There's plenty going on indoors, too, including some brand-new attractions.
Kicking off in London, the new Chelsea FC Museum uses interactive exhibits, touch-screen technology and audiovisual displays to take visitors on a tour through the club's history (chelseafc.com /tours). The new Kids' Zone at London's National Army Museum offers children the chance to explore history through soft play by crawling and sliding in tough terrain and wrestling through woodland (nam.ac.uk). Older kids will get the ride of their afterlife on Vengeance at The London Dungeon – the UK's only 5D laser ride will take them straight into a shoot out with an army of ghosts (the-dungeons.co.uk).
Three major museums – all on their cities' docksides – have opened in recent months. Bristol celebrated the launch of the £27m M Shed in June. The 1950s transit sheds at Prince's Wharf are home to 3,000 exhibits recounting the city's story (mshed.org). The Riverside Museum: Scotland's Museums of Transport and Travel opened last month in Glasgow. Zaha Hadid's landmark riverside building is home to collections that explore, among other themes, the role of the Clyde in the city's rich industrial heritage (glasgowlife.org.uk).
Heading underwater, London's Sea Life Aquarium is celebrating the Tropical Treasures of the Sea until 2 September. Part of a conservation project to protect South Pacific marine life, a special trail explores the habitat of creatures such as giant clams and rare dolphins (sealife.co.uk /london). Meanwhile, in Brighton, its sister venue Sea Life will be holding a Conservation Day on 1 September, with themed activities including making sea creatures from recycled materials (sealife.co.uk/brighton). Take part in the new Rockpool Rekkie quiz, daily throughout the holidays, in the Seashore Discovery Zone at the Lakes Aquarium in Cumbria. Shore crabs, barnacles, limpets and anemones ... see how many sea creatures you can spot hiding in the shallows (lakesaquarium .co.uk). And there's Family Fun to be had all summer at the Blue Reef Aquarium in Southsea, Hampshire, where kids can glimpse the blue swimmer crab that was caught last month in Portsmouth Harbour. Originating from the Americas, it's a species known for its aggression and vicious pinch – so keep your hands to yourself (bluereefaquarium.co.uk).
There's no escape – literature, history, science and art are still on the curriculum this summer. It's off to Treasure Island next weekend at Blists Hill in Shropshire, when kids can dress as their favourite characters from Robert Louis Stevenson's novel and watch actors recreate scenes from the tale of maritime mutiny (ironbridge.org.uk). What could be more appealing to the console generation of kids than an interactive exhibition dedicated to handheld computer games? But there's an educational side to this, too. With more than 50 exhibits, Gaming on the Go – at the Museum of Computing in Swindon until 27 August – charts the 35-year history of the device and its games (museumofcomputing.org.uk). From 1-4 September, the Beamish Museum in Durham County, will be putting on Power from the Past, where families can explore the huge display of vehicles using everything from horse to steam power (beamish.org.uk). And, deep underground, beneath a farmhouse near the historic town of St Andrew's, is Scotland's Secret Bunker, where, throughout summer, families can find out how 24,000 square feet of hidden accommodation spread across two floors was once used as an underground nuclear command centre (secretbunker.co.uk).
Until 4 September, kids can enjoy a Summer in Space at London's Science Museum, by following the trail to discover rockets and satellites, as well as exhibits such as the Apollo 10 Command Module (sciencemuseum.org.uk/space). Explore the past, present and future of our planet at Our Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh, where you'll be shaken by volcanoes and flown over glaciers, then experience the chill of polar ice and the warmth of a tropical storm (dynamicearth.co.uk). Explore 540 million years of our planet's history in the Life on Earth gallery at Leeds City Museum, where children can experience the sights and sounds of a rainforest and feel the skin of a python through interactive displays (leeds.gov.uk). Meanwhile, the Natural History Museum at Tring, in Hertfordshire, is revealing The Secret World of Museum Science, in an exhibition that looks at what goes on behind the scenes with its bird research collections – from feather forensics to digging up dodos (nhm.ac. uk/tring).
Somerset's Fleet Air Arm Museum will be taken over by a Dalek Invasion on 13-14 August, with events including an Audience with ... and the X-terminate Factor (fleetairarm.com). Super heroes are the stars of the show at London's Madame Tussaud's until 4 September, when the Marvel Super Heroes 4D Experience welcomes its latest recruit, Captain America: The First Avenger, who will be wielding some authentic film props (madametussauds.com). And from comic art to urban art, the Street Art exhibition at Nottingham Castle throughout summer, explores the history of this constantly evolving form. Drawn from the V&A's collections, it included works by Banksy (experiencenottinghamshire.com).
Kids can get creative themselves at workshops throughout the holidays. Head to Bodiam Castle, in Sussex, today for the Lionheart Pewters' demonstrations of metal-working and the opportunity to make medieval pilgrim badges (nationaltrust.org.uk /bodiamcastle). On Thursday and Friday, the Hampshire Food Festivals includes Cake and Cookie Decorating classes to help kids turn out some tasty treats (hampshirefare.co.uk /foodfestival). Sharpes Pottery Museum in the National Forest is running Making Clay Pots sessions on Friday and Saturday – just one of the creative opportunities on offer during summer (nationalforest.co.uk). Meanwhile, on 20 August, the nearby Ferrers Centre for Arts and Crafts is holding a Make and Take Mosaic Workshop (ferrerscentre.co.uk). As part of its full programme of family activities. The Hepworth Wakefield is offering the chance to learn how the sculptors Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore experimented with different techniques in its artist-led Creative Carving classes (hepworthwakefield.org).
Museum of Liverpool
The £72m Museum of Liverpool opened last week. The striking structure on the city's waterfront contains more than 6,000 items, which highlight Liverpool's important role in world history (liverpoolmuseums.org.uk)