From space centres to UNESCO protected heritage sites and theme parks and castles – here’s nine UK family attractions you won’t want to miss.
1. National Space Centre, Leicester
Top of the list of fun things to do with family is a trip to the brilliant National Space Centre in Leicester. Home to six interactive galleries, a 42m Rocket Tower and the country’s largest planetarium, it’s a fun and fascinating day out that the kids will remember in light years to come! Take a tour into space, come face-to-face with astronauts, and walk through a mocked-up international space station, before coming down to earth.
Getting there – by car, it’s just off the A6, two miles north of Leicester City Centre. Head to the Birstall Park and Ride site for a shuttle bus. By train, Leicester is the nearest train station, from here you can take a taxi or the 54 bus, which takes 10m.
2. Legoland, Windsor
Bringing the magic of Lego to life, Legoland Windsor is loaded with interactive areas, fun rides and plenty of live shows and entertainment. You can easily spend a whole day here, which is no surprise as one of the top family attractions in the country. Highlights include ‘Mini Land’ where famous landmarks are recreated using nearly 40 million Lego bricks, the fun of Ninjago World, and the all-new Haunted House Monster Party, amongst many more activities. Children under 3 go free.
Getting there – the nearest train station to Legoland is Windsor & Eton Central – around 45m from London Paddington Station. By car, it’s on the B3022 Windsor/Ascot road, with plenty of on-site parking.
3. Giant’s Causeway, Antrim
A sight to behold, Giant’s Causeway is a breath-taking natural phenomenon that must be seen to be believed. Framed by dramatic cliffs and the wild Atlantic coast, this geological wonder consists of some 40,000 interlocking basalt columns, thought to be a result of an ancient volcanic eruption. Attracting a million visitors a year, this is always a popular attraction for family day trips out of the city.
Getting there – with onsite parking, the visitor centre is located on the B147 Causeway road. By train, depart from Belfast or Londonderry Station to Coleraine, connecting here on the Ulsterbus service 172.
4. Blackpool Pleasure Beach, Lancashire
A British tradition since 1896, take a nostalgic journey to Blackpool Pleasure Beach. A staple UK family attraction, its neon lights have been replaced by Nickelodeon Land, a collection of 12 fun rides, with famous TV characters from PAW Patrol to SpongeBob SquarePants. Located just by the seaside, you will have time to stop by South Pier and the beach walkways, as you reminisce about simpler times.
Getting there – by road, take junction 32 of the M6 onto the M55 and follow the signs. By train, Blackpool North is the nearest train station, there’s also a tram to Pleasure Beach which stops outside the entrance.
5. Ironbridge Gorge, Shropshire
For an educating family day trip, take a visit to this UNESCO World Heritage Site on the famous River Severn. Formed by a glacial overflow in the ice age, the rocks revealed coal, iron, fireclay and limestone below – where the roots of the Industrial Revolution later began. Alongside the Gorge is a dedicated museum, offering access to 10 attractions, including various museums, tunnels and houses in this historic and protected area.
Getting there – Telford Central is the nearest train station, from here it’s a quick taxi ride. By car, exit M54 junctions 4 or 6 and follow the signs.
6. Peppa Pig World, Romsey
Family day trips don’t get much better than a visit to the land of Peppa Pig! There are 70 exciting rides, a large play zone, and of course, plenty of muddy puddles to jump in! There are gentle rides for young visitors, including Grandpa Pig’s Little Train, while bigger kids can get their kicks on stomach-churning attractions such as ‘The Flight of the Pterosaur’ and ‘Cat-O-Pillar Coaster’. If you can still palette lunch, there’s plenty of kiosks dotted around, as well as the Wild Forest restaurant. Children under 1m tall get in free.
Getting there – Southampton Central is the nearest train station, followed by a 10-15-minute taxi. By bus, take the X7 Salisbury-Southampton service, stopping at OWER, VINE INN. By car, Paultons is off exit 2 of the M27, close to the New Forest National Park.
7. The Eden Project, Cornwall
For its sheer scale and contribution to biodiversity, the Eden Project should be visited at least once. This top family attraction in Cornwall, offers an educational insight into the living world, working towards a better future together. Housed inside a huge crater, the biodomes are home to the largest rainforest in captivity. It’s hard not to be in awe of its size, with stunning plants from diverse climates. There are also lots of adrenaline-boosting activities going on, from the zip lining to big air leaps.
Getting there – the nearest station to the Eden Project is St Austell, connect here on the 101 bus which takes a further half an hour. By car, the location is well signposted from the A30 and A391/390.
8. The Natural History Museum, London
One of the most-loved UK family attractions, the Natural History Museum is a must for anyone visiting the London area. Home to some 80 million specimens, spanning billions of years, marvel at gigantic mammals, an animated Trex and dinosaur skeletons, all awaiting your discovery. The Earth Galleries and Darwin Centre are especially thought-provoking, and there’s even a reconstructed ‘earthquake’ to learn more about our planet. Best of all, it’s free entry.
Getting there – London Waterloo is the nearest national rail station, from here take the bus to Cromwell Street – also the main coach drop-off point - or get the tube to South Kensington. There are no car parking facilities on site.
9. Stirling Castle, Stirling
There are many castles that Scotland has to offer, yet a touch of theatre has transformed Stirling Castle into one of the best UK family attractions. Bringing its rich history to life with performances and events, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. From magical unicorn events to orchestral performances to guided tours, you can even get dressed in medieval gear and try your hand at Renaissance musical instruments. Dating back to the early 12th century, it remains one of the most important buildings in Scottish history.
Getting there – by train, Stirling is the nearest train station. From here you can jump on the hop-off bus to the castle.