ContentedBaby.com. The secret to Calm and Confident Parenting. An official Gina Ford website

Days to Remember
by Gina Ford and Dawn Fozard

Introduction by Gina

A couple of weeks ago I was travelling by train from Edinburgh to York to meet up with a friend. I love train journeys, as it is the one time that I actually sit and do nothing, indulging my mind in idle thoughts and people watching. About thirty minutes into the journey, the train stopped at the small town of Dunbar. Amongst the passengers boarding was a mum with a tiny baby in a buggy and two other young children in tow. I couldn’t help smiling as I watched the skilled way in which she manoeuvered the buggy on to the train, while at the same time directing her other two children into their seats. This mum was obviously a seasoned traveller and, as the journey progressed, it was clear from the conversation she was having with the two elder children that she had travelling with three young children down to a fine art.
The children, oblivious to anyone else in the carriage, chatted loudly and excitedly throughout the journey.  It was obvious from the conversation that they were off on a day trip to another small seaside town further down the line.  Each of the little girls had a Barbie Pink case on wheels (the type all mothers swear they will never let their kids have) and during the journey much time was spent going in and out of the cases, playing with and organising and re-organising the contents.
It brought back happy memories of the little red case that I used to use when I was young and enjoyed days away with my cousins. On Sundays we would all meet up and head off for the day. Six adults and seven children would pack into a tiny, beaten-up, grey mini van, and an even older pale blue morris 1100.  Often the day out was just a few miles away to the local beach. At other times it would be to the grounds of one of the local ancient castles. As children, it wasn’t ever that important where we went, as once we reached our destination our imagination would transport us to the places we wanted to be. The derelict castle would, in out minds, become the enchanted castle, full of fairies, witches and whatever other characters our imagination could dream up.  The beach would become Treasure Island as we built outlines of houses with pieces of driftwood and shells.
As I watched and listened to the wonderful interaction of the mum and her children on the train, and the ease with how she dealt with the baby and the other two, I wondered how many of you would be enjoying similar sunny days out with your kids this summer.  A few days later I was talking to Dawn, our wonderful site editor, on how big a part days away feature in her life with Lenny, nearly four, and Dillon, just over two. Dawn was always more Gina Ford about the routines than Gina Ford, so I was delighted when she said that she had always made a point of having regular days away, even in the early days when still establishing the routines.
Dawn explained that for her, a day out gives parents time away from the usual domestic chores and meal planning - and means more time to focus on having fun with your child, no matter how old they are. For children it offers the chance to see and try new things and can be stimulating and educational. Recently she took the boys to visit a local castle. She explained how Dillon the eldest was full of enthusiasm about knights and dragons, and once an interest has been established, it can be fun to build on it. She found a super book about knights, which tells King Arthur stories for youngsters, and a £1.99 bow and arrow set that has kept him amused for hours in the garden. There’s a big world out there and it’s good for all of us to put our normal routines aside for a day and head out and enjoy it as a family.
We chatted about own childhood memories of how important these days were to us and how the happy memories are still so vivid in our minds.  We know how important it is to have your children in a great sleeping and feeding routine, but it also important to remember to take time out from the routines occasionally and spend days away that will create happy memories that stay with your children forever.  Dawn has put together some fantastic suggestions and tips on how to make the best of your days out as a family.

Choosing Your Destination by Dawn

There are hundreds of themed adventure parks across the UK, keen to entice parents with bulging wallets. Some are better than others. The best are well managed, offer good value, an excellent range of activities and high-quality services. The worst can be more of a headache than the fun place they promise to be, with high entrance prices, gift shops that can’t be avoided and crowded, poor quality cafes. My suggestion would be to check up on the park you are planning on visiting beforehand, or use the recommendations from members below. For example, if the park offers rides, check the age restrictions. We once took our boys to a “family friendly” theme park only to find they were too young to be allowed on anything at all, which led to tears and disappointment.
It is worth remembering that, just because a destination isn’t finely focused on the needs of children, they won’t enjoy it. Wildlife parks, zoos, steam railways, bird sanctuaries, castles or National Trust houses can be more fun in some ways than the places targeted specifically at children. Little ones love the chance to run around a big garden, see unusual animals or explore different buildings – and it is possible that you won’t feel quite so exploited as you sometimes can at the bigger venues.
Choosing somewhere with a variety of activities on offer can be a big advantage. If you break the day up, it can save everyone getting grumpy and overtired when it’s time to go home. A good run around when you arrive makes sense, followed by sitting down together for lunch. A train or boat ride at the end of the day is a good idea when everyone’s energy levels are running low. And on the subject of the end of the day – quit while you’re ahead! It can be tempting to eke every moment out of the day, but you can avoid tears and tantrums by leaving while everyone’s still good tempered and can be tempted back into the car with a snack to enjoy on the way home.

