They make easy family holidays as they pretty much always cater to kids as well.
In the South West, you'll normally find them in close proximity to beaches or other attractions too.
Ranges of accommodation types and prices mean you can customise your stay better.
Best of all, you don't have to go to the events they have on, as some can be a bit dire.
The company’s work is aimed specifically at family audiences (children over three and adults). I help at our local arts centre and every time this theatre group perform I enjoy watching the faces of the children in the audience as much as the theatre. The children (small and large) love it!
You will find more information and current touring dates at:
In among the steep, tangled streets of Great Malvern lies a Victorian lavatory. This may not be the first destination in mind for a child’s day out but ‘The Theatre of Small Convenience’ is the world's smallest theatre. It houses a variety of exceptional and quirky performances such as puppetry, storytelling, poetry and music. The shows are performed on demand every 5-10 minutes and with a seating area for the audience and each production is made very personal and memorable. This is guaranteed to excite and amaze young children.
Nearest Train Station is 15 min walk away.
A second-hand bookshop hidden in the basement of Brunswick shopping centre in Russell Square - Skoob has an expanse of books from all corners of the earth, on all topics, and arguably the best Everyman's and Penguin collection I have seen in London to date. Friendly staff and impromptu piano recitals to boot!
The Chicken Shed Theatre is a theatre company working to use an inclusive creative process which means everyone is welcome, and everyone is valued. Chickenshed runs Children's and Youth Theatre workshops for 600 people, education courses for over 100 students, community outreach projects and a network of satellite 'Sheds' across the country (and two in Russia) so even more can benefit. Every extraordinary piece of theatre created at Chickenshed shouts out the same thing: anyone can thrive in an environment where everyone is welcome.
I recommend the Polka Theatre in Wimbledon, London. This theatre only does shows for children. I can still remember the excitement of school trips there. Coming from a family that did not do things like go the the theatre, it opened up a new world to me.
This is a theatre designed specifically for and partly by children. The program ranges from 0-18 and has some world class companies performing like the recent brilliant Theatre Alibi show 'High Muck-a-Muck'. The staff are very welcoming, very friendly and there is always a buzz when you walk in. It's also a great place to meet friends and family as the cafe operates throughout the day.
Historically, there was a panel of young children along with the board who contributed to the design of the theatre so it has children at the very heart of its program. Simply a brilliant place and deserves to be celebrated.
Islay in the Scottish Hebrides has a number of working whisky distilleries that can be visited on a short tour. The island is beautiful and there are some lovely places to stay on the shores of a loch. Plenty of opportunities for tastings, too.
If the weather's good there is plenty to do and it's beautiful. Might want to avoid festival periods as they can make some places very crowded.
Great holiday providing it's sunny. Nice hotels, B&Bs and cottages to stay at.
A theatre company for children that actually does what it says. No clever remarks/jokes aimed at the adults, but instead a clearly understandable story with songs, audience involvement and lots and lots of fun!
East Lothian EH21 6AA
The ten-acre Clinton-Baker Pinetum near Hertford is particularly lovely at this time of year. A pinetum is essentially a collection of conifers; but this one is planted within a mixed woodland. As the beech and larches turn golden-brown, field maples and dawn redwoods turn yellow and burnished gold, it’s a symphony of colour in autumn sunlight. Early evening, your shadow leads as you walk past the red-leaved and berried spindle tree, down to the entrance stile, the University of Hertfordshire’s white astronomy domes behind you, gulls following red tractor to the right; and lofty cedars, hemlocks and redwoods enticing you on.
Under the expert guidance of Dr Edward Eastwood, Curator, the Pinetum is gradually being restored to its full Victorian splendour, complete with fern-filled grotto and a tally of over 150 species of conifer. Join in a fungal foray, stroll down paths which Edward insists on keeping raked to “a crinoline width,” and admire the monkey puzzle dell and “stumpery.”
It’s not all about trees: you’ll be unlucky not to see - or at least hear - a jay or green woodpecker; and right now there are red and orange berries on yew, hawthorn and holly. The particularly succulent looking black ones are best avoided - it’s deadly nightshade.
Being in such a hidden spot, it was ten years before I realised this extraordinarily magical place existed, a mere fifteen minutes walk from where I live. Now I go for a restorative dose of therapeutic serenity. I’m gradually learning to identify the trees - though Edward says I’d still be clueless if they all swapped places in the night.
Extend your walk through the hornbeams and oaks of Bayford woods and hunt out the sailor’s grave, a monument erected to a scion of the Clinton-Baker family who lost his life on the Jamaican high seas in 1804, when as commander of HM Sloop Pelican he led a party which perished while saving a foundering Spanish schooner.
