Monthly Archives: July 2015

Days Out from Leeds by Train

York, The Yorkshire Dales and the East Coast are in easy reach of Leeds. Excellent rail connections enable visitors to make day trips from Leeds by train. Here are just a few ideas for a day out without a car:

Take an Open Top Bus along Scarborough Promenade

Scarborough

Scarborough Photo Andrew Curtis under a Creative Commons License

Scarborough is the largest seaside resort on the Yorkshire Coast. Enjoy the sandy beaches of the North and South Bays. Take an open top bus from the Spa along the Marine Drive to Peasholme Park. The park has rowing boats, re-enacts naval battles on the lake and in the terminus for the North Bay miniature railway. The promenade has attractions traditionally associated with the seaside including, a funfair, amusements, ice cream parlours and fish and chip restaurants.

Getting There

Trains to Scarborough run every hour from Leeds; the journey takes 1 hour 18 minutes.

 

Hull has Eight Free Museums in the City Centre

Hull is a thriving city with three city centre shopping malls and an historic old town. Shoppers will head for St Stephen’s, next to the station, or Princes Quay. At the bottom of Whitefriargate, just past Princes Quay, is the Old Town packed with places to eat and drink and the redeveloped Marina. There are eight museums in Hull city centre offering free admission and The Deep (which has an admission charge) is one of Europe’s top aquariums with over 3500 exhibits, including sharks and rays. The train journey into Hull offers spectacular views of the Humber Bridge.

Getting There

Trains to Hull run every hour from Leeds; the journey takes 56 minutes.

Visit York Minster and The National Railway Museum

Visitors to York are greeted with a sense of the city’s history on leaving the station. The Roman walls, which encircle the city, pass the station entrance. York Minister and the National Railway Museum are both about 10 minute’s walk from the station and a Road Train runs every 30 minutes between the two. Most of York’s many other attractions are in walking distance of the Minster including The Shambles, Jorvik Viking Museum, Castle Museum and Clifford’s Tower.

Getting There

There are 5 trains an hour to York from Leeds; the journey takes between 23 and 40 minutes.

Skipton is the Gateway to the Yorkshire Dales

Skipton Castle

Skipton Castle under a Creative Commons License

Skipton is a thriving market town at the gateway to the Yorkshire Dales. Skipton Castle, has a history covering 900 years, and was besieged in the Civil War. Along the main street, Skipton Market is open four days a week selling fresh food, clothes and other household items. The market is so highly regarded that it was voted “Best in Yorkshire. The Leeds – Liverpool Canal passes through Skipton and is popular with boating enthusiasts and walkers.

Getting There

Trains to Skipton leave every 30 minutes from Leeds. The journey time is 45 minutes.

Other Ideas for a Day Out from Leeds

There are plenty more attractions in easy reach of Leeds by train including:

  • National Media Museum Bradford
  • Eureka! Children’s Museum Halifax (next to station)
  • The Victorian village of Saltaire
  • Meadowhall Shopping Centre Sheffield
  • Mother Shipton’s Cave at Knaresborough

For more ideas 100 Days Out in Yorkshire

National Rail provides up to date details of train times and fares.

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13th Century North Wales Castles

Animosity between the Welsh and the English can be traced back to the 13th century, when the efforts of Edward I to conquer Wales were resisted by Llywelyn, Prince of Wales and his followers. Today, physical conflict between the nations is confined to the rugby pitch but the network of Castles built in the late 13th century remain a lasting legacy to this period of conquest and resistence.

Edward I built castles along the North Wales Coast at strategic points to help his campaign to conquer Wales and protect his forces from the Welsh resistence, concentreated in the hills of Snowdonia.

Beaumaris Castle

Beaumaris Castle, on Anglesey was commissioned by Edward I as part of his plan to conquer North Wales. It was deliberately built on the opposite bank of the Menai Straits to Garth Celyn the 13th century home of the Princes of Wales in an attempt to quash local resistance. Work began in 1295 and while the castle was never completed Beaumaris has been awarded World Heritage Site status.

Caernarfon Castle

Caernarfon is the largest, and most famous castle, built by Edward and was the venue for the investiture of Prince Charles as the current Prince of Wales in 1969. The castle dominates modern Caernarfon and there also remain some of the walls that Edward built to strengthen his defences. Caernarfon’s position at the meeting of the River Seiont and the Menai Strait gave Edward domination of the surrounding area. This domination increased as Edward developed a network of Castles along the coast from Conwy to Harlech.

