It only feels like yesterday that we were welcoming people for the Easter Holidays – April has just rushed past us! It’s now May Half Term and Haven are back with our handy what’s on guides. We asked our intern, Johnny, to search high and low for lots of fun activities to keep your kids happy this May – and hasn’t he delivered! From Scotland to Cornwall, and everything in between, Johnny has managed find FREE actvities happening all over the UK.
Yorkshire and Lincolnshire
Lincoln street markets – City Square, Lincoln, LN5 7ET – Free Entry
Meet local farmers and producers at Lincoln Farmers’ Market and sample some of the best food the region has to offer. The Farmers’ Market takes place each month – on every 1st Friday on City Square, every 2nd Wednesday on High Street and every 3rd Saturday on Castle Hill. Opening times are 9am – 4pm.
Lincoln’s monthly Artists’ Markets on Steep Hill showcases traditional and contemporary arts and crafts. Artists’ Markets are held every first and last Saturday of the month from March to December making it the perfect place to find an original Christmas present or gift for that special someone.
The Craft Market is held every first and third Saturday of the month from March to December on Lincoln’s Cornhill. A wide range of hand-made products are for sale including cakes and preserves, ceramics and pottery, collectors’ soft toys, gemstones, glass art, jewellery, metalwork, mosaics, paper craft, photography, soap and candles, textiles and wood.
Whisby Nature Park – Moor Lane, Thorpe-on-the-Hill, Lincoln, Lincolnshire, LN6 9BW – Free Entry
With over six miles of all ability pathways, you can explore the lakes and hides on foot or using one of the mobility scooters which can be hired from the Natural World Centre.
The centre offers the delightful Boardwalk Café where you can choose locally sourced food whilst enjoying the stunning lakeside views. A Gift shop offering unique gifts and crafts, with the emphasis on local crafters, Fair Trade and recycled products. All this whilst a changing programme of themed exhibitions and events ensures there’s always something new to see.
Topped off with the award winning Little Darters Wildlife Adventure Area with fossils to discover in the sand, water play, towers to climb and much more. Families can spend the whole day here – it’s only natural you’ll want to stay.Find out more here.
Streetlife Museum – High Street, Hull, HU1 1NE – Free Entry
Within the Streetlife Museum you can see over 200 years of transport with period scenes, sound and smells, to recreate a thrilling journey back in time.I Tell us does this sound up your street?
National Railway Museum, Leeman Rd,York, North Yorkshire, YO26 4XJ, – Free Entry
For a fantastic free day out in York visit the award winning National Railway Museum.
Explore our three giant halls full of railway legends including Mallard the world’s fastest steam locomotive, the iconic Japanese Bullet Train and the Chinese locomotive, one of the largest steam engines ever built in Britain.
Discover the Museum’s hidden treasures in Search Engine, our library and archive centre. Watch the engines move on the turntable, find out how streamlining works and learn how to control the signals. With daily demonstrations, loads of interactive exhibits, a special event programme and FREE museum admission, enjoy action-packed fun for the whole family.
Museum of Lincolnshire life, Burton Road,Lincoln,LN1 3LY – Free Entry
The Museum’s rich and varied social history collection reflects and celebrates the culture and heritage of Lincolnshire and its people. Exhibits illustrate commercial, domestic, military, agricultural, industrial and community life. As the home to an authentic World War One tank named ‘Flirt’ the Museum also houses the interactive galleries of the Royal Lincolnshire Regiment.
The Events and Exhibitions programme has something for all the family, from Victorian living history to Model Railways and Meccano.
The Museum of Lincolnshire always has a Children’s Museum Trail available to keep younger visitors amused and looking closely at the exhibits. There are usually seasonal alternatives at Easter, Christmas and during the Summer Holiday. Just ask at reception when you arrive and staff will be happy to explain how to become a History Hunter!
100th Bomb Group Memorial Museum ,Common Road, Dickleburgh, Diss, Norfolk, IP21 4PH – Free Entry
Sixty years ago the R.A.F. and the U.S.A.A.F. were operating round the clock to defeat the axis powers and it is appropriate that today there are many airfield museums commemorating the great contribution to victory made by these air forces. The 100th Bomb Group Memorial Museum has built up an enviable reputation in the U.K. and abroad but this has not been earned easily.
