It’s half term for many families across the country and with it the perennial problem of what to do with the children when the weather turns bad. On the plus side, the beach is rarely a realistic option at this time of year anyway – unless you want a windy (wet) walk.
So it’s worth checking out some of the attractions within the country. From discovering the tricks of the trade in the magical world of the Harry Potter films to the UK’s only underground pop-up experience in a disused Victorian slate mine in Snowdonia, there’s plenty to keep everyone entertained – and away from their tablets – not to be wet.
Portsmouth Historic Dockyard
Starring HMS Victory Nelson and the wreck of the Mary Rose, Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard is a must for children this half term. You can also discover the Worlds Under the Waves and learn about the Royal Navy’s study of the oceans or explore the excavation of the Mary Rose with Dive the Mary Rose 4D.
How to do it: Tickets from £24 (children) and £34 (adult). Portsmouth Historic Dockyard (023 9283 9766, historicdockyard.co.uk). Double rooms at Portsmouth Village Hotel cost from £73pn. Read our review here.
Warner Bros. Studio
The Warner Bros Studio reveals some of the filming tricks behind the magic and tricks of the Harry Potter films. Visitors will be able to see some of their favorite scenes brought to life, including the disappearing effect of the invisibility cloak, the sight of the infamous fireplace letter, and how Mrs Weasley gave her son an origami cry in the Chamber of Secrets .
How to do it: Tickets to Warner Bros Studio London (wbstudiotour.co.uk) cost from £53.50 per adult; £43 child; children under four free; it must be booked in advance. Double rooms at Porthill Number One cost from £130pn. Read our review here.
Located deep underground in a disused Victorian slate mine, the UK’s only underground bounce-filled experience is the perfect rainy day solution for anyone over the age of seven. Challengers let loose in this massive underground adventure park, jumping and sliding through six layers of bouncy nets, rooms, tunnels and slides.
How to do it: Tickets (zipworld.co.uk) from £25 per adult; £20 child. Rooms at Plas Dinas start at £128pn. Read our review here.
Camera Obscura & World of Illusions
Camera Obscura & World of Illusions is the oldest visitor attraction in Scotland’s capital and a magical family-friendly option, come rain or shine. There are five floors with more than 100 interactive, interactive exhibits, including several optical illusions, a mirror maze and a vortex tunnel. From the roof top terrace, visitors can enjoy 360 degree views of Edinburgh.
How to do it: Tickets (camera-obscura.co.uk) cost £22.95 per adult; £17.95 child; children under five free. Double rooms at the Rutland Hotel (therutlandhotel.com) cost from £140pn. Read our review here.
With snow all year round, this snow resort has the UK’s longest ski slope just outside Manchester. Experienced skiers can learn new tricks and beginners can perfect their snowboards. Obstacles include rails, boxes and jumps.
How to do it: Tickets (chillfactore.com). An eight-hour lift pass costs from £54pp and a two-hour group ski lesson costs £68pp. Opening hours 9am – 10pm. Double rooms in Manchester Native start at £109pn. Read our review here.
Natural History Museum
If your children are Jurassic fanatics or are delighted to see a blue whale, the Natural History Museum has a range of wonders, from full dinosaur skeletons to meteorite displays. February half term activities include talks, tours, events and workshops in the Family Discovery Zone.
How to do it: Free admission (nhm.ac.uk). Double rooms at Hotel Indigo London – Kensington start at £132pn. Read our review here.
Diving Game Box
Liverpool, Yorkshire, Manchester, Essex and London
Immersive Gamebox is an indoor interactive digital gaming experience designed for families. Combining projection mapping, touchscreen, motion tracking and surround sound, the games include adventures with aliens and the high-tempo Squid Game. Game boxes can host two to six players at a time with combined rooms for larger parties.
How to do it: Tickets (immersivegamebox.com). General admission (12+) from £26. Juniors (five-11) from £16.
National Botanic Garden of Wales
The National Botanic Garden of Wales in Carmarthenshire offers nature-based activities including daily wildlife safari walks, bird feeding workshops and owl pellet distribution. They know it’s raining in Wales, and so many activities are going on undercover in Theatr Botanica. Kids can also discover incredible tropical plants in the world’s largest greenhouse and check out the British Bird of Prey Center for close encounters.
How to do it: Tickets for the Botanic Garden of Wales (botanicgarden.wales) cost £19 for adults; £10 child; twice free. Double rooms at the Mansion House, Llansteffan (mansionhousellansteffan.co.uk) cost from £203pn. Read our review here.
Tourist Guide Blue Badge
Blue Badge Tour Guide Sarah Ciacci regularly works with families and children and tailors her trademark art and history tours accordingly. Sites include the National Gallery, Tate Modern, Tate Britain, British Museum, Victoria & Albert Museum, National Portrait Gallery and Street Art Tours of the East End amongst others. Sarah enjoys the challenge of engaging with young people to bring out history or art or historic buildings
How to do it: Inquiries to Sarah Ciacci (sarahciacci.com/student-family-tours-london). Rooms at the child-friendly Ampersand Hotel start at £247pn. Read our review here.