Criccieth Castle

Edward did not have a monopoly on castle building in the 13th century. Criccieth Castle was started earlier in the century by Llywelyn ap Iorwerth of Gwynedd and continued by his grandson, and Edward’s adversary Llywelyn ap Gruffydd, Prince of Wales. Then, as now, the castle dominated the rocky peninsula on which it was built and the Welsh used it as a base for their war against the English, until it was captured by Edward’s army in 1282.

Conwy Castle

Conwy Castle

Conwy Castle Photo David Dixon under a Creative Commons License

Crossing the River Conwy was vital to Edward if he was to capture the North West corner of Wales. The tidal estuary provided a natural barrier which Edward needed to control. Edward’s father, Henry III had established a castle on the estuary at Deganwy, but this was destroyed by Llywelyn The Last in 1263.

The strategic importance of Conwy was such that Edward lost no time in building a replacement. It took just 6 years from 1283 to build the current castle. 1500 men worked on the site and the cost of roughly £15000 made Conwy the most expensive of Edward’s Welsh castle projects. £15000 may not seem much today but estimates put the modern comparison at in excess of £150 million.

Harlech Castle,

Harlech Castle

Harlech Castle Photo Gwen Hitchcock under a Creative Commons License

Harlech was the most southerly of the four castles Edward built to surround Llywelyn’s heartland. The coastal position gave Edward control over the shores and enabled supplies to be shipped on the Irish Sea. Again the castle was completed in under 7 years and completed Edward’s grip on what we now call Snowdonia.

Harlech played vital roles in British history long after Edward’s death. Between 1461 and 1468 it was besieged for 7 years as a Lancastrian stronghold in the War of The Roses. It is thought that the traditional Welsh song “Men of Harlech” was written in honour of those who survived the longest siege in British history.

In the English Civil War, Harlech was the last Royalist defence against the forces of Parliament and the castle has not been used as a fortress since its capture by Cromwell’s men in 1647.

For more ideas Welcome to Wales or 100 Days Out in Wales

100 Days Out Regional Facebook Pages

As well as this blog, 100 Days Out lists the best places for days out across the United Kingdom through regional Facebook pages.

For a more detailed look at a specific area you can visit the following pages:

East Anglia

Explore the counties of Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and part of Essex. Discover the North Norfolk Coast, explore Framlingham Castle in Suffolk or wander round the cathedral city of Ely.

100 Days Out in East Anglia

Elm Hill Norwich

Elm Hill Norwich Photo John Oyston

Mablethorpe Beach

Mablethorpe Beach Photo Steve Daniels under a Creative Commons License

East Midlands

Covering the counties of Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire and Lincolnshire. Everything is covered from cable cars in the Peak District to seaside holidays in Skegness.

100 Days Out in East Midlands

London

There is plenty written about London’s major attractions; but there are plenty of lesser known attraslehctions to see. Fulham Palace, London Motor Museum and Chislehurst Caves are three of the lesser known attractions we have covered.

100 Days Out in London

Imperial War Museum

Imperial War Museum Photo John Oyston

Beamish Museum

Beamish Museum Photo John Oyston

North East England

Northumberland, Durham, Tyne & Wear and Cleveland offer something for everyone. Newcastle is a vibrant city with great shopping and an active nightlife. A short drive away, the Northumberland National Park and stunning coastline provide opportunities to escape the rat race.

100 Days Out in North East England

North West England

Cities like Manchester and Liverpool, seaside resorts like Blackpool and Southport, history in Chester and the beauty of the Lake Disrict are just a few of the area’s many attractions. Covering Lancashire, Cheshire, Cumbria, Greater Manchester and Merseyside.

100 Days Out in North West England

Blackpool

Blackpool Photo Ian Petticrew under a Creative Commons License

Carrick a Rede

Carrick a Rede Rope Bridge Photo John Oyston

Northern Ireland

Discover Belfast and (London)derry or explore the North Antrim Coast and the beautiful Mountains of Mourne. The Titanic Belfast, Derry City Walls, The Giant’s Causeway, Strangford Lough and The Ulster American Folk Park at Omagh are just a few of the area’s many attractions.