Holkham Nature Reserve & Beach – Holkham, Norfolk NR23 1RN – Free (Car park charges apply)
The beach at Holkham is one of the most unspoilt and beautiful stretches of sand in the country. The actress Gwyneth Paltrow walked across Holkham sand at low tide during the closing scenes of the film ‘Shakespeare in Love’. Behind the shoreline lies a semi-circular basin, which, at very high tides, rapidly fills to form a spectacular shallow lagoon. Holkham Beach is also part of one of the largest National Nature Reserves in the country. It is managed by Natural England in partnership with the Holkham Estate and is home to many rare species of flora and fauna. Holkham beach has just been voted ‘Best Beach in the UK’ in a survey of travel writers.
Lifeboat Station (RNLI) Cromer Pier, End of Cromer Pier, Cromer NR27 9HE, England – This is an active RNLI lifeboat station that is free to visit, but open to the public and donations can be made.
Norwich Cathedral – 12 The Close, Norwich, NR1 4DH – Free Entry
The most complete Norman cathedral in England and one of the finest examples of Romanesque architecture in Europe, Norwich Cathedral is one of England’s greatest Cathedrals. But this beautiful building is much more than a cathedral. We look forward to welcoming you soon!
South East England
The Leas Coastal Park, Lower Leas, Lower Sandgate Road, Folkestone, Kent, CT20 2JP – Free Entry (Car park charges apply)
The Lower Leas Coastal Park has been carefully restored and developed to provide something for everyone. An amphitheatre has been built and during the summer presents a full programme of music and entertainment, there is also an extensive children’s playground, and the Coastal Park also benefits from being part of the Sustrans National Cycle Route.
The BarnYard – Oak Lane, Upchurch, Sittingbourne, Kent, ME9 7EZ – Free Entry All Year Round
The BarnYard is a must visit for a great family day out. With animals ranging from ponies and donkeys to reindeers and alpacas along with pigs, sheep and goats, children will love meeting all the animals. Go for a leisurely stroll along one of the three nature trails at The BarnYard and feed the various wildfowl at the reservoir. Back by popular demand, PYO strawberries, a great family favourite over the summer months.
Kings Road Playground – On the beach next to the west pier, Brighton/Hove, BN1 2LN – Free Entry
This is the perfect place for a picnic down by the beach without having to sit on pebbles. There is plenty of space to take a blanket and sit either round the pool or by the sandpits and there is a cheap kiosk for tea, coffee, ice cream or chips. There are toilets and changing areas too. Expect the paddling pool to be open in the warmer months. Find out more here.
Maidstone Museum – St.Faith’s Street, Maidstone, Kent , ME14 1LH – Free Entry
Housed in a charming Elizabethan Manor House, in the centre of Maidstone – Kent’s County Town – stands this exceptional Museum. Each gallery will fascinate and surprise; with a wealth of exhibits and objects to see and enjoy.
Fancys Family Farm – The Rotor, Glacis, New Ground, Portland, Dorset, DT5 2EN – Free Entry
Fancys Family Farm is a new community farm on Portland in Dorset and is the home to the only flock of rare breed Portland Sheep on Portland. We also have goats, alpacas, geese, chickens, pigs and Poppy and Ozzie the farm dogs. We are open every day between 10am and dusk and welcome visitors. Bring the children to meet and to learn about the animals.
Swanage Railway Museum – Corfe Castle Railway Station, Corfe Castle, Dorset, BH20 5EJ – Free Entry
No visit to the Swanage Railway is complete without a visit to this excellent resource. The Museum is both educational and fun for all the family, and admission is free of charge to all visitors – with voluntary donations greatfully accepted of course.
As well as restoring the rail link between Swanage and Wareham, one of the fundamental aims of the Swanage Railway Trust is to preserve and restore for the public benefit items of historical, architectural, engineering or scientific value in connection with railways, and the museum is ideally suited to fulfilling part of this role.
Walford Mill Crafts, Stone Lane, Wimborne Minster, Dorset, BH21 1NL – Free Entry
Walford Mill Crafts, a converted mill building by the river Allen, only ¼ mile north of Wimborne, is the place to visit to see the best in quality contemporary British and international craftwork.
Just a short walk from Wimborne Town Centre Walford Mill Crafts a nationally acclaimed charity, welcomes you to the beautiful listed Mill building. Here you can enjoy a wonderful display of contemporary crafts from over 200 local and national makers as well as our two resident makers, Debby Kirby, Silk Weaver and Kathryn Arbon, Jewellery Designer.
