Monday 28 December: Boxing Day (substitute day because 26th is a Saturday)
And in case you need some inspiration, here are some of our favourite ideas for some splendid bank holiday days out.
Best days out in London this summer
Bank holiday dates 2015
London’s Chinatown is hosting its first ever Family Day festival on Sunday 27 July. The area’s famous streets will welcome an exciting array of entertainment and activities for children of all ages throughout the day. Two stages will form the focal points of a range of traditional Chinese acts, martial arts and a gravity-defying cube spinning display. Dotted around the streets will be Chinese magicians, jugglers and stilt walkers along with Shaolin warrior monks and moving statues.
To celebrate the fly-fishing season and encourage the great British public to enjoy the outdoors, Orvis is hosting free fly-fishing courses for beginners at its flagship store on Regent Street. Participants will be under the instruction of Orvis’ renowned fishing specialists or 'ghillies'. During the two-hour session you will learn the basics of fly-fishing and fly-casting. Courses run until October 2014. The fly-fishing courses are the perfect excuse to enjoy the outdoors with all the family and have fun this summer.
Haven't taken your kids for a ride on the cable car yet? The Emirates Air Line is the first urban cable car in the UK, stretching across the Thames between the Greenwich Peninsula (South) and the Royal Docks (North). Spanning just over 1km, it takes around 10 minutes to cross and offers unique views of the city (and an affordable experience the kids will love). Passengers can enjoy spectacular views of the city including St Paul’s Cathedral, the Gherkin, Thames Barrier, Maritime Greenwich and the Olympic Park as you fly 90 metres above the River Thames.
Blue Ribbon Village is two days of fantastic, free activities for tots to teenagers at Potters Fields Park in the shadow of Tower Bridge and beside City Hall, taking place from 13 to 14 September. It includes everything from festival music to arts and crafts. The annual event, part of Totally Thames, also brings together scores of voluntary and charitable organisations involved with the ecology, history and industries of the Thames.
The London Dungeon is hosting a Summer Carnivale from 26 July to 31 August, with showmanship, spectacle and plenty of scary fun as the attraction presents its very own carnival starring a cast of colourful characters ready to amaze and astound. Roll up, roll up as the show begins with the Dungeon's Victorian 'Barkers' announcing the mesmerising entertainment inside - from the amazing 'knife throwing' torturer to the discombobulating Hall of Mirrors. Guests can test their strength lifting strong man dumb bells or on the High Striker - will they be as weak as a plague victim or as strong as an axe-wielding executioner? Then look into the future with a fortune card dealt out by the Dungeon's flea-infested fortune teller – and watch out for the resident cockroaches and rats in their colourful carnival-themed lairs. Once inside, there are 18 shows plus two riveting rides to enjoy as 1000 years of London's murky past is brought to life with a special carnival twist. Marvel at Mrs Lovett and her fabulous pies, escape the clutches of Sweeney Todd, meet an escapologist whose enthusiasm knows no bounds and attend the trial of the hirsute bearded lady.
Families visiting London's ArcelorMittal Orbit in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park from 24 July and 31 August will be able to engage in a range of daily activities curated by visual artist and art educator Natalie Ryde (previously artist in residence at Kensington Palace and art educator at Hampton Court). Using the ArcelorMittal Orbit as inspiration, kids of all ages will be shown how to use their imagination with a variety of methods from cutting out, sketching, painting and building - whether it’s sketching the London skyline or making their very own ArcelorMittal Orbit. Activities will take place from 2-4pm each day of the school summer holidays and will be included in the entry price.
This summer, Battersea Power Station is hosting a pop-up experience like no other from 10 July to 31 August. Street Feast, London’s finest food, drink and party people, will bring some of the best food traders from across London, including Le Bun, Spit & Roast, Popdogs, Mama’s Jerk and Anna Maes. There will be lots going on, including the best films from Everyman, and visitors can choose from bespoke two or four person pods with waiter service included, comfortable bean bags under the sun or simply soak up the atmosphere with general admission tickets available each day.
Families can get creative in the gardens at Dulwich Picture Gallery at the weekly Art in the Garden sessions. The creative workshops are a great way for children of all ages to get arty outdoors. You can bring a picnic, sit on the lawn and watch the artwork grow.
