13 best family days out in the South East: Cheap things to do with your kids

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  • We’ve compiled this list of our top 14 days out in the South East to make sure you get the most of your family days out.

    From searching for fairies to becoming a knight, we’ve got the perfect days out in the South East to keep your kids happy during the school summer holidays. To make things better, they’re all super affordable!

    READ MORE: Best family days out in the North East

    These are the best family days out in the South East…

    1. The Enchanted Forest, Groombridge

    Now open, with children’s adventure play areas open from July 4.

    See the fairytales come to life in this enchanting forest, full of magic and destiny. Activities alter depending on the season but there’s always something to do, be it watching a play, making a crown or searching for the woodland fairies. Your kids will fall in love with one of the most imaginative days out in the South East your family can experience. Make sure you check out the zip wire, pirate ship, archery and firing range (Nerf guns only!). It also features the UK’s longest and highest treetop walkway which stands over 20m above the forest floor.

    Best for: Imagination

    Ages: 4+


    2. The New Forest, Hampshire

    Some visitor attractions are now open. 

    There’s plenty of things to do in the New Forest whatever the season. From cycling, to stopping, to admiring the 5,000 local ponies, the whole family will love a day out here. You can also camp close by, explore the area on horseback or take a long-distance hike through the impressive grounds.

    Best for: Fresh air

    Ages: 4+


    3. Bodiam Castle, Bodium

    The car park, grounds and Castle View Cafe are open. 

    With a stunning backdrop and surrounded by a beautiful moat, this castle really does bring history to life. Built during the reign of Richard the Lionheart, your kids will love exploring and getting involved with all the great activities. They can visit the Medieval town, become a knight or princess and find out what Medieval food tasted like (surprisingly good!). This won’t be just any trip to a castle, it will be an unforgettable day, doused in history and learning.

    Best for: Interactive history

    Ages: 3+


    4. Canterbury Treasure Trail, Canterbury

    As a public trail, it’s always been open. 

    Indulge your kids’ imaginations with this great spy-themed, self-guided walk around the historic city of Canterbury. As you follow the route, try to solve the clues and crack the code to solve the mission. Have your kids got what it takes to be a spy? This is a great and really cheap way to get your kids to explore local cities and really notice their surroundings. And while you’re there why not check out Canterbury Cathedral? These great value treasure trails are available in a number of cities across the country so have a search to find your nearest one.

    Best for: Value

    Ages: 3+


    5. Blue Reef Aquarium, Hastings

    Open July 4. 

    Head to an underwater world in this great aquarium. With fish of all shapes and colours – not to mention a few sharks – your kids won’t be disappointed with what’s on offer. Attend the ocean presentation to learn more about the fish and get a front-row view at shark feeding time. There’s even a chance to get up close and personal with the creepy crawlies at the reptile-handling session. No matter what you do, you are guaranteed to have a great, if somewhat fishy, day out.

    Best for: Reptile handling

    Ages: 6+


    6. Legoland, Windsor

    Open July 4. 

    Legoland is the ultimate kids entertainment experience, there is just so much to do! And there are loads of clever ways to make a visit more affordable – many visitors take advantage of cereal box offers or newspaper promotions so some of you can go for free. From the hilarious live pirate shows, the thrilling rides to the cool 4D cinema, there is something to suit all ages and tastes – look out for the exciting new Ninjago section too. It can be demanding to do Legoland all in one day, so you might consider staying overnight in the brand new knights-and-wizards-themed Castle Hotel located in the theme park. You can then roll out of bed, prise the kids out of their bunk beds and away from their games consoles, and enjoy a hearty cooked breakfast in the Tournament Tavern before you head off for a fun-filled day.

    Best for: Lots of variety

    Ages: 3+


    7. Harbour Park, Littlehampton

    Phased reopening from July 4. 

    You’ll have bucket loads of fun with the kids at Harbour Park and they can cool down in the sea (weather permitting!) With lovely picnic greens and riverside walks, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to have a lovely time here. To enjoy the fairground style rides you’ll save money by booking your ticket in advance – an unlimited ride wristband costs £18 when purchased online. The attractions are best suited for children aged between two and 12. If the weather turns there is also an indoor place area for over 3s.

    Best for: Fun by the sea

    Ages: 2+


    8. Bluebell Railway, Sheffield Park

    Provisional reopening date set for August 7 2020. 

    Take a trip on one of these fantastic vintage trains through the beautiful Sussex countryside. Although prices for this day out are slightly higher budget, it is one of the days out in the South East really worth the expense and Blue Peter badge holders get to go for free! You might also be interested in a Bluebell Bonus pass which entitles adults to half price travel for a year and children just £1! Open all year round, experience the gorgeous summer or a Victorian Christmas as you steam your way down the track.

    Best for: The views

    Ages: 4+


    9. Guildford Spectrum, Guildford

    Temporarily closed.

    Treat your kids to one of the greatest days out in the South East at Guildford Spectrum. From the smallest baby to the most rebellious of teens, they have activities to provide a great day of active fun. Take a dip in the swimming pool, which boasts water wheels, fish squirts and a shark shower. For those braver kids there’s a diving pool with boards at 1, 3 and 5 meters high. Don’t forget to check out the ice skating rink, open all year round and suitable for kids of all ages. If that’s not for you, the Spectrum also contains ten pin bowling, Specky’s Pirate Ship and a range of sporting activities. We promise you, you will not get bored here!

    Best for: Rainy days

    Ages: 5+ (depending on activity, at parents’ discretion)


    10. Bounce Indoor Trampoline Park, Bletchley

    Temporarily closed until further notice.

    Keep your kids active with this great indoor trampoline park. With trampolines lining the floor and walls, bouncing has never been more fun! Your kids will go crazy for this amazing way to get active and have fun. And a bonus – they’ll probably be completely tired out by the end,  meaning an early night for us mums, phew! You’ll also find an AirHop – another trampoline park – near Guildford, but at slightly higher prices. It’s a great activity if the classic British summer isn’t looking great outdoors…

    Best for: Getting active
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    11. Tulleys Farm, Crawley

    Drive-thru farm shop open only.

    The attractions at Tulleys Farm change seasonally, but we promise no matter when you go, your kids will love it! With logic puzzles, illusions, giant games, and one of the country’s best rated Escape Rooms, there is so much to do. Explore the adventure playground, take a ride on a tractor or have a game of farmers and frisbee golf. Your kids will be begging you to come here, time and time again.

    Best for: The escape rooms
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    12. Chiselhurst Caves, Kent

    Temporarily closed.

    Head underground and explore the expansive caves in Chiselhurst, running up to 22 miles long. Take a guided tour as you discover mystery and history beneath your feet. Originally dug for chalk, they are now a huge tourist attraction, with stories on the Druids, Roman, Saxons, smugglings and even murder! For adventurous kids, this is a day trip that they will never forget, if you can find your way out, that is…

    Best for: Adventure and education!

    Ages: 7+


    13. The Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre, Great Missenden

    Temporarily closed.

    This great little Museum is aimed at 6-12 year-olds and their families and is situated in Roald Dahl’s home village of Great Missenden. Find out about Roald Dahl’s life and stories using touch-screen monitors, hands-on exhibits and activities. Unlock your inner storyteller, see the author’s original Writing Hut and amazing treasures from the archive in the heart of Roald Dahl country. Workshops, events and free storytelling take place at weekends and in school holidays.

    Best for: 3D Learning

    Ages: 3+


    Do you know of any great days out in the South East of England with the family? List any hidden gems you know about below and we might even feature them in our round-up!

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