This huge water park is a clean and safe place where you can have a lot of fun or just some relaxation. Landscaping is impressive! Plenty of water slides so even when the park is packed with visitors you don't have to queue long.
If you are bit afraid to try any of the slides just take the “lazy river” where you can float around the park. Also you could rent a little hut for you and your family.
About the size of the Isle of Wight this area is 38km south-east of Porto. Rivers in deep ravines cater for adventure sports and mountain summits rise to over 1000m. The walking opportunities are outstanding with over a dozen clearly marked walks varying from one and a half to six hours duration, all including visits to special features within the park - cultural, landscape and gastronomic. Exceptional are the monster fossil trilobites (over 70cm long!) and rocks 'giving birth' to stones. Arouca has a museum and the convent made famous by Mafalda, beatified in 1793.
São Martinho is a relaxed family resort on a lovely sandy enclosed bay. It has a glass lift up to a viewpoint, a quaint fisherman's chapel, a daily market, plenty of restaurants, an elegant Casa da Chá (tearoom) in the Palace do Capitão Hotel and a boardwalk around the bay to the unspoilt village of Salir do Porto, where there is a new open air pool and good walks on the headland overlooking the Atlantic. It's also near the quaint walled town of Óbidos and the old spa town of Caldas da Rainha. Get away from the tourists and enjoy authentic Portugal!
50 miles north of Lisbon off junction 20 on the A8 motorway.
Google map: bit.ly/eDhEcv
Castelo de Almourol is a small Knights Templar castle built on an island in the middle of the Tejo river. The only way to get to it is by small boat, ask at the cafe nearby if no-one's around. The boat will leave you for an hour or so to explore. It's remarkably intact for its age with battlements and towers to climb with viewpoints up and down the river, set in what resembles an overgrown garden.
A magical garden to explore for people of all ages. With lush undergrowth, underground caves and tunnels that can lead you to the bottom of a well with a spiral ascending staircase - you can lose yourself there in more ways than one.
They do a great series of guided walks around the town. I have lived in Knutsford for five years and never knew it was full of so much rich heritage, such as why the pavements are so narrow, thanks to the prudish Lady Stanley or how the local celebrity back in the 17th Century was a man in the White Bear pub who used to bite the heads off rats for pubic entertainment. Not to mention the over 100 listed buildings. They also have a number of exhibitions and events, as well as family activities. This year is the 10th anniversary of the Millennium Tapestry that over 3,000 local people put a stitch in. All the volunteers really know their stuff and it was a real pleasure for me and my children to visit.
Not just a 'hidden gem' of a moated castle set in luscious north Oxfordshire parkland, but the site of Civil War conspirations, sieges and battles, and the setting for the film Shakespeare in Love. Broughton Castle is still occupied by the Saye-Sele family and lowers its drawbridge on selected days from Easter onwards. June and July always promise a myriad of events, from corricle racing on the moat to Shakespeare productions in the parkland, and this is also the time when the walled garden is in full rose-scented bloom.
A beautiful and not too strenuous hill walk leading to the Iron age fort of Tre'r Ceiri with the option of visiting the National Welsh Language centre.
The site of Tre'r Ceiri a name that probably means Town of the Forts, is a sprawling hill top settlement with significant stone ramparts. It has been described as the most 'dramatic and impressive Iron age hill fort in Britain'.
The site is indeed impressive, due to the fact that remnants of around 150 Iron age huts can be explored. The huts are extremely well preserved with some huts standing at over one metre high.
The drama is provided by the setting; Yr Eifl is the name of the highest peak of the mountains that form the backbone of the beautiful Llyn Peninsula.
This site is ideal for those that enjoy combining a walk with an interesting goal. A not too strenuous hill walk at 574 metres along fairly easy terrain through hills covered with heather and gorse will be rewarded with a fascinating historical site and stunning views.
The summit offers views of the Snowdonia mountain range to the north, to the west the Irish sea and at your feet a birds eye view of the beautiful Llyn Peninsula. On a clear day Ireland itself can be spotted.
For refreshments and further interest this exploration can be combined with a visit to the Welsh National Language centre in "Nant Gwtheyrn' a village that closely hugs the coast beneath Yr Eifl. The village housed the families that quarried the Port Y Nant stone quarry that produced granite suare cobbles or sets.
