The Ten Best: Family outings

From dolphin-spotting to snowboarding, Isabel Lloyd has a host of ideas for keeping the children entertained this Easter

Paignton Zoo, Devon

Family ticket £26.70

As someone who has been forced by their children to visit a zoo in every town we've ever been in, I can say with some authority that Paignton is one of the best in Europe. Its imaginative enclosures and contented animals make it a pleasure to spend a day in.

01803 527936

Greenwich, London SE10

A day in Greenwich avoids the worst of the tourist pack in central London, and is more conducive to happy tinies than the mean streets of the West End or the South Bank. Greenwich Park has a decent playground, a trip downriver from Westminster pier (020-7930 4097) is just the right length for childish attention spans, and the Maritime Museum (020-8312 6608) runs free art-and-craft activities every Sunday.

Black Country Living Museum, Dudley

Family ticket £28

This largely open-air museum near Birmingham, dedicated to reconstructing life during the Industrial Revolution, is spread over 26 acres. There's a number of working buildings, and the central village is staffed by in-character guides, who work alongside real craftsmen and women. A great chance to get a taste of Victorian living.

0121 557 9643

Dolphin-spotting, Moray Firth

£20 each (under-threes free)

Most of the UK population would have to dedicate a bit of time and money getting up to Inverness in Scotland - but it's worth it for the chance of seeing the bottlenose dolphins that are resident in the Moray Firth. Dolphin Ecosse runs half-day boat-trips from Cromarty, including a video beforehand, two-and-a-half hours on the boat, and refreshments. The company says that dolphins are seen on nine out of 10 of its trips. If not, there'll always be seals, porpoises and puffins to watch.

01381 600323

Isle of Wight

The perfect place to play at being a storybook family. There's something pleasantly 1950s about the Isle of Wight - you half expect to see the Famous Five appear around every corner - and it has a range of gentle attractions for younger children. Take a trip on a Victorian steam train at Ryde (01983 882204), discover dinosaur footprints with a palaeontologist at Brighstone Bay (01983 740401), and have lunch at the Wight Mouse Inn (01983 730431), a family pub that has an excellent soft-play area and a petting zoo.

Tourist info: 01983 813800; www.islandbreaks.co.uk

National Mining Museum of Wales, Blaenavon

Free

School-age children not of a claustrophobic bent will find Wales's "Big Pit" a fascinating experience. Ex-miners take you 300 feet underground down the main shaft of what was for 200 years a working mine; you get to visit the coal-face, pit stables and underground road, and see for yourself the place where more than a thousand men once worked.

01495 790311

The SnowDome, Tamworth

One-hour group lesson from £18

Outside, spring may be in the air - but inside this big square box near Birmingham it's permanent winter. A 170m real snow slope with a button lift, skiing and boarding lessons, sledging, an ice-rink... you can easily spend a day here getting your fill of the white stuff.

08705 000011

Cadbury World, Bournville

Family ticket £27.60

Want to see children get excited? Tell them they are going to visit a chocolate factory. In fact, watching chocolate bars being created is only a part of Cadbury World, situated near Birmingham, which celebrates all things cocoa with a half-educational, half-fun museum. Booking advisable.

0121 451 4159

Cycling in the New Forest, Hampshire

£10 for a day's adult bike hire

Hire bikes, with or without toddler trailer-bikes and baby seats, from Forest Leisure Cycling in Burley, and then head for the hills - or rather the woods and open heaths - on one of six traffic-free routes provided by the cycling centre. Count ponies and deer, eat a picnic, then round off the day in one of the tearooms along the way.

Forest Leisure Cycling: 01425 403584; www.forestleisurecycling.co.uk

Science Museum, London

Free, but charges for some exhibitions

It's a toss-up which of the three museums on Exhibition Road is best for children, but I think the Science Museum wins by a nose, not least because its basement is handed over to children's entertainment. Tinies can mess about with sand and water, while their older siblings can play at being Einstein with hands-on experiments. On Tuesday they'll get free entry to the Science of Sport exhibition if they hand over a chocolate Easter egg.

Exhibition Road, London SW7 (020-7942 4000; www.sciencemuseum.org.uk)

Arts and Entertainment
An unseen image of Kurt Cobain at home featured in the film 'Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck'
film
News
Andy Murray with his girlfriend of nine years, Kim Sears who he has got engaged to
peopleWimbledon champion announces engagement to girlfriend Kim Sears
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden and Edwina Currie are joining the I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here! camp
tv
Arts and Entertainment
George Mpanga has been shortlisted for the Critics’ Choice prize
music
News
Albert Camus (left) and Jean-Paul Sartre fell out in 1952 and did not speak again before Camus’s death
people
Arts and Entertainment
Roisin, James and Sanjay in the boardroom
tvReview: This week's failing project manager had to go
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
filmDirector said film would 'never have been financed' with ethnic minority actors in key roles
News
people
Sport
footballArsenal 2 Borussia Dortmund 0: And they can still top the group
News
Ed Miliband visiting the Holocaust museum in Jerusalem. The Labour leader has spoken more openly of his heritage recently
newsAttacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But are the barbs more sinister?
Arts and Entertainment
'Felfie' (2014) by Alison Jackson
photographyNew exhibition shows how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
News
i100
Extras
indybest
Life and Style
Fright night: the board game dates back to at least 1890
life
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Investigo: Finance Manager - Global Leisure Business

    £55000 - £65000 per annum: Investigo: My client, a global leader in their fiel...

    Investigo: Senior Finance Analyst - Global Leisure Business

    £45000 - £52000 per annum + bonus+bens : Investigo: My client, a global leader...

    Investigo: Financial reporting Accountant

    £40000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits : Investigo: One of the fastest growing g...

    Sphere Digital Recruitment: CRM Executive – Global Travel Brand – Luton – £25k

    25,000: Sphere Digital Recruitment: CRM Executive – Global Travel Brand – Luto...

    Day In a Page

    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

    It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
    Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

    Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

    The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
    Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

    Sarkozy returns

    The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
    Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

    Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

    Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
    Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

    Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

    Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game
    There's a Good Girl exhibition: How female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising

    In pictures: There's a Good Girl exhibition

    The new exhibition reveals how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
    UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover - from advent calendars to doll's houses

    UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover

    It worked with cupcakes, doughnuts and macarons so no wonder someone decided to revamp the humble biscuit
    Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

    Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

    It's no surprise that the building game born in Sweden in 2009 and now played by millions, has imitators keen to construct their own mega money-spinner
    The King's School is way ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology

    Staying connected: The King's School

    The school in Cambridgeshire is ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology. Richard Garner discovers how teachers and pupils stay connected
    Christmas 2014: 23 best women's perfumes

    Festively fragrant: the best women's perfumes

    Give a loved one a luxe fragrance this year or treat yourself to a sensual pick-me-up
    Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition

    Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund

    The Ox celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition
    Billy Joe Saunders vs Chris Eubank Jnr: When two worlds collide

    When two worlds collide

    Traveller Billy Joe Saunders did not have a pampered public-school upbringing - unlike Saturday’s opponent Chris Eubank Jnr
    Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

    Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

    Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
    Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

    Putin’s far-right ambition

    Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
    Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

    Escape to Moominland

    What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?