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Literary days out for children

The World of Beatrix Potter (01539 488444) at the Old Laundry, Bowness- on-Windermere, provides an undercover walk that leads children through different village and woodland scenes to meet life-size figures of Beatrix Potter's characters. There is also a short film about the writer's life, and a video wall to introduce the stories. Open 10am-4pm, adults pounds 2.99, children pounds 1.99.

At nearby Hawkshead, the Beatrix Potter Gallery (01539 436355) displays 100 or so original illustrations from the stories. The collection is housed in what were once the offices of Beatrix Potter's solicitor husband. Open until 2 November, 10.30am-4pm. Adults pounds 2.60, children pounds 1.30.

The Bronte Parsonage Museum (01535 642323) in Haworth, West Yorkshire, contains the Bronte sisters' furniture and personal belongings, re-creating the atmosphere of their family home. Exhibits include their earliest writings, their clothes, and Emily Bronte's writing desk, with its contents as she left it. A visit will give children the opportunity to join the Angrians, the junior branch of the Bronte Society. The Angrians encourages young interest in the writings of the Brontes through competitions, poetry and story writing, and by organising occasional workshops in Haworth. Membership costs pounds 5. The museum is open 11am-4.30pm. Adults pounds 3.80, children pounds 1.20, concessions pounds 2.80.

The Nene Valley Railway (01780 784444), at Wansford station, near Peterborough, is the home of Thomas, named after The Reverend Wilbert Awdry's Thomas the Tank Engine. On bank holidays and half-terms children can ride behind Thomas on his own branch line which passes through a "haunted" tunnel. At other times visitors can see him at the station, and enjoy a day out travelling by steam train. There are more than seven miles of track through the picturesque Nene Valley. An adult rover ticket, giving unlimited travel for a day, costs pounds 7.50; a child ticket costs pounds 3.50. Services operate on Sundays from mid-February, weekends from Easter to October, Wednesdays from May and some mid-week services in summer.

The Shrewsbury Quest (01743 243324), Shrewsbury, offers adults and children the chance to take part in a medieval mystery, based on the Brother Cadfael books by Ellis Peters. Cloisters and a garden planted with herbs that would have been present in Cadfael's time provide the backdrop to the quest. As well as hunting for clues, visitors can make an illuminated manuscript or practise calligraphy. There is a Young Questor mystery for children to gather clues to make a medieval rune. The restaurant has meals such as the "Abbot's lunch" to enhance the 12th-century atmosphere. Open daily, 10am-4pm. Adults pounds 3.95, children pounds 2.50, under fives free, and concessions pounds 3.20.

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