100 Days Out in Northern Ireland

Scotland

From Gretna Green and Berwick upon Tweed to John O’Groats Scotland has something for everyone. Whether you want the excitement of the Edinburgh Festival in August, an energetic climb up a mountain or a relaxing island holiday you will find it in Scotland.

100 Days Out in Scotland

Edinburgh

Edinburgh Photo John Oyston

Severn Valley Railway

Severn Valley Railway Photo David Stowell under a Creative Commons License

Shropshire

Shropshire borders Wales and is one of England’s most forgotten and underrated tourist attractions. The historic market towns of Shrewsbury and Oswestry, Ludlow Castle, Ironbridge the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution and Bridgnorth are all worth a visit.

100 Days Out in Shropshire

South East England

From the Oxfordshire Cotswolds to the Isle of Wight and from Southend Pier to the White Cliffs of Dover there are hundreds of great days out – castles, farms, steam trains, beaches and much more. Most are easily reached from central London by car or train.

100 Days Out in South East England

Romney Hythe & Dymchurch Railway

Romney Hythe & Dymchurch Railway Photo John Oyston

Sunset in Marazion

Sunset in Marazion, Cornwall, Photo Giuseppe Milo under a Creative Commons License

South West England

Covering an area stretching from Bristol to Land’s End the South West is a great place to visit. See the lions at Longleat, explore the Jurassic Coast in Dorset, have a Devon cream tea or go surfing in Cornwall. The choice is yours.

100 Days Out in South West England

Staffordshire

Staffordshire is a wonderful mix of history, industry and countryside. Visit the castles at Stafford and Tamworth, explore the medieval city of Lichfield, discover where Moorcroft and Wedgwood started their pottery empires or take a steam train along the Churnet Valley.

100 Days Out in Staffordshire

Shugborough Hall

Shugborough Hall Photo Richard Styles under a Creative Commons License

Shakespeare's Birthplace

Shakespeare’s Birthplace Photo Frederick Blake under a Creative Commons License

West Midlands

Discover the area’s industrial history at the Black Country Museum or visit Cadbury World to see how chocolate is made. Explore Stratford upon Avon, Shakespeare’s birthplace, ehor the cathedral cities of Hereford and Worcester.

100 Days Out in West Midlands

Wales

From Chepstow in the south to Queensferry in the north, Wales has 870 miles of stunning coastline with large resorts, secluded bays, Blue Flag beaches and cliff top walks. Inland castles, steam trains, market towns and mountains combine to give Wales its unique character.

100 Days Out in Wales

Rhossili Bay

Rhossili Bay Photo John Oyston

Bolton Abbey

Bolton Abbey Photo John Oyston

Yorkshire

In Yorkshire, you will find lots of cities, coastline and countryside. Leeds, Bradford, Sheffield, Hull and York are ideal bases to explore The Yorkshire Dales, The North York Moors, The South Pennines and the seaside resorts of Bridlington, Scarborough and Whitby.

100 Days Out in Yorkshire

There is also a page devoted to free days out across the UK, including Tate Modern, The National Railway Museum, and The Welsh Folk Museum .

100 Free Days Out

Visitors and tourist attractions are welcome to use our Facebook pages share details of visits and forthcoming events. We aim to provide information to help all interests, ages and budgets.

Days Out from Newcastle by Train

Newcastle is an ideal starting point for a day trip by train; head to the coast or along the line of Hadrian’s Wall. Here are just a few ideas for a day out without a car:

Carlisle has a Castle, Cathedral and Modern Shopping Centre

Carlisle Castle

Carlisle Castle Photo Magnus Manske under a Creative Commons License

Carlisle is a city with over 2000 years of history. The Scottish border is less than 10 miles away and the city has played a vital role in battles between England and Scotland. Attractions include Carlisle Castle, Carlisle Cathedral and the Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery. For those with more modern tastes, The Lanes Shopping Centre, Victorian Market Hall and regular Farmers Markets provide both retail therapy and refreshment.

Getting There

Trains run every hour from Newcastle to Carlisle. The journey takes about 1 hour 25 minutes

Is Berwick upon Tweed in England or Scotland?

Berwick upon Tweed is another town on the Scottish Border. The train journey from Newcastle takes in sensational views of the Northumberland coastline, and should be regarded as part of the day out.

Berwick has been a source of conflict between England and Scotland for centuries, with both countries claim the town as their own. By the 15th century, the town had been captured, or sacked, on no fewer than 13 occasions. Since 1432 it has been on the English side of the border; but the Elizabethan town walls, are part of the testimony to the town’s volatile history.

