The Independent Parent: Your questions answered

Q This summer we're travelling by train from our home on Tyneside to a holiday cottage in Dorset. Because we don't have much faith in the railways, we've allowed just over two hours for our connection in Birmingham. But if the train happens to be on time, what can you suggest to entertain two boys (eight and 10) in the immediate vicinity of New Street station?

Q This summer we're travelling by train from our home on Tyneside to a holiday cottage in Dorset. Because we don't have much faith in the railways, we've allowed just over two hours for our connection in Birmingham. But if the train happens to be on time, what can you suggest to entertain two boys (eight and 10) in the immediate vicinity of New Street station?

K Donaldson, South Shields

A A good option for young children is the Millennium Point complex (0121 202 2222; www.millenniumpoint.org.uk). A 10-minute walk from Birmingham New Street station, it houses the Imax theatre, which shows 40-minute 2D and 3D films on a variety of topics every 75 minutes. The cinema is open every day, the first show is at 10.15am and a family ticket will set you back £15. The complex also houses the Thinktank museum that brings science to life. A family ticket will cost £18 and the museum is open from 10am to 5pm every day except Friday.

Another attraction popular with children is the National Sea Life Centre (0121 633 4700; www.sealife.co.uk) at Brindleyplace. It contains more than 60 species of sea creature and offers visitors the opportunity to come face to face with sharks, stingrays and other exotic species in its underwater tunnel. A new addition is the otter sanctuary. The centre, which is about a 10-minute walk from the station is open from 10am-6pm daily, adults £8, children (aged 4-14) £6.

You might also like to take an hour-long trip on a long boat on one of Birmingham's famous canals. Sherbourne Wharf Heritage Narrowboats (0121 455 6163) offers several trips throughout the day, costing £4.25 for adults and £3.25 for children.

Families will also enjoy the city's celebrated Museum and Art Gallery (0121 303 2834). Its main attraction is its collection of Pre-Raphaelite paintings but there are archaeological collections and a wonderful Egyptology gallery that your children are bound to enjoy. Admission to the gallery is free and it is open from 10am to 5pm Monday to Saturday and 12.30pm to 5pm on Sundays.

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