• 7 Family Trips So Quirky You Have to Visit

    The list for those who think they’ve done it all…

If you’ve tired of having your car aerial bent by monkeys in the safari park, don’t have a head for roller coasters or just fancy something a little more unusual, here’s a guide to some of Britain’s most unique days out.

Dig For Victory 

People either laugh in disbelief or nod their heads knowingly depending on whether they’ve been to Diggerland or not. For parents of children of a certain age it is about the best destination you can have. Inspired by the success of Bob the Builder which turned generations of tots onto constructions, Diggerland started out in Rochester, Kent and now success has taken it to Devon, Yorkshire, Durham and even New Jersey in the United States. The premise is beautifully simple – kids love diggers. Here they get to ride in them and operate diggers of all sizes.

Lose Your Marbles 

If you have failed to leave your fascination with marbles in childhood then this could be your dream destination. Down in deepest Devon – Bovey Tracey – there’s a House of Marbles. That’s a whole house, full of marbles. They have extensive marble runs,  a marble fountain, a collection of some of the rarest marbles in the world and just so you know how they are made there’s also a working glass factory and museum of glass blowing there too.

Go Barking Mad!

If you have a four legged member of the family then you might be interested in taking Rover and the rest of the clan to Leeds Castle in Maidstone, Kent. Not just for the grounds, the moat and the castle so much as their truly unique Dog Collar Museum. This isn’t a tribute to holy neckware;  it is an actual museum dedicated to Dog Collars which features over 500 years worth of canine collars.

Old Fashioned Football

Once a year on Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday the town of Ashbourne, Derbyshire, boards up its shops, moves all cars from the streets and engages in the biggest and most ancient game of football in the world; The Royal Shrovetide Football Match.  The game doesn’t involve too much actual kicking of a ball and, by all accounts, it sounds like a referee’s nightmare. Our favourite rule enforced during this most physical of free-for-alls on the 3 mile long “pitch” would be the prohibition of “murder and manslaughter”. Other regulations – “The ball may not be carried in a motorised vehicle” and “the ball may not be hidden in a bag, coat or rucksack” – sound like the mere application of common sense in comparison.

Space The Final Frontier

In Britain the final frontier starts near Leicester at the National Space Centre. Keen mini-astronauts will be thrilled with the Rocket Tower, the Planetarium and the space suits, with plenty of information presented in a child-friendly way for budding space cadets. The centre has events throughout the year including training with a British astronaut and a special Steam Punk dedicated event at the end of November.

Exterminate!

Once you’ve conquered space you might want to have a crack at time travel. It will take a few hours to drive from Leicester to Cardiff but you’ll be over-flowing with Parent Points when you sign the young Timelords up for the Dr Who Experience, which guides you round the locations used in the hugely successful regeneration of the programme that started in 2005.  Naturally there are Daleks, props and key scenes to be visited, while a planned refresh in Autumn 2014 should see the 12th incarnation of the Doctor, Peter Capaldi, included in the experience.

Llama Trekking

An hour or so drive from Cardiff will take you to the Severnwye Llama Trekking experience on Smallbrook Farm in the Forest of Dean. Yes, that’s Llama trekking. Should the need arise, they have camels and donkeys you can walk with too, all the time accompanied by experienced animal handlers. The naturally placid llama’s are said to love their walks, and coupled with the beautiful surroundings of ancient woodland, this becomes the perfect opportunity to experience some South American calm in the glorious Gloucestershire countryside.