With the weather just starting to warm up and Father’s Day coming up on June 16th, this is a great time of year for families to head out and about for a day of fun together.
Warner Bros. Studio Tour
Warner Bros. Studio Tour London is a unique attraction which offers visitors the ultimate opportunity to journey behind the scenes of Harry Potter and experience the magic that went into bringing the most successful film series of all time to life. The attraction invites groups looking for a unique day out to tread the flagstones of the iconic Great Hall, first built for Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone™, wander down Diagon Alley and experience green screen technology as they fly a broomstick like a member of the cast. Visitors can marvel at the sheer scale and detail of the authentic sets, costumes, animatronics, special effects and props that have been used in all eight of the Harry Potter films.
In addition to the Great Hall, some of the incredible sets featured in the attraction include Dumbledore’s office, Hagrid’s hut, the Ministry of Magic, 4 Privet Drive and Gryffindor common room. Dumbledore’s office is lined with old astronomical devices, more than forty portraits of former Hogwarts’ headmasters and hundreds of books. Eagle-eyed visitors will notice key props situated within the office including the Sorting Hat and the Sword of Gryffindor.
The Harry Potter films called for hundreds of creatures and intricate prosthetics — from Buckbeak the Hippogriff to Lord Voldemort’s snake-like face — all built by the Creature Effects department. The animatronics and prosthetics on show include more than 40 unique goblin faces. The jewel in the crown of the art department awaits visitors reaching the end of their journey and encompasses the breath-taking expertise of more than 86 crew members and artists. Secrets are revealed!
Tickets for the Warner Bros. Studio Tour must be booked in advance and complimentary parking is also provided (as well as free entry and a dedicated room for coach drivers).
Info: 08450 840 900 www.wbstudiotour.co.uk
Wicksteed Park was founded by Charles Wicksteed, known as the inventor of children’s play. It combines the excitement of rollercoasters, rides and attractions with the tranquillity and relaxation of an historic Grade II-listed country park, including a nature reserve and daily shows in Wicksteed Park Pavilion. It is home to Europe’s largest free playground, paid-for attractions such as rollercoasters and rides and many of the UK’s first theme park rides, ensuring a great time for any type of group or family, no matter what their budget.
Wicksteed Park has also been given a Certificate of Excellence by TripAdvisor - the world’s largest travel site - for being one of the UK’s top places to go for a day out based on visitor ratings. The Attractions include the 1926 Water Chute, the UK’s first water-based ride, and the double pirate ship ride, which is one of only two left in the world. The Wicksteed Park railway, which takes visitors around the park, is the most well-used narrow-gauge railway in the country.
The park’s Edwardian Pavilion, which hosts events and shows, has also been restored to its former glory thanks to a major refurbishment to mark its 90th anniversary. A full outdoor events’ programme animates the park with re-enactments, craft fairs, and live outdoor concerts.
Info: www.wicksteedpark.co.uk 01536 512475 firstname.lastname@example.org
Severn Valley Railway
Welcoming more than 200,000 visitors per year, the Severn Valley Railway is among the UK’s most popular and loved historical attractions. This year, they have even more offers and opportunities for family groups than ever before, including year-round exclusive group travel rates and reserved seating.
Run largely by a dedicated body of more than 1,200 volunteers, the full-size, standard-gauge railway line runs regular steam-hauled passenger trains along a scenic 16 mile route between Kidderminster in Worcestershire and Bridgnorth in Shropshire for visitors and enthusiasts alike to enjoy. There are six attractive, beautifully-maintained stations along the route as well, including interactive exhibits, eight steam locomotives, a magnificent royal carriage and a ‘how the SVR works’ exhibition.
The places connected by the Severn Valley Railway are all great for family visits. The ancient riverside town of Bewdley has a quaint quayside and stately Georgian Architecture, while Bridgnorth is a beautiful medieval market town. Hampton Loade is a perfect picnic spot and Arley village has a timeless charm. Highley is home to Severn Valley Railway’s Engine House Visitor Centre, which has an array of exhibitions and railway artefacts, impressive collection of reserve locomotives and King George VI’s majestic Royal Carriage, as well as a gift shop and the Flag & Whistle Food Stop. Engine House group packages including train travel, guided tours and catering are available.