Eggardon Hill Fort – Bridport, Dorset, DT6 3TF – Free
Eggardon Hill Fort has impressive 360 degree views across the County. The drive up to the fort is worth experiencing itself. Eggardon Hill is an iron-age hillfort which, arguably, has one of the finest views of any hill-fort in the county. On a clear day from there you can see right across Lyme Bay to South Devon and Start Point.
Devon, Cornwall and Somerset
Blackpool Sands – Nr Dartmouth TQ6 0RG – Free Entry
Blackpool Sands, set in a sheltered bay surrounded by evergreens and pines, is one of South Devon’s most beautiful natural treasures. An award-winning privately managed ‘Blue Flag’ family beach with turquoise blue sea giving it an almost Mediterranean feel.
A shingle beach, as are all the main beaches in Start Bay and all incorporating ‘Sands’ as a historical name, located only 3 miles West of Dartmouth on the beautiful South Devon heritage coast. With sand pits, a bathing raft, kayaks for hire, a range of delicious hot and cold food and a beach shop, it has something for all the family. But don’t just take our word for it, come and see for yourself! Lifeguard patrol and no dogs during summer season.
The Donkey Sanctuary – Sidmouth, Devon, EX10 0NU – Free Entry
Come and meet some of The Donkey Sanctuary’s 500 donkeys here at Slade Farm, home to hundreds of donkeys in need of our care and your cuddles! Their donkeys love to meet new people and you can discover their unique characters and stories. Can you find the gentle giant Poitou donkeys, or their gorgeous adoption donkeys? Come and cuddle our main yard donkeys or spot a miniature in one of the fields!
Chysauster Ancient Village – Newmill, Penzance, Cornwall – TR20 8XA- Free Entry
This Iron Age settlement was originally occupied almost 2,000 years ago and is one of the finest examples of such in the country.
The village was made up of stone-walled homesteads known as ‘courtyard houses’, found only on the Land’s End peninsula and the Isles of Scilly. The houses line a ‘village street’, and each had an open central courtyard surrounded by a number of thatched rooms.
Glastonbury – Glastonbury Tourist Information Centre, The Tribunal, 9 High Street, Glastonbury, Somerset, BA6 9DP – Free
Glastonbury Tor rises dramatically from the flat landscape of the Somerset Levels, close to the town of Glastonbury, to a height of 158 metres (525 feet). The Tor is topped by the tower of a ruined 15th-century church (St Michael’s). The hill and its approaches are owned by the National Trust, and offer free public access, but visitors are advised to walk there from the town centre, or to take the ‘Tor Bus’, due to parking restrictions around the site.
Views from the summit are stunning in all directions – north to Wells, the Mendips and the Bristol Channel; east to Shepton Mallet and Wiltshire; south to the Polden Hills, west to the Quantocks and Exmoor.
Cheddar – Cheddar, Somerset, UK – Free
Visitors have been coming to Cheddar for centuries to view the magnificent limestone Gorge, reaching 500 feet in places. The ravine boasts the highest inland cliffs in the country that can be viewed from the public road running through the gorge or from foot paths along the top of the cliffs.
Riverside walks, tearooms, restaurants, gift shops, a small toy museum and the famous Cheddar Caves can all be visited. Cheddar cheese is known throughout the world and the traditional method of cheese making can still be seen at the Cheddar Gorge Cheese Company.
Cheddar village was the site of a Saxon Palace for the Kings of Wessex and has an attractive Minster Church, a historic market cross and a range of local shops. The Mendip hills are a great centre for walking, riding and cycling.
The Museum of Somerset – Taunton Castle, Castle Green, Taunton, TA1 4AA – Free Entry
The Museum of Somerset is based in Taunton Castle, on Castle Green in the centre of Taunton. It tells the county’s story from prehistoric times to the present day using real objects combined with evocative films, sounds and images, and the voices and words of Somerset people past and present.
Amongst the treasures on display is the Frome Hoard, which is the largest collection of Roman coins ever discovered in Britain in a single container
Newborough Forest and Llanddwyn Island, Newborough, Anglesey – Free Entry
Llanddwyn Island (Ynys Llanddwyn) is a magical place. Located at the far end of a pleasant beach near Newborough Warren, this narrow finger of land is an ideal picnic site during fine weather, but also an exhilarating place when the winter winds blow. Its rolling dunes, large rock outcrops and mixture of historic buildings makes it an ideal place for an afternoon of exploration. Find out about Branwen who befriended a bird, was rescued by her brother who was a giant and who died from a broken heart.
