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The Best UK Attractions Outside of London for families

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When you’re thinking of ways to entertain the kids, you might think London has it all. But some of the UK’s best attractions for families are, in fact, outside of the capital. Whether your child loves to play dress up, stay stuck to their iPad or run around in the great outdoors, there is a UK attraction you can enjoy together as a family.

Many places cater for adults as much as they do kids, so you’re bound to have a great day out too. From museums and castles to parks and beaches, read on to discover the top UK attractions for families outside of London.

Travelling by train is a great choice for a family day out. There’s plenty of room for luggage and buggies. Plus, the kids can move around a bit if they get bored. You can sit and enjoy the train ride together; we recommend packing snacks and printing off our I-Spy game.

Travel across the UK with CrossCountry and book an Advance train ticket for great savings.

York Dungeon, York

Forget the London Dungeons, visit York for a seriously scary tour through history. You’ll get an exhilarating 75-minute experience, including 11 live actor shows, telling the city’s darkest stories. Enjoy frighteningly funny encounters with some of the city’s most despicable murderous rogues, from Guy Fawkes to Dick Turpin and even the Vikings! Survive the witch in the York Castle Dungeon, step into an appointment with the Plague Doctor, discover why The Golden Fleece is York's most haunted pub and much, much more…

Getting there: From York Station, the dungeons are just across the river, a 10-minute walk away.

Eden Project, Cornwall

Discover the connections between plants and people as you explore one of the UK’s top attractions, the Eden Project. Walk through the largest indoor rainforest in the world with over 1000 species of plants, enjoy the canopy walkway and even see how rubber is tapped from trees to make wellie boots. For the thrill seekers, soar above the Eden Project on the zip wire or the high-flying giant swing.

Getting there: From St Austell Station, jump on bus 101 to arrive at the Eden Project in under 15 minutes.

The domes at the Eden Project hold different species of plants in them.

Camera Obscura and World of Illusions, Edinburgh

Immerse yourself in optical illusions at Edinburgh's historic Camera Obscura. The museum has been attracting visitors for over 150 years, with its mind-blowing effects, tricks and puzzles. The five floors hold interactive exhibits where your kids will enter an altered visual reality. A great blend of art and history, you and your family can also learn all about the intriguing history of the camera's invention.

Getting there: From Edinburgh Waverley, you can walk to the attraction in under 10 minutes.

Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh

When you’ve had enough of optical illusions, head up the street to Edinburgh Castle where over 1,000 years of history awaits. Enjoy exploring the rugged walls and admiring some of the best views across the city from its gun-holes. Kids will particularly love the Scottish crown jewels, the weapons and armoury displayed in the Great Hall, and Mons Meg – a medieval cannon and one of the largest in the world!

Getting there: Edinburgh Castle is less than a 10-minute walk from Edinburgh Waverley.

Edinburgh Castle is one of the UK’s best attractions.

Cadbury World, Birmingham

If you’re a regular reader of our blog, you’ll know how much we at CrossCountry love Cadbury World. And who can blame us? It’s a real-life chocolate factory after all! A fun day out for the whole family, you will learn how your favourite sweet treats are made, play interactive, chocolate-related games and most importantly get lots of samples!

Getting there: Cadbury World is a 15-minute walk from Bournville Station, which is a 14-minute train journey from Birmingham New Street (trains every 10 minutes). If you show your train ticket, you get 30% off, so what are you waiting for? Book your train ticket now!

A family enjoying an interactive game at Cadbury World, one of the top UK attractions.

Bournemouth Beach, Bournemouth

Bournemouth is a fantastic place to visit as a family. Pay a visit to the aquarium, go bowling, play laser tag, have a picnic in the park or explore the seven miles of sandy beach. Kids will love building sandcastles, trying out an array of water sports and braving the English sea. Don’t forget to explore Bournemouth Pier - over 300m in length, the pier is packed with all-weather entertainment from amusement arcades to adrenaline pumping activities. So, whatever the weather, Bournemouth is a great place to be.

Getting there: From Bournemouth Station, any bus from stand 5 will take you to the beach in under 10 minutes. Alternatively, you could walk in around 25 minutes.

Bournemouth’s 7-mile beach is a great UK attraction for the whole family.

Hadrian’s Wall, Newcastle

Pack a picnic, venture outdoors and follow in the footsteps of the Romans as you explore the historic sites along the length of Hadrian’s Wall. Housesteads Roman Fort is a great option if you’re visiting with kids. From the visitor centre, it’s about a 10-minute walk to the fort. Wander the barrack blocks and the hospital, peer into the oldest toilets you’ll ever see and admire the stunning panoramic views from the fortress. There is even an interactive museum, showcasing objects belonging to Roman soldiers, and a mini cinema which will take you on a journey through time.

Getting there: If you are travelling on one of our services to Newcastle, there are connections to Hadrian’s Wall Country along the Tyne Valley Railway.

We The Curious, Bristol

One of the best interactive science museums in England, covering space, technology and the human brain, you and the kids will love We The Curious. Removing boundaries between science, art, people and ideas, the venue encourages its visitors to get their hands dirty and get curious about the exhibits. With workshops, science shows and the UK’s only 3D digital planetarium, you can easily spend a whole day exploring the museum.

Getting there: You can walk to We The Curious in 20 minutes from Bristol Temple Meads. Whichever UK attraction you decide to visit with your family, buy an Advance ticket with CrossCountry and download our Train Ticket app. Not found what you’re looking for? Explore other days out in the UK on our blog.

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