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Activities for Bank Holiday Weekend with the Kids

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If you’re stuck for inspiration about what to do with your kids this bank holiday, then look no further. We’ve got you covered with some top tips on great family days out in the UK! Hop on a train and explore somewhere new with CrossCountry.

Check out our list of some of the best UK destinations for family days out. Plus, we’ve added ideas for activities to keep your energetic youngsters entertained for hours. We’ve also included a fun game of our very own version of ‘Snakes & Ladders’ called ‘Trains & Tracks’ for your children to play with while you travel! Be sure to print it out here before you head off on your journey, as a great way to entertain your little ones!

From adventurous activities to interactive museums, whether you want to discover the great outdoors or stay inside – we’ll give you the best ways to make memories as a family in Southampton, Oxford, Penzance and Plymouth.

Sightsee in Southampton

The port city of Southampton is ideal for families. Sat on the UK’s south coast, there are plenty of sandy beaches and walks to enjoy if you love spending time in nature. For rainy days in the city, read our handy article on rainy day activities in Southampton here.

An image of various boats in the water in Southampton docks with the city in the background at dusk

Solent Sky Museum

Distance from Train Station: 1.7 miles
Perfect For: Children of all ages
Entry Fees Adult/Kids: £7.50 / £5 (5-16)
Five-year-olds and under go free

If you’re keen to inject an educational activity into your bank holiday weekend, head to the Solent Sky Museum. These impressive displays will fascinate children of all ages, especially those with an interest in aviation. The Solent region is the birthplace of the legendary Spitfire planes and the museum will give your family a tour of its remarkable history.

Pretend to Pilot! Sit in the jet fighter cockpit to get a feel for the thrill of flying these powerful machines.

The Common

Distance from Train Station: 1.8 miles
Perfect For: Children of all ages
Entry Fees Adult/Kids: Free for everyone to use

The city’s largest green space is aptly-named ‘The Common’ and it’s a lovely al fresco area for the whole family to explore. You’re free to roam the 326 acres, from the wild woodlands and the pretty ponds through to the peaceful lakes and sprawling grasslands. You’ll also find an adventure playground where your little ones can run off excess energy. And that’s not all - a seasonal stone paddling pool is a fun way to cool off in the summer sun, while the nature trails and model boating pools ensure you’ll never be stuck for something to do.

Bonus Adventure! Head to Boulder Shack Climbing Gym, which is a fun way to keep your kids active. Watch them climb the colourful walls with the safety of a harness and instructor to help them turn into mini Spider boys and girls!

Book tickets to Southampton with CrossCountry for a fun day out with all the family.

Delve into the beauty of Oxford

Famed for its universities, the studious city of Oxford is steeped in history that’s terrific to explore on a family escapade. Children will be in awe of its historic architecture – and snaking your way through the narrow cobbled lanes is an enjoyable way to wear off some of your children’s seemingly never-ending energy!

An aerial view of Oxford University looking down on the grand exterior of the building

River Punting

Distance from Train Station: 2.3 miles
Perfect For: Aged 5 and up (or swimming age)
Entry Fees Adult/Kids: £20-£25 per hour

“There’s nothing – absolutely nothing – half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats”.
Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows

Take a chauffeured punt ride down the river from one of the many boat houses dotted along the bank. Hiring a punter to do all the hard work is the best option if you don’t fancy fishing your kids out of the water when they lose their balance! You can also hire pedalos and rowing boats, and play a game of I-Spy as you pass landmarks along the way.

Attention All Older Children! Well-behaved children will often get an opportunity to take the helm and have a go at the punt themselves, so be on your best behaviour!

Oxford University Museum of Natural History

Distance from Train Station: 1.3 miles
Perfect For: Children of all ages
Entry Fees Adult/Kids: Free for everyone to use

While smaller in size than its London counterpart, the Oxford University Museum of Natural History is no less awesome. From dinosaur displays to a massive whale’s jawbone, there’s loads to see on a May bank holiday weekend. Housed in an equally impressive building, these exhibits combine education with pure fun, making it easier for children to absorb what they learn. They can also feel their way around the interactive exhibitions.

