Finding ways to entertain the kids over the summer holidays can be a never-ending task. The North West is full of fun activities that the whole family can enjoy and so we’ve rounded up our top picks of things to do with the kids that offer something a little bit different this summer. From drive in movies to llama trekking, here is our best for…
ONE OFF EVENTS
JUST SO FESTIVAL
Rode Hall, Cheshire, 19 – 21 August
An adventure into the extraordinary. This unique three-day festival of music, art, theatre and dance invites you to lose yourself in a fantastical world of imagination, adventure and creativity. Set amongst 65 acres of ancient woodland kids can let their imaginations run wild with fables around the campfire, acrobatics and performers at every corner and long evenings of live music. Exclusively for families this is the perfect family getaway for those in search of something just a little bit different, putting it at the top of our list.
THOSE WITH A SWEET TOOTH
THE ICE CREAM FARM
Boasting over 50 flavours the Ice Cream Farm is a sure-fire way to fulfil any craving, with all mouth-watering flavours concocted on-site using only local cow’s milk. Choose from flavours like white chocolate, raspberry & Oreo, choc fudge cookie, and rhubarb & custard, as well as Cointreau & orange for mum and dad. The Ice Cream Farm is no ordinary ice cream parlour, though, with eight play areas on-site for children to choose from. From Honeycomb Canyon sand and water play area to Strawberry Fields mini golf and Silvercone quad biking track, everyone is covered! The Ice Cream Farm is a scoop above the rest and has something to entertain the whole family, making it a must visit.
DIVAS IN THE MAKING
Higher Openshaw, Manchester
A blow the budget option for any budding musicians. Let the creative juices flow with this Junior VIP singer experience, where rising stars will be given the full VIP treatment in Manchester’s famous recording studios. Following in the steps of the likes of One Direction, singers can record their favourite song to a backing track, strike a pose in a photo shoot to capture that perfect album cover, and finally take home their very own debut CD! A sure-fire hit with any disco diva, this once in a lifetime experience is the top extravagance in the city.
WORLD MUSEUM LIVERPOOL
Boasting the country’s largest number of galleries and museums outside of London, Liverpool is the perfect city to take in some culture. From the planetarium, complete with digital projection system, to the bug house and aquarium, the World Museum has something for everyone. With over 1.7 million artefacts and specimens on display, as well as hands on activities and demonstrations, the museum is the perfect place for curious young minds to explore. And with an ice-cream van stationed outside, a sweet treat can always be found after a hard day of learning and exploring.
PICK OF THE CROP
Spend an idyllic summer’s afternoon picking your own produce at this working farm in the heart of Wirral’s countryside. Kids can choose their favourites with fruits like strawberries, raspberries and, tayberries coming into season in June. The family run farm also offers free education and welly walks, teaching kids all about seasonal produce and the history of the farm, as well as a hands-on kidz kitchen for mums and toddlers. Round off your day with a trip to the café to sample some of the farm’s seasonal produce, or indulge in a slice of homemade cake.
A sure-fire way to get the kids up and moving this summer – from slumbering teens to little tykes bouncing off the walls (literally!) – Velocity is the ultimate fun workout. One of the largest trampolining parks in the UK, Velocity is the place for kids to release all that built up energy over the holidays, perhaps with a game of extreme basketball or dodgeball… There is no other trampolining experience quite like it and is the best exercise in disguise.
ACTION MEN (AND WOMEN!)
Put down the games console – this child friendly paintball centre is the prefect playground for all budding action heroes and jungle rangers. With movie set style game zones Delta Force offers more than your usual paintballing adventure. Raid an abandoned Wild West village in Gold Rush to claim your fortune, venture into the unknown and battle deadly zombies in Zombie’s Crypt, or even take on a special mission to defend the American President on his UK tour in London Apocalypse. Designed with little ones in mind, smaller guns are available for a softer impact – no more tears! This puts Delta Force on the map.
THE URBAN PICNIC
Make the most of sunny days in Liverpool this summer and grab a picnic hamper from Carluccio’s to enjoy in one of the city’s hidden spots. Packed with a veritable Italian feast, special children’s packs come with Salame Milanese, celery and carrot sticks, small vegetarian pizza as well as beef and aubergine meatballs in a rich tomato sauce, finished off with a chocolate sponge bear and a piece of fruit, washed down with freshly squeezed juice. St John’s Gardens or St Nicholas’ Church gardens are our top spots to unwind in the bustling city centre, or venture further afield to Sefton Park for your al fresco picnic and stroll around the Victorian boating lake.
Trafford Park, Manchester
Create some Hollywood drama this summer and enjoy the latest blockbusters from the comfort of your own car in this American inspired drive-in cinema. Serving cinema snacks and hot food straight to your car door, the whole family can munch as the drama unfolds. Choose from pizzas, burgers and of course the all-American classic, apple pie. A novel cinematic experience which undoubtedly beats your standard multiplex.