Planning Ahead

Once you’ve chosen your day out, work out the journey times so you can plan the best times to eat and travel. A little bit of planning will help your day go more smoothly and will mean you are less likely to be put on the spot if it turns out that the café is full or closed. Let go of the routine for the day and relax. As long as everyone eats something regularly and doesn’t get overtired you should have no problem reestablishing the routine the next day.
If you have a long drive in the morning, make sure everyone enjoys a big breakfast before heading off. If the children can be outside in the garden (and not in front of the television) while you pack the car, then they will be less fidgety in the car. Healthy snacks for the car, such as a box of raisins and a drink, can help to break up the journey. Try not to let potty-trained children drink too much or you’ll be stopping every half hour! A CD or tape with children’s songs or a story on can make the journey more fun as well. Older children can play I-Spy and you can all chat about where you are going. Preparing them for what they might see can help make the most of your day out.
Check the weather forecast and, if it looks unsettled, pop wellies and cagoules in the boot of the car. If it promises to stay dry, you might decide to take a picnic instead of eating at the place you are going. The advantages of a picnic are that you can decide what to take and children tend to prefer sitting on a rug on the grass to squashing round a table in a crowded café. On the other hand, you deserve a day off from cooking and might decide to take your chances with the facilities on offer. Whatever your decision, try to avoid too many sugary snacks. Children can get overtired once the sugar rush subsides, and it can make them cranky at going-home time.

Packing

Once you become a parent, the days of leaving the house with just your keys and purse become a memory. Along with your usual ‘mummy bag’, containing nappies and food, use the checklist below to help your day go more smoothly:
  • Sunscreen and hats for hot weather.
  • Small tube of cream for insect bites or stings.
  • Simple first aid kit containing plasters, antiseptic wipes and Calpol.
  • Spare clothes in case of any accidents (include pants for the newly potty trained).
  • Wet weather gear if rain is likely.
  • Special toy and blanket for the car – make sure this stays in the car when you get to your destination! You can cuddle the bear or toy up in the blanket and explain that teddy is looking after the car until it’s time to go home.
  • Plenty of water for when you get there. Dehydration can happen very quickly in hot sun.
  • Pushchair if there’s a lot of walking involved and you think a little one might need a catnap later in the day.

Members' Recommendations

The following suggestions have been made by Contentedbaby.com members and are arranged by county. We hope that you will enjoy some days out with your children over the summer and would love to hear any further suggestions. But wherever you choose to go, the main thing is to have fun!

ENGLAND

BEDFORDSHIRE

Zoos and Safari Parks
Woburn Safari Park
Woburn Park
Bedfordshire
MK17 9QN
Tel: 01525 290407
www.woburnsafari.co.uk

Enjoy a family day out at Woburn Safari Park.  Attractions include the Elephant Encounter, Sea Lion displays and Birds of Prey Flying Demonstrations.  Lots of play activities for the kids with five exciting and safe play environments, such as the Tree Tops Action Trail, a safari train and, especially for under-fives, a badger theme playground.   There are restaurants and a complimentary baby food warming area. 

BUCKINGHAMSHIRE

Gardens
BEKONSCOT MODEL VILLAGE
Warwick Road
Beaconsfield
Buckinghamshire HP9 2PL
Tel: 01494 672 919
www.bekonscot.com

This is the oldest model village in the world. A glimpse of rural life in the 1930’s can be seen as you wander through the six villages laid out complete with residents going about their daily business. A gauge 1 miniature railway runs past the castles, houses and thatched cottages bringing the whole place to life. A recent addition is a miniature Tramway.
Souvenir shop and refreshments kiosk. 2 picnic areas.
Suitable for pushchairs and there are baby changing facilities.

CAMBRIDGESHIRE

Zoos and Safari Parks
HAMMERTON ZOO PARK
Hammerton
Nr Sawtry
Cambridgeshire PE28 5RE
Tel: 01832 293 362
www.hamertonzoopark.com

This small zoo opened as a conservation sanctuary in 1990. Set in 15 acres of parkland it specializes in rare, endangered and unusual animals, including some you may never even have heard of. The specially designed enclosures have windows at child height allowing for close viewing.
There is direct supervised contact with hand reared baby owls, Giant Millipedes or Land Snails. Keeper-talk sessions are held regularly.
There are two new play areas, one for babies and toddlers and one for older children.
Coffee and gift shop. There are both outdoor and undercover picnic areas.
Baby changing facilities.

CHANNEL ISLANDS

Castles

ELIZABETH CASTLE
St Aubyns Bay
Jersey
Channel Islands JE1
Tel: 01534 633376

http://www.jerseyheritage.org/places-to-visit/elizabeth-castle

For 300 years Jersey has been defended by this large fortress which is built on an islet in St Aubyns Bay. Inside are exhibitions and demonstrations of the island’s military past from the Civil War to the German occupation.
You may access the castle at low tide by walking over the causeway. At other times a ferry service runs.
Baby changing facilities.