After the decline of the quarry the last residents left in 1959. The village was deserted throughout the 60's and 70's except for a period when inhabited by hippies. In 1978 work started on improving the steeply inclined road that leads to the village and the houses, the chapel and community hall were modernised. The modern facilities now house accommodation for up to 58 educational residents and the chapel is now also used as a local community centre. There is a cafe bar and restaurant in the village and a pub called the 'Tafarn Y Fic' in Llithfaen.
Take the A499 north of Pwllheli. At Llanaelhaearn, take B4417 towards Nefyn. Less than a mile from the junction for the B4417, there is a footpath on your right,
alternatively carry along the B4417 until arriving at the village of Llithfaen here you will see a sign to Nant Gwrtheyrn National Welsh learning centre here you will find Upper Porth Y Nant car park, it is possible to take a different path to the summit and ideal if you want to visit the centre.
Tre'r Ceiri hill fort
NPRN: 95292; Map Reference: SH34SE; Grid Reference: SH3734044670
Nant Gwrtheyrn, Llithfaen, Pwllheli, Gwynedd LL53 6PA
Google map: bit.ly/i0h67u
Even the kids will be awestruck by these atmospheric ruins, still standing after over 2,000 years of worship. Legendary burial place of Arthur and Guinevere, it’s the perfect place to play kings and queens and summon up the mysteries of the past. With plenty of space for picnics in 36 acres of tranquil parklands, this is an oasis of calm for stressed-out parents seeking spiritual sanctuary. Did Joseph of Arimathea, the Virgin Mary’s uncle, come to the Abbey? Did he plant the Holy Thorn Tree, which has a flourishing sapling in the Abbey's grounds? Lively costumed guides and intriguing relics help you make up your own mind. Modern marvels include café, museum, shop.
Forming part of the Llangollen canal the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct spans 305m (over 1000 feet) connecting the towns of Froncysyllte and Trevor in north Wales.
Used by canal boats year round, the workmanship of Thomas Telford and William Jessop's early nineteenth century engineering feat can also be enjoyed by pedestrians on the adjacent towpath, a sheer drop above the river Dee. For the experience, likened by some as being suspended in mid air, of traversing this canal, tour operators and boat hire are available from Llangollen wharf. The site is well catered with an information centre, toilet and café facilities as well as disabled access.
Supported by nineteen hollow masonry columns, practical arcades which taper at the summit and are cemented together with lime and ox blood, this narrow cast iron trough measuring just 3.4m across and 5ft 3ins deep served the passage of barges between communities, linking the river Severn at Shrewsbury with the Dee at Chester. The aqueduct holds 1.5 million litres of water and takes around two hours to drain.
Pronounced 'pont-ker-suth-tee', this Grade I listed aqueduct is the longest and highest in Britain at 35m (126 feet). It was recognised with World Heritage status in 2009 and is one of the seven wonders of the British Inland Waterways System. Now a popular visitor attraction in the summer months, it provides an elevated perspective of the surrounding area which can be enjoyed at a leisurely pace as ever-changing painted narrow boat designs catch the eye and chats with colourful characters aboard can be had.
Llangollen Rural, Denbighshire LL20
Google map: bit.ly/fQbNbn
This 76 mile frontier extended across the width of Britain from the Tyne in the east to the Solway Firth in the west.
Built out of necessity by Emperor Hadrian in 122 AD to mark the Roman Empire's northwestern border in a landscape devoid of natural geographical barriers, it provided a base for soldier patrols to impede the movement of the Picts in the north.
Together with their families military and civilian settlements formed, encouraging traders and associated custom posts and depots. Forts were built at mile intervals accommodating around thirty men. Each of these mile castles were intersected by two observation turrets while a vallum or broad ditch behind the wall was crossed by causeways leading to bigger forts and barracks housing 1000 men.
The scale and traces of these communities has all but disappeared at this UNESCO world heritage site, although archaeological sites and museums can be visited today, notably Chester's Roman Fort and museum near Chollerford and the remains of Houseteads Fort (reputed to be the most complete Roman fort in Britain) around Haltwhistle as well as east of Birdoswald where there are extensive ruins of a fort with a drill hall. Farmhouse-style accommodation and tearooms cater for families while along the length of the wall hiking and cycling routes work in tandem with driving itineraries.
