With the Summer holidays on the horizon, here are my tips for family friendly locations in Europe.
Newham City Farm in London
Newham City Farm in East London is a great free attraction for families. When I was there the donkeys’ legs were getting sprayed with fly repellent, the Shire horse was being shod and the Kune Kune pigs were being fed. There’s a covered area for eating picnics and a kid’s play area.
Blaze at Newham City Farm
PortAventura in Spain
PortAventura, near Salou on the Costa Dorada in Spain, has various themed areas including Mexico, China and Sesame Street, each with its own rides and shows. The park is 20 years old this year, so there are special events to celebrate this, such as the Brazil White Night with a carnival parade.
PortAventura by Joao Maximo
Greetings to the Sun in Zadar Croatia
Kids will love running around the light patterns on the three hundred glass plates that make up the Greeting to the Sun solar installation on the promenade in Zadar.
Madurodam in the Netherlands
Madurodam, located near Scheveningen Beach in The Hague, portrays the Netherlands in miniature. You can see models of the docks in Rotterdam, the Peace Palace in The Hague, Schiphol Airport, bulb fields and the Cheese Market in Alkmaar.
Madurodam by Bert Knottenbeld
Museum of Theatre Puppets, Lubeck, Germany
This museum was established in the German city of Lubeck by Fitz Frey in the early 1980s. It is home to glove, string, finger and shadow puppets spanning three centuries from the continents of Europe, Africa and Asia.
Museum of Theatre Puppets in Lubeck by Allison O’Connell
Beamish Museum in County Durham, England
The entry fee to Beamish Museum includes rides on the steam train and vintage buses. This outdoor museum gives an insight to life in the north east of England in the early 20th century. There are special events such as Dig for Victory, based on the WW2 effort to increase domestic agricultural production.
Steam train at Beamish
Bosc Urba in Barcelona, Spain
Bosc Urba is an urban adventure park. It’s geared for all abilities. You’ll get some basic training before you venture onto the zip lines and ropes.
Bosc Urba by ogrodowasmpz.blogspot.com
Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park in London
The centre piece of the Diana Memorial Playground in London’s Kensington Gardens is the huge wooden pirate ship. There are also wigwams and musical instruments. To cool off, you can go to the Serpentine Lido in adjoining Hyde Park, which has a kids’ paddling pool.
Pirate ship at the Diana Memorial Playground
Stockholm Archipeligo, Sweden
The Stockholm Archipeligo offers some beautiful sheltered waters for kayaking between its 30,000 islands. There are several companies in the area which organise kayak tours, providing the kayaks and all necessary safety equipment. You may even spot some seals from your kayak. If you don’t feel up to self propulsion, you could take a trip by ferry.
Kayaking at Roslagen near Stockholm by Mads Bodker
Durrell Wildlife Park on the Channel Island of Jersey
This wildlife park was set up by the author and naturalist Gerald Durrell in the late 1950s. You can see meerkats, orangutans, flamingoes, otters, Andea bears and gorillas here.
I hope that you’ve taken some inspiration from my tips for family friendly locations in Europe.