CHESHIRE

Zoos and Safari Parks
Chester Zoo
Upton-by-Chester
Chester
CH2 1LH
Tel: 01244 380 280
www.chesterzoo.org

A visit to Chester Zoo is an excellent family day out.   There are 500 different species of animals and lots of activities to keep children amused and entertained.  There is an adventure play area and baby-changing facilities. Wide range of cafes and snack kiosks. 

CORNWALL

Gardens

The Eden Project
Bodelva
St Austell
Cornwall
PL24 2SG
www.edenproject.com/

The Eden Project near St Austell is a must for anyone visiting the county and can be a great alternative to the beach on a wet day. It is a unique natural park containing two extraordinary biomes with different climates. Kids love running around the gardens, which contain regularly changing displays, and you’ll find fun and educational information at child-level. You can see pineapple plants, banana trees and oranges growing in groves. A recent addition is a play area made from canes and bamboo.

Zoos
NEWQUAY ZOO
Trenance Park
Newquay
Cornwall TR7 2LZ
Tel: 01637 873 342
www.newquayzoo.org.uk

Set in exotic landscape gardens, this zoo is home to many of the world’s endangered species such as the shy red panda.
The zoo’s tropical house creates the environment of a steamy rainforest. Birds, reptiles and mini beasts, whose natural habitat this is, can be seen.
There are feeding time and meet the keeper talks most days and events run throughout the season.
Other attractions within the complex are children’s play areas, the Tarzan trail and a dragon’s maze.
There is a café and baby changing facilities.

COTSWOLDS

Museums
COTSWOLD MOTOR MUSEUM AND TOY COLLECTION
The Old Mill
Sherbourne Street
Bourton on the Water
Cheltenham GL54 2BY
Tel: 01451 821255
www.cotswold-motor-museum.com

Although mainly devoted to motoring exhibits, including Britain’s largest collection of historic motoring signs, the toy collection is worth a visit. Here can be seen teddy bears, aeroplanes and rare pedal cars. This museum also house Brum, the little yellow car featured in the TV series which was filmed here.
Baby changing facilities.
There are no refreshment facilities in the museum, but there are lots of restaurants close by.

Back to County Index

CUMBRIA

Farm Parks

Eden Ostrich World
Langwathby Hall Farm
Langwathby
Penrith
Cumbria
CA10 1LW
Tel: 01768 881771
www.ostrich-world.com/

Eden Ostrich World is a Farm Visitor Centre on a 230-acre working arable beef and sheep farm in the Eden Valley, near Penrith. As well as ostriches, there are rare breeds of cattle, red deer, meerkats, zebras, porcupines and racoon dogs, amongst others. There is an undercover soft play area for children up to the age of 12, a pre-school area and a giant maze. The Centre is very supportive of conservation and you can see examples of dry-stone walling, hedge and tree planting.  Tea, snacks and Cumbrian farmhouse meals are available, and there are baby-changing facilities.

Museums
CARS OF THE STARS MUSEUM
Standish Street
Keswick
Cumbria
CA12 5LS

Tel: 017687 73757
www.carsofthestars.com

This is a world famous museum of vehicles which have appeared in both films and on television. Wander round and see the real Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Thunderbirds, the Ford Anglia used in the Harry Potter movies, cars belonging to the Flintstones, The Pink Panther and characters such as Herbie. There is a large collection from the James Bond films.
The exhibits are changed from time to time so it is best to phone ahead to check what is on display.
No refreshments or baby changing facilities at the museum, but these facilities are available very close by.

Children's farm and wildlife parks
TROTTERS WORLD OF ANIMALS
Coalbeck Farm
Bassenthwaite
Keswick
Cumbria CA12 4RD

Tel: 01768 776 239
www.trottersworld.com

A wildlife park which is home to plenty of familiar animals as well as birds of prey, reptiles and endangered species.
Daily presentations given by an expert reptile handler allows hands on experience of snakes, including a Boa Constrictor and lizards.
Much of the attraction is undercover so a visit can take place whatever the weather. During the winter months there is a programme of indoor activities including visits from Father Christmas.
At the Bird of Prey centre flying displays are held regularly. The centre has a pair of breeding Golden Eagles, the only ones in the North West of England.
During school holidays and summer weekends pony and tractor trailer rides are available. There is a Tea room and Gift shop.
Baby changing facilities.

