While the kids are off school, there’s no better time to plan some outdoor activities for the whole family and make the most of the summertime. The English weather might be temperamental at the best of times, but in true British style, a bit of rain can’t stop us from getting out and enjoying the great outdoors.
From cycling and crazy golf to paintballing and picnics, there are so many fun outdoor activities to do with kids. We’ve put together 10 of the best to inspire you:
For a family day out that won’t break the bank, prepare some delicious snacks and a comfy blanket and head out in nature to enjoy a lunch experience that’s a little different to normal. Some ideas for perfect picnic spots include the beach, on top of a hill or in an area of natural beauty—or to enjoy your picnic closer to home, simply head to your local park or lay out your spread in your own garden.
2. Crazy golf
A game of crazy golf is the perfect way to spark some healthy competition with your family. Fun for all ages, it’s an affordable way to spend a few hours - and with bucket loads of themed courses to choose from across the UK, this is an activity that never gets boring!
3. Splash park
For kids who like to take a dip, splash parks are the ideal day out, and many are free of charge. Most towns have a splash park - which is essentially a giant paddling pool – or a communal pool you can visit, so you won’t have to travel far to have some fun.
Since splash parks are outdoors, they make for a great summer activity for children if you want to make the most of the summer weather. For some outdoor pool inspiration, take a look at these lidos in the south west.
4. Theme park
Is there anything more exciting than a trip to the theme park? From adrenaline-fueled rollercoasters to relaxing kids’ rides, theme parks have so much to offer for families of all ages, and make for the perfect adventure day out.
The south west is bursting with fun theme parks for you to visit this summer. Thrill seekers will love Thorpe Park, which is home to an enticing selection of rollercoasters and water rides. Based in the village of Thorpe in Surrey, you can get here by catching the train to Staines station.
Round off your summer with a trip to Peppa Pig World in Paultons Park. Step into Peppa’s very own themed world and make the most of fun rides, delicious food and even a meet and greet opportunity with Peppa herself. Paultons Park is located in Romsey, with the nearest train station being Southampton Central.
5. Cycle ride
Kids’ half term or summer holiday activities don’t always have to cost a lot, and a cycle ride is the perfect free day out for the whole family. Burn off some steam with a trip to your local park, of if you’re up for an adventure, take your bikes on the train and head further afield.
There are many safe and scenic countryside locations in the south west that make great spots for a bike ride. For flat cycle routes and picturesque views, enjoy a day out in the New Forest, where you can make the most of the bike hire service in Brockenhurst if you don’t have your own bikes. Another iconic cycle route is King Alfred’s Way, which starts in Winchester. It’s a 350km, off-road loop through the peaceful, rolling hills of the historic Wessex countryside. Choose small sections of the route to enjoy with your family, depending on how far you want to cycle.
Breathe in the fresh, summer air and take in some of the beautiful countryside spots in the south west with a family hike. Families hiking with little ones should choose nice easy routes that are relatively flat and easy for little legs to navigate. Hiking is hungry work, so why not take a packed lunch and make a day out of your trip?
7. High ropes course
For an adventure unlike no other, head up into the trees and take part in an assault course in the sky. Crawl through tunnels high up above the ground, test out your climbing skills as you scale ladders and if you’re feeling brave, you can even swing through the treetops on a zipline!
Treetop adventures are a popular choice for a family summer activity, and there are lots of options across the south west. Those in Surrey can head to Wildwood in Guildford, or why not choose from a range of Go Ape locations including Bracknell and Chessington.
It’s time to don your jumpsuits and get messy! Come rain or shine, paintballing is a fun outdoor activity that can be enjoyed by the whole family. Like mini golf, paintballing is a great way to evoke some friendly competition, so make sure you bring your A game! If you have little ones, why not try out mini paintballing or laser tag instead?
Pitch up your tent, unroll your sleeping bags and snuggle up together for a night under the stars in your very own overnight adventure. Camping trips are a great way to make special memories as a family, from outdoor camp activities like roasting marshmallows on a campfire to exploring the local area. You don’t have to travel far to camp—and if your little ones are new to camping out, your back garden is a great place for easing them into it.
Take your camping trip one step further and head to a quiet area for your chance to see the stars in their full glory. Popular stargazing spots that are well away from light pollution include the South Downs National Park, Godolphin Hill in Cornwall, South Milton Sands in Devon and Dunkery Beacon in Somerset. Keen stargazers can download SkyView® Lite, a handy app which helps you to identify stars, constellations, satellites, and all the magic that the universe has to offer.
With so many fun outdoor family activities to take part in this summer, there’s no time like the present to start planning! Explore our network map to plan your route, and take a look at our Railcard options so that you and your family can enjoy discounted tickets. To ensure a smooth-sailing trip for all of you, we’ve got plenty of family train travel tips to help you along the way.