Those days where you really don’t know what to do, huh?! Perhaps you’ve got a family day out coming up and no destination yet, a special occasion and no idea where to take everyone… or you just want to get out of the house. When I get uninspired and stuck for ideas sometimes I don’t know where I want to go I just know I want to go somewhere! And so this post was born!
These ideas are no particular theme or type. They’re suitable for anywhere, for everyone… any budget and lots of different ideas. You might want to grab a cup of tea (and bookmark this for later!)
10 types of days out for when you really don’t know what to do
There’s loads of places to go to see furry friends. Or fishy friends! From free small local farms like Heeley City Farm, to bigger farms with more things to do there. A day out at a farm can range from a big place with lots to do and adventure playgrounds (like Chatsworth or Temple Newsam) to small community or working farms like Whirlow Hall Farm.
For Sea life, The Deep in Hull is incredibly popular and many families love a day out at Sealife Centres on a rainy day at Scarborough, Manchester or Birmingham (and many others). Big zoos (Yorkshire Wildlife Park, Twycross Zoo) can entertain the entire family, there’s even ones in theme parks like Drayton manor or Flamingo Land.
We love a day out at a fun, interactive museum and can’t recommend them enough. Museums are a fantastic option for something to do that’s educational and great for a rainy/cold day. I would much rather spend the day at a museum than a busy, stuffy soft play centre! Museums do not have to be boring there are so many toddler-friendly, historical, interesting and hands on museums for you to explore. What’s more, even some of the very best are FREE. Close to home, Weston Park Museum in Sheffield is very popular (and free) great for kids, there’s Kelham Island Museum, South Yorkshire Aircraft Museum, South Yorkshire Transport Museum, Clifton Park Museum to name a few.
Eureka! is probably the most popular interactive kids museum in Yorkshire, I would also recommend Thinktank Museum in Birmingham and Life! Museum in Newcastle. For engines and machines, Museum of Science & industry in Manchester in fantastic and National Railway Museum in York, both are free. See aircrafts, trains and vehicles at places like South Yorkshire Transport Museum in Rotherham, Streetlife Museum in Hull or London Transport Museum. Historical or animal museums like Natural History Museum in London, Manchester Museum, Royal Armouries in Leeds and World Museum in Liverpool are all fantastic and worth a visit.
- The best toddler friendly interactive museums near Sheffield
- 5 things to do in Manchester (many free museums)
- 48 hours in Liverpool (lots of museums)
- Days out in Hull (featuring free museums at the Museum Quarter)
Indoor soft play centres
South Yorkshire is home to a huge variety of indoor play centres… we have big slides, small play cafes and everything in-between.
If you have under 5’s and want something specifically small, try Kiddy Winx Cafe in Rotherham, Jolly Tots in Penistone, Jungle Monkeys in Deepcar or Rattle & Roll centre. Playmania at Handsworth is a small play centre with a garage and play supermarket.
For big play frames, Medieval Mayhem in Sheffield is fantastic. Big Apple Play Centre in Rotherham is huge, bright and has something for babies up to teens. Monkey Bizness in Centertainment is popular, and Playmania in Barnsley is colourful and clean.
There’s even more… find them all in the South Yorkshire indoor play centre list here.
Indoor fun…. which isn’t soft play!
Swimming is a good indoor activity and there’s plenty of good places in/close to Sheffield. Try Hillsborough Leisure Centre which has slides, baby area and “beach”. Ponds Forge has a lazy river, slides and baby area. I was very impressed with Doncaster Dome which has 7 areas, slides and outdoor pool. Calypso Cove water park in Barnsley is the most popular family water park in Yorkshire.
Trampolining, cinema, rock climbing and inflatable parks like Air Haus are a few more ideas for indoor fun. You could also try crazy golf, arcades, bowling, galleries (such as Hepworth Wakefield) and theatre.