DEVON

Theme Parks
The Milky Way Adventure Park
Clovelly
Devon
EX39 5RY
Tel: 01237 431255
www.themilkyway.co.uk

A visit to The Milky Way Adventure Theme Park in North Devon is a great day out for all the family.  Rain or shine, you will find plenty to keep everyone amused.  For under-fives, there is a Fantasy Farm and Toddler Town, with fun and activities to keep this age group happy for hours!  There is a Pets Corner, where children can make friends with rabbits, guinea pigs, ferrets and chipmunks, plus lambs and goats, which they can help to feed.  

WATERMOUTH CASTLE
Berrynarbor
Ilfracombe
Devon EX34 9SL

Tel: 01271 867 474
www.watermouthcastle.com
Plenty of rides and other amusements for all ages can be enjoyed such as Tube slides, River Ride, swingboats, aeroplane rides, Sealion Water, Merry go Land and Musical Water Show.
Set in attractive gardens with maze and picnic area. Cold and hot refreshments may be bought.
Baby changing facilities and suitable for pushchairs.

DORSET

Zoos and Safari Parks

Monkey World
Longthorns
Wareham
Dorset
BH20 6HH
Tel:  01929 462537
www.monkeyworld.org

The Award winning Monkey World Sanctuary is set in 65 acres of the Dorset countryside.  It is home to over 150 primates, including Chimpanzees,Orangutans, Woolly Monkeys, Siamang Gibbons and Lemurs. Originally set up as a sanctuary for abused Spanish Chimpanzees, today the Centre looks after rescued chimps from many countries and works closely with governments from around the world to try and stop the illegal smuggling of apes. As well as the primates, there is an adventure play area, a pets’ zoo, mini-motorbikes, an assault course, boats and an indoor play area.  There are baby-changing facilities.

Sealife Centres
WEYMOUTH SEALIFE PARK
Lodmoor Country Park
Weymouth
Dorset DT4 7SX

Tel: 01305 761070
http://www.sealifeeurope.com/local/index.php?loc=weymouth
One of the many Sea Life centres to be found across Europe, this houses some of the strangest forms of marine life such as the prehistoric horseshoe crab and puffer fish which will expand to double their size when threatened.
Sea Life centres are among the world’s leading experts on Sea horses. In Weymouth a pioneering captive breeding programme is being carried out to supply other public aquaria with this fascinating but increasingly rare creature.
Splash and Crab allows children to pick up and handle many kinds of marine life. A recent addition to the centre is the 3D adventure trail.
There is a choice of restaurants at the centre.
Baby changing facilities.

ESSEX

Gardens
THE ORIGINAL GREAT MAZE
Blake House Craft Centre
Blake End
Braintree
Essex CM77 6RA

Tel: 01376 553146
www.greatmaze.info
This maze offers over 5 miles of pathways cut into 10 acres of sunflowers and maize. These grow to a height of almost 10ft. Every year a new maze is designed so it is always worth a return visit. A Lost Souls Map is available and a viewing platform at the centre may help you find a way out.
The Maze is situated beside Blakes House Craft Centre, with plenty of things to buy and with its own restaurant.
Suitable for pushchairs and there are baby changing facilities.

GLOUCESTERSHIRE

Museums
BEATRIX POTTER’S HOUSE OF THE TAILOR OF GLOUCESTER
9, College Court
Gloucester
Gloucestershire GL1 2NJ

Tel: 01452 422856
http://www.tailor-of-gloucester.org.uk/

This is the actual house depicted in Beatrix Potter’s illustrations for “The Tailor of Gloucester”. Displays and models within the house bring the story to life again. It now also contains a shop which sells Beatrix Potter merchandise.
Beatrix Potter wrote her story based on a local folk tale about a tailor called John Pritchard who was commissioned to make a fine suit of clothes for the Mayor of Gloucester but was unable to finish as he had “no more twist”. Mysteriously, the suit of clothes was finished by someone unknown.
2006 sees special celebrations as it 100 years since the book’s first publication.

Gardens
SUDELEY CASTLE GARDENS
Winchcombe
Cheltenham
Gloucestershire GL54 5JD

Tel: 01242 602308
www.sudeleycastle.co.uk

The castle has had many royal connections in the past, the best known as the home of Katherine Parr who is buried in the church within the grounds. As the castle is still lived in it is only open by prior arrangement.
The 14 acres of grounds which surround it are a mixture of formal gardens such as the Queens Garden with its double row of yew hedges and the Tudor Knot garden alongside the modern and ambitious planting laid out around the Tithe Barn Ruins. There is a wild fowl and pheasantry area. Plenty of events are held throughout the summer.
Adventure playground for over fives.
Coffee shop and baby changing facilities.