Walking on the walls offers unrivalled views of the Tweed Estuary, The Northumberland coastline you can take in some spectacular views over the wide estuary of the River Tweed including Robert Stephenson’s famous viaduct bridge, which carries trains from London and Newcastle over the River Tees and into Berwick station. What remains of the 12th century Berwick Castle is just a few yards from the railway station, but much of the original castle was destroyed by the railway company in the mid 19th century, as they built the station on the site.

Getting There

Regular services link Newcastle and Berwick, the journey takes about 45 minutes.

Go Walking in Hadrian’s Wall Country

The train from Newcastle to Carlisle runs along the route of Hadrian’s Wall, which was built by the Roman Emperor, almost 2000 years ago, in an attempt to repel the invading Scots. Tyne Valley Train Trails are marked walks between stations on the line, allowing passengers to explore the local countryside before rejoining the train. These walks vary in distance from three to six miles. Hexham, a thriving town midway between Newcastle and Carlisle, was named “Britain’ Favourite Market Town by Country Life Magazine. Visit the historic abbey, dating back to the 7th century, or Hexham Old Gaol. The town also has a wide choice of antique ships and coffee houses.

Getting There

Trains to Hexham and the Tyne Valley Line run every 30 minutes from Newcastle to Hexham but through trains to Carlisle do not call at all Tyne Valley Line stations. The journey to Hexham takes about 40 minutes.

Explore 19th Century Warships at Hartlepool Maritime Experience

HMS Trincomalee

HMS Trincomalee Photo David Manly under a Creative Commons License

The Hartlepool Monkey has legendary status, it it claimed that, in the Napoleonic Wars, local fishermen hung a shipwrecked ship’s monkey in the belief that it was a French spy. Like the legends of Robin Hood and the Loch Ness Monster, the story is both believed and doubted in fairly equal measure; but what cannot be disputed is Hartlepool’s long and rich maritime history.

Hartlepool Maritime Experience recreates what 18th century life was like in a seaport. Explore the decks of the wooden frigate HMS Trincomalee, built in 1817, and see what life was like in the days of Nelson and Napoleon and the Battle of Trafalgar.

Getting There

Trains run every hour from Newcastle to Hartlepool. The journey takes 45 minutes.

Other Ideas for a Day Out from Newcastle

There are plenty more attractions in easy reach of Newcastle by train including:

· Visit Edinburgh, Scotland’s Capital City

· The Roman City of York

· Alnwick Castle, Hogwarts in the Harry Potter Films

· St Mary’s Lighthouse Whitley Bay (take the Tyne and Wear Metro)

· Tynemouth Castle and Priory (take the Tyne and Wear Metro)

For more ideas NewcastleGateshead.com or 100 Days Out in North East England

National Rail provides up to date details of train times and fares.

Visit The Oxfordshire Cotswolds

Visitors to rural Oxfordshire may be surprised to learn that London is less than 70 miles away. Bustling market towns, sleepy village churches and magnificent stately homes combine to give the Oxfordshire Cotswolds a unique appeal, with scenery that has led to the area being designated an Area of Natural Outstanding Beauty.

There are four major towns in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds each with its own unique charm.

Farmers’ Markets around Witney

Witney is a traditional English market town, the epitome of rural England. The market square is dominated by the 17th century Buttercross where local farmers gathered to trade butter and eggs.

The town can trace its history back to the 12th century, when the Bishop of Winchester built a palace in the town. The remains of this were rediscovered in the 1980’s and can be seen at Church Green, in the shadow of the spired 13th century St Mary’s Church.

Witney, like the rest of the area, has a wide selection of places to eat and drink. Intimate restaurants, traditional country pubs and quaint coffee shops cater for all tastes. Locally sourced produce is widely used and can be bought at regular farmers’ markets and local farm shops. Witney also has its own real ale brewery, Wychwood’s. Brewery tours are available on weekends, but advanced booking is essential.

Shop for Antiques in Burford

Burford

Burford Photo David Stowell Creative Commons License

Shops with Tudor and Georgian frontages dominate Burford High Street. National chains are nowhere to be seen as independent antique shops, craft shops and cafés provide a totally different shopping experience to city centre high streets and out of town malls. Burford, which enjoys a reputation as one of England’s most picturesque towns, has remained largely unchanged for centuries with ample photo opportunities with a selection of old stone houses and the medieval bridge that straddles the River Windrush. Just south of Burford, the Cotwold Wildlife Park and Gardens is home to a varied selection of animals ranging including penguins, monkeys, meerkats and farm animals.

