As the summer hols have come around yet again, I’ve been scouring the Internet for ideas on where to take my boys, and decided to put together an article on my favourite places to give something back to other mums! Hope you enjoy the read…and maybe even find it useful!
1. Harry Potter Studio Tour
This is like utopia for Potter fans. I was one of the many who queued up at midnight for the books and drowned my stomach with Red Bull to stay awake for the premiere of the final film, so I do consider myself pretty hardcore! I went on the studio tour with the boys (mini Potter fans) and my husband (who pretends he doesn’t like it but secretly loves it) and nearly died with happiness.
The tour includes a visit to the simply stunning sets, including the Great Hall, Dumbledore’s office, Diagon Alley, the Hogwarts bridge (last seen blown to smithereens by the gallant Neville Longbottom in the final HP film!) and where it all began, Number 4, Privet Drive. There are loads of the original props and costumes on show; the Nimbus 2000 was a personal favourite, because flying and Quidditch would definitely be my thing if I was a wizard. It’s quite a pricey day out with an adult price of £29 and a child being £21.50, especially if you have to travel to get there, but it’s well worth the money and something we were all desperate to do.
2. Cadbury World
WARNING: this is the best place to blow you diet sky-high. I suffer from anosmia (which means I can’t smell), and recently my GP told me that the majority of what you taste comes from smell. I, quite simply, beg to differ. I adore chocolate. I also love pizza, chips, cake, ice cream, crisps, biscuits, pasties, sausages, and anything else that’s fatty and unhealthy, but chocolate is definitely the winner by a country mile.
Cadbury World is one of my favourite days out, and it’s perfect for the whole family, whatever age your kids are. It shows you how chocolate is made, from its origins as cocoa beans in a Mexican jungle, to its moulding into the bars we see on shelves every day. Definitely a highlight was the world’s biggest Cadbury shop. OK, so it’s a shameless act to try get more money out of desperate people with an addiction to chocolate, but the purple packaging is to me what catnip is to cats. I just want to rub as much of it on me as possible. But not really. Eating it is good enough! The chocolate I mean, not the wrappers.
3. Blackpool Pleasure Beach
Tacky, traditional British fun at its best! This is a great family day out for everyone.
I’d recommend you check out the Pleasure Beach website and have a look at the rides to gauge whether they’re suitable for your kids, and, if it’s their first time, to check out how they feel about the rides; you definitely do not want to waste time and money if they can’t/won’t go on the rides. There are, of course, height restrictions on the rides, but it’s actually pretty difficult to find these on the website (naughty Blackpool), so I’ve included a link to help you out. http://www.blackpoolpleasurebeach.com/rides/nickelodeon-land/ It’s quite hard to navigate around but you can click on the rides individually to see their height requirements. There are also videos on the site which you can show your kids before you make the journey and then part with your £25 per person, adult or child! (There’s an offer on at the moment; a wristband is normally £29.99 per person).
One of my bad-mother hobbies is to wait until my boys have gone to bed, destroy their Lego monstrosities and re-create work that can only be classed as genius. I’ve made a pretty good multi-coloured Lego elephant, my version of Anfield football ground, and I’ve even made, under the influence of a large glass of wine or two – and much to Jack’s disgust – made my Lego people do naughty things to each other.
This park is perfect for kids aged 2-12 combines a theme park and part Lego sculpture gallery. How interesting can Lego be? I hear you ask. The answer is: very. The sculptures are AMAZING! Even Jack was impressed, and he rates everything low because he’s a bit of a moaner – but a very cute one.
If you can book at least 7 days in advance you’ll receive 25%, which is significant when you consider it’s £29.95 per person!
5. Monkey Forest, Staffordshire
Not an animal lover? Look away now! Monkey Forest is exactly what it says on the tin: it has monkeys living in a forest that you can walk around. If that idea freaks you out, don’t visit. If you’ve never had that experience and are even mildly intrigued, you should DEFINITELY visit Monkey Forest.
Quite simply, you walk around a forest that is home to about 140 monkeys (or Barbary macques, to give them their official title). There are NO cages so they can get as up close and personal with you as they want. Beware! (Seriously, don’t eat in front of them!) Adults are £7.50 and children are £5.50, which is cheap for such an experience!
What Do You Think? I hope this article’s given you an idea of somewhere a bit different to take your kids these summer hols as a real treat for them. Any questions about any of the places, feel free to get in touch! Thanks for reading! Ella x