Zoos and Safari Parks
Bristol Zoo Gardens
Clifton, Bristol BS8 3HA
Tel: 0117 974 7399
www.bristolzoo.org
Bristol Zoo is an amazing place.  The fifth oldest zoo in the world, it is home to more than 400 different species.  In addition to visiting the animals, there are numerous activities and play areas, including the Zoolympics Trail, where you can test your skills against those of the animal kingdom.  Children will also enjoy Animal Encounters, where you meet some of the Zoo's smaller animals. Another great attraction is the Seal & Penguin Coasts, where you can view seals and penguins in their natural habitat from transparent underwater walkways. Restaurant meals, snacks and baby changing and feeding facilities are available.

HAMPSHIRE

Castles
HURST CASTLE
Keyhaven
Milford-on- Sea
Lymington
Hampshire

Tel: 01590 642344
http://www.hurstcastle.co.uk/

This castle is perched on the end of Hurst Point, one mile into the sea and so commanding an all round view of the Solent, the Isle of Wight and the English coastline. You can walk across the shingle to reach it or catch a boat from Keyhaven.
The twelve sided three storey keep dates form Tudor times and may be climbed, giving a great view from the roof. The castle was used as a fortification in the Napoleonic wars; a 38 tonne cannon remains from these times. Barrack rooms used in the last two World Wars still remain.
Several displays may be seen including one recently opened about lighthouses. Next to the castle is a working lighthouse.
There is a small café.
Suitable for pushchairs but there are no baby changing facilities

Children's Farms
FINKLEY DOWN FARM PARK
Finkley Down
Andover
Hampshire SP11 6NF

Tel: 01264 352195
www.finkleydownfarm.co.uk

This farm park has plenty of animals for children to see and touch. They are able to feed the ducks, hold a rabbit and groom a pony. As well as the animals the farm has playgrounds, sandpits, trampolines and mini tractors. Undercover areas include the barn of Bygones, Romany Barn and Shepherds Hut.
A tea shop is open within the farm, where children’s meals are served.
Baby changing facilities.

LONGDOWN ACTIVITY FARM
Longdown
Ashurst
Southampton
Hampshire SO40 7EH

Tel: 02380 292837
www.longdownfarm.co.uk

As well as all the usual activities for children, such as ponies to groom and rabbits to cuddle, children can try being a farmer for a day [must be pre-booked] and take on chores such as mucking out pigsties and feeding calves.
For letting off steam there are both indoor and outdoor play areas, trampolines and ball pools. A gift shop and tea room selling snacks and drinks are available.
Baby changing facilities.

Country Parks and Nature Reserves
STAUNTON COUNTRY PARK
Middle Park Way
Havant
Hampshire PO9 5HB
Tel: 02392-453405
www.hants.gov.uk/staunton

This park has the only remaining ornamental farm in the country. Here children can meet llamas, peacocks, goats and other animals. Food for the goats and sheep can be purchased. An “I Spy” trail, designed for the under 5’s may be followed. Children can spot hidden characters and collect information on the animals they are looking at.
For older children, a Dinosaur Trail can be followed in the park. The 1000 acres of parkland also contain huge glasshouses, walled gardens, a Sensory garden, Golden Jubilee Maze and a folly.
The children’s play area is situated near to the farm and tea room.
Baby changing facilities.

Zoos and Safari Parks
MARWELL ZOOLOGICAL PARK
Colden Common
Winchester
Hampshire SO21 1JH
Tel: 01962 777407
www.marwell.org.uk

This is a well spread out zoo covering about 100 acres, so there is plenty of space to stop for a picnic or use the play facilities.
There are many of the favourite animals here such as tigers, monkeys, rhinos and leopards as well as meercats, lemurs, wallabies and penguins.
New this year is a 30m long raised walkway into the giraffe paddock so the animals may be met face to face.
If the distances between the enclosures seem too far take the road train which runs through the park or the one way railway which will transport you to the far side.
Meet the Keeper talks are held through out the day as well as seasonal events and activities such as badge making, face painting and touch tables.
There are food kiosks situated throughout the zoo and a restaurant.
Baby changing facilities.

KENT

Groombridge
Tunbridge Wells
Kent
TN3 9QG
Tel: 01892 861444
www.groombridge.co.uk

Set in 200 acres, a visit to Groombridge Place Gardens is an excellent way to spend a few hours. There are several exciting and challenging adventure areas for children, including the Enchanted Forest where they can take the Dark Walk (for children five years and over) and visit the fantasy Dinosaur and Dragon Valley. Younger children will enjoy a visit to the Groms' Village, where they can play in the little houses, look for the giant rabbits and enjoy the swings and sandpit. The gardens are spectacular and Groombridge Place provided the setting for ‘Pride and Prejudice’. You can take a trip on a canal boat, visit the vineyard, enjoy a meal in the restaurant, or picnic in one of the specially designated areas.

