As the summer of 2021 draws ever nearer and, dare we say it, COVID-19 restrictions begin to irreversibly lift, it might be time to start thinking about where to take the little (and bigger!) ones.
After the best part of a year struggling to entertain children indoors or locally, parents now have the luxury of looking further afield for child-friendly entertainment in the coming months.
The pandemic has caused a lot of uncertainty for many with attractions and events being hardest hit. It’s understandable then that parents may well be finding it difficult to make summer plans when the world feels slightly different than it did 18 months ago.
The truth, however, is that not only are many of our favourite attractions reopening but there are plenty of new fun-filled options to explore that the kids will love. Here, we take a look at just some of the brand-new, exciting adventures that are available for kids of all ages and parents alike across the UK this summer:
RHS Garden Bridgewater, Salford
Open: 18 May Tickets available from: 19 April
The stunning RHS Garden Bridgewater in Salford is set to open its gates this summer and it is a day out you will most certainly not want to miss out on. The 154-acre garden at the former Worsley New Hall estate is the biggest hands-on horticultural project undertaken in Europe since planning permission was granted in 2017 and will boast world-class horticultural inspiration. With more than a quarter of a million plants, an 11-acre Weston Walled Garden and many more award-winning gardens, this visit is a must. The £44 million project will finally open on May 18 after the original opening was delayed due to the pandemic. www.rhs.org.uk/gardens/bridgewater
Museum of Making, Derby
Open: 21 May Cost: Free
Located in the Derwent Valley Mills UNESCO World Heritage Site, this brand-new museum sits on one of the key sites of the industrial revolution. With none other than 30,000 objects to explore, the Museum of Making will showcase the world’s smallest engine (run using a human hair!) as well a seven tonne Rolls-Royce engine. The £18 million lottery-funded museum celebrates innovation and is sure to inspire the creative minds of aspiring inventors, scientists and historians. www.derbymuseums.org/museum-of-making/
Buckingham Palace Garden Tours, London
Open: July. Tickets available from: 19 April. Cost: Children (5-16 years) – £9; Adults – £16.50; Over 60 – £15
The gardens of Buckingham Palace have been the site of many high society gatherings over the years and now you get the chance to join the exclusive club. For the first time ever, Britain’s prime residence is giving people the rare opportunity to wander through the Queen’s private 39-acre site and discover the wildlife rich oasis in the heart of London. Visitors will be able to take in a landscaped lake, 1000 trees and 156 metres of herbaceous border as well as rare plants, imported from every corner of the world. The traditional summer opening of Buckingham Palace’s state rooms was cancelled for a second year due to COVID-19, however self-guided garden tours have now been announced, giving the paying public the chance to picnic in the most regal of settings.
Drayton Manor River Rapids
Park Opening: Now. Park cost: Children (2-3 years) – £9.50 pre-booked and on the day; (4-11 years) – £25.50 pre-booked, £29.50 on the day; All guests 12+ – £29.50 pre-booked, £39.50 on the day.
If it’s something a little more thrill-seeking you are after then you will be glad to hear that the guys at Drayton Manor in Tamworth, near Birmingham, have been hard at work building a brand-new attraction during lockdown. The nautical-themed Adventure Cove is due to open this summer offering a bright and colourful coastal feel with barrels, boats and steering wheels aplenty. The park, set in the grounds of the former Drayton Manor, houses over 100 rides, a 15-acre zoo and even a Thomas Land. www.draytonmanor.co.uk/
Llys-y-Frân Lake, Pembrokeshire, Wales
The Llys-y-Frân lake is the perfect antidote after months of being stuck indoors. The sprawling new venue in Pembrokeshire includes 14km of trails for hikers or cyclists (with bikes to hire) and, for the nautically inclined, activities including sailing, kayaking, canoeing and paddle boarding. As if this wasn’t enough, visitors can also try their hand at archery and even axe throwing. The redeveloped site expects to see 100,000 tourists and with all of those activities to enjoy, you’re going to want to be one of them. www.llys-y-fran.co.uk/
Woolley Grange: Wind in the Willows Afternoon Tea, Bath
Open: 17 May. Cost: Children – £15; Adults £27-£35
The beautiful Jacobean manor house, Woolley Grange, near Bath is celebrating its re-opening with brand-new afternoon teas inspired by the much-loved children’s literary classic ‘Wind in the Willows’. Parents and children will be able to follow in the footsteps of Mole, Ratty, Mr Toad and Badger and eat some of the delicious sandwiches and cakes on offer beneath the canopies of ancient trees on this truly idyllic site. www.woolleygrangehotel.co.uk/restaurant/afternoon-tea
BeWilderwood, Cheshire/north Shropshire
Open: Now. Cost: Children £17.50; Adults – £19.50, 65+ – £12.50
This hugely-anticipated adventure park on the border of Cheshire and north Shropshire arrives on the back of the award-winning site in the Norfolk Broads. The parks are based on the brilliant children’s book series by Tom Blofield and visitors can expect all of the book’s magic to come to life in a world where even parents will struggle to sit on the side lines. Don’t expect noisy rides or mystifying tech as BeWILDerwood prides itself on its ethos of nature first, technology second. This means that creativity and play reigns and with an array of treehouses, slides and swings there will be no shortage of fun for all. www.cheshire.bewilderwood.co.uk/
By Jack Poland