I love taking my kids out for day trips. Recently I was a bit unsure where to go so asked fellow mums on Facebook for suggestions. There were many great ones and it reminded me of all the places we have been. I thought some of you might find it useful if I compiled a list of our favourite places to go.
We are members of National Trust so we do try to make the most of our membership. Also both my husband and I love castles and stately homes. So we keep hoping that if we bring children to these properties with us some of the love and maybe even history might rub off on them.
Polesden Lacey is one of the places I really enjoy going to. There is the house where children get to see lots of interesting things and play dress up. Then there is the vast lawn and grounds for great walks. I feel safe in the knowledge that I can let them run around and have fun without having to worry about them getting lost or run over by a car. You can bring a picnic or have a lunch in the cafe. After one visit with friends my son said: "This was a great day, all you need is a friend and a piece of string." (they were making kites during one of the activities put on by National Trust during half term and all that was left of those by the end of the day was the piece of string :) )
Chessington : I had to include Chessington. It is local and a great day out. We used to have annual passes and my son always loved all the rides and my little girl adores looking at all the animals.
Alice Holt Forrest is a little bit further but again a fantastic day out, a fair bit of walking (or riding bikes). It wasn't too buggy friendly but a great walk and you can also try out the Go Ape with older children.
Banstead Woods: try going in the spring to see the Bluebells, lovely walk. Not buggy friendly and also you will need to watch out for dog poo :(
Morden Hall Park: definitely worth a visit if you have not been already. Plenty of bridges to play Pooh Sticks, buggy and scooter friendly. There is a stunning rose garden and a wooden playground with a zip wire, swings and climbing logs. There is a National Trust Cafe and garden shop.
Hever Castle: we visited Hever on an August Bank holiday and there was jousting, costume shows and lots of exciting things going on. There is a water maze which was really fun. The castle isn't too big inside and is very interesting to visit. There are large grounds, ideal for a walk with a buggy. I would definitely recommend visiting Hever, that is if you can find your way there :) We missed the sign for it about 3 times so now feel like we know Edenbridge fairly well :D
Osterley Park is a piece of countryside inside London. It is almost unbelievable once you drive up to the car park that it feels like you are in the country (apart from being under a flight path). We visited the house where the best bit for the kids and us grown ups was trying on all sorts of wigs. The gardens were starting to bloom and there is a fantastic trail for kids to follow and burn off some energy.
Dover Castle: fist I should warn you that the grounds are huge. We visited for a World War memorial day and so saw all sorts of re-enactments and people dressed up in uniforms. We were able to discuss some historical facts with the children, show them what houses looked like inside, how the laundry was done and many more things. We then visited the hospital tunnels which made me feel a bit uneasy and I was pleased to get back to the sunny lawn. I don't think that we were able to visit the whole of Dover Castle so will definitely be coming back another time.
Knole: we visited Knole in autumn and the colours on the trees were stunning. If you enjoy nature and would like to see some deer then Knole is the place to come. You can get fairly close to the deer and it is an amazing experience. I am planning to go back and bring my big camera with me for some close ups so watch this space :) The house itself is fairly large and really well presented with a picture gallery and a breath taking room for king James all set in gold! The kids really enjoyed seeing that.
Hampton Court: one of my most favourite places as I am a big fan of Tudor History. The palace is stunning and there is so much to see. There are often events held here where if you are lucky you get to meet Henry VIII, some of his wives and many more characters from the era. There are stunning gardens to walk in, a maze that I have yet to visit and much more.
I am sure there are many more places I forgot to mention but hopefully this gives you a few ideas for a day out with your kids if you are stuck and fancy going out for a day trip. Please feel free to share your tips for daytrips below.