Thanks to a fantastic partnership offer, groups of 15 or more can also combine a steam train ride along the railway with a trip to one of the region’s other famous attractions, including Cadbury World, Ironbridge Gorge, West Midland Safari Park and the Black Country Living Museum. For families who would rather spend all day enjoying the railway, there is an option to travel in style and indulge in a three course meal on board an elegant 1930s dining car while enjoying the lovely views from the window. The platform-side restaurant The Valley Suite also offers anything from light bites to full meals.
Info: 01299 403816 or email@example.com www.svr.co.uk
Crich Tramway Village
Crich Tramway Village is located in the heart of Derbyshire on the edge of the Peak District National Park. Trams operate along the one mile track through the recreated village and out into spectacular views of the countryside. Combined with all the other things to see and do there, a visit to Crich is the ideal family day out. It is also home to the National Tramway Museum, which houses a unique collection of vintage trams from across the UK and beyond. The Great Exhibition Hall, depots, workshops and the George Stephenson Discovery Centre all provide more than enough entertainment for visitors of all ages.
Families and groups visiting Crich get unlimited tram rides all day. Dining and drinking options include Rita’s Tearoom, The Red Lion Pub and Fredrick’s Ice Cream Parlour, and there is also a gift shop and Barnett’s Old Fashioned Sweetshop for treats and souvenirs.
Crich Tramway Village welcomes groups and families of all sizes and abilities. There is ample free coach parking or for visitors with walking difficulties, there is a drop off point in the centre of the village. The museum is accessible for all with ramps and lifts to all buildings, smooth routes and dropped curbs for wheelchair users. There is also a specially modified access tram to carry wheelchairs. Carers are admitted to the museum free of charge.
Crich Tramway Village also has a full events calendar throughout the year, which includes a 1940s/1950s weekend and Edwardian weekends. Specialist guided tours can be provided when booked in advance; these are free of charge and last approximately 30 minutes. Bespoke catering arrangements can also be made in advance. Crich is happy to provide complimentary tickets for GTO fam trips.
Info: 01773 854321 www.tramway.co.uk
Black Country Living Museum
The Black Country Living Museum is an award-winning open air museum, set in an industrial canalside village, where visitors can see history brought to life and learn first-hand what it was like to live, work and shop in the 1800s to 1940s. The museum tells the story of the Black Country, the world’s first industrial landscape during the industrial revolution. Live demonstrations of metal-working and glass-cutting, traditional entertainment at the 1920s cinema and fairground, vintage transport and canal boat displays and an underground mine to explore all ensure a full day out for any family or group. Visitors can take a trip on a tram to explore the canalside village, where they can meet and chat to the costumed characters and experience the authentic sights, sounds, smells and tastes from the past.
The Black Country Living Museum offers discounted rates for larger groups and free admission for the GTO. There is free coach parking next to the main entrance, and free admission and a refreshment voucher for the coach driver.
Info: www.bclm.com 0121 520 8054
National Motor Museum
The world-famous National Motor Museum at Beaulieu houses a collection of over 250 vehicles, from the earliest examples of motoring to classic cars of the 70s and 80s and rare motoring oddities such as a giant orange on wheels. There are historic racing cars, F1 and rally cars plus World Land Speed Record Breakers including Donald Campbell’s ‘Bluebird’. The ‘Bond in Motion’ exhibition will appeal to most families – it is the world’s largest official collection of original James Bond vehicles. Visitors can see some of the best-loved vehicles from the films, including the 1937 Phantom lll Rolls Royce from Goldfinger, the 2008 Aston Martin DBS from Quantum of Solace, the 2002 Jaguar XKR with SFX weapons from Die Another Day, and the Lotus Esprit S1 affectionately nicknamed ‘Wet Nellie’ from The Spy Who Loved Me. Four Bond tours are available for families or groups to choose from, each of which looks at the vehicles and films from a specific period of the enduring film franchise. Another must-see exhibition is ‘World of Top Gear’, featuring actual vehicles created by presenters Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May for some of their most ambitious challenges on the TV show over the years.
Visitors also have an opportunity to book tours of 13th century Beaulieu Abbey, the beautiful gardens and Palace House, home of the Montagu family since 1538. Newly opened in Palace House, ‘Royal Pageant’ is a fascinating exhibition celebrating the 60th anniversary of Her Majesty the Queen’s Coronation. It explores the links between Beaulieu, its owners and royalty, from the founding of Beaulieu Abbey in 1204 to the present day. For the perfect way to finish a visit, groups can book delicious lunches and cream teas to enjoy in the Brabazon Restaurant.
