The north west of England has so many exciting opportunities for family days out, just there waiting for people to discover.
If you're looking for things to do with kids over the holidays then you've certainly come to the right place. Virtual tours and Zoom games are great for lockdown but all these fantastic places will soon be ready to visit again when the lockdown is lifted. Be sure to plan your visit in advance and tickets will fly off the shelves!
Best family days out in the North West
1. The Southport Treasure Trail, Southport
This is one activity that's still open to local residents in the north west of England. This Southport Treasure Trail is a self-guided experience, all open in the fresh air and allowed as part of the daily exercise rules for lockdown.
As you follow the trail, you solve sneaky clues embedded into existing buildings and monuments to discover the location of the buried treasure at the X-marks the spot. It all starts at the town end of Southport's pier and goes all through the traditional seaside town.
It's suitable for everyone, age six right up to 106. Approximately 1.1 miles long, the trail should take around one and a half hours to complete and just one trail booklet is needed for 4-6 people.
Best for: Imaginative kids! FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE SOUTHPORT TREASURE TRAIL
2. Lyme Park, Disley
If you love a family stroll in the park, then you'll love this North West England attraction. Along with hosting a number of children's events throughout the year normally, there's also an adventure playground and a beautiful terrain to explore.
As a National Trust property, the 1400 acre Medieval park is full of deer and tranquil gardens, built in the Victorian times. There's something for everyone to explore - and eat. The Timber Yard Café is almost a reason to visit the site itself as it's a great option for a takeaway coffee to drink while walking the grounds. Food options include delicious rolls, paninis, salad and all kinds of cake.
It's another beautiful space in the north west of England, open during lockdown. A statement from Lyme Park encourages visitors over the next few months but says, 'In line with government guidance, outdoor spaces only are open daily for local visitors to access for walks. We ask all visitors to follow guidance on social distancing to keep everyone safe. Please continue to book your visit in advance.'
Best for: Getting outdoors FIND OUT MORE ABOUT LYME PARK
2. Walby Farm Park, Carlisle
Being an all-weather attraction, this is one of the days out in the North West best suited to the unpredictable English climate!
Sat very close to Hadrian's Wall, this unique farm boasts Cumbria's biggest indoor play area. It's also got loads of exciting outdoor play spaces, a nature train and of course, plenty of animals. There's three Alpacas (called Amber, Inca and Alvis) to visit, calves, chickens, ducks, goats, guinea pigs, horses and donkeys, pigs, rabbits and reindeer - among many others!
If you're feeling brave, you can have a go on the 24ft Demon Drop slide (suitable for adults too!) or if you're more of a speed demon, take a ride on the go-karts.
The farm is currently closed under lockdown restrictions but if you're lucky, you might catch lambs being born over February, March and April on the live lambing cam.
Best for: Being great fun whatever the weather FIND OUT MORE ABOUT WALBY FARM
1. Lakes Aquarium, Ulverston
For a small fee, you and the family can enjoy the most beautiful of days out in the North West by checking out its stunning lakes - with over 30 amazing, naturally-themed habitats on show. Pay a visit to the playful otters or say hello to the less friendly piranhas, there's just so much wildlife to see. The underwater tunnel, home of the diving ducks, is an unbelievable experience and will give everyone a walk to remember.
A statement on the aquarium's website reads, 'Following on from the most recent government announcement, the Lakes Aquarium is currently closed. We hope to re-open again soon, and will let you know as soon as we are able to. Stay Safe!'
Best for: Rainy days FIND OUT MORE ABOUT LAKES AQUARIUM
4. Cheeky Monkeys, Chorley
Bring out the animal in every child with a trip to this MASSIVE jungle-themed adventure play facility. If you're chasing one of the more adventurous days out in North West England, then this is certainly the one to go for.
There's a multi-level climbing structure with so many opportunities to scale, scale, run, huge, tunnel and tussle. Daily entertainment is also laid on by various members of the animal kingdom, so every cheeky monkey will have something to do.
If you can prise kids away from the frame, there's also football and trampolining, supervised climbing and more. Plus, the second Wednesday of every month is exclusively dedicated to guests with autism and ADHD.