Formerly an empty rooftop car park, Roof East is a new open-air urban haven for those seeking great food, a classic film or to simply enjoy a beer or ice cold cocktail while watching the sunset over the city and Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Located in the heart of Stratford, opposite Stratford Station and Westfield Shopping Centre, the rooftop venue will play host to a wide range of cultural events from plays to dance performances as well as family activities during the school holidays. Up to September, The Rooftop Film Club will also be showing a variety of modern and classic films at Roof East every Tuesday to Saturday and Roof East’s resident bar The Pearl, will open every Tuesday to Sunday, serving drinks and food.
Treat the kids to a day out at Buckingham Palace to see special exhibition Royal Children from 26 July to 28 September. From well-loved toys and treasured family gifts to tiny childhood outfits, the exhibition will give an unprecedented glimpse into life as a young member of the royal family growing up at Buckingham Palace. The exhibition will bring together both family and official gifts presented to royal children, as well as displaying many outfits and toys, including the Queen’s favourite rocking horse as a child. The silk-satin and lace christening robe worn by Prince George, a replica of the original royal christening robe commissioned by Queen Victoria will also be shown.
From 9 to 10 August, cycling event Prudential RideLondon returns after a brilliantly successful first year in 2013. The two-day cycling festival will allow families and amateur riders to take part, as well as attracting the world's best elite cyclists. There will be fun rides for cyclists of all ages and abilities who want to enjoy the fun of cycling in a traffic-free environment. The route will pass many of Central London's famous landmarks. The 100-mile race will appeal to the world's top elite cyclists and amateur cyclists alike, starting at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, taking in roads in London and Surrey and finishing in Central London.
More than 5,000 children and their families from all over London will come together to discover the fantastic mix of buildings and spaces the Square Mile has to offer at Archikids. Activities range from workshops and tours, to competitions and DIY events, which makes this a must-do for all the family. Highlights of the two-day festival from 26 to 27 July include On your Scooter trails, the City of a Thousand Architects workshop and Birds Eye Building explorations.
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Easter holidays: UK days out with the kids
Bank holiday dates 2015
For a fabulous family drive, head for Lanarkshire, where the ancient hunting lodge and grounds of Chatelherault await you this April. Located a short distance from Edinburgh and Glasgow, the attraction makes for a great day out, whether you want to learn about the past or get active outdoors.
Explore stunning south-west England this Easter with Dartmouth Golf & Country Club's activity break package, which includes one night's bed and breakfast and 1 activity of your choice for £99pp. Activites include coasteering, caving, kayaking, golf and much more. Two day and three day packages are also available. The resort is ideally located for exploring historic Dartmouth and the delights of South Devon.
Wey & Arun Canal has made sure kids can make the most of the great outdoors this Easter with two free quiz sheets that make walking along the canal more interesting. The quizzes will give your children the chance to learn about the canal and its surroundings in a fun way. Quiz sheets are available from the Canal Centre beside the Onslow Arms at Loxwood.
Head to the stunning surrounds of the Lake District to The World of Beatrix Potter Attraction and see the landscape that inspired some of the best-loved children's books of all time. Join Peter Rabbit and forage for 50 limited edition ceramic eggs on 1 April. There will also be a mini treaseure hunt in the garden on 5 April. Admission to park costs £6.95 for adults and £3.65 for children.
Ok, so this one isn't for the kids per se, but we're sure they won't complain when you stop here for lunch. The Black Swan in Cheshire is a family-friendly pub, where you can relax and feast on dishes like fish and chips, beef burgers and steak. The cosy pub is decorated in chic interiors and it's dog-friendly too. So when the kids have been to their favourite attractions and it's time for the adults to take a break, head for this cute pub in the Cheshire countryside.
If your teens love stories about England's past, a Jack the Ripper Secret London walking tour is a must this Easter. You'll be whisked through London's streets, learning about the most intriguing characters, like Jack the Ripper, Dick Turpin and Samuel Pepys, and even braver explorers can sample some of the capital's jellied eels! £30 from buyagift's experience days
Visit Carmarthenshire in Wales, the home of Cwmcrwth Farm, a small rare breed farm nestled in rolling hills, which offers idyllic farm stays for all ages. There are four-star self-catering holiday cottages so you can relax and enjoy the peaceful Welsh countryside and small children will love the hands-on experience of feeding piglets, collecting fresh eggs and visiting the ponies, sheep and goats at the farm.
For a weather-proof family day out this Easter, look no further than the underground attractions of Wales, where you can discover the secrets hidden under the surface, explore mines and caves that lurk deep below the rocks and visit wonderful attractions like Sygun Copper Mine, Electric Mountain and King Arthur's Labyrinth.