Chipping Norton has Free Car Parking

Chipping Norton, granted a Royal Charter by King John in 1205, is the highest town in Oxfordshire. High street brands and independent stores combine to attract visitors to the town. Antiques again are prominent, with comedian Ronnie Barker running a store called the Emporium until his death in 2005. Market day is Wednesday and parking in the town centre is free. Local tourist attractions include Chipping Norton Museum and the Churchill & Sarsden Heritage Centre.

Blenheim Palace – Birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill

Blenheim Palace

Blenheim Palace Photo Public Domain

Woodstock, standing on the banks of the River Glyme, also has a wide selection of antique shops, galleries and eateries. Winston Churchill was born just down the road, at Blenheim Palace. The palace stands in over 2000 acres of parklands and gardens, designed by Capability Brown. The palace, park and gardens are all open to the public. There are two rates of admission – one including admission to the palace. Both tickets include admission to the park and gardens and rides on the miniature train. The train runs to the Pleasure Gardens which has a maze, an adventure play area, butterfly house, lavender garden and “Blenheim Bygones” exhibition.

Tourist Information

West Oxfordshire District Council has Tourist Information offices at Burford, Witney and Woodstock. Information on places to stay and things to do is readily available. There is a full range of accommodation available, with self catering cottages and bed and breakfasts catering for all budgets.

Getting to the West Oxfordshire Cotswolds

The Oxfordshire Cotswolds are in easy reach of London, Oxford , Stratford upon Avon and Cheltenham. London Heathrow and Birmingham International Airports are both about an hour’s drive.

By Road

The A40, London to Gloucester, trunk road runs through the heart of the area passing near to both Burford and Witney. The M40 and A34 connect with the A 40 near Oxford providing excellent links to the rest of the motorway network.

By Rail

Trains run regularly between London Paddington and Hereford, calling at Charlbury and Kingham. Bus connections at Kingham provide links to Burford, Witney and Chipping Norton.

For more ideas Oxfordshire Cotswolds or 100 Days Out in South East England

Family Days out from Bristol by Train

Trains from Bristol run to South Wales and the West Country. Take a day out to The Roman City of Bath, Stonehenge or the Doctor Who Exhibition.

Tourist attractions in South Wales and the West Country are in easy reach of Bristol. Many can be reached by train. Here are just a few ideas for a day out without a car:

Cardiff Castle and Millennium Stadium Tours

Wander round Cardiff Castle, or take a tour of the Millennium Stadium – both are a short walk from the station. The shopping centre in Cardiff has modern malls mixed with Victorian arcades, and well known high street names stand alongside locally owned speciality shops. Buses run from outside the station to Cardiff Bay, home of the Doctor Who exhibition, and the Welsh Folk Museum at St Fagans.

Getting There

Trains to Cardiff run every 30 minutes from Bristol Temple Meads; the journey takes 1 hour. London to Cardiff trains call at Bristol Parkway station (5 miles north of the city centre); trains run every 30 minutes and the journey takes 40 minutes. Car parking is available at Bristol Parkway at £6.90 per hour, but the car park gets full quickly on weekdays.

The Roman City of Bath is a World Heritage Site

Bath

Bath Photo Peter Jemmett under a Creative Commons License

The Roman city of Bath is just 10 miles east of Bristol. The city, with some of Europe’s finest architecture, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. See the Royal Crescent, the Circus and Pulteney Bridge or visit the Roman Baths or Bath Abbey. The city centre is near the railway station and has exclusive shopping and top class places to eat.

Getting There

Trains to Bath run every 15 minutes from Bristol Temple Meads; the journey takes, on average, 12 minutes.

Take a bus to Stonehenge from Salisbury Station

Salisbury is famous for its cathedral and Stonehenge. Te Cathedral is open daily to the public and is about 800 yards from the station. Stonehenge is almost 10 miles away but buses leave outside the station every 30 minutes, and the journey takes just over 30 minutes. The shopping centre, where the Charter Market has been held most Tuesdays and Saturdays for over 800 years, has a selection of high street names and small independent stores. Many shops are housed in medieval half timbered buildings.