Best for: Tiring out energetic kids FIND OUT MORE ABOUT CHEEKY MONKEYS
3. Lancaster Maritime Museum, Lancaster
This Maritime Museum is definitely worth a look-in if you're about in Lancaster, especially on rainy days out in the North West. You'll leave with a valuable understanding about Lancaster's maritime trade, the history of the port, the Lancaster Canal and the fish industry of the Lune Estuary and Morecambe Bay.
Learning is made fun through sound, smells, reconstructions and audiovisuals. There are also four restored local fishing vessels and an aquarium for you to see too - not bad at all!
The museum is currently closed under lockdown restrictions, but the museum have said they will, 'will publicise our plans once they are in place.'
Best for: Price - accompanied children go free FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE LANCASTER MARITIME MUSEUM
5. Hyde Leisure Pool, Hyde
This leisure pool isn't just for swimmers, although there is a fitness centre, spa and cafe as well. Children that love an active, unique and exciting swimming experience will adore a trip to Hyde Leisure Pool in Hyde.
It features a Red Ripster Aqua Slide, wave machine, water cannons, geysers, and a bubble pool, as well as all the standard swimming facilities. The popular lazy river style area is so much fun and pulls you along - no swimming required, just let the water do the work for you. There are also swimming lessons available for all ages.
However, it's closed at the moment due to lockdown restrictions.
Best for: All ages FIND OUT MORE ABOUT HYDE LEISURE POOL
8. Mersey Ferry River Explorer Cruise, Liverpool
All aboard people! This 50-minute journey on an iconic Mersey ferry is a must if you're in Liverpool. You'll be able to witness the rapidly-changing South West waterfront first-hand. The guide commentary makes the experience even better by giving you a greater understanding of the local history and sights.
The family can enjoy a day out which is relaxing, educational and most importantly, enjoyable. Just be sure to keep a close eye on the weather and dress accordingly!
Service is currently suspended but will resume in the next couple of months.
Best for: A sunny day FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE MERSEY FERRY RIVER EXPLORER CRUISE
10. Onchan Park Mini Golf, Onchan
This is one of the most popular leisure attractions in the north west of England, for both locals and tourists. Onchan Pleasure Park has its own boating lake and a large play park, alongside their mini golf site.
It's a wonderful trip out for the entire family as everyone can take part in the mini-golf or crazy golf games, before a race round the playground, down the slides and across the swings.
There's also the Dance Factory and Jump Zone, which feature a dance studio, an indoor soft play area and trampolines. While adults can take in a few sets of tennis or jump in on a leisurely game of bowls.
Travel to Onchan is restricted under lockdown at the moment, with many hospitality sites closed.
Best for: Value FIND OUT MORE ABOUT ONCHAN MINI GOLF PARK
11. National Football Museum, Manchester
Inspire your kids to get sporty with a trip to the National Football Museum. It's a world-class home for the greatest collection of football memorabilia ever assembled – over 140,000 items – including the FIFA Collection. Fans of football will love the exhibitions of past and present and the interactive galleries that explain all about the ‘beautiful game’. Plus, it's free!
The museum is closed for the moment under lockdown restrictions but will reopen when the lockdown lifts.
Best for: Football fans FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL MUSEUM
12. World Museum, Liverpool
Discover treasures from around the world, explore outer space and meet live creatures with attractions including The Bug House, The Clore Natural History Centre & The Living Laboratory. With a range of exhibitions and interactive displays there are events to entertain and educate all the family.
Best for: The whole family FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE WORLD MUSEUM
These are just some of the best days out in North West England, with quite a few still open over the next few months when lockdown lifts.
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Grace Walsh is a Features Writer for Goodto.com, covering breaking news health stories during the Covid-19 pandemic as well as lifestyle and entertainment topics. She has worked in media since graduating from the University of Warwick in 2019 with a degree in Classical Civilisation and a year spent abroad in Italy. It was here that Grace caught the bug for journalism, after becoming involved in the university’s student newspaper and radio station.
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