In the region of Northumberland National Park between Housesteads and Steel Rigg is the natural beauty of the dolerite crags at Whin Sill. Here a footpath along the top of the ridge incorporates part of the Pennine Way. Sheep graze in the surrounding green wilderness punctuated by this snaking stone rib.
In less well preserved sections of the wall the expansive unbroken views of undulating low hills absent of prominent landmarks and sight of uniform stones covered in lichens, stacked in an orderly linear fashion is eerily peaceful. The well worn grassy path running parallel to Hadrian's Wall by current footfall reminds us of past division. Reflection of it's historical significance is often as a solitary visitor, away from tourist hoards, watching the wave of grass at its summit ruins move in the breeze. Accessible to all with an interest in history or the great outdoors Hadrian's Wall can also be enjoyed in the bleak winter months when snow covers the landscape and biting winds prevail.
For solitude and spirituality there is no place like Hyddgen, just east of Aberystwyth. This is where, in the year 1401, 120 of Owain Glyndwr’s wild rebels beat 500 of the King's troops, soldiers from England reinforced by Flemish mercenaries. It is a lonely place and when the mist comes down you could still find yourself as disorientated there as King Henry’s soldiers must have felt six centuries ago. To experience Carn Hyddgen’s magnificent views over Nant-y-moch and the Pumlumon hills, make sure to go there now, before it is too late! There are plans afoot to send in an army of 64 giant wind turbines, one and a half times the size of Big Ben. Owain, where are you?
Walking down into the steep-sided valley that houses Robert Owen's Utopian mill town is like walking into Brigadoon. The town is dramatically situated on either side of the River Clyde and has been painstakingly restored to its 19th-century appearance. Kids will delight in the rooftop gardens and the Interactive Gallery of sound, sense and colour. Nature lovers can take a 30-minute stroll to the lovely upstream waterfalls. Don't miss the Annie McLeod Story, which provides an overview of village life that simultaneously manages to be both delightfully informative and pretty darn creepy. Part museum, part living history attraction, and part beauty spot, New Lanark tells a rare uplifting history of industrial Britain.
It is so easy to imagine this as a fort - it's an energetic climb to the top then the children can storm the gates. It's an easy walk round the perimeter ring among the trees, you can see for miles around and picture the people inside.
Historic hand carved tunnels which lead to rockpools and blue flag beaches.
Best to go here when the tide is low giving you a better chance to see a wider variety of 'creatures'.
Also not very far from the tunnels is the Watermouth Castle. As well as the castle and dungeon there is a theme park, gardens and maze.
Excellent fun for all ages, all year round (they'll open up for groups out of season if you book ahead), whatever the weather and for only a few quid. Cold and wet outdoors? Head for the indoor play area, built to take adults so they can squeeze through the tunnels and down slides with their children, which is so much more fun than standing on the sidelines. If the weather's half-decent go for the outdoor adventure playground, an amazing structure between the trees and the ice-cream factory with something for everyone: a tower with amazing views over the surrounding countryside, bridges, chutes and a maze. And if that's not enough then there's the possibility of creating your own ice-cream (costs extra), although one may have to curb the adults enthusiasm for alcohol-based desserts if the kids are to get a look in - they didn't when we were there!
Muddy Boots started as a farm shop, selling veg, fruit, jam, honey among others. There is a large cafe with kids' menu, children's entertainment in the form of a tractor track/quad train, a large jumping pillow, gyro cars, grass sledging, turf boarding and indoor and outdoor play areas! Fantastic fun for all the family, leave Granny and Mummy in the cafe while the kids go and explore. Great food for everyone and activity galore to speed all day.
There is also pottery area where kids can paint there own designs from plates to money boxes.
Muddy Boots, Balmalcolm Farm, Balmalcolm
Fife, KY15 7TJ
It's a great family day out which happens over Easter weekend. The trails are all over the country and Ham House is so easy to get to and makes for some really stunning photographs.
The entertainment works for the whole family with loads of activities, interesting areas to explore and lots of great play areas. Kids can enjoy face painting too!
The Strangest Place In The World - A labyrinth of tunnels, chambers, follies and surprises created in a four acre garden.
I recommend it because it is so unlike anything else and it keeps everyone wondering whats around the next corner, it's for all ages, very memorable.
This is a good all round family experience. They have lots of animals from around the world and tonnes of experiences to engage in.
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