MIDLANDS

Museums
BLACK COUNTRY LIVING MUSEUM
Tipton Road
Dudley
West Midlands DY1 4SQ
Tel: 01215 579 643
www.bclm.co.uk

Historic buildings from around the Black Country have been moved and rebuilt at the museum to create an open air living museum. Costumed demonstrators and working craftsmen can be found as you wander down the streets, seeing various houses, shops and working buildings. It is possible to attend a lesson in the school room or take a trip down the underground mine. You can ride on a tram or have a fairground swingboat ride.
Various food and refreshments are available throughout the site. Enjoy a meal at the 1930’s fried fish shop or a drink in the Bottle and Glass Inn. The bakers and sweet shops sell their goods as well. A modern café bar is situated near to the entrance.
Baby changing facilities.

NORFOLK

Steam Railways
BRESSINGHAM STEAM AND GARDENS
Thetford Road
Bressingham
Diss
Norfolk IP22 2AP
Tel: 01379 686900
www.bressingham.co.uk

Started in 1947 by present owner Alan Bloom, the Bressingham Steam Museum has grown considerably. Three working narrow gauge railways operate taking you on a trip through the gardens laid out by Alan Bloom and his son. The extensive locomotive sheds house steam engines, pumps, steam operated carousels, the Royal Coaches and much more.
The national Dad’s Army collection is also housed here. The TV series was filmed in and around Thetford and many of the vehicles used came from the Bressingham Steam Museum.
Picnic and play areas and two restaurants.
There are baby changing facilities.

NORTHUMBERLAND

Castles
Alnwick Castle
Alnwick
Northumberland
NE66 1NQ
England
Tel: 01665 510777
www.alnwickcastle.com

There are lots of things to see and do at the spectacular and medieval Alnwick Castle.  Set in the beautiful Northumbrian countryside, the castle has been used as a film location for everything from Harry Potter to Blackadder.  This summer's special children's events include Harry Spotter Tours, Magic and Wizardry with the Castle Jester and Goldilocks & the Three Bears. You can also enjoy history, art, children's activities and educational events for all ages, or pay a visit to the magnificent garden. Please note that, because of the age of the castle, there is only partial access for wheelchairs and pushchairs.

NOTTINGHAMSHIRE

Museums
GREENS MILL AND SCIENCE CENTRE
Windmill Lane
Sneinton
Nottinghamshire NG2 4QB
Tel: 0115 915 6878
www.greensmill.org.uk

Included as one of Britain’s Best 50 Small Museums, this is one of the few working inner- city windmills in the country. George Green was a 19th century miller who was also a mathematician and scientist; the museum within the mill tells his story. There are plenty of hands-on experiments exploring magnetism, electricity and light, three subjects which interested this fascinating miller.
The windmill can be toured to discover the process of turning grain into flour.
Events are held throughout the season.
Baby changing facilities.

SOMERSET

Children's Farm Parks
COURT FARM COUNTRY PARK
Court Farm
Wolvershill Road
Banwell
Somerset BS29 6DL
Tel: 01934 822383
www.courtfarmcountrypark.co.uk

Over 20,000 sq ft of undercover attractions and playgrounds means this farm can be visited whatever the weather. There are plenty of friendly animals to be seen and handled. Twice daily feeding sessions take place as well as tractor or pony rides and ferret shows. For older children Big Cat rides take you round the farm.
The two large indoor playgrounds cater for all ages. There is a newly extended outdoor adventure playground and the Amazing Monster Ocean Maze opened for the first time this summer.
Tea room and gift shop.
Baby changing facilities.

SUFFOLK

Baylham House Rare Breeds Farm
Mill Lane
Baylham
Ipswich
Suffolk IP6 8LG
Tel: 01473 830264
www.baylham-house-farm.co.uk
For a wonderful day out with all the family visit Baylham House Rare Breeds Farm in the middle of Suffolk, just six miles from Ipswich.  It is a small livestock farm breeding farm animals that were once common but are now rare.   These include rare sheep, cattle, pygmy goats, chickens and pigs, including Kune Kunes, the friendly Maori pigs from New Zealand.  There is also a riverside walk and a place to picnic, and the main area of the farm is wheelchair and pushchair friendly. The visitor’s centre sells gifts, souvenirs and refreshments. Self-catering accommodation is also available. 
SURREY
Gardens and Theme Parks

Chessington World of Adventures
Chessington
Surrey
KT9 2NE
0870 999 0045
www.chessington.co.uk/

A family day out at Chessington World of Adventures offers something for everyone.  The Zoo and Theme Park have lots of activities and rides, including special sections for toddlers and exciting rides and adventures for older children. A wide choice of restaurants and excellent baby-changing and feeding facilities, including bottle-warmers, are provided.