Getting There

Trains to Salisbury run every hour from Bristol Temple Meads; the journey takes, on average, 1 hour 8 minutes.

Weston-Super-Mare has Good, Clean Beaches

Weston Super Mare

Weston Super Mare Photo NotfromUtrecht under a Creative Commons License

Weston-super-Mare is a traditional seaside resort with sandy beaches, amusements, donkey rides and boat trips across the bay. Indoor attractions include SeaQuarium, the North Somerset Museum and the Helicopter Museum. A stroll along the promenade offers lovely views across the Bristol Channel.

Getting There

Trains to Weston-Super-Mare leave every 30 minutes from Bristol Temple Meads. The average journey time is 35 minutes.

Other Ideas for a Day Out by Train from Bristol

There are plenty more attractions in easy reach of Bristol by train including:

  • The Jewellery Quarter and Balti Triangle in Birmingham
  • STEAM. Museum of the Great Western Railway and MacArthur Glen Outlet Mall in Swindon
  • The spa town of Cheltenham
  • Didcot Railway Centre
  • London Paddington is only 1 hour 45 minutes away

For more ideas Visit Bristol or 100 Days Out in South West England

National Rail provides up to date details of train times and fares.

Day out at BeWilderwood

Little Miss Adventures

Bewilderwood titleA visit to BeWilderwood (near Wroxham, Norfolk) has been high on my list-of-places-to-go since Little Miss was just a baby. So many friends have recommended it to me, and when we were on our Haven holiday at Wild Duck last year, I finally found out what everyone had been going on about. It was definitely one of the highlights of our holiday, even Little Miss’s dad agreed that it was a good day out (and that really is saying something!).

BeWilderwood is one of the biggest adventure playgrounds you’ve ever seen. It’s set among 50 acres of woodland with a series of treehouses, slides, zipwires, mazes, wobbly bridges, cargo nets and lots more. But the real magic for the kids (and adults actually) is the story of the characters that live at BeWilderwood which is brought alive through really clever theming and detail. Right from when you enter, you are…

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Days Out from Edinburgh by Train

Want a family day out from Edinburgh? Blue Flag beaches, historic castles and top quality shopping centres are all just a short train ride away.

There are excellent rail links from Edinburgh to the rest of Scotland and Northern England. Many tourist attractions can be reached by train.

Here are just a few ideas for a day out without a car:

Parks and Gardens in the Historic City of Perth

Perth

Perth Photo Robin Fernandes under a Creative Commons License

Perth stands on the banks of the River Tay. For centuries, it has been a vital link between the major cities of southern Scotland and the rural north. This unique position has created a wealth of history and attractions include St John’s Kirk, Scone Palace and Elcho Castle. The modern city centre is a thriving mix of shops and restaurants, together with relaxing parks and gardens.

Getting There

Trains to Perth run every hour from Edinburgh; the journey takes 1 hour 20 minutes.

Safe Bathing on Fife’s Blue Flag Beaches

One of Fife’s biggest attractions is its unspoilt, award winning, Blue Flag Beaches. In all there are five Blue Flag beaches in Fife offering safe bathing and fun family days out. Two of these beaches, Aberdour and Burntisland, are just a short train ride away from central Edinburgh

Getting There

Trains to Aberdour and Burntisland run every 30 minutes from Edinburgh; the journey takes 30 minutes to Aberdour and 35 minutes to Burntisland.

Deep Sea World is Scotland’s Largest Aquarium

Deep Sea World has one of Europe’s largest collections of sharks, in the longest underwater tunnel in Britain. Other exhibits include piranhas and seals, and visitors can touch live exhibits in rock pools. Deep Sea World is at North Queensferry, just across the Firth of Forth from Edinburgh and is a short walk from North Queensferry station.

Getting There

Trains to North Queensferry run every 15 minutes from Edinburgh; the journey takes 20 minutes.

Falkirk Wheel

Falkirk Wheel

Falkirk Wheel Photo Freefoto.com

Take a ride on The Falkirk Wheel, the only rotating boat lift of its kind in the world, connecting the Forth and Clyde Canal with the Union Canal.

A 50 minute boat trip is the best way to see the wheel in action. The wheel raises boats by 24 metres but the Union Canal is still 11 metres higher than the aqueduct which meets the wheel. Boats must also pass through a pair of locks between the top of the wheel and the Union Canal.