Occasionally the odd sighting of dolphins and porpoises can be possible on a clear sunny summer’s day. Early dusk is a good time.
As it is surrounded by the sea on 2 sides, you are likely to see a whole host of sea and shore birds, ranging from gulls and terns to turnstones and red shanks. It provides excellent views of Snowdonia and the Lleyn Peninsula and is part of the Newborough Warren National Nature Reserve.
Museum of Welsh Life – St Ffagan’s, Cardiff, CF5 6XB – Free Entry
Set in 100 acres of beautiful parkland, The Museum of Welsh Life, is one of Europe’s largest open-air museums. There are lots to entertain the whole family. Over 40 buildings have been transported and rebuilt here to recreate 500 years of Welsh history. Events programme and craft demonstrations run throughout the year.
Castell Aberlleiniog Castle – Just outside Llangoed, Llangoed, Nr. Beaumaris, Ynys Mon, LL58 8RN – Free Entry
Visit the ‘secret castle’ Its captivating story abounds with colourful characters, including Welsh Princes, Norman overlords, Viking raiders, traitors, pirates, Civil War commanders, wealthy estate owners and Georgian naturalists! It has something to capture everyone’s imagination! You may be lucky to spot a red squirrel in the surrounding woodland too.
There is a footpath, suitable for buggies and wheelchairs from both the village and beach car parks. It’s 0.75 miles walk from both car parks.
You’ll find a great map on the website, with clear directions on how to get there. There are also downloadable walks and nature trail leaflets.
Pembrokeshire Coast National Park – Newport National Park Tourist Information Centre, Bank Cottage, Long Street, Newport, Pembrokeshire, SA42 0TN – Free Entry
Pembrokeshire Coast National Park boasts some of the most spectacular scenery and diverse wildlife in Britain including internationally important nature reserves, geology and archaeology. And one of the National Park Authority’s duties is to conserve and enhance the natural features of the landscape, as well as the cultural heritage of the Park.
Blackpool and The Lakes
Brooks Collectables and Museum – 7 Waterloo Road, Blackpool, Lancashire, FY4 1AF – Free Entry
Museum exhibits includes, 5ft Blackpool Tower model, Sinclair C5, scale model of the Open Air Baths, die-cast models which include rare Dinky, Corgi and more. Airfix kits, large collection of Britain’s military bands, Edwardian and Victorian china souvenirs, dolls house and doll collections, coins, stamps, football programmes, new Subute display, small library, 1890 map of Blackpool measuring 10ft x 14ft which predates the construction of Blackpool Tower, and other memorabilia as seen on TV.
Marton Mere Local Nature Reserve – West Park Drive, Blackpool, Lancashire, FY3 9HU- Free Entry
The Blackpool Countryside Experience is a series of nature walks from Stanley park through the Woodland Gardens, aorung herons reach and linking to Marton Mere Nature Reserve.
Brilliance – Birley Street, Blackpool, Lancashire, FY1 1EG – Free Entry
‘Brilliance’, the first event of its kind in the UK, is set to light up the streets of Blackpool when the son et lumiere show is switched on this month alongside the world-renowned illuminations.
Walks in the Lake District – Free leaflets
There are endless combinations of walks around Keswick, Derwentwater and Borrowdale.
Grizedale Forest – Grizedale Forest, Hawkshead, Ambleside, Cumbria, LA22 0Q – Free Entry
Take your time to explore Grizedale Forest, and meet some of the local residents, including red deer, barn owls, buzzards and badgers. Also, stroll around the forest and enjoy the incredible Grizedale Sculpture Trail.
Scotland and Northumberland
Carlisle Park – Off Castle Square, Morpeth, Northumberland, NE61 1YD – Free entry
This park is a wonderful contrast to the traffic and hustle/bustle of the shopping area, situated just off the main town area, across a bridge over the river.
Carlisle Park offers plenty for a family day out, weather allowing, with rowing boats available to hire, a large paddling pool, sand pit (watch out for the low concrete wall around this, could be dangerous if a child trips), young children’s play area and a play area for the older children. Teenagers can enjoy the trim-trail or skateboard area.