Explore the gross and grisly side of science at Waltham Abbey's Royal Gunpowder Mills this Easter with a host of explosive, fun-packed activities. Professor Nitrate will show you repulsive and revolting experiments from the past and you'll get involved in all sorts of mess and mayhem in the Mad Lab.
Love the idea of cooking with your kids but hate the idea of the washing up? Harts Barn has the answer. Sign up for the Children's Easter Baking class where parents and their little ones can take part in a fun-filled morning of cooking and baking. Each class will have recipes to take home so you can build a recipe folder and all items cooked or baked are taken home to share. Class runs on 28 March and costs £25.00.
Take the family to York, the UK's home of chocolate, this Easter where they can get learn all about the York's Chocolate Story. The attraction features an interactive tour of York's confectionary heritage and you'll be given plenty of opportunities to sample choccy delights. £29.50 for a family of four.
Take the kids back in time at Arundel Castle. Set in The Keep and Barbican at Arundel Castle, Raven Tor Living History Group will be creating an authentic representation of 12th Century England through a series of events, displays and activities this Easter. Set against the backdrop of Arundel Castle, a key Norman strategy point steeped in 1000 years of history, families can try on armour, watch archery and falconry demonstrations and learn abou the castle's past. 28-29 March.
Join the team at the Llanelli Wetland Centre from the 28 March to 13 April for some outdoor Easter exploration. Build your own den out of willow twigs from the wetlands, go pond dipping for newts and great diving beetles, enjoy a close-up look at the flock of Caribbean flamingos using binoculars and telescopes, get creative with Easter-themed craft activities and take part in the Great Duck Hunt. Adults £8.14; children £4.50, under-fours free.
Visit a Gulliver's this holiday for a host of Easter activities for the whole family like egg hunts, the Easter Bunny Parade and the Big Bunny Bounce. There will even be an appearance from the Easter Bunny himself. Experience the ultimate family day out at the Easter Eggstravaganza at Gulliver's on 5 April. Adults and children £15.00 each.
Get swept away on the beautiful Suffolk coastline this Easter and join in Woodbridge's most anticipated annual event: the Elmhurst Park Easter Egg Hunt. Taking place on 4 April, participants scramble to find one of the whopping 500 eggs that have been hidden all over the park.
How many of these lovely old British coastal towns do you recognise? Bet you can't name them all!
This archetypal holiday resort has been labelled 'Britain's Las Vegas' and remains the nation's most popular seaside resort - with more than 13 million visitors every year, it attracts more sightseers than the Taj Mahal or the Statue of Liberty. The town also boasts one of the country's oldest theme parks, as well as its longest rollercoaster...
This seaside town was voted one of the happiest cities in the UK, as well as the hippest. It boasts the UK's first electric railway, the world's oldest aquarium, a popular nudist beach, a famous pavilion and more than 400 pubs. Recognise it yet?
This charming haven on Britain's 'sunrise coast' is famous for its iconic beach huts, lighthouse and award-winning pier. Rowan Atkinson and Bill Nighy are two of the increasing number of celebs who own second homes here, and the town's popularity among the chattering classes has led to it being dubbed 'Suffolk's least affordable town'.
This traditional Victorian town is seen as the jewel in the crown of the English Riviera. It's also the birthplace of Agatha Christie ...
This resort on the south east coast is famous for its oyster festival. It was also home to the first steam-hauled passenger railway, which opened in 1830 and provided a route for travellers to and from London. It was fondly named the 'Crab and Winkle line'.
This much-photographed bustling port and thriving cultural centre is set around a beautiful natural harbour and is surrounded by some of the most spectacular scenery in Britain.
This once-glorious resort fell on hard times for a while, but it's coming back on the radar for daytrippers and holidaymakers who are attracted to its retro appeal. And it has plenty to offer the modern visitor too. Most recently, it opened a £17 million art gallery...
This quaint traditional fishing village has been consistently ranked as one of the best UK seaside resorts. It boasts a famous historic abbey, excellent walking opportunities and a 2.5km stretch of sandy beach...
This well-known town on the south coast hosted the 2012 sailing Olympics. It's popular with modern holidaymakers, but this resort is believed to have been where the Black Death started in Britain in 1348 after two ships docked here carrying sick sailors.
This picturesque little harbour and seaside town boasts a spectacular hilltop position. Its beautiful beaches and medieval town walls are just two of the reasons sightseers flock here all year round...
This small but perfectly formed seaside resort is built on a mile-long peninsula and boasts three sandy beaches which are very popular among locals and tourists in the summer.