10 of the best UK day trips, chosen by readers | Family holidays

Winning Tip: Pigging out, Huddersfield

Top of my family’s list for a mid-term outing is Pigs in the wood – a non-profit sanctuary for rescued pigs near Huddersfield in West Yorkshire, set in 10 acres of forest. The pigs can be seen roaming freely and even cuddling them. The sanctuary currently takes care of 20 pigs with wonderful names such as William, Charlotte, Dougal, George, Fred, Plum and Hugo. There is a minimum donation of £ 5 per person to visit which is used for their food, water, straw, repairs and shelter maintenance. We will also be sponsoring a pig for £ 20 per year. I can not wait !
10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, reservation essential, pigsinthewood.com
Marc Neal

At home with Agatha Christie, Devon

Agatha Christie’s boathouse, Greenway House, is the scene of the crime in Poirot’s Dead Man’s Folly. Photograph: Edward Westmacott / Alamy

I go to Torquay with my family for the great outdoors, good coastal walks and a long awaited trip to Agatha Christie’s place, Greenway. We will do the Torquay Circle Walk, past the Windmill and Galmpton Creek to Greenway, then back to Broadsands Beach. Agatha Christie called Greenway “the most beautiful place in the world” and cherished it as a vacation home for her and her family. Most of the early readings of his detective manuscripts took place here, and the locality inspired Dead Man’s Folly. We could all be visiting a beautiful place on Earth right now!
Timed entry visits, nationaltrust.org.uk


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Far from the Fairies, Shropshire

The follies of Hawkstone Park in Shropshire
Hawkstone Park Follies in Shropshire. Photograph: MH Country / Alamy

Dare to venture into Dragon’s Wood, cross the rhododendron jungles and look for the trolls by crossing the Swiss Bridge. Just a taste of the features of the Grade I listed landscape, The follies of Hawkstone Park, set in a 40 hectare (100 acre) park in the red sandstone hills of Shropshire. With its caves, towers and ravines, it is a place to ignite the imagination of young and old. Make sure you put on proper shoes, grab a torch for the cave, and enjoy the feeling of being part of a fairytale world. Escape for all ages.
Advance booking essential, hawkstoneparkfollies.co.uk
Sharon pinner

Easy driving along the South Downs Way

Cycling along the South Downs Way.
Cycling along the South Downs Way. Photograph: Paul Biggins / Alamy

Our family of four is planning to challenge themselves on a mini adventure – ride a bike South Downs Path and sleep under the stars (hopefully!) on the way. Four years ago we cycled and hosted along Hadrian Sustrans Wall Road and loved the adventure of staying in a different dorm every night. Touching the sea on the east coast gave us a great sense of accomplishment. Our sons, Benjamin and Sam, are now 10 and 13 years old and are ready for their next adventure. It will be wonderful to make more memories cycling along the chalk escarpment and ancient forests of the South Downs.
Joanne bowlt

Free roaming, North Yorkshire

Stewart Park in Middlesbrough
The woods and grounds of Stewart Park near Middlesbrough are home to Captain Cook’s birthplace. Photograph: Topseee / Alamy

During the holidays I will take my five grandchildren to Stewart Park in Middlesbrough, to discover its 50 hectares of woods and arboretum. We can also visit the Museum of Captain Cook’s Birthplace, close to where he was born. On other days we can visit Redcar by the sea and our beautiful North Yorkshire moors where we can run on the river stepping stones in the village of Lealholm. My advice is to have the kids bake cakes and cookies the night before because they are always happy to eat what they do. We will also take sandwiches (with homemade toppings) and large bottles of juice. Good times, with many memories for all of them.
Chris rooney

Sandcastles and sublime cakes, North Devon

The expansive sandy beach of Westward Ho!  in North Devon
The expansive sandy beach at Westward Ho !, North Devon. Photograph: Terry Mathews / Alamy

We will do our usual (or what used to be) trip halfway through Westward Ho!, where we can enjoy the time spent at the beach at low tide, build sandcastles, swim in the rocks, play in the waves or take a dip in the sea pool. On the way back, we will taste some of the exceptional cakes at Tea on the Green. For rainy days (guaranteed!), We’ll take a short trip to Bideford to see the latest news from the Burton gallery and enjoy a delicious pancake at the adjoining Café du Parc. Then we’ll go to the Walter Henry Bookstore to complete our collection of readings for girls. Another bonus is that dad can sneak his favorite run along the coast.
Darren atkinson

Steaming through the Highlands with Harry Potter

The Jacobite Steam Train (aka the Hogwarts Express)
The Jacobite Steam Train. Photograph: Peter Mundy / Alamy

We are planning a trip to Fort-Guillaume in Scotland as kids eagerly ride the Jacobite Steam Train (aka the Hogwarts Express) through the Highlands to Mallaig. Kids are big Harry Potter fans, so crossing the Glenfinnan Viaduct by steam train is the perfect mid-point adventure. No complaints from me as I love Scotland, its magnificent lochs and the isolated beauty of the Highlands. We will eat fresh seafood and watch the boats make their way to the scattered islands. We will see the Neptune Staircase in Banavie and take a boat trip to Loch Linnhe where Ben Nevis dominates the skyline. Seals pop up to say hello, and old croft cottages perch on the hills.
Christine reid

Pedal past Victorian wonders in central Wales

Caban Coch Dam in Elan Valley, Wales
Caban Coch Dam in the Elan Valley, Wales. Photography: Loop Images / Alamy

Three generations of our family will rent bikes at Elan Valley Visitor Center by the beautiful Caban Coch Dam in central Wales. The expansive cycle paths follow quiet trails and roads around a network of reservoirs, stone bridges, and other wonders of Victorian engineering. We will find a quiet spot on the Elan Waterfall Trail for a picnic of Welsh bread and cheese. Then back for a stroll through the Waterworks Museum and coffee and cake at the Visitor Center – or the pub!
Steve K

Shingle Race in East Kent

A pebble beach at Dungeness
A pebble beach at Dungeness. Photograph: Suzanne Plunkett / Alamy

We will head to the shingle banks at Dungeness, equipped with our homemade sledges. The best adventures pile up and we make our sleds from everything that has been thrown away, from laundry baskets to broken office chairs. With the right kit – bike helmets and knee pads – our shingle races can begin. In warmer weather at high tide we also have a paddling. Who needs a theme park when you can bring our own!
Tracey Belcher

Fried Mars bars all around, Edinburgh

Edinburgh Castle and Ross Fountain
Edinburgh Castle and the Ross Fountain. Photograph: Joe Daniel Price / Getty Images

We booked the train from Birmingham to Edinburgh with our three children, a picnic and enough snacks to endure the cries of “are we almost there?” After dropping off our bags at our Airbnb apartment in the city center, we will attempt to walk the Royal Mile, the showpiece being a visit to Edinburgh Castle. To replenish the calories burnt, we’re going to try a Mars bar beaten at Café Piccante.

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