Children may not be as enthused about traveling the world as their parents are. After the initial “wow, we get to miss school,” their interest skyrockets right out the window in many cases. Museums and bus rides aren’t exactly the highlight of their day. You want to see the best places in the United Kingdom but also want to keep little ones happy. If you’re planning to visit the elegant, mysterious country of England with children in tow, here are some great suggestions to avoid another round of “Mom/Dad, or we going *home* soon?”
A Different Kind of City: York in the Shadows
York may not be scary in daylight hours, but just wait!
England is a beautiful, striking country with natural scenery, legendary lore, and history around every corner. Maybe it sounds beautiful to the adults in the group, but the kids might find it less amusing. Let’s start with York. If your children love to be scared or the little boy in the family seems to have the same fascination with instruments of torture as his distant ancestors, you might want to head on over to the York Dungeon. Children who like getting a thrill will enjoy bragging to their friends and family that they actually stepped inside a real live dungeon. Be warned of some possible encounters with special effects on your medieval romp.
Are kids still complaining that they’re not scared enough? Does the idea of staying in the hotel room all night just make them antsy? If so, consider the Haunted Walk of York, where you’ll hear some terrific stories that helped make up the city’s history. If kids have a strict bedtime, you might want to extend it for vacation. After all, when’s the next time they will get the opportunity to traipse around a haunted city in the “dead of night?”
London: An Old Favorite That’s Very Kid-Friendly
Impress kids with London’s long list of attractions:
(1) When kids first glimpse the striking London Eye, they might think they’re at a carnival. The ferris wheel is visible from many places around the city (it seems to be an odd contrast to older, more venerable attractions) and it isn’t actually just for amusement. Ride to the top to get a stunning panorama of the beauty of London. Even children who aren’t “historically-inclined” will love this attraction; it combines the fun of a park with the ability to see far and wide and take lots of pictures. I personally would rather see the city from a ferris wheel than from the air, so if you don’t like flying, this is a good option.
(2) For children who like traditional kid-friendly activities, there are many options in London. Try the London Zoo for hours of fun with all kinds of animals, and then hop on over to the London Aquarium for more of the creatures with which we share our world. Don’t surprised if you come back to the hotel with a lot more souvenirs than you had before. At least a day should be taken for each attraction, but if there isn’t enough time, I suggest taking no less than three hours at each place to get as much of the experience as possible.
(3) Are your kids interested in science? Perhaps they’re the brainy type, getting excited about the prospect of discovering new things more than exploring the city. If that’s the case, the Science Museum is certainly worth a visit. It may be a little bland for many kids, but for those who enjoy learning wherever they are, this is a great choice. The Museum of London is another option for families who want to combine travel with learning. Check their website and research the different sections of the museums; if there’s one section in particular that would be interesting to your family, try to make sure to visit here.
Kids Don’t Want to Take A “Bath” in Bath?
Here are some other options!
Let kids get “lost” without calling the police! Children will love the idea of their very own private maze – or at least it will be hard to convince them that it wasn’t built solely for their amusement! The maze in Bath, England, should provide fun for those with rambunctious little ones; the carefully-cut lines should entice children to hop, step, and jump. Mazes aren’t just for kids, though, so don’t be afraid to get in on the action.
No trip would be complete without a stop at the toy store, and Tridias should fulfill your child’s every wish. Few souvenirs are as special to children as a doll, a stuffed animal, or some other item brought back from their trip. There are far more categories than dolls and toys here, however; maybe the adults in the family can find something that brings them back to their childhood. Children will be pulling their poor parents in every direction as they find many things they’ve probably never seen before.
Take Children to Birmingham . . .
No, not Alabama!
I’m not quite sure who would enjoy this next attraction more, kids or their parents! Anyone with a sweet tooth shouldn’t miss Cadbury World, the Birmingham home of the extremely well-loved Cadbury chocolates. You probably won’t want to eat a big meal beforehand, because after the tour, kids will be begging to eat chocolate for lunch and it might not sound like such a bad idea! The tour itself may not be the “cool” part in kids’ eyes, but seeing the creation of chocolate will certainly grab their senses.
For kids who like things you can’t see anywhere else, or who enjoy unique experiences, another attraction to consider is the burial site of Nanetta Stocker. She was considered to be one of the shortest people in history (at least since records were kept). Her grave dates from the early 19th century. If this isn’t the kind of sightseeing you want to do, stop at Rays Farm for some old-fashioned country-style playtime. Kids will probably choose this a lot quicker if they like animals and being outdoors.London is full of activities for children to enjoy. Even the most modern, 21st century kid should appreciate the many venues of history and the great views found here, but if old churches and medieval streets aren’t their cup of tea, children should like the following attractions: