Ten great days out for kids

Published 19 August 2013

It's the final leg of the summer holidays, try one of our days out to entertain the kids before they head back to school.

1. Seven Stories, Tyne and Wear Free entry with National Art Pass

Jacqueline Wilson, Philip Pullman, Enid Blyton and Quentin Blake are just a few of the authors and illustrators represented in Britain's national gallery of children's literature and art. A lively programme of events featuring writers, artists and entertainers means there's always something new for families to enjoy.

2. British Music Experience, London
50% off with National Art Pass

Children and parents alike will love this tribute to British pop music from The Beatles to Radiohead. Older visitors can admire outfits worn by superstars including David Bowie and John Lennon, while children might be more interested the Gibson Interactive Studio, where they can try their hand at playing and recording on real instruments.

3. The Historic Dockyard Chatham, Kent
Free entry with National Art Pass

With warships ranging from a Victorian sloop-of-war to a Cold War submarine, there's plenty for aspiring sailors to explore at the dockyard that made Tudor Britain a naval superpower. Visitors can explore three historic warships, discovering how life on the fastest ship in the Royal Navy fleet compares to the claustrophobic experience of submariners.

4. Blists Hill Victorian Town, Shropshire
Free entry with National Art Pass

If your kids won't stay still long enough to look at exhibits, this vast interactive Victorian town might be the museum for them. With a narrow gauge, horses and karts, and active shops including a working bakery and iron forge, Blists Hill tells the story of the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution.

5. Natural History Museum, London
50% off exhibitions with National Art Pass

Nobody ever forgets their first encounter with South Kensington's life-size, animated Tyrannosaurus rex, but there's more to the Natural History Museum than dinosaurs. Moon rock fragments, a dodo skeleton, the skull of a Barbary lion, and a 4.6-billion-year-old meteorite are just a few of the items on show from the museum's rich and wonderful collections.

6. Horniman Museum and Gardens, London​
Free entry to exhibitions with National Art Pass

While its famous overfilled walrus is currently on holiday in Margate, there's plenty to enjoy at this oversized cabinet of curiosities in south-east London. Where else in Britain could you rub shoulders with live alpacas, admire an acclaimed aquarium (free entry with a National Art Pass), discover a mysterious torture chair, and explore a world-famous collection of stuffed animals?

7. Bletchley Park, Buckinghamshire
Free entry with National Art Pass

Birthplace of the modern computer and headquarters of the United Kingdom's code-breaking operations during the Second World War, this unassuming Victorian estate near Milton Keynes is home to national museums of spying and computing. Collection highlights include an Abwehr G312, one of the original Enigma machines used by the Nazis to encode messages, and the world's oldest working digital computer.

8. Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Strathclyde
50% off exhibitio​ns with National Art Pass

Sir Roger the Indian elephant, a swooping Spitfire and Egyptian antiques – it's not hard to see why Kelvingrove is Britain's most visited museum outside of London. Glasgow's greatest museum has plenty to keep younger visitors entertained, while Dutch Renaissance and French Impressionist masterpieces make it an essential visit for older culture vultures, too.

9. Preston Park Museum and Grounds, Cleveland
Free entry with National Art Pass

Journey back to 1895 with Preston Park's functioning Victorian street, featuring fully restored shops including a printer, forge, draper, grocer and tea room. The house itself has been painstakingly reconstructed to its original Victorian specification, complete with a kitchen garden and orchard, with staff in period dress cooking from authentic 19th-century recipes.

10. Creswell Crags, Nottinghamshire
Free entry to exhibitions with National Art Pass

People have been visiting Creswell's honeycomb of caves for almost 60,000 years, when nomadic peoples occupied the limestone gorge to take shelter from the elements. Visitors to the crags today can discover the stone tools, bonework and cave art left behind by early modern humans, and experience torch-lit tours of the labyrinthine cave network (25% off Ice Age Tour with your National Art Pass).

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