- Spring/Summer theatre and panto guide for Sheffield 2019
- Jump INC! trampolining park at Meadowhall
- Magna Adventure Science Centre, Rotherham
A day out at historical and pretty gardens make a picnic really special. These types of days out are one of my ultimate favourites. Gardens can be very magical and a great place for fairy spotting and story telling. Just let your imagination come to life and gardens can be a truly wonderful place for a day out.
Botanical Gardens in Sheffield is a must-visit and FREE! I really recommend RHS Harlow Carr in Harrogate (fantastic play areas, too). Small and wonderful is Hillsborough Park walled garden in Sheffield. Renishaw Hall has a beautiful children’s trail and is a hidden gem. Cannon Hall Museum & Gardens in Barnsley is free!
The best of the best has to be Chatsworth House, but Harewood House is lovely, too. Sewerby Hall in Scarborough is a great day out with gardens, zoo and house right next to the beach.
Trip to the seaside
Playing on the beach is fun and free. What’s more, who doesn’t love playing in the arcades…. young or old!
We love a day trip to Cleethorpes, holidays on the Yorkshire Coast and recently LOVED the city and beach combo at Newcastle. There are lots of attractions in Blackpool to keep you busy or enjoy the quiet beaches at Filey.
Separating this from the animals section, as farm parks to me are more of a big attraction/full day out. Farm parks are a fantastic place for outdoor and indoor play and offer a variety of things to do, not just animals! Like adventure playgrounds, indoor play and shows.
Tropical Butterfly House, Wildlife & Falconry Centre in Sheffield is one of the best days out with so much to do and personally one of my favourites. White Post Farm in Mansfield near Nottingham has playgrounds, indoor play, sandpits and a huge farm.
More? Try Playdale farm in Filey, Cannon Hall farm in Barnsley and Piglets Adventure Farm in York. Rand farm Park in Lincolnshire looks great, as does Ash End House farm in Tamworth, Thorton Hall Country Park in Skipton, and Folly Farm adventure park & Zoo in Wales.
There’s nothing quite like a day out in the wild. Woodlands are a magical place to wander with your little ones and you can easily turn it into an adventure. Find a gruffalo, play pooh sticks, collect pieces of nature, paddle in the stream and make dens. Take a picnic, wellies and you’re off!
Theme park & rides
Up for a thrill? Days out at theme parks are full of fun for all ages and great for a special occasion. From seeing favourite characters at places such as Alton Towers Cbeebies Land or Thomas Land at Drayton Manor, to the best places for rides especially suited to toddlers like Sundown Adventureland. For animals and rides Flamingo Land seems to have a lot to do.
Sundown Adventureland is one of my favourite days out from 2018 and I really do rate it especially for toddlers, you can’t beat it for rides. Flamingo Land is on my list and I’d love to visit Gullivers Kingdom, too.
Something a little more affordable for last minute is the funfair at Clifton Park & Museum in Rotherham! There’s a few toddler rides at Endcliffe Park, too, and Sheffield By The Sea event always have rides on in the city centre.
Check out the ultimate Yorkshire family days out & attractions to visit bucket list for more exciting theme parks.
Family walk or trail
Get out for some fresh air and enjoy a family walk. You could explore the Peak District, go climbing or scrambling at places like Mother Cap and Padley Gorge. Longshaw Estate is a lovely place for a family walk in the Peak District with way marked walks and a free Boggart trail. It is National Trust.
Walks don’t have to be huge, though, and you can stay close to home with a walk around a local park or reservoir. Botanical Gardens is lovely to wander around, Damflask Reservoir has a flat path walk around the water and Worsborough Mill in Barnsley offers many easy going walks.
For something a little bit different, try a character trail or walks with playgrounds to keep little ones going. Try the free room on the broom trail at Anglers Country Park in Wakefield or Sherwood Pines for many walks in the forest, a free Zog trail and playgrounds.
And if you’re still stuck for ideas after all of that… then I’m all out of advice! Haha. I joke… but there are even more here if you’d like a read: