Hippo hunting and Great Halls
An attraction that seems to get bigger and better every year, Longleat Safari and Adventure Park near Warminster in Somerset has a wealth of delights on offer. Whether your favourite thing to do is travel round the safari park and have your car tampered with by monkeys, or whether feeding the sealions on the safari boat is more your thing, there is something that every member of the family can enjoy, from children to the grandparents. For some quieter moments, the 16th Century Longleat House is filled to the rafters with antiquities and secret passages lurking in several corners. For the keen historians amongst you, look out for the blood-stained waistcoat worn by King Charles I at his execution in 1649 that sits in the Great Hall of Longleat House. A family trip on the Longleat train around the park will give you stunning views and the chance to spot Nico on his own private island in the middle of the lake or the two wild hippos roaming around the river bank. For busy periods such as Easter, it is advisable to book your tickets in advance online.
The Missing Link
Based in Wareham in Dorset, Monkey World has become one of the most important Ape Rescue Centres and assists governments around the world to stop the smuggling of primates from the wild. You might well have seen the Monkey Life television series, series 8 of which is currently showing. Over Easter the centre will be open from 10am to 5pm and gives you the chance to meet a range of species including Gibbons, Marmosets, Spider Monkeys, Orang-utans and of course the iconic Chimpanzee that Monkey World is famous for. Various talks going on throughout the day will give you more information about each species and also give you the chance to ask any questions that you may have. The family will have a great time wandering around and seeing what all of the various primates get up to. There is even the opportunity to adopt a primate so that your donation can go towards the protection and care of these remarkable animals.
A world of adventure
Devon’s Crealy Adventure Park near Exeter is a fun day out for kids and grownups alike. Over 200 animals live in Crealy’s Animal Kingdom, giving you the opportunity to feed the chickens, play with the naughty goats or visit the Meerkat family who live at Meerkat Manor. The Adventure Zone provides over 75,000 square feet of indoor play for younger ones, whilst The Woodlands Wilderness is fun for everyone with its magical tree houses, mystical winding woodland pathways and even bug hotels housing a range of insects. The Lost World of Atlantis and Shark Bay offers even more excitement in an ocean of undercover fun and the Dino Jeeps sends you on an expedition back to prehistoric times. You’ll be so busy, you won’t want to leave!
See the Sea at Sealife
Situated by the coast in Weymouth, the Sealife Adventure Park offers the chance for the whole family to get up close and personal with the most fascinating creatures that live beneath the depths. You can save 20% by booking online and the park has over 1000 amazing creatures from sharks and sea turtles to crabs and octopus. The whole family can learn more about the various animals during the various feeding times at Ray Lagoon, Penguin Play Time, Turtle Tea Time, Harbourside, Otter Madness and Super Seal Time. The rock pool area means that you can hold a crab or touch a starfish, and find out what they eat, where they live and how they survive in the ocean. There is also the chance to adopt a penguin, an otter, or a seal to help towards marine conservation and preserving our aquatic wildlife.
Dart around a castle
Dartmouth Castle is one of the most beautifully located castles in England, as it is situated on the Dart Estuary and offers great views out to sea. The castle has guarded the watery entrance to Dartmouth for over 600 years and if you’re lucky, you’ll hear daring tales of pirates and buccaneers from the bustling history of Darmouth’s past. The castle saw action during the Civil War and was in use right up until the Second World War, so there is plenty of history to get your teeth into. In good weather, the best way to visit the castle is on a river boat trip from the town quay, landing just a minute’s walk away from the castle. There are coastal and woodland walks surrounding the castle, and plenty of riverside tearooms for light lunches and snacks. For a cheaper way of visiting the castle, you can always join English Heritage to become a member, so that two adult members can bring up to 12 under 19’s between them, meaning that you can provide a day out for the whole family.