GETTING BACK TO NATURE
LANTERN AND LARKS
Bleasdale Estate, Lancashire
Glamping at its best. Lantern and Larks is the destination for a restoring family getaway and adventures galore – think the famous five breaking out to Kirrin Island – build dams, dens and camps in the surrounding woodland and River Brock, or venture further afield on local cycle and horse trekking routes. Each luxury tent boasts warming wood burning stoves and ambient lanterns to cosy around on an evening – the ultimate restorative space from chaotic family life – no TV needed, just lashings of ginger beer! With plenty of adventure for the kids and relaxing space for mum and dad too this soul-mending retreat caters for all the family making it the ultimate destination.
Nestled in the canopies above Knowsley Safari Park is Aerial Extreme, the largest high rope adventure course in the country. With over 60 obstacles to conquer there is a challenge for all levels of adrenaline junkies! Take on the 13m power fan drop if you dare, or one of the course’s four zip wires. For younger kids there is an equally thrilling junior course waiting to be explored. With the lions and tigers roaring in the distance this is the ultimate wild thrill unlike any other.
Chapterhouse Theatre Company
Hoghton Tower, Lancashire, 24th July
Get lost in the captivating tale of Peter Pan as this new production brings the childhood classic to life in the picturesque grounds of Hoghton Tower. There is no better way to spend a warm summer’s afternoon, relaxing on the lawn as the tale plays out against the fairy tale backdrop of the hall’s ramparts. Complete with original music and songs, this new adaptation by award-winning writer Laura Turner is all in support of Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity. A great cause for an afternoon of great entertainment with the kids.
A WIZARD’S WALK
ALDERLEY EDGE WOODLAND WALK
Alderley Edge, Cheshire
Step into a magical realm of wizardry and mystery on this family walk in the heart of Cheshire’s countryside. Steeped in folklore the trail takes you past legendary landmarks from the tale of Merlin the Wizard. This is a walk full of intrigue and will not disappoint. Tell tales about The Thieves Hole, a mysterious deep cave dug into the sandstone, enjoy views across the county from Stormy Point, and spot the wizard’s face carved into the rocks above Wizard’s Well. Finish your walk with a refreshing drink at the Wizard’s Inn or enjoy some lunch in the picnic area. The best walk for kids with a tale or two to tell along the way.
CHILDREN OF THE MANOR
TATTON PARK TO KNUTSFORD
Tatton Park, Cheshire
A picturesque cycle route through the rolling grounds of Tatton Park. Set amongst 1,000 acres of parkland there is plenty to stop and explore along the way, including an adventure playground and maze, tuck shops, as well as Tatton Old Hall and the Mansion itself. At just five miles long this route is perfect for little ones – if you’re feeling more adventurous you can extend the route onto Dunham Park for a longer ride. Smooth parkland pathways combined with sightseeing makes this route a winner for family friendly cycling.
THE ULTIMATE DAY TRIP
For a classic trip to the seaside look no further than New Brighton – the Wirral’s quintessential seaside resort which has recently undergone an extensive redevelopment programme. Bask in the summertime sun while the kids play on the beach and climb aboard the Black Pearl pirate ship (a free art instalment crafted from driftwood atop a rocky outcrop). It’s just a short walk to the town centre, where you will find a new The Light Cinema and Bubbles’ World of Play should the heavens open. Caffe Cream is also on hand for a quick award-winning ice cream or spot of lunch – children’s menu served complete with a bucket and spade! With plenty of free parking and things to do come rain or shine New Brighton has you covered for a hassle-free family day out.
TRYING SOMETHING NEW
THE WELLBEING FARM
Take a walk on the wild side with the Wellbeing Farm’s most vivacious residents: Vincent, Laurie, Yasser and Ezra – the llamas. Since its launch in 2013 the working farm has been running llama trekking jaunts through Lancashire’s rolling countryside with their four-legged friends, where ramblers can lead their very own llama along the way. This is the definitive day out with a difference for big kids, who can experience a slice of the Peruvian foothills right here in the North West.
FAST FOOD FOR KINDS ON THE GO
Ranelagh St, Liverpool
The funky pink American diner décor, complete with neon lights and disco ball, is the perfect setting to enjoy a classic burger with the kids. Burgers are freshly made to order, with hot dogs, wraps and wings also on offer. For an extra treat kids will love Archie’s special recipe waffles, which come topped with whipped-cream, icing sugar and ice-cream. Of course, no trip to Archie’s would be complete without trying one of their famous shakes. Create your own or choose from favourites such as Oreolicious and the Big Bang Shake, topped with jammy dodgers, or try the Million Dollar Shake if you’re feeling extravagant. Reasonably priced fast food with table service, Archie’s is a great treat for the kids which is a step above your usual fast food joint.