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If you've grown a little too used to the hustle and bustle of London and its surrounding areas, why not take a trip up to the North West? From beaches and lakes to forests and cities, there's plenty of great things to see and do with your family when you need an escape from the big city. We've rounded up the top activities for a perfect trip to North West England.
The Lake District National Park
Why kids will love it: The Lake District National Park is packed-full of exciting adventures and activities for kids of all ages. Your little ones can paddle in the lake, explore the famous adventure playground, venture through the gardens, and even challenge themselves with archery, laser clay, and Crazi Bugz driving. There are also more than fourty child and buggy-friendly walking trails to enjoy, as well as an aquarium, a wildlife park, and tonnes of other attractions to visit!
Why parents will love it: Aside from the stunning views, what could be better for a family day out than fresh air, long country walks, and exercise through play? Admission is totally free, and there are so many different things to do you'll be lost for choice.
Nearest station: Oxenholme Lake District or Windermere.
Why kids will love it: Blackpool Beach is an absolute haven for great family fun. Kids can play and build sandcastles along the beach, explore the arcades and rides on the piers, check out the view from the top of the ferris wheel, and if they're lucky, maybe even experience their very own donkey ride.
Why parents will love it: There's really nothing like a day at the seaside for the whole family to enjoy. Whether you're after a relaxing afternoon on the sand with a picnic, or want to experience every single thing the beach has to offer - you'll be sure to have a day of cheap family fun.
Nearest station: Blackpool North.
Salford Quays, Manchester
Why kids will love it: Rain or shine, there's plenty of indoor activities to do in Salford Quays for children of all ages. Start off at the Imperial War Museum North and check out the various exhibitions, then stroll over to the Lowry to discover the bright and colourful walls, staircases, and sloping floors. Finally, why not take part in one of many participatory activities on offer?
Why parents will love it: This picturesque waterfront destination makes for a fantastic day out, whether you manage to catch a matinee show at the Lowry or dine in one of the tasty restaurants along the water - it's a trip that the whole family will remember.
Nearest station: MediaCityUK tram station.
Lowther's Lost Castle
Why kids will love it: Stumble upon one of the biggest adventure playgrounds in the UK at Lowther Castle. The Lost Castle is an enormous timber play area made up of ramps, steps, zip wires, fireman's poles, walkways, slides and a maze of turrets. There's also a toddlers area, sandpit and rope mesh, plus places to sit and rest. Your little adventurers will be sure to leave with huge smiles on their faces!
Why parents will love it: While you may not be climbing on the lost castle yourself, you can still appreciate the real one behind it! Take in the stunning views while you rest and watch the children having the time of their lives. When you're done, visit the 'Into The Woods' cafe for hot and cold drinks and snacks to refuel.
Nearest station: Penrith Station.
Merlin's Sleeping Place in Alderley Edge
Why kids will love it: If it's a magical day out you're after, then Alderley Edge is definitely the place to visit. Spend the day exploring the spot where wizard Merlin and King Arthur are supposedly resting in eternal slumber by taking the Wizard Walk, discovering the Golden Stone and the Wizard's Well along the way.
Why parents will love it: Enjoy the spectacular scenery whilst adventuring through the trail, and learn all about the history of the area as you go. At the end of the walk, why not try some of the delicious food at the nearby Wizard Restaurant?
Nearest station: Alderley Edge.
Knowsley Safari Park
Why kids will love it: Calling all young explorers! Knowsley Safari offers a fantastic child-friendly foot safari that will take you through attractions such as sea lion displays and play areas, giraffe enclosures, meerkats, and even a tiger trail. Kids can enjoy learning about all the different animals, and for some added excitement, why not take a ride on the baboon bus?
Why parents will love it: The park has attractions for kids of all ages, both indoor and outdoors. If you fancy a break from walking, you can take the family for a fascinating trip on a rowing boat, or catch one of the animal talks or displays.
Nearest station: Prescot Station.
Beatrix Potter's Home
Why kids will love it: Discover the much-beloved children's author's enchanting 17th century house and the gorgeous surrounding gardens at Hill Top. Every room contains references to Beatrix Potter's iconic tales, and there's even some original artwork on display. When you're done, you can check out the nearby World of Beatrix Potter Attraction.
Why parents will love it: While your little ones may be Peter Rabbit lovers now, a visit to Hill Top will have you thrown straight back to your own childhood! Enjoy the idyllic little home, the majestic views, and a peaceful stroll around the beautiful flowers in the garden. The place is seeped in storybook references making for a truly nostalgic experience.
Nearest station: Oxenholme Lake District, then either bus or taxi to the Beechmount.