Take all the family for a day out and book tickets to Oxford with CrossCountry.

Potter around Penzance

The Cornish coastal town of Penzance overlooks the magnificent curve of Mount’s Bay. It has a palpable salty charm about it, with an authenticity that some of the larger south west ports are missing. Children will love tucking into a locally made Roskilly’s ice cream while watching the daily comings and goings of the fishing boats. Family days out don’t get better than a seaside trip to Cornwall!

An image of the island that St Michael’s Mount sits on taken from the beach at sunset

Jubilee Pool

Distance from Train Station: 0.1 miles
Perfect For: Kids of swimming age
Entry Fees Adult/Kids: £5 / £3.50
Four-year-olds and under go free

Bank holiday weekend welcomes the reopening of the delightful outdoor Jubilee Pool. The best news? To celebrate, it’s free for everyone to use on Saturday May 26th for the entire day! Youngsters will love splashing around in the pool to their heart’s content, while parents can chill out in the café with a slice of pizza and a refreshing drink. Perfect for families who find the chilly Cornish sea a little fazing!

South West Coastal Path Walk

Distance from Train Station: None! Step out of the station onto the start of the walk
Perfect For: Children old enough to walk
Entry Fees Adult/Kids: Free for everyone to use

This 2.5-mile-long walk will take you from Penzance to the nearby town of Marazion, with endless magical sea views to admire along the way. Take in the fresh sea air as you make your way to St. Michael’s Mount. The route is all on the flat, making it easy for youngsters to tackle.

Spot the Wildlife! Keep your eyes peeled for local seabirds, including oystercatchers and plovers. You might even get lucky and spot dolphins on a clear day.

A close-up of a black and white oystercatcher with red legs and a red beak wading in shallow water

If you fancy a trip to Cornwall, book Advance tickets to Penzance with CrossCountry.

See the sights of Plymouth

Jam-packed with all kinds of kid-friendly activities, Plymouth is the perfect port of call for families looking for a host of fun things to do this May bank holiday. It’s got maritime heritage, historic districts, a harbour and lots more to engage kids for a weekend.

An image of Plymouth harbour with various boats bobbing in the water in the foreground and buildings on the harbourside in the background

National Marine Aquarium

Distance from Train Station: 1.3 miles
Perfect For: Children of all ages
Entry Fees Adult/Kids: £14.95 / £10.95
Three-year-olds and under go free

For one of the best family days out in Plymouth, make your way to the National Marine Aquarium that holds a whopping 2.5 million litres of water. Your entire family can dive into its underwater wonderland teeming with marine life. Enjoy watching the look of fascination etched on your children’s faces as they wave at the friendly turtles, excitedly spot the tiny seahorses and watch the awesome sharks glide by. You can even make your way from Plymouth Sound to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef to see family favourites like the clumsy pufferfish and colourful clownfish.

Insider Tip: Don’t miss the opportunity to take a selfie with one of the huge rays in this fishy paradise!

West Hoe Park

Distance from Train Station: 1.4 miles
Perfect For: Children of all ages
Entry Fees Adult/Kids: Free for everyone to use

The picturesque West Hoe Park is a wonderful outdoor parkland for families. It’s home to all kinds of activities, including tennis, crazy golf and trampolining, and the large grassy expanse is the perfect spot to snack on a picnic. It also has a fun-filled playground, a mysterious hidden garden, a bouncy castle and a miniature train in the summer. Plus, if you want to travel with Rover, this park welcomes your four-legged friends!

Tickets to Plymouth are easy to buy online. Whichever destination you choose to explore over the May bank holiday, take advantage of great savings with CrossCountry Advance train tickets.

 

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