It can be difficult coming up with new and innovative ways to keep the family entertained when it’s raining outside.
You already know the cinema and bowling alley will be heaving and the local soft play centre is every parent’s idea of torture. But what else is there to do?
Well we’ve put our thinking cap on for you. Here are 22 child-friendly things to do, whatever the weather.
If you love cooking there’s nothing more relaxing than spending a rainy afternoon making your own pasta. Get the kids involved. Rolling out tender, succulent meatballs and creating long streams of velvety tagliatelle is much more fun and productive than playing with Playdough.
A Pamper Party
If you’ve got a houseful of girls, give them a rainy day treat and book an at-home pamper party. Glo Pamper offers adult and kid’s heavenly spa packages in the comfort of your own home; a great rainy day birthday party idea.
Rainy Days Out
Visit a Castle
Take a step back in time and explore one of the many beautiful castles around the country. Sudeley Castle near Cheltenham has a fascinating Tudor history, and has played host to Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn, Lady Jane Grey, Elizabeth I. Henry’s last wife, Katherine Parr, is buried in the grounds and Charles I sought refuge here. Children’s Wednesdays provide weatherproof, interactive workshops and activities for kids of all ages.
Re-enchantments and costumed characters bring the 1,000-year-old history of Warwick Castle to life. Climb up to the Princess Tower and discover if you’re a real princess by taking the pea test on a bed piled high with mattresses, or dress up as a knight and prepare for battle at the Kingmaker experience.
Hampton Court Palace
Enter the world of Tudor England with a fascinating tour around the galleries, staterooms and kitchens of Hampton Court Palace. Children will love the newly opened Chocolate Kitchen and the spooky thrill of the Ghostly Children’s Trail. You might even catch a glimpse of Henry himself!
A Stream Train Ride
Take a nostalgic journey over stunning scenery in a vintage steam train. Some of the best steam train journeys in the UK include North Yorkshire Moors Railway, Severn Valley and South Devon.
Visit The Eden Project
Learn about the importance of plants and sustainability at the largest indoor rainforest in the world. The Eden Project holds a variety of events and workshops for adults and children of all ages throughout the year.
Escape the cold by getting colder! The Sno Zone has dedicated indoor ski centres in Milton Keynes, Glasgow and Castleford. The climate-controlled snow pistes offer perfect snow conditions to ski, snowboard or toboggan, whatever the time of year. Skiing lessons are available for children over 3 years old and snowboarding for children over 7.
A Cookery Course
Cookery courses are not just available for adults. Becketts Farm, just south of Birmingham offers gourmet courses for adults and children from the age of 8. For tiny cooks, Cookie Crumbles in Kensington and Putney holds Toddler Chef classes where children as young as 2 can learn to make milkshakes, pizzas and yummy puddings.
The Museum of Science and Industry
Don’t be put off by the name. The MOSI in Manchester is fascinating for budding scientists, no matter how young. The museum believes in creating an interest in science from an early age and caters for even the youngest visitors. There are sensory blankets and treasure packs for babies and toddlers, soft play experiments in The Den and Experitots, puppet and play sessions for pre-schoolers.
A Day Trip to Edinburgh
Explore the winding nooks and alleys of the old town or head up to the castle and immerse yourselves in Scottish history. A guided bus tour of the city is a great way to get around and the whole family will love exploring the mysterious hidden underground streets of Real Mary King’s Close.
Tea at The Ritz
Put on your finery and treat the family to an elegant afternoon tea at one of the world’s most famous hotels. Traditional afternoon tea is held in the spectacular Palm Court where you can nibble on mouthwatering pastries, cakes and dainty sandwiches while listening to an enchanting musical ensemble. The Ritz offers a range of delights for the children, while Mum and Dad can treat themselves to a chilled glass of champagne.
West End musicals are a delight for adults and children alike. The Lion King and Matilda are the most popular current shows for families. For an extra special treat, book a matinee performance in the Royal Circle for the best viewing seats.
Take a Harry Potter Tour
Held at the Warner Bros Studio, this is an unmissable event for Potterheads, young and old. Go behind-the-scenes and experience the original sets, costumes and props of the Harry Potter films. You can explore Dumbledore’s office, the Great Hall and Diagon Alley, then finish off the tour with a Butterbeer or Butterbeer ice cream.
The Tate Modern
The Tate Modern is a fantastic place to introduce your little ones to the world of art. The museum holds a variety of interactive workshops and offers a free art trail for children. There’s an interactive under 5’s zone for the youngest visitors.
Harrods and Hamleys
Even if you’re not planning on shopping, a trip to Harrods is a definite must, especially the food hall. For even more fun, take the kids to Hamleys. The most famous toy store in the world has 5 storeys to explore and regularly holds special events and exhibitions. Just don’t forget the credit card!
Across the Channel
Jump on the Hydrofoil from Dover to Oostende and take a day trip to the quaint and charming Belgian city of Bruges. Explore the winding cobbled streets, munch on hot, sugary waffles or visit the Choco Story Museum to learn how famous Belgian chocolate is made.
It may be one of the most romantic cities in the world, but Paris is also a wonderful city to take the children. The journey on Eurostar from London is only 3 hours. Must-sees are the Eiffel Tour, The Louvre and Notre Dame Cathedral. Restaurants and cafes are extremely child-friendly so there’s no problem taking the little ones.
If you fancy a spot of shopping, take a stroll around Rue de Bac where you’ll find a fabulous selection of stores for fashion-conscious kids. In Luxembourg and Buttes Chaumont, the guignols puppet shows are perfect for entertaining the little ones.
Sunbathe in Nice
Escape the gray skies and soak up the sun of the French Riviera. Nice is only an hour and 50-minute flight away. You’re guaranteed sunny days for most of the year and you can enjoy the very best of French cuisine or sip on a glass of wine at one of the many pavement cafes. If you fancy a dip, there’s a range of smart seafront restaurants with private beaches, loungers and waterside waiter service.
The historic center of this ancient and beautiful Tuscan city is fairly small and easy to get around. Get lost in the winding streets, shop for leather goods at San Lorenzo market or challenge the kids to climb to the top of the magnificent Duomo. The views from Piazzale Michelangelo across the terracotta roofs of the city are breathtaking. Then fill up on pizza, pasta and gelato in a typical trattoria along the River Arno.
Wine Tasting in Bordeaux
Various vineyards in France also cater for children, so you can enjoy your wine tasting trip without them getting bored. Chateau Bardins offers activities for the kids; they can learn about the history of wine, how it is made and even take part in non-alcoholic grape tastings.
Stay In A Remote Country Cottage
Pack up the board games and head for the moors. If rain is forecast, book a family weekend away in a remote, windswept location. Snuggle up by a roaring fire with books, DVDs and board games and indulge in some quality family time.
If the weather eases up, you can take the kids for a bracing walk in the wild, wet countryside before heading back for a cup of warming hot chocolate. Baby-Friendly Boltholes has a selection of beautiful child-friendly cottages in some of the most spectacular locations throughout the UK.
Embrace the Weather
Whether you decide to stay at home or take a trip away, get the wellies and raincoats on, the brollies up and embrace the rainy day! The kids will love splashing in puddles and squishing in mud. Take a walk over the fields and bridal paths to your local pub where you can dry off while sipping on drinks and munching on bags of salty crisps!
For more holiday, lifestyle and design ideas for you and your children, explore the Parent Concierge blog, brought to you by Baby-Friendly Boltholes.