How to improve holidays with children

'Hey mum, take us to muggle mecca'
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The Independent Travel

Harry Potter – aren't you sick of him? Well, no actually. At least, not as far as my kids are concerned. They're still as HP-mad as ever: I even caught them searching for flying broomsticks on the internet the other day. (No joy, although it hasn't stopped them practising at home.) For a truly sweeping adventure, it looks as if they'll have to wait until the Orlando Harry Potter theme park opens in 2009.

But there are lots of Harry-themed experiences right on our doorstep. A trip to muggle mecca Alnwick Castle (01665 511100; alnwick castle.com), aka Hogwarts in the first two films, should keep them quiet for a while: you can book your little wizards on a mystical tour of the grounds or even send them to Knight School, where they get to dress up and learn the art of swordsmanship.

In fact, over the next few months, there's Potter pleasure to be had all over the country. At half term, for example, mini magicians can attend a bewitching event at the Aquarium of the Lakes (01539 530153; aquarium ofthelakes.co.uk) in Windermere. Activities include craft projects, mischievous wizardry and wand-making.

But to go the whole Hogwarts, book a Harry Potter mini-break. Companies such as offtolondon.com and Back Roads Touring (020-8566 5312; backroadstouring.co.uk) run trips that include magical steam train rides and tours of some of the most famous scenes from the films. The only things missing now are the flying broomsticks.

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