Published on: 29th July 2020
Finding things to do during the summer holidays can be a task any year. But with most school children having been out of full-time education since March, this year may be even more challenging than usual. Luckily, there are plenty of family-friendly places to head to in Wiltshire and many ways to create entertainment at home too. Here are six ideas to get your summer holiday plans started.
1. Embrace your wild side at a zoo or farm
Now zoos and farms are open to the public again, it’s the perfect chance to embrace your wild side and see some of the animals up close.
Safari park Longleat Safari Park is one of the most popular attractions to head to with plenty of exotic wildlife to catch a glimpse of and learn more about. From a pack of wolves to mischievous monkeys and plenty of big cats, the drive-through is sure to delight children. Once you’ve taken in the animals, Longleat House and Gardens, including a huge hedge maze, are waiting to be explored too.
If you want smaller or hands-on animal attractions, there are other options in Wiltshire too. You might want to try Roves Farm Visitor Centre or River Bourne Community Farm, for example.
Social distancing still needs to be observed, so it’s essential you book tickets in advance.
2. Hold a Mini Olympics
Tokyo 2020 Olympics might be on hold, but that doesn’t mean your little ones can’t show off their athletic skills. Putting on a Mini Olympics is a great way to burn off energy, have fun and create some excellent family memories.
You can plan the usual Olympic events, from running to jumping, or liven it up with some more unusual options, an obstacle course or an egg and spoon race perhaps. After so long away from family and friends, some outdoor activity could keep the kids entertained for hours, whether you set up the games in your garden or head to the local park for more space.
3. Solve a mystery or track down treasure
Wiltshire is packed with heritage sites, towns and places of natural beauty to explore. A treasure trail is a great way to add some fun when you’re heading to a new destination with children.
If you’re feeling creative, you could put together your own treasure hunt. Or an easy solution, that lets you play along too, is to purchase a Treasure Trail. There are more than 20 in Wiltshire to choose from, with a self-guided booklet taking the whole family on an adventure. You could find yourself on a traditional treasure hunt trail in Bradford-on-Avon or on a spy mission in Warminster. It’s a great way to add a bit of adventure to a typical family day out.
4. Head to the cinema
If you’re a family that loves films, the cinema being closed for several months may have affected your usual plans. Luckily, they’re now starting to open up again with a mix of classic films and new releases that were delayed earlier this year.
Grabbing some popcorn and losing yourself in a story for a few hours can be a great way to unwind and keep the kids entertained. Keep an eye on release dates, as studios are changing them as the Covid-19 situation develops, but some kid-friendly options that will hopefully be hitting the screens in the coming months include Soul, Mulan, and the Secret Garden.
Make sure you check when your local cinema is open, the guidelines in place and book in advance where possible.
5. Take over an ancient castle
We’re fortunate in Wiltshire to have lots of historical sites to learn from and explore, and what’s better than taking over a castle for a day? Playing kings and queens as you take in the stone rooms and views could spark the interest of a budding historian.
Some of the options include Old Wardour Castle, near Tisbury, which was built in the 14th century and includes a grotto to discover, and Old Sarum, it might be in ruins now, but you can still climb the once-mighty ramparts and pretend to conquer the royal castle, with more than 2,000 years of history, there’s plenty to discover.
6. Explore the treetops
If you have mini thrill-seekers in your family, a chance to swing through the treetops could be just what they need and they’ll love telling everyone about it for weeks to come. Jungle Parc in Swindon can provide an adrenaline rush for the younger members of your family.
The Adventurer Course packs in more than 40 different activities, including monkey bridges, cargo nets and slides from the age of three. For children aged ten and over, they can truly head to the treetops and take on the Xplorer Course, for a real challenge that will see them swinging through the air and on a trapeze.
Set in Lydiard Park, there are other activities to make a day of the trip too. The historic estate is home to the Palladian Lydiard House, a walled garden and 260 acres of parkland to explore.