YORKSHIRE

Gardens and Theme Parks
The Forbidden Corner
The Tupgill Park Estate
Coverdale
Middleham
Leyburn
North Yorkshire
DL8 4TJ
01969 640638
www.yorkshirenet.co.uk/theforbiddencorner

For an exciting and different day out, pay a visit to The Forbidden Corner.  Children and adults will meet challenges around every corner, while following a labyrinth of tunnels and passages, and will have to make quick decisions to avoid being caught out!  There is a shop where refreshments are available.  Some parts of the garden are only accessible via steps. The Forbidden Corner is open from April to October.  Please Note: admission is only by prior arrangement.  You can book online or call 01969 640638 for further details.

LIGHTWATER VALLEY THEME PARK
North Stainley
Ripon
North Yorkshire HG4 3HT
Tel: 0871 720 0011
www.lightwatervalley.net
This is a family theme park with plenty to entertain all ages. The park claims to have the longest rollercoaster ride in Europe - The Ultimate and the biggest swingboat in Britain - The Wave. There are many other rides to thrill older children and adults alike.
For the younger children there are slower and smaller rides and this year half hourly magic shows have been added.
As well as the rides you can take a boat out on the lake or ride through the park on a train.
Nature trails have been laid out through the woodlands nearby where you may like to picnic. Restaurants and kiosks provide meals and snacks in the park.
Alongside the theme park is the Lightwater Valley Country Shopping Village and Bird of Prey Centre [small entry charge].
Baby changing facilities.
Children's Farms and Wildlife Parks
HAZEL BROW VISITOR CENTRE
Low Row
Richmond
North Yorkshire DL11 6NE
Tel: 01748 886 224
www.hazelbrow.co.uk
This is an award winning organic livestock farm run in the heart of Swaledale. As well as taking a guided tour around the farm seeing all the animals, understand more about farming through displays, exhibitions and a video.
Seasonal demonstrations such as lambing can be seen along with local craft workers who practise skills such as shepherding and spinning.
Children’s indoor and outdoor play areas are provided or take a riverside nature trail or walk through hay meadows and moorland.
Local food is on sale in the café.
Baby changing facilities.
TROPICAL WORLD
Canal Gardens
Roundhay Park
Leeds
West Yorkshire LS8 2ER
Tel: 0113 266 1850
www.roundhaypark.org.uk
Set within the large Roundhay Park this is a tropical island-themed park with “beaches”, a rainforest, waterfalls and butterfly house. There is plenty to see al around you; terrapins and carp, bats, monkeys and meerkats as well as weird tropical insects, snakes and spiders. A nocturnal zone can be viewed.
The park has the largest collection of tropical plants outside Kew Gardens.
A gift shop and café are within the park.
Baby changing facilities.
Country Parks and Nature Reserves
WHITE SCAR CAVE
Ingleton
North Yorkshire LA6 3AW
Tel: 01524 241 244
www.whitescarcave.co.uk
This is the longest showcave in Britain. Sculptured by nature over thousands of years you are taken on an 80 minute guided tour which covers a mile underground. Waterfalls and gushing streams lead you to a huge Ice Age cavern decorated with thousands of stalactites and the 330ft Battlefield cavern all beautifully lit.
Café and shop.
Baby changing facilities.
Sealife Centres
THE DEEP
Hull HU1 4DP
Tel: 01482 381000
www.thedeep.co.uk
This centre, built in the shape of a ship, tells the story of the world’s oceans. To get beneath the sea creatures, who are in a 10m deep tank which contains 2.5millon litres of water, you need to travel in the world’s only underwater lift. Overhead you will see seven species of sharks, rays, eels and many other fascinating creatures of the deep. There are lots of hands-on and interactive activities.
There are two cafes, where refreshments may be bought.
Baby changing facilities.

SCOTLAND

ABERDEENSHIRE

Museums
ARCHEOLINK PREHISTORY PARK
Oyne
Insch
Aberdeenshire AB52 6QP
Tel: 01464 851500
www.archaeolink.co.uk
This multi award winning living history park brings to life 10,000 years of history. Both indoors and outdoors there are plenty of hands-on activities, workshops and guided tours taking you from a Mesolithic camp to a Roman Marching camp. Inside exhibits include The Circle of Time and Myths and Legends Gallery. Outside are reconstructions of a Neolithic stone circle, working Iron Age farm and Bronze Age metal smith. Demonstrations such as spinning, weaving and prehistoric cookery take place throughout the summer as well as daily activities in each area.
Coffee and Gift shop
Baby changing facilities

FIFE

Sealife Centres
Deep Sea World
Battery Quarry
North Queensferry
Fife
KY11 1JR
Tel: 01383 411 880
www.deepseaworld.com

Just a short drive from Edinburgh, a visit to Deep Sea World promises to be an exciting day out.  Lots to see, including seals, sharks and a huge variety of colourful fish.  The underwater tunnel is 112 Metres long (one of the longest in the world) and is the best way to observe the sharks!  There are  'tactile areas' at Deep Sea World where children are encouraged to touch the fish, with staff in attendance. The restaurant caters for children and adults and there are baby-changing facilities and bottle-warmers.  Deep Sea World is a popular venue for children's birthday parties and they will also organise pirate themed parties.