Getting There

There are regular trains to Falkirk High and Falkirk Grahamston. The journey time is 30 minutes. The wheel is just over two miles fromthe stations and the No 3 bus runs every15 minutes from near both stations.

Other Ideas for a Day Out from Edinburgh

There are plenty more attractions in easy reach of Edinburgh by train including:

  • A day shopping in Glasgow
  • The historic town of Berwick upon Tweed
  • Aberdour Castle
  • The coastal town of North Berwick
  • Stirling Castle

For more ideas Visit Scotland or 100 Days Out in Scotland

National Rail provides up to date details of train times and fares.

Family Days Out in Wakefield, Castleford and Pontefract

Wakefield and its neighbours Castleford and Pontefract have a long history. Visitors can see the sites of historic battles, go down a coal mine or try indoor skiing.

Wakefield is a cathedral city in West Yorkshire, within easy reach of most places by road or rail. The city centre is less than 5 miles from both the M1 and M62 motorways and regular train services link Wakefield Westgate with Leeds, York, London, Edinburgh and Birmingham.

There is an extremely varied choice of things to do in Wakefield and the surrounding area. Here are just a few ideas:

Fairburn Ings

RSPB Fairburn Ings is a nature reserve with three trails through a variety of habitats. See birds such as willow tits and tree sparrows in the woodland, and lapwings, snipe and redshanks in the wet grassland. In winter there is an array of swans, ducks and geese on the main lake, so there is something to see whatever the season.

The visitor centre and two of the trails are accessible to wheelchairs and pushchairs

Junction 32 Outlet

Junction 32 Outlet Mall has over 90 high street name stores selling heavily discounted goods at up to 60% off high street prices. The stores include Gap,Monsoon,Marks & Spencer,Nike,Mango,Next,Clarks and Denby. The mall is next to the Xscape Leisure Centre at Castleford and only a couple of minutes’ drive from the M62, junction 32.

National Coal Mining Museum

The National Coal Mining Museum offers an underground tour of one of Britain’s oldest working mines , be fully fitted out with hat, belt and battery and experience the working life of a miner, 450ft below ground. Back on the surface take a trip to the shop and cafe, make friends with the pit ponies or wander round the exhibitions of mining history. The museum is 5 miles out of Wakefield on the main A642 Huddersfield Road and admission is free. Children uner 5 are not allowed underground and children under 14 must be accompanied.

Newmillerdam Country Park

Newmillerdam Country Park, on the A 61 just South of Wakefield, is an ideal venue for a family day out. Take a two mile stroll around the tree lined lake and see grey squirrels, rabbits and foxe in their natural surroundings or buy a licence to fish on the lake. Away from the lake, explore the wooded glades planted with trees, including oak and beech and home to a wide variety of plants.

Nostell Priory

Nostell Priory stands in 300 acres of grounds and was built in 1733. The house is open to the public and includes displays of Chippendale furniure designed for the priory and an 18th century dolls’ house. Out in the grounds there are lakeside walks, an orchard and a children’s playground.

Pontefract Castle

Pontefract Castle was once the major Royal Castle in the north of England. It was built in the 12th century and was used until it was destroyed by the Roundheads in the English Civil War. In school holidays and summer weekend tour the cellars of the great hall which was used as a store for arms and see the underground cells where prisoners were held in the Civil War. The castle is open daily, admission to the grounds is free, but there is a small charge for the underground tour.

Pugney Country Park

Pugneys Country Park stands in 250 acres of reclaimeed mining land about 2 miles west of Wakefield. There are two lakes, the larger one covers 100 acres and caters for water sports enthusiasts including canoeing, sailing and windsurfing. The smaller, 24 acre lake is a nature reserve with hides to enable visitors to view wildlife in their natural surroundings. A path of about 1.6 miles surronds the large lake and is popular with joggers and walkers. Pugney Country Park is just a short walk from Sandal Castle.

Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Yorkshire Sculpture Park Photo Nigel Theasby under a Creative Commons License

Sandal Castle

Sandal Castle Photo Abcdef123456 under a Creative Commons License

Sandal Castle

Sandal Castle is the site of the Battle of Wakefield in 1460 and was a Royalist stronghold in the English Civil War. The castle was unused and neglected for over 300 years, but now visitors can explore the remains of the castle and enjoy the views of Pugney Country Park and the Calder Valley.

