Sun-kissed beaches and sweeping coastlines are all part of South England’s glorious charm. Throw in dramatic moorland, woodlands and ancient sites to explore, and you’ve got yourself the beginnings of the best summer holiday ever!
With plenty to discover and explore, kids of all ages will make memories to last a lifetime. There is plenty for the whole family to enjoy, from the dramatic and mysterious Stonehenge to letting their imaginations run wild at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.
Want to get the most out of your summer in South England? Here are our 7 perfect family activities to get you inspired:
Be a king or queen for the day
Windsor Castle offers a unique glimpse into the past and the present. Once a powerhouse for founder William the Conqueror, Windsor remains the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world.
Today, The Queen spends most weekends at the castle, and guess what? You can too!
Scorch the Dragon will guide you around the castle and tell you all about the history of this remarkable place. With free family activities and trails around the grounds, including finding the spots where 10 Kings are buried (extra points for Henry VIII and Charles I) – children can let their imaginations run riot!
Want to turn your Windsor trip into a mini-break? LEGOLAND and St George’s Chapel are well worth a look.
Sail to the Isle of Wight
It takes just 22 minutes by ferry to sail from Portsmouth to Ryde, Isle of Wight. That’s as hassle-free as it gets!
Once you’ve arrived at this spectacular isle, the real fun begins. Home to one of the most spectacular geological formations in the world, the iconic Needles are a must-visit. Wander the glorious coastline, and let your kids run wild across the sandy beaches and gentle rippling tides!
Then, work your way over to the ancient Carisbrooke Castle and let the kids explore the ramparts before making your way over to the fantastic Monkey Haven. With activities ranging from steam train rides to the award-winning holiday destination, Tapnell Farm, there is plenty for the whole family to enjoy.
Race against the clock and make your escape!
Ready, set, go! You have sixty minutes on the clock, a plethora of puzzles to solve, and a case to crack. Do you think you have what it takes to beat the room?
Exciting Escapes is Southampton’s premier escape room. With four fantastic, fully immersive games to choose from, you and the whole family will experience a one of a kind afternoon like no other!
Step over the threshold back to the 1950s beat enemy agents to the chase, and find all the evidence you need in A Hidden Past. Or uncover top-secret documents before a WWII bomb explodes! Travel to the future and uncover a saboteur on a British Space Navy ship!
Think Big Brother meets Crystal Maze, and you’ve hit the mark! While younger kids will find this too much of a challenge, 10-year-olds plus will have the time of their life in this unique experience.
Discover fascinating creatures
Port Lympne Safari Park, Hythe, is home to some of the largest and most fascinating creatures on the planet. You’ll be greeted by free-roaming giraffes, rare rhino breeds and grizzly bears on the exclusive truck safari, giving you a unique glimpse of the animal kingdom.
Set on 600 acres, the zoo is home to over 900 animals across 75 different species, including spectacle bears, tigers, zebras, gorillas, monkeys and more. Little ones and big kids will love the UK’s largest dinosaur exhibition before exploring one of three playgrounds along the zoo route.
Want to take your experience to the next level? You can stay in the park’s luxurious boutique hotel or fall asleep under the stars in a bubble pod or safari tent.
Explore Henry VIIIs prized ship
Portsmouth is well known for its impressive maritime heritage, and what better way to dive into the city’s history than visiting the Historic Dockyard. Home to the nation’s big three – Nelson’s formidable warship, HMS Victory, the ironclad HMS Warrior and Henry VIIIs favourite ship, the Mary Rose – this is a family adventure like no other.
The Mary Rose museum is not only home to the vessel’s impressively restored hull and thousands of artifacts that were discovered at the bottom of the Solent in the late 1970s, but there you’ll find the immersive When the World Ended immersive experience. Voiced by Dame Judi Dench, you’ll get an eye-opening story of the ship’s final moments before she sank in the Battle of the Solent in 1545.
Make sure you take advantage of the three different ticket options – single attraction, 3 attraction day tickets or unlimited yearly pass – to make the most out of your trip.
See fairytales come to life
Nestled in the village of Groombridge, you’ll discover the extraordinary magical world of The Enchanted Forest. Kids will be swept up by the pure magic of the place with its wooden forts, zip wires, pirate ship, secret paths and tepees waiting to be discovered.
Children can get stuck into one of the many activities on offer, such as making a crown, watching outdoor theatre or searching for one of the many woodland fairies! Some familiar faces may appear too! From Peter Pan to Alice in Wonderland, children will love this memorable, magical experience.
With a whole host of creative activities throughout the year, this is one of the most imaginative days out in South England!
Connect with nature
Hampshire’s New Forest National Park is one of Britain’s most beautiful places to explore. With its sweeping landscape, rare wildlife species and feral ponies to watch out for, there is plenty to see and do for all ages.
Stomp through William the Conqueror’s ancient woodlands. Pony trek, hike or kayak through the winding pathways and rivers. Or camp nearby to get an exclusive look at the changing seasons and feast on the local cuisine!
Planning your next summer family adventure? The South of England is a treasure trove of experiences just waiting to be discovered. Where will your adventures begin?