PERTHSHIRE

Zoos and Safari Parks
Auchingarrich Wildlife Park
Comrie
Perthshire
PH6 2JS
Tel: 01764 670486
www.auchingarrich.co.uk

Auchingarrich Wildlife Park, near Comrie in Perthshire, offers a great family day out.  The Park is home to a large variety of animals, including Beavers, Deer, Chinchillas, Donkeys, Meerkats, Prairie Dogs, Rabbits and Wallabies.  There is also a Hatchery where children can handle the chickens, rabbits and guinea pigs, and may even see a chicken pecking its way out of the shell!  The two excellent and imaginative play areas includes one specially created for under-fives, and with picnic sites and walks, the Park offers something for everyone.  There is also a cafe and shop and great baby-changing facilities.

RENFREWSHIRE

Country Parks and Reserves
FINLAYSTONE COUNTRY ESTATE
Longbank
Port Glasgow
Renfrewshire
Central Scotland PA14 6TJ
Tel: 01475 540505
www.finlaystone.co.uk
Close to Finlaystone House [not open to the public] are the formal gardens first laid out in the 1900’s. These include a “smelly” garden, walled garden, sculptured hedges and Celtic Maze. Beyond lie 140 acres of woodlands where children can follow nature trails to help them identify the wildlife and flora around them, or let off steam in one of the adventure playgrounds with names such as Fort William, Fort George and Norman Conquest.
The Eye Opener Visitor Centre gives information about the local natural history as well as topical displays such as the history of the Clan MacMillian.
The Celtic Tree tea room sells hot and cold snacks and drinks.
Baby changing facilities.

WALES

Farm Parks
Cardigan Island Coastal Farm Park
Gwbert-On-Sea
Cardigan
Ceredigion
SA43 1PR
Tel: 01239 623 637
www.cardiganisland.com
This beautiful Farm Park provides the best view of seals in Wales, where a colony of Atlantic Grey Seals can often be seen.  This area is also home to bottlenose dolphins.    There is an adventure playground with sand pit and picnic area, and there are also farm animals to be seen, including Shetland ponies, cattle, wallabies, llamas, emus, goats, guinea pigs and lambs.  Take-away refreshments are available. 
Museums
ERDDIG HALL
Erddig
Wrexham
North Wales LL13 OYT
Tel: 01978 355314
www.nationaltrust.org.uk
The house and garden give a fascinating insight into the domestic life of the 18th and 19th centuries. When donated to the National Trust in the 1970’s, the house revealed that its owners and servants had never thrown anything away. The trivial and trite lay alongside priceless works of art and furniture.
A visit begins in the outbuildings full of workshops, carriages and cars. Then move into the kitchens, bakehouse and laundry areas. The walls are hung with photos of past servants who were held in high regard by their employers. Above stairs you can visit the family rooms including the dining room, State bedroom, nursery and finally the servants’ quarters in the attics.
In the grounds is one of the best preserved examples of a walled 18th century garden, where rare fruit trees still thrive. You can take a carriage drive to view the grounds.
There is a restaurant serving children’s meals.
Baby changing facilities.
BIG PIT NATIONAL MINING MUSEUM
Blaenavon
Torfaen
North Wales NP4 9XP
Tel: 01495 790311
www.museumwales.ac.uk/en/bigpit/

This museum has been created from a working coal mine, which closed in 1980. Hour-long underground tours are led by ex-miners. The tour begins with travelling down to the mine in a pit cage, then following the underground roadways. Above ground the colliery may be explored including the winding engine house and blacksmiths workshop.
New exhibitions have recently opened in the Pithead Baths and here you can enjoy something to eat in the canteen, which offers snacks and meals.
Gift shop.
Baby changing facilities.

Steam railway

FFESTINIOG RAILWAY
Harbour Station
Porthmadog
Gwynedd
North Wales LL49 9NF
www.festrail.co.uk

The Ffestiniog railway is the oldest independent railway in the world. The track takes you 13 miles through the Snowdonia National Park from coastline to mountains.
A new feature is the “Talking Train”. There are two specially adapted trains which offer this service; an audio tour which brings to life the local history, flora and fauna of the countryside you are travelling through. There are frequent stops along the way, enabling passengers to alight and admire the views. Marker posts and the engine’s whistle will give you the cue to listen in on your audio set.
There are cafes and baby changing facilities.

And Finally...

Should you wish to recommend an attraction or theme park that you consider suitable for a family day out, please send brief details to editorial@contentedbaby.com

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