The Hepworth

Part of the Yorkshire Sculpture Triangle,  The Hepwotth is an award winning museum devoted to the works of contemporary  artists. Named after Wakefield born sculptor Barbara Hepworth the museum is about a mile from Wakefield City Centre.

Xscape

Xscape offers plenty of opportunities for the adventurous and daring. There are a wide range of extreme sports and leisure activities uner one roof. Ski down the UK’s largest real indoor snow slope, clamber up two rock climbing walls or battle an aerial assault course. If this is not enough,try Lazerzone and bowling or wathch a film at the multi screen cinema. There are 17 bars and restaurants and 10 retail outlets. Xscape is just off the M62 , junction 32.

Yorkshire Sculpture Park

The Yorkshire Sculpture Park at Bretton, 6 miles west of Wakefield, has four indoor galleries and is set in 500 acres of 18th century parkland with various sculptures on open air display. The emphasis is on modern, contemporary sculpture.

For more ideas Experience Wakefield or 100 Days Out in Yorkshire

#YorkshireFamily with Yorkshire Tots

Family Days Out in Matlock and the Derbyshire Peak District

Matlock has attractions for all ages. Gulliver’s Kingdom theme park is ideal for young children. There are also steam train, tram and cable car rides.

The Derbyshire Peak District is just a short drive from Sheffield, Manchester and Derby. The area is famous for outdoor activities, spa town, stately homes and stunning scenery. Matlock is an ideal starting point for exploring the area. The industrial heritage of the area has been granted World Heritage status, with the Derwent Valley Mills stretching for 15 miles along the banks of the River Derwent from Matlock Bath to Derby. There is also a wide selection of attractions for families with children.

The National Tramway Museum at Crich

Crich Tramway Museum

Crich Tramway Museum Photo Peter Tarleton under a Creative Commons License

Crich, about six miles south of Matlock, is home to the National Tramway Museum. A selection of restored trams, from across the country, run regularly along the period street. Special theme weekends include a 1940’s weekend, a 1950’s weekend and a Blackpool Tram weekend. Admission includes unlimited tram rides and the ticket can be used for repeat visits for twelve months from the date of issue. Tickets currently cost £14.

Gulliver’s is an All Weather Family Day Out

Gulliver’s at Matlock Bath is a theme park designed for children between the age of two and thirteen. Children will love the themed areas with rides, attractions, shows, restaurants and shops.

Gully & Gilly Mouse and friends wander round the park greeting visitors as they go. The admission charge, currently £15, covers all attractions (except a few coin operated rides) and there are plenty of things to do indoors if the weather is bad.

Take a Cable Car Ride to the Heights of Abraham

The Heights of Abraham tower high above Matlock Bath. There is a cable car station, a short walk from Matlock Bath railway station, taking visitors to the summit, over 1000 feet above sea level.

At the summit, visitors can explore 60 acres of hillside woodland and watch the wildlife or admire the views of Matlock and the Derwent Valley. The area has a history of mineral mining and there is a network of underground caverns starting at the summit. Two caverns, The Rutland Cavern and the Masson Cavern are open to the public and an all inclusive ticket , currently £14.50, includes the cable car and admission to both caverns.

Refreshments are served at the tea room and there is a children’s play area. The uneven terrain makes life difficult for anyone with mobility difficulties; especially in the caverns.

Chatsworth House

Chatsworth House

Chatsworth House Photo Ian Parkes under a Creative Commons License

Chatsworth House is one of the English family seats of the Duke of Devonshire; the other is Bolton Abbey, in Yorkshire. Visitors can explore over 30 rooms in the house, the fountains and gardens, a cascade and maze and a farmyard with adventure playground.

Chatsworth House is 5 miles east of Bakewell and 16 miles west of the M1 ( junction 29 ) at Chesterfield. Ticket prices vary according to the facilities visited. Currently, a Complete Ticket giving admission to all attractions costs £22.

Peak Rail Runs Steam and Diesel Services

Peak Rail is a heritage railway running steam and heritage diesel services over a 4 mile stretch of line between Rowsley South and Matlock Riverside. The line is part of the old Manchester Central to London St Pancras main line. Trains run most weekends throughout the year with a limited weekday service in the summer months. There are regular special events, including a 1940s weekend in August and children up to 15 years can travel free with a paying adult on selected dates throughout the summer..

For more ideas Matlock.org.uk or 100 Days Out in East Midlands

All prices quoted were correct at 18 July 2015