The kids are nearly done with school for the summer. While they are counting down the days with excitement, parents are counting them down with a tinge of dread as they worry about trying to contain the mania of children hyped up on ice cream for six weeks.
To help with ideas on how to break up the days and have fun as a family I’ve created lists of what to do in my neck of the woods; Berkshire, Hampshire, Surrey and Oxfordshire, this summer.
These are the places that are on my list and I hope you’ll let me know some suggestions too.
I’ve divided them up into indoor and outdoor activities as you never know what the weather is going to be. It’s nice to have ideas to cover all your bases!
Let’s start with Berkshire. I will follow up the other areas in separate posts.
Coral Reef Waterworld, Bracknell
Closed for a big refurbishment at the moment but due to reopen in the summer. With flumes, water jets and rapids this swimming pool is full of adventure. The council is spending £13million doing it up so it’s bound to be even better when it reopens. There’s a gentle sloping entrance to the water that’s great for babies and toddlers but there’s also lots for bigger kids too.
The Look Out Discovery Centre, Bracknell
Get your children excited about science from an early age with dozens of hands-on experiments. There’s water, blocks, balls, lights, sound, drawing and more. There’s also a mini supermarket to visit. This is a great place to visit for all ages. There’s a cafe and gift shop with lots of interesting gadgets as well.
Cost: £7.45 adults, £5.10 children aged 4-16, under 4s free.
Windsor Leisure Centre
The centre’s leisure pool has a wave machine, water features and fun slide.
Cost: £21.60 for family ticket.
Take your little princes and princesses to a real castle! They will love Queen Mary’s Dolls House and exploring the grounds.
Cost: £20.50 adults, under 5s free.
Kids n Action, Winnersh
There’s a whole world of fun to be had here. An adventure play area, sports arena, mini high street and video games area means there is something for everyone.
Cost: Prices start at £1.25 for adults and £1 for children.
Brickies Play Centre, Wokingham
Budding builders can get creative with Lego at this attraction. Children take part in 90 minute play sessions where they are set a building challenge. This is aimed at kids aged 5-11. Younger children have a creative corner full of Duplo where they can develop their building skills. A must for Lego fans. Pre-booking required.
Cost: Peak session £10, off peak £8 and Duplo session £5.
Museum of Berkshire Aviation, Woodley
Children can get up close to a huge display of planes old and new.
Cost: £3.50 adults, £2.50 children.
Hands on Art Adventures, Windsor
Watch pottery being shaped on a potter’s wheel and get the creative juices flowing by painting all sorts of different pottery shapes then take your creations home.
Cost: Prices start at £6.95.
Bracknell Ice Rink
Children can keep cool and try something new by getting their skates on here. There is also an outdoor ski slope for snowboarding, tubing and tobogganing.
Swinley Forest in Bracknell
Park by the Look Out Discovery Centre (as featured above) and kids can enjoy a run around the playground before exploring the forest. There are plenty of walks of varying lengths to enjoy. The forest is beautiful and peaceful. Scenes for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows were filmed here.
Cost: Parking charges apply.
Wellington Country Park in Riseley
I’ve said what a big fan I am of Wellington in my review here. It has an animal farm, splash pad, dinosaur sculptures, multiple playgrounds and a mini train. A must-visit.
Cost: £11 adults, £10 children over 3.
Legoland in Windsor
All Lego fans must visit Legoland. There’s so much here they will be begging you to go back. There are rides, sculptures, a splash park in the Duplo Village which is really well geared up for younger ones and much more.
Cost: From £30 per person.
Windsor Great Park
Find deer and explore the beautiful gardens blooming with flowers. This is a perfect place to visit on a summer’s day.
Cost: £10.50 per adult.
Your kids might not manage the full 184 miles, but they can enjoy a lovely walk with stops to explore at playgrounds, picnic spots and towns. Pick your spot to start at the website. I recommend the Reading section as it has a great children’s playground and paddling pool plus a lovely walk along the Thames featuring swans, geese and ducks for your little ones to point out.
Beale Park, Reading
There’s so much to see and do including animals, an exhibition of toys from years gone by, play areas, model boats and a train.
Cost: £7 adults, £5 children over 2.
Bucklebury Farm Park, Bucklebury
Prince George and Princess Charlotte’s grandparents live just around a corner and apparently the tots are huge fans of this place. There are goats, sheep, bunnies, and pigs to meet, plus a huge indoor slide and an outdoor play area. Buy feed at reception so you can get up close with the cute animals.
Cost: £9.95 adults, £4.62 children over 2.
The Living Rainforest, Newbury
Explore a beautiful rainforest with roaming lizards, birds and butterflies. There are also monkeys to see and lots to learn about the world’s plants.
Cost: £10.45 adults, £8.45 children over 2.
Basildon Park, Reading
This National Trust property is set in stunning grounds with countryside walks suitable for buggies.
Cost: £12.70 adult, £6.80 children.
Highclere Castle, near Newbury
Discover the real Downton Abbey. Take a tour of the castle and explore the gardens.
Cost: From £7 adults, £2 children. Booking in advance recommended.
Pinewood Miniature Railway, Wokingham
Take a ride on a miniature railway. The club that runs the railway owns lots of different engines for kids to look at. There’s also a playground on the same site.
Cost: £1 adults, free children under 3.
Dinton Pastures in Winnersh
The huge adventure playground will be a hit with children of all ages. There are slides, tunnels, climbing frames and a giant chair to clamber on. The country park also has a cafe on site selling drinks and hot meals. There is also a lovely walk around the lake and an activity centre offering sailing and other watersports.
Cost: Parking is £1.20 per hour.
Wolf Conservation Trust, Beenham
The trust holds Visit Wednesdays where members of the public can see the wolves and learn about the charity’s work.
Cost: £8 adults, free children under 3.
Lockey Farm, Arborfield
See chickens, pigs and bunnies, plus enjoy a jump on a huge bouncy pillow and fun at the playground. There’s also a crazy golf facility. The farm sometimes runs tractor and trailer rides. Visit the farm shop too to pick up some of the delicious produce, such as Barkham Blue cheese which is made locally and tastes amazing.
Cost: £5 adults, free under 3.
The Nature Discovery Centre, Thatcham
Packed full of interactive nature and wildlife, the centre will definitely appeal to animal lovers. There are also lots of woodland walks to suit all ages.
Windsor Duck Tours
The one-hour tour starts on the roads of Windsor before splashing into the River Thames! Kids will be amazed by this ride in an amphibious vehicle and it’s a lovely way to explore Windsor.
Cost: £19 adults, children from £1.
All the price information was correct at the time of writing this in July 2017 but do check on the websites before you visit.