There are also plenty of paths to explore if you fancy a walk, but be warned some involve a bit of a climb. There are well maintained toilets and when you have had enough of your picnic you can give the rest to the ducks!
Northumberland National Park – Hadrian’s Wall NE47 7AN – Free Entry
Northumberland National Park stretches from Hadrian’s Wall in the south, through the valleys of the Tyne and Rede to the hills of the Cheviots on the Scottish Border.
Yellowcraigs Play Park and Beach – Dirleton, East Lothian – Free Entry
Pirate themed adventure play area set in woodland near to a lovely clean, family friendly beach.Find out more here.
Rouken Glen Park – Rouken Glen Road, Giffnock, East Renfrewshire, G46 6UG – Free Entry
A lovely park with a pond, extensive children’s play area, skate park, trails and woodland walk. There are pedal boats and water walkers in the summer and a cafe. Other facilities include:
Woodland walks,Boating pond (summer only),Children’s play area, Walkabout trail ,Site of special , scientific interest, Walled formal garden, Picnic facilities, Cycling for the disabled, Cafe, restaurant, Garden centre, Art gallery, Vets plus much more!
National Museum of Scotland – Chambers Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1JF – Free Entry
Explore the diversity of the natural world, world cultures, art and design, science and technology and Scottish history, all under one roof at the National Museum of Scotland. From fossils showing evidence of the earliest forms of life to rich artefact collections representing diverse cultures across the globe, from tiny insects to whale skeletons, microchips to Concorde, our collections span millions of years and reach across the globe.
Cannon Hill Park – 2 Russell Road, Moseley, Birmingham, B13 8RD- Free Entry
Cannon Hill Park is one of the premier parks in the city and has been awarded Green Flag status. With beautiful flowerbeds, lakes, pools and a wonderful collection of trees, it’s easy to see why. There’s plenty of opportunity for exercise at the park’s tennis courts, bowling and putting greens and wildlife enthusiasts can follow the walkways and cycle routes alongside the River Rea.
The conservation area within the park includes a 5 acre woodland known as the ‘RSPB Centenary Plantation’. There is also a wildflower meadow, which is sown each year with cornfield annuals such as field poppy, cornflower and corn marigold, providing visitors to the park with a spectacle, which is very rare in the urban environment. Traditional forms of land management are used to enhance this beautiful area, less than 2 miles from the centre of Birmingham
Royal Air Force Museum Cosford – Shifnal, Shropshire, TF11 8UP – Free Entry
The RAF Museum Cosford has 70 historic aircraft on display in three wartime hangars and within The National Cold War Exhibition. A major feature of this unique exhibition is Britain’s three V-Bombers: Vulcan, Victor and Valiant. A number of aircraft are suspended in flying attitudes with interactive kiosks and audio visuals telling the story in a fun and innovative way.
The Museum is one day out that everyone from small children upwards will enjoy whatever the weather. Children and adults alike will be fascinated by fun ?n? flight. This free interactive area is packed with hands on excitement; it?s the easy way to answer all those questions about how planes stay up in the air. Whether you?re testing your ability to fly a plane or guiding a Hercules to a drop zone, you will be learning, improving your co-ordination but most importantly of all having a great time.
As an additional treat why not hop onto the thrilling flight simulator, a great way to get an instant flying experience for just £2.75. Soar into the sky with the Red Arrows or ride in a Eurofighter, the most advanced aircraft ever built.
Coventry Transport Museum – Millennium Place, Hales Street, Coventry, CV1 1JD – Free Entry
Coventry Transport Museum is the perfect FREE family day out – with a family-friendly welcome and the unique opportunity to come face to face with the world’s fastest car, there’s plenty to delight, intrigue and entertain the whole family.
Walk through the cobbled streets of 19th Century Coventry, get up close and personal with hundreds of cars, buses, motorcycles and bicycles, have a go at family activities throughout the Museum and chill out with a freshly brewed coffee, in the only cafe in the world where you can try the traditional and delicious Coventry Godcake.
Finish off your visit with a ride on the Thrust SSC simulator, to see what it would be like to break the World Land Speed Record at over 763mph, then marvel as the world’s fastest car, Thrust SSC, is revealed in all its glory for your admiration.
There is a £1.50 charge for the Thrust SSC simulator.