Great fun can be had without ever stepping on a plane

While some people like to hop on a plane and fly abroad to another big city for a long weekend city break, they are often missing out on some great experiences back home.

The UK is perhaps at its best with short multi-day trips or single day trips which take in new sights, share some local history and enjoy a complete change of pace.

Whether you enjoy learning about dinosaurs, seeing classic motor cars, riding a monorail or a steam train straight out of the Harry Potter books, learn about the Sheriff in Nottingham or one want to take another exciting trip, there is much to experience in the UK. Here are just a few ideas for your next day out in the UK.

Dinosaur Isle, Isle of Wight

If you have one or two kids who’ve seen Jurassic Park a few too many times and think that they know everything there is to know about the Dinosaurs that once roamed the Earth, then Dinosaur Isle will be just up their alley. Suitable for even small kids from age four upwards, there are design challenges to make a stegosaurus or they can get a fright when they see the blood dripping from the raptor (it’s animatronic, don’t worry, parents). There are dinosaur fossils on show, a few of which can be handled. There are also a few dino experts who are on hand in the lab to answer questions from eager kids and even more curious adults.

Adults £5, Age 3- 15 £3.70

Galleries of Justice, Nottingham

This one is probably more for the boys than the girls, but it is still a great family attraction. The Sheriff of Nottingham, made even more famous by the Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves film with actor Kevin Costner, was big on crime and punishment. A visit to the galleries and you’ll have actors lead the way to see the courthouse while a real trial is under-way, the gaol, and other reminders of those times. The macabre scene is accentuated with the informational displays about penal reform and the changes since the time of the Sheriff of Nottingham. There is also a very popular Robin Hood exhibition, which has some extra kid-friendly activities during the summer holidays.

Adults £9.50, Kids £7.50

The Titanic Experience, Belfast, Northern Ireland

In the spot on the Belfast slipway where the Titanic ship was constructed now exists Titanic Belfast. Nine galleries tell the tale of the construction of this mighty ship during the early 1900s in Belfast, from initial design, to construction and subsequent launch. There are also galleries that deal with the tragic sinking of the Titanic and what happened after. A few special effects add a bit of modern technology into the mix too.

Adults £14.75, Kids aged 4-16 £7.25

Jacobite Steam Train, Fort William

For kids and adults alike who love trains, the West Coast Railways Jacobite ride on a stream train will be simply a joy. Up in Scotland at Fort William the journey begins. Cross the incredible 21-arch Glenfinnan Viaduct and feel the wind in your hair as you ride the rails. The train is extremely reminiscent of the Hogwarts Express in the Harry Potter tales. This little locomotive passes the waters of Loch Morar, goes through little villages like Lochailort and Arisaig, and ends the journey at Mallaig. A dinner is laid on near the quayside where everyone can sit on the edge of the quay enjoying the view there.

Adults £33, Kids £19. Prices include return journey.

The Canterbury Tales, Canterbury

For anyone into classic literature, a visit to The Canterbury Tales brings back to life some of the most vivid imagery from Chaucer. There’s plenty of atmosphere here with foreboding sounds, medieval scents wafting about, wax works and gloom & doom evident everywhere. For anyone who’s read Chaucer, a visit here adds much needed life to this large volume.

Adults £8.50, Kids aged 5-15 £6.25

National Motor Museum, Beaulieu, Hampshire

If you or anyone in your family is a bit of a motor-head, then the national motor museum will be a joy. Get a look at the Reliant Robin from the The Only Fools and Horses TV series or the record-breaking Bluebird once driven by Donald Campbell. If you like James Bond, then many of his vehicles from the films are here on display. The country estate aims to teach about motoring history over the years. Outside of the museum, there is a classic 1912 London bus with an open top or a more modern monorail to ride around on.

Adults £20, Kids aged 13-17 £12 and Kids aged 5-12 £9.95

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