Cheshire Canal Trip
Why kids will love it: Take your seat on one of Cheshire's colourful canal boats and glide through the North West's most beautiful countryside. There are so many great things for children to spot along the trip, including castles, industrial heritage sites, and quaint villages.
Why parents will love it: Why not stop off along the way to explore one of the many country towns, or grab lunch in a historic pub? The canal ride is a fascinating experience for both kids and adults alike, with tons of history to discover and many different attractions visible from the boat to stop and take part in. You can hop on from various points such as Macclesfield or Middlewich and choose several different routes, but we'd recommend starting at the Anderton Boat Lift and taking the 75 minute picturesque river cruise to Northwich and back.
Nearest station: Northwich Station is just a fifteen minute taxi or bus ride away.
The Hobbit Holes at The Quiet Site
Why kids will love it: The Quiet Site's Hobbit Holes are large underground camping pods situated with stunning views of the Ullswater valley - making for an incredibly exciting overnight stay. Children can enjoy the fresh air and playing outside in the surrounding greenery, taking a splash in the lake, or trying out one of the nearby activities including the climbing wall, walking trails, a visit to the castle, or the enormous playground. As an added bonus, kids can even bring along their very own furry friends!
Why parents will love it: A stunning overnight break on a budget? Cumbria's Hobbit holes are open all year round and make for a great trip no matter what the weather. One pod fits two adults and up to four children, and are surrounded by beautiful gardens and breathtaking views.
Nearest station: Hop off the train at Penrith railway station and jump onto the daily bus service.
Why kids will love it: Set foot onto the longest coastal walking trail in the whole world for some family fun with pretty spectacular views. A great adventure for children of all ages, you'll be able to explore the red sandstone cliffs, take a ride on the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway, discover castles and ruins, and see what animals you can spot along the way!
Why parents will love it: What's more relaxing than a nice, long, scenic walk on the beach? The Whitehaven coastline offers some of the most stunning views in the North West and makes for one of our top family days out, weather permitting.
Nearest station: Whitehaven or St Bees station.
Go Ape, Delamere
Why kids will love it: Zoom down zip wires and fly off of Tarzan swings at Go Ape! Children of all ages can engage in some seriously exciting active fun at this forest adventure, full of award-winning outdoor activities for the whole family to enjoy. From the treetop climbs to the incredible forest segways down below, there's plenty to do and see.
Why parents will love it: Go Ape provides a day out like no other. Not only is it great exercise for the family, but if you're a parent after a thrill then it's sure to be a treat for you! Take in the beautiful forests whilst you adventure, and be reassured in that your little monkeys will be fully supervised and briefed for safety before they set off.
Nearest station: Delamere station.
The Chocolate Factory, Hawkshead
Why kids will love it: A unique and interactive experience for all chocolate lovers, the Chocolate Factory enables children to create their very own chocolate slabs, marshmallow treats, and shaky shape animals - and best of all, they can take everything home with them, including their aprons!
Why parents will love it: Whilst the kids are distracted, why not sit back and snack on some fresh strawberries smothered in chocolate, or the famous chocolate dipped ice cream? All activities are fully supervised and are in full view at all times, so you can really indulge yourself.
Nearest station: Windermere.
And we couldn't forget to mention...
Blue Planet Aquarium, Cheshire
Open 10am-5pm weekdays, and 10am-6pm on weekends.
Imagine That, Liverpool
Open 10am-4pm weekdays, and 10am-5pm on weekends.
Open 10am-4:30pm, daily.
Tour Old Trafford
Open 9:30am-5pm, Monday to Saturday, and 10am-4pm Sunday.
Tatton Park, Cheshire
Open 10am-5pm, daily.
Merseyside Maritime Museum, Liverpool
Open 10am-5pm, daily.
Ingleton Waterfalls Trail
Open 9am-4pm, daily.
Gulliver's World Theme Park
Open 10:30am-5pm, daily.
Grizedale Forest, Lake District
Open 10am-5pm, daily.
The Pavilion Gardens, Buxton
Open 10am-5pm weekdays, and 10:30am-5pm on weekends.
Chill Factore, Manchester
Hours vary between 9am-8pm.
The Ice Cream Farm, Cheshire
Open 10am-5pm, daily.
Llama Wellbeing Farm, Bolton
Hours vary between 9:30am-7:30pm.
Rachel grew up in Switzerland and currently lives in north-west London. She is an avid reader, writer, and a real foodie and loves discovering new hotspots and trendy places to go in the city. She also enjoys planning days out for her family, she especially loves taking her little cousins swimming and to the park. When she has some free time she loves going to concerts, baking, or visiting her family at their home in Essex. She can sometimes be found travelling a bit further than Essex and loves meticulously planning and researching a trip before heading off to explore new places in Europe and further afield.