From light parades to dinosaur hunts, an 80s experience and an adventure with the Very Hungry Caterpillar.

free days out


Light Festival at Battersea Power Station, Battersea

The newly public riverside area in front of the former power station is playing host to six illuminated installations until the end
of February. From a post-apocalyptic sunset to a huge tiger-shaped lantern and a fluorescent greenhouse, it’s sure to brighten up those dark winter evenings.

To 27 Feb,

Science Museum, Kensington

Fuel your imagination with award-winning exhibitions and stories of incredible scientific achievement, including space exploration, robots and astronomy. There is also currently an exhibition about the wisdom of the ancient Greeks.

Treasures at the British Library, King’s Cross

Marvel at Shakespeare’s First Folio and Jane Austen’s writing desk in the “Treasures” exhibition, admire sculptures by Antony Gormley and Eduardo Paolozzi in the piazza, or enjoy a coffee and pick up your next read at the café and bookshop.

Imagine Children’s Festival, South Bank

This arts and culture festival boasts musical workshops, activity trails, slumber stories, dance classes and even a pop-up children’s library.

9-20 Feb,

City Farm, Spitalfields

Started in 1978 on the site of a former railway goods depot, this urban oasis is home to donkeys, goats, pigs and Peanut the ferret. There is also an farm shop and tea house.

10am-4pm, Tues-Sun,

Play time, Brockwell

With an aerial slide, massive sandpit and sections for different age groups, the playground in Brockwell Park is bundles of fun. Nearby there are also duck ponds, a basketball court, and plenty of walking routes.



Fossil hunting, Isle of Wight

The Isle of Wight is home to more dinosaur remains than anywhere else in northern Europe. Explore the island’s beautiful beaches in search of dinosaur footprints and fossils. You can also follow the “Dinosaur Trail”, which stretches for 20 miles from Yaverland in the east to Compton Bay in the west.

Maritime history at Poole Museum, Dorset

Set in a Victorian quayside warehouse, the museum contains an extensive collection of objects and art that tell the story of the historic maritime town.

10am-4pm Mon-Sat, 12pm-4pm Sun,

Soak up the atmosphere at Boscombe Market, Dorset

With an ever-changing range of stalls – from fresh fish and meat to clothing and cakes – the open-air Boscombe Market in Bournemouth’s pedestrian precinct is a lovely place to spend a few hours. And there are antique stores and retro shops just around the corner to browse.

10am-5pm, Thurs & Sat,

Enjoy the views at Seaford Head, East Sussex

Located on the coast between Brighton and Eastbourne, Seaford Head is the best spot to enjoy views of the breath-taking Seven Sisters chalk sea cliffs. Continue on a circular walk around the nature reserve to see rare species of plants, birds and insects.


The Donkey Sanctuary, Devon

Meet the hundreds of rescue donkeys and mules living at this delightful, award-winning sanctuary in Sidmouth. There are also activities, walking trails and talks. Friendly dogs on leads are welcome.


Exeter Green Circle walk, Devon

This 12-mile walking route has something for everyone, taking in city pavements and country footpaths, historical buildings and green nature reserves. If you don’t want to tackle it all at once, the route can also be split into five shorter sections.

Hop across to St Michael’s Mount, Cornwall

This is a fantastic way to lose a morning. Although there is a fee to explore the castle and gardens, crossing the causeway and wandering the harbour front is free. Start the day at Marazion’s sandy beach, then walk across the causeway when the tide is low enough before grabbing a coffee and heading back.


Follow The Very Hungry Caterpillar trail, Kent

Walk around the Bluewater Nature Trail while experiencing the classic Eric Carle story in a new way. Dotted along the trail you will find signposts with illustrations from the book and QR codes, which, when scanned, play audio recordings. There is also an apple sculpture inspired by the picture book and a spider climbing frame.

Hike through Ashdown Forest, East Sussex

Once a Norman deer hunting forest, Ashdown Forest is also the birthplace of one of the most famous bears in the world – Winnie-the Pooh. Lying in the heart of the High Weald Area of Outstanding National Beauty, the forest is perfect for a hike with plenty of walking routes, and you can play Pooh sticks from the bridge made famous by AA Milne.


