With its short days and changeable weather, winter can be a rather dreary time of the year. Sometimes it can be hard to find things to do with the kids, particularly after the excitement of Christmas has worn off.
Check out our Top 10 winter days out with kids:
1. Geocache (Free)
Geocaching is a treasure hunt in the open air and is a great way to encourage your kids to get out and about. You simply enter your co-ordinates into a GPS tracker/smart phone and go about finding some treasure (cache).
A traditional cache is typically a plastic box containing a log book plus some swapables/trackables. The size of the cache can vary considerably so if you are a beginner start with the traditional cache before moving onto the smaller, and therefore harder to find, nano or micro cache.
There are millions of geocaches across the world so you can play this anywhere from your local area to the top of Mount Snowdon.
It’s important that you don’t draw attention to yourself when locating a cache. People that are unaware of the cache are called ‘Muggles’ – this secrecy just adds to the fun of geocaching.
The main website for geocaching is www.geocaching.com. ENJOY!
2. Trip to the theatre (£££)
These days even the smallest member of the family can enjoy a trip to the theatre. From re-enactments of Julia Donaldson tales to other family favourites such as The Tiger Who Came to Tea, there is a wide choice of kids theatre available to all.
For those near South London check out the Polka Theatre in Wimbledon, a popular young persons’ theatre. Otherwise, refer to Time Out and local listings.
3. Forest Fun with the Forestry Commission (£)
Wrap the kids up warm, take thermos flasks of hot chocolate and take them for a ramble in a forest. Check out the Forestry Commission website for your nearest forest.
They are really family friendly. For example, most of the forests have a couple of kid themed walking trails (Stick Man, Superworm, etc.), excellent natural playgrounds, off-road bike hire (including trailers to pull the babies in the family) and some forests even have giant Gruffalo sculptures for the kids to discover.
4. Climbing Wall (££)
I recently took my daughter to a climbing wall at the local sports centre and was amazed at how much she liked it. At the age of four they had her in a helmet and harness abseiling down a wall.
It was great fun and she talked about it for days afterwards. Check local sports centres and climbing centres or alternatively check out the British Mountaineering Council website for your nearest wall. We paid £12.50 for an hour and had to book in advance.
5. Trip to the seaside (£ to £££)
Beaches aren’t just for summer. Wrap up warm, take a brisk walk along the sea/pier, play on arcade games, skim some stones in the sea and then head to the local fish and chip shop for lunch/tea.
Brighton is a particular favourite with its excellent pier (complete with funfair, restaurants and arcade games), pebbly beach and proximity to unusual shops and restaurants in The Lanes.
Brighton’s latest attraction is The British Airways i360 which is the worlds tallest moving observation tower. This vertical cable car takes you 450 feet in the air encased in a futuristic glass bubble which, when you are at the top, gives you 360-degree views of up to 26 miles of coastline. Advance tickets cost £13.50 (adult), £6.75 (child) and under fours are free.
6. Ice Skating (£)
Find your nearest ice skating rink and take the kids for a glide across the ice (perhaps with the help of a penguin/seal skate aid for the nervous/novice skater).
The largest permanent ice rink in London is Alexandra Palace (total capacity of 1250). There is also a soft play area (for kids between two and five) plus a bar. Over Xmas there are lots of pop-up ice rinks that often continue into January, the most famous being Somerset House.
7. National Trust (£)
With over 500 locations across the UK, there is bound to be a National Trust park, garden or house near you just waiting to be explored.
The National Trust put on events throughout the year from Easter egg hunts to rubber duck racing. They currently have an app entitled ‘50 things to do in Winter‘ if you are looking for further inspiration.
8. Bus Tour (£££)
I have always wanted to be a tourist and take a bus tour around London with the kids. Wait for a clear day, wrap them up warm and head to the top deck of a double-decker tour bus for a guided whizz around your nearest city.
For ease choose a hop-on, hop-off bus (in case of toilet emergencies) which has at least half the top deck under cover in case the heavens open.
9. Changing of The Guard (Free)
Take the kids to see the iconic Changing of the Guard outside Buckingham Palace. It’s a quiet time of the year for tourists so you are likely to get a good vantage point. See Changing of the Guard for dates and times.
10. Lazy Lunch (£££)
Restaurants have recently cottoned on to the fact that parents still want to enjoy those lovely long lazy Sunday lunches we used to indulge in pre-children but we also want our kids to have a good time (‘read‘ be entertained so we can drink wine and chat with friends uninterrupted).
We recently visited Tom’s Kitchen in Canary Wharf where we were treated to great food, the girls had a wonderful time in the playroom plus kids eat for free at weekends. What more could you want?
Over to you
What activities do you do with your kids in Winter? Have you tried any of the above? Which were your favourite?