The Pinetum has regular work parties sawing, hacking brambles and nettles, and piling up bonfires. There are snowdrop and bluebell walks in spring.
The Pinetum is owned by the University of Hertfordshire. To arrange a visit, become a member or find out about the next work party, contact Dr Eastwood on 01992 517622 or email@example.com. Members only have access to the private site by prior arrangement.
A modern twist on a tea-house that is also a restaurant. So far I have had brunch, afternoon tea and dinner there! I love it because it's a relaxed environment with great food and you can people watch everyone going past on Whiteladies Road. The staff are very friendly and helpful when trying to choose a tea which is a bit overwhelming at first.
Papaji's House of Teas
109 Whiteladies Road
opposite Clifton Down train station
The Lake District is at its most colourful in autumn, but the view is often obscured by rain clouds. Arnside, just south of the Lakes, often escapes the worst of the bad weather and has some lovely, gentle woodland walks. For a great view of the rich and varied autumn colours, walk through the native woodlands to the summit of Arnside Knott where you can look down on the foliage from above when you get to the top. On a clear day you get a view right across Morecombe Bay to see the magnificent outline of the Lake District fells stretching as far north as Skiddaw. There's a leaflet that contains the walk at www.nationaltrust.org.uk/main/w-arnside_knott-wildlife_walk.pdf And there's even a great cafe stop when you get back down to Arnisde Promenade; perfect!
Google map: tinyurl.com/yj2m2us
The walk is a total of 36 miles through the amazing Somerset countryside of Quantock Hills, Brendon Hills and Exmoor. You walk through a variety of landscapes such as heathland, moorland, deciduous and coniferous woodland (excellent for witnessing the ever changing colours), farmland, deeply wooded valleys and historic villages with expansive views over to the North Somerset Coast and Wales.
This walk can be completed over three or four consecutive days making it ideal for a short break. The Yarn Market Hotel in Dunster offers a special break in conjunction with the Coleridge Way. They provide excellent service including daily transport to and from the walks, packed lunches, free route map and directions and rucksack hire if needed.
The Yarn Market Hotel
25-33 High Street
nearest train station is Taunton
Handsworth, an inner city suburb of Handsworth Birmingham wouldn’t be most peoples’ first thought as a place to revel in the glory of a British autumn, but at the heart of Handsworth is a gem of a park designed by Vertigens over 100 years ago and recently restored with heritage lottery monies.
What makes it stand out from so many others is the topography; wheelchair users should bring a strong pusher. It sometimes feels like three or four parks in one, so constantly surprised are you by the next view. Full of mature trees, it’s a great place to have a Sunday wander and wonder at colours, shapes lit with glorious autumnal light enhanced by the reflective bounce of two lakes.
Kids of all ages can collect conkers and leaves and when you need a break the Boathouse cafe sells gorgeous homemade cakes and dishes up chicken rice ‘n peas dinners on a Sunday. Heaven.
Entrances on Hamstead, Hinstock and Holly Roads B21. Use public transport, 20 min bus ride on the no 16 from City centre or use the car park by Holly Road gates.
My heart sank the first time I visited Ashridge Estate in the northern Chilterns on the Bucks/Herts border. With so many cars parked, I envisaged hordes of people. But as soon as we set off on a three mile circular walk we lost everyone and had the panoramic views from Ivinghoe Beacon - and a glimpse of several deer sprinting off through the woods - to ourselves. There are 5000 acres so plenty of room for everyone to crunch over fallen golden beech leaves right now. At times we were walking part of the Ridgeway National Trail which looked enticing and could have extended our walk, but my favourite bit is spotting the lion chalk figure which advertises Whipsnade Zoo.
The tea rooms near the Bridgewater Monument are justifiably popular and the visitor centre staff are friendly and eager to share their knowledge of wildlife to look out for. Many dog owners were bonding while their pets bounded, and it was good to see a fair number of wheelchairs and pushchairs on the easy access paths.
Bookings are being taken for fallow deer rutting, and fungal foray events this month.
We took the family camping there in the summer holidays and had an amazing time.The staff are really friendly and helpful. The kids loved the woods and the craft centre. Great location with beautiful views, but not too far away from civilisation!
Google map: tinyurl.com/yzsyfpo
The trees in this wooded river valley display brilliant autumn colours. There is a network of paths to explore leading by the river, around reservoirs and through the ruins of a manor house, Hollinshead Hall.
Two pubs in Tockholes and one at Abbey Village provide refreshment before or after your walk. An information centre near the Royal Arms can provide more information.
West Pennine Moors car park next to the Royal Arms, Tockholes. BB3 0PA. Or further south along the unclassified road at SD 663203.
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