Forest of Dean Sculpture Trail, Gloucestershire

The series of world-class, contemporary sculptures, spread out among the trees, celebrates all things nature. The 3.5-mile path begins at Beechenhurst Lodge, which also has a playground for children. Maps are available to download for free so you don’t lose your way.

Get locked up, Cotswolds

Housed in a Victorian police office and courtroom, Tetbury Police Museum offers an insight into the history of the Gloucestershire
Constabulary. With a replica courtroom, memorabilia, and the original office and cells still intact, you’ll find plenty to write home about.

11am-3pm, Weds & Fri,

Feed the ducks at Windmill Hill City Farm, Bristol

A little agricultural oasis tucked away in Bedminster, this city farm has a wide range of petting animals, farm trails, sculptures, play area, farm shop and café.



Experience Love Light, Norfolk

With this year’s festival themed around love and belonging, Norwich’s landmarks are being transformed into artworks – including Cupid projected on the castle. Enjoy live street performances, parades featuring a light-up octopus, glow-bike rides and incredible shadow puppets taking over the marketplace.

5.30-10pm, 17-19 Feb,

Lose a day at Holkham Estate, Norfolk

A 25,000-acre rural estate in North Norfolk, Holkham promises hours of fun. With historical buildings, peaceful parkland, forestry, a woodland play area, walled garden and plenty of wildlife, families can walk a variety of trails or relax by the lake with a picnic. Holkham also hosts monthly walking groups, covering Holkham park and beach.



Meet dinosaurs, Birmingham

Taking its name from the award-winning Birmingham geologist Charles Lapworth, the Lapworth Museum of Geology holds the finest and most extensive collections of fossils, minerals and rocks in the Midlands. from zoological specimens to stone axes, diamonds to dinosaur bones.

10am-5pm Mon to Fri, 12pm-5pm weekends,

Explore Wollaton Hall and Deer Park, Nottinghamshire

This Elizabethan mansion is not only home to Nottingham’s Natural History Museum and the city’s Industrial Museum, it also stood in as Wayne Manor in Christian Bale’s Batman trilogy. Explore the museums, then head to the deer park.



Relive the 80s, Merseyside

Get ready to pull up your leg warmers and scramble your Rubik’s Cubes, as the new exhibition “I Grew Up 80s” arrives at The Atkinson in Southpost. Explore 80s Britain through the innovations, fashions and music which defined the decade, as well as getting nostalgic over BMX bikes, Donkey Kong games, confectionery and Walkmans.

To 19 March,

Explore the Science and Industry Museum, Manchester

Featuring fascinating machinery, wacky inventions and interactive experiments – do you have the strength to lift a Mini?, for example – and exhibits on some of Britain’s most famous scientists.

10am-5pm, Weds-Sun, tickets must be booked in advance,


Ride a railway, Yorkshire

With vast halls filled with giant locomotives, including the fastest steam locomotive in the world, a miniature railway you can ride, and the opportunity to build your own train, enthusiasts will be in heaven at York’s Railway Museum.

10am-5pm, Weds-Sun, book in advance,

Streetlife Museum of Transport, East Riding

Experience 200 years of transport history in Hull as you walk down a 40s high street, board a tram or enjoy the pleasures of a horse-drawn carriage ride.

10am-4.30pm, 11am-4pm Sundays,

Tackle the Seven Bridges, Tyne & Wear

The best way to explore Newcastle’s famous bridges is on foot. Start at Gateshead Millennium Bridge and then criss-cross over Tyne Bridge, Swing Bridge, High Level Bridge, Queen Elizabeth II Metro Bridge, King Edward VII Bridge and finally Redheugh Bridge to complete the set.

Get lost in a maze at The Discovery Museum, Tyne & Wear

At this science, technology and local history centre in Newcastle, visitors can enjoy exhibits on the Turbinia – once the fastest ship in the world – while the science maze is one of the most popular galleries, with a huge variety of interactive displays to navigate, including a shadow wall and air hockey table.

