The Ten Best: Green family outings

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The Independent Travel

1. EcoHouse, Leicester

Here, children can learn how making minor changes at home helps save the planet. Set in an organic garden, the EcoHouse demonstrates numerous environmental ideas. It encourages visitors to make changes to their own homes - from saving energy to using recycled underlay.

The EcoHouse Western Park, Hinckley Road, Leicester (www.environ.org.uk; 0116 254 5489); £2 adults, £1 children

2. Plant a Tree, Lincolnshire

The Woodland Trust encourages tree-planting to improve the quality of the air, and this year it aims to plant 12 million trees in the UK. It's also planting trees to commemorate the ships of oak that fought in the battle of Trafalgar. Contact them to find your nearest planting scheme.

The Woodland Trust, Autumn Park, Dysart Road, Grantham, Lincs (01476 581111; www.treeforall.org.uk)

3. The Vegetable Kingdom, Coventry

This excellent exhibition teaches children about how vegetables have evolved from wild plants, and the part they've played in our lives. It also tells of the many varieties that have been lost and efforts to reintroduce them.

The Vegetable Kingdom, HDRA, Ryton Organic Gardens, Wolston Lane, Coventry (www.hdra.org.uk; 024 7630 3517); £4.50 adults, £2 children

4. Eden Project, Cornwall

Explore steamy rainforests, experience art, storytelling, exhibits and hands-on workshops, all in the world's largest greenhouse. The new Education Centre - housed in a building that is shaped like a sunflower - allows children to discover how plants power our world.

Eden Project, St Austell, Cornwall (www.edenproject.com; 01726 811911); £12.50 adults, £5 children (under fives free)

5. Hatfield Forest, Essex

A rare surviving example of a medieval hunting forest, Hatfield is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and has more than 1,000 acres of woodland and pasture, some wonderful 400-year-old trees, two lakes and an 18th-century grotto covered in shells.

Hatfield Forest Nature Reserve, Takeley, Bishops Stortford, Essex (www.nationaltrust.org.uk/places/ hatfieldforest; 01279 870 678); admission free but car parking charges apply

6. Centre for Alternative Technology, Wales

There are interactive exhibitions for children that focus on solutions to environmental issues, including the wind-power seat and "Mole Hole" - a world of soil and bugs. For the energetic, there's an adventure playground.

CAT is three miles north of Machynlleth on the A487 (www.cat.org.uk; 01654 705950); £8 adults, £5.50 children, under threes free

7. Kew Gardens, Surrey

Kew is one of the world's leaders in preserving rare plants - but children may not realise the entry fee funds this as they run around the 300-acre site with 33,000 species of plants, or visit the Palm House with its aquariums. A favourite is the child-sized badger's set and the play area with giant bugs.

Kew Gardens, Kew, Richmond, Surrey (www.rbgkew.org.uk; 020-8332 5655); £10 adults, children (under 16) free

8. The Iron Age Village, Wales

See how people lived and farmed at a time when the car hadn't even been thought of. There are huts made from local trees and straw, and grain pits used to protect and store food and even the barley used for brewing beer.

On the A4067 between Swansea & Brecon (www.showcaves.co.uk 01639 730284); £9.50 adults, £6 children, under fours free

9. Whipsnade Zoo, Bedfordshire

Help conserve wild animals by visiting Whipsnade. In a beautiful setting of 600 acres of parkland on the Chiltern Hills, the zoo is home to more than 2,500 animals, including several endangered species. It has one of the largest white rhino herds outside Africa.

Whipsnade Zoo, Dunstable, Bedfordshire LU6 2LF (www.whipsnade.co.uk 01582 872 171); £14.50 adults, £11 children, under threes free

10. Organic farms, Nationwide

Discover a farming system that works in harmony with nature. On an organic farm, children can learn what food looks like before it reaches the shops, see how it is grown and enjoy the countryside and its wildlife. Take the opportunity to stock up on fresh produce at the farm shop.

Soil Association, Bristol House, 40-56 Victoria Street, Bristol (0117 314 5000; www.soilassociation.org)

The Ten Best is edited by Rebecca Armstrong r.armstrong@independent.co.uk

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