at participating English Heritage cafés across the country, members’ children can eat free, and you can also get discounted tickets to many of the English Heritage events such as knights' tournaments.

Buy a membership from £57 a year at English Heritage

Lucky Tails Alpaca Farm Entry with Alpaca Walk for Two Adults and Two Children

alpaca walk best family days out uk

Another day out for the animal lovers amongst us: alpaca farm entry and an alpaca walk for four people. Situated in the stunning Warwickshire countryside, which is also home to giant bunnies, pygmy goats, chickens, and ducks, as well as alpacas, this experience encourages you and your family to learn all about alpacas before you harness up and take your own alpaca on a soft stroll through the grounds. It’s the perfect family day out for photo opportunities, too, and some of the alpacas on the Buyagift website look like they have their cheesy grins at the ready.

Buy Lucky Tails Alpaca Farm Entry with Alpaca Walk for Two Adults and Two Children for £49.99 at Buyagift

Shrek’s Adventure! London

Shrek's Adventure London
Shrek's Adventure London

This winter, Shrek is inviting you into his swamp. Located at London’s Southbank (sorry, we mean Far Far Away), you and your family will enjoy an interactive and immersive walkthrough experience, which includes embarking on the DreamWorks Tours magical flying 4D bus, meeting characters like Puss in Boots, the Muffin Man and Pinocchio, and enjoying up to 12 fairy-tale themed live shows.

Plus, for a limited time only in this Merlin attraction discount, you can save 40 per cent on tickets most Sundays.

Buy Shrek’s Adventure! London tickets from £15.60 at Shrek's Adventure! London

Thorpe Park

family at a theme park how to get cheap thorpe park tickets
Joe McBride via Getty Images

The weather might not have delivered, but Thorpe Park is on hand to ensure you have a sizzling summer with this red-hot saving: save up to 48 per cent on Thorpe Park tickets, with prices starting from just £32. Featuring the much talked-about rides, Stealth, SAW, Nemesis Inferno, and more, Thorpe Park will test even the most fearless of teenagers.

Buy Thorpe Park tickets from £66 £34 (save £32 or 48%) at Thorpe Park

Buy the Merlin Annual Pass for £99 £79 at Merlin

Save on Thorpe Park tickets at Virgin Experience Days

Our how to get cheap Thorpe Park tickets guide will help you secure affordable Thorpe Park tickets this year.


Stay up to date with our Going Out section for top tips on how to get cheap tickets, such as how to get cheap cinema tickets, how to get cheap theatre tickets and how to get cheap concert tickets.