Planning a day trip with the entire family? From mighty medieval castles to museums exploring outer space, there are plenty of spots around the UK that will keep every generation happy. In this article Rough Guides pick seven of the country’s top attractions suitable for all ages.
Get back to nature at The Eden Project, Cornwall
The Eden Project is the perfect spot for a day out with the whole family, with its mammoth, plant-filled biomes wowing big and little kids alike. One instalment is even home to the world’s largest indoor rainforest, complete with cacao trees and a Canopy Walkway allowing visitors to wander amid the treetops.
Beyond the biomes, younger members of the clan can find adventure with colourful soft-play areas and kid-friendly events, while England’s longest zipwire, the SkyWire, is beloved by thrill-seekers of all ages.
The site prides itself on being an accessible attraction. It has numerous accessible transport options to aid visitors’ movement around the site, and there are manual and electric wheelchairs available for hire. You’ll find hearing loops, disabled toilets and “relaxed” versions of some on-site activities too. It’s also possible to request that the zipwire opens an hour early, so disabled visitors can enjoy the attraction at their leisure.
Soak up some history on the Cutty Sark in Greenwich, London
Hop aboard the Cutty Sark, a British clipper ship dating to the 1800s, and sail back in time with the entire family in tow. Adults can immerse themselves in the ship’s rich history with a free audio guide, while kids will love the chance to meet Cutty Sark’s colourful characters, from ship master Captain Woodget to cook James Robson. Follow the Family Explorer Trail, chock-full of games and interactive activities, and let the little ones take to the ship’s helm and even climb into Cutty Sark’s bunk beds.
Cutty Sark is fully accessible for wheelchair users, with lifts reaching all parts of the ship. The site also offers free admission to carers and there are quiet spaces available for visitors who need them.
Broaden your horizons at the World Museum, Liverpool
There’s plenty to keep all the family busy at this diverse museum, which includes collections covering everything from Ancient Egypt to zoology to space. A perennial crowd favourite is the planetarium, with shows on the moon landing, the solar system, extra-terrestrial life and more. For the youngest family members, there’s also a dinosaur trail, a children’s area in the café and oodles of kid-focussed events.
The World Museum is entirely wheelchair friendly with lifts to all floors and accessible toilets on each level, including a Changing Places toilet on the first floor. There are wheelchairs available to borrow at the information desk, plus resources such as ear defenders and quiet rooms for visitors with autism. Each Sunday from 10am–12pm, the museum also runs “quiet mornings”: during this time sound and light levels are altered to make the museum surrounds more relaxing and comfortable.
Get a dose of Medieval history at Caernarfon Castle, Caernarfon
Caernarfon Castle, in northwest Wales, is one of the most impressive medieval fortresses in the UK. The towers and turrets of the hulking castle will have the whole brood looking on in wonder, and the museum here offers fascinating historical context. Geared towards the youngsters is the Kids’ History Festival, which includes activities such as archery.
Making a medieval fortress accessible is no easy feat, but the entire lower level of Caernarfon Castle is wheelchair friendly, with a purpose-built ramp leading into the main entrance. Free entry is offered to disabled visitors and there’s also a portable induction loop.
Bask on the beach at Whitesands, Pembrokeshire
Pembrokeshire has little shortage of beautiful sandy strands, and Whitesands Beach is a popular spot for families. The golden crescent is backed by rocks and children will delight in climbing on the craggy promontory that juts into the ocean. For the most adventurous family members, there are also opportunities for canoeing, surfing, windsurfing and more.
Once you’ve had your fill of sun, sea and sand, explore the dinky city of St David’s. A stone’s throw from the Blue Flag Beach, it boasts a stunning cathedral and several great family-friendly pubs.
A concrete ramp provides access to this strand, and beach wheelchairs are available for hire throughout the summer months.
Spread your wings at the Scottish Seabird Centre, North Berwick
If you’re a family of nature lovers, then North Berwick’s Scottish Seabird Centre is sure to be a hit. The site offers the chance to get up close to some of the UK’s incredible birdlife, including puffins, gannets, guillemots and gulls – you might even spot some seals, whales or dolphins too. Go in search of species on an organised boat trip, or pore over live webcams recording the bounty of birds all around.
The centre is wheelchair accessible with lifts to the Discovery Centre and disabled toilets onsite. There is also a wheelchair available to borrow and carers are granted free admission.
Have a family adventure at Slieve Gullion Forest Park, Northern Ireland
This forested park is packed to the rafters with attractions suitable for all ages, from an adventure playground for the kids, to tranquil wooded areas for adults and elderly visitors in need of some peace and quiet. The Giant’s Lair, a “living storybook” replete with fairy houses and a gargantuan sleeping giant, is sure to charm the little ones.
One of the park’s most unique attractions is the Sensory Trail – a quiet route through the woods designed for kids and adults “with additional sensory needs”. Markers along the trail encourage visitors to get in touch with one sense at a time. There are also eight accessible parking bays, disabled toilets and a wheelchair-accessible café.
Header image: © Shutterstock
Cutty Sark: © National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
World Museum: © Gareth Jones Photography
Whitesands: © Shutterstock
Scottish Seabird Centre: © Shutterstock
Sensory Trail: © Newry, Mourne and Down District Council