10am-4pm Mon-Fri, 11am-4pm weekends,


The Burrell Collection, Glasgow

Following a £68m refurbishment, The Burrell Collection is set to reopen in March. As home of the one of the world’s greatest single, personal collections, there are more than 9,000 works of art to enjoy, including Chinese pottery and porcelain, a Persian garden carpet and paintings by Rodin, Degas and Cézanne.

On the Waterfront, Dundee

Dundee’s Waterfront area has recently enjoyed a £1bn development and now features a spectacular whale sculpture, which sits atop an interactive playpark, as well as an urban beach and water fountains, a maritime history walk and the V&A Dundee Museum (which is also free to enter).

Spectra Festival of Light, Aberdeen

Join in Scotland’s Year of Stories at this year’s festival, which will use the city’s buildings as canvases for epic light displays, including lines and images from Scottish prose and poetry. A visual feast.

10-13 Feb, 6.30-9.30.


Follow the Alice in Wonderland Trail, Llandudno

The story goes that in the 1860s, Alice Liddell (the inspiration behind Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland) spent many summers in Llandudno. Today, you can follow the Alice Town Trail by to more than 50 statues and figures from Carroll’s books, including the caterpillar, Cheshire cat and the white rabbit. Either pick up a paper map, download via the app or spot as you go.

Margam Country Park, Neath Port Talbot

Set in 1,000 acres of lovely countryside, Margam Country Park boasts a magnificent castle, 18th-century orangery, ornamental gardens, deer park. There’s also a, narrow gauge railway, adventure playgrounds and a rare breeds farm trail.


St David’s Cathedral, Haverfordwest

Britain’s smallest city is also home to one of its prettiest cathedrals. Built by St David himself in the 12th century, it is a fabulous place to visit and, like other places of worship, free to enter.

10am-4pm Mon-Sat, 1pm-4pm Sun,

Go back in time, Cardiff

The impressive St Fagan’s National Museum of History explores Welsh life through the centuries. Visit a Celtic village complete with a farmyard, or explore the 16th-century castle, before stopping off in a modern pub.

10am-5pm, book in advance,

Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, Llangollen

One of the greatest feats on Wales’s many canals, Pontcysyllte Aqueduct forms part of a Unesco World Heritage site. You can walk along the top of the 40m-high structure for free, or wander beneath and count the 19 arches as you go.


Slieve Gullion Forest Park, Newry

Take a walk through the Giant’s Lair and keep an eye out for fairy houses, dragons, and giants, before letting the kids blow off some steam at the play park.


Mussenden Temple and Downhill Demesne, Co Londonderry

There are few better spots to enjoy the breath-taking beauty of Northern Ireland than Mussenden Temple and the surrounding Downhill Demesne. Enjoy a walk around the grounds or soak in the stunning views across the North Atlantic – which are particularly lovely at sunset.

Illuminate, Co Londonderry

The historic walled city of Londonderry will come to life with an innovative and immersive light experience that celebrates the city’s rich history, heritage and culture. Experience light displays, animations and music sessions across the city and illuminating some of its best-loved buildings.

17-20 & 24-27 Feb,


Dance the day (and night) away with Zumba

Grab your dancing shoes and get involved in Zumba’s “Love Revolution” – 24 hours of back-to-back dance parties taking place online. With top presenters taking the live classes, including Zumba founder Beto Perez, it’s great for beginners and experts alike.

3pm, 29-30 January,

Winter wildlife

While spring takes the crown as the most colourful season, there is still plenty of wildlife to keep an eye out for in winter. Cow parsley stems, hazel catkins and bracket fungi can be enjoyed at this time, according to the Woodland Trust, while the skies will be playing host to robins, blue tits and bramblings. Bonus points if you can spot rarer short-eared owls, red squirrels and green woodpeckers.

Lace up your trainers and join a Parkrun

Saturday morning Parkruns take place across the country and are a great way to start your weekend. Tackle the 5km at your own pace, with a friend or on your own – but, most importantly, enjoy yourself.

Go stargazing

With such dark evenings, winter is a great time to start looking up. Grab your telescope and head outside to see if you can spot Orion’s Belt, The Plough constellation and even the planet Venus.

(Article source: Inews)

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