Info: www.beaulieu.co.uk/groups firstname.lastname@example.org 01590 614645
Ripley’s Believe It or Not!
Known as the capital’s most bizarre attraction, Ripley’s Believe It or Not! in London has a host of new all-inclusive day out packages for groups of 10 or more people (how about joining together with another family?) designed to make the most of a visit to London’s West End and create an unforgettable day out. The central London attraction has teamed up with some of the capital’s most popular restaurants, including Planet Hollywood, Café Rouge and Bella Italia to offer a complete package.
Visitors to Ripley’s get the chance to measure up against Robert Wadlow, the world’s tallest man, or see how many people it takes to match the weight of the world’s heaviest man. They can lose themselves in the Marvellous Mirror Maze or test their speed in the Impossible LaseRace before heading to one of five restaurants to refuel. In total, there are more than 700 amazing artefacts on display over six floors, making Ripley’s a perfect family day out. It’s the only place in the UK where visitors can check out a life-sized knitted Ferrari, take a peek at 75 million year old dinosaur eggs, come face-to-face with an albino alligator and marvel at the original ‘Toot Sweet’ machine featured in the film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Children will also love the portrait of the attraction’s founder, famous explorer Robert Ripley, which is made entirely out of colourful bubble gum balls.
Ripley’s has a new dedicated in-house group reservations team who can help to create a bespoke personal package for any group. Audio guides and guided tours are available, and GTOs and coach drivers get free entry.
Info: www.ripleyslondon.com 020 3238 0022 email@example.com
The World of Glass
The World of Glass in St Helens is an exciting modern museum where families can find out all about glass and how it is made, including live glass-blowing demonstrations in the Hot Glass Studio. Resident glassblowers use traditional methods and tools to create beautifully shaped decorative pieces from molten glass, which is taken straight from the intense heat and then blown into a variety of designs, in brilliant colours and finishes. Families can also enjoy a stunning film show, a mirror maze, beautiful glass art items, local history treasures and the opportunity to take a trip down memory lane and relive bygone days. Visitors will find glassware and great gift ideas in the artisan shop or can drop into the stylish art gallery which highlights the work of local artists. The Kaleidoscope Café offers great food and drink for when a break is needed.
GTOs (plus a guest) are offered free preview tickets in order to make a fam trip. When returning with a group, the GTO gets free entry, and there is free coach parking, free entry and free lunch for the coach driver. Selected shop purchases are also discounted for groups. An all-inclusive group package is available, which includes entry, guided tours, a main meal and tea or coffee on arrival.
Info: 01744 22766 firstname.lastname@example.org www.worldofglass.com
Powell-Cotton Museum and Quex House
The Powell-Cotton Museum and Quex House are one of the best days out for any family interested in natural history and exploration. Major Percy Powell-Cotton, his wife Hannah and their children took worldwide trips to places unknown to most of the public in those days. Their natural history collections from these adventures are brought to life in this unusual museum which is both a personal display and a significant collection. Personal stories and anecdotes are displayed throughout the galleries, which include Chinese porcelain, oriental fine arts, netsuke, weaponry and snuff bottles. Outside, Quex Gardens have welcomed visitors and guests to their seven acres of natural woodland and historic gardens, with a stunning Victorian layout and landscaping. Families can explore the Victorian walled garden, greenhouses and a rare cucumber pit, as well as a fountain pond with listed statues and monument.
Group parties are welcome with optional introductory talks and guided tours tailor-made to the interests of a group, and coach drivers receive a refreshment voucher.
Info: www.quexmuseum.org 01843 842168
Families visiting the Eden Project over the next few months will find a packed programme of family-friendly events and activities available. The ever-popular den building will be back, along with themed trails across the site. Imaginative play areas for children to explore include a spiral garden, hideaways, stepping-stones, sand pits, willow tunnels and cut-throughs designed for little feet. For those in search of an adrenaline rush, Eden’s SkyWire has recently re-opened, in time for the summer season. It is the longest and fastest zip wire in England and now allows users to fly down head-first, superman-style, an experience not for the faint-hearted! Fliers will see Eden as never before as they hurtle over the iconic Rainforest and Mediterranean Biome structures and across the huge outdoor gardens. On a clear day it is even possible to see the sea in the distance.
Info: 01726 811903 email@example.com www.edenproject.com/group-visits