If the half-term getaway is already feeling like a bad idea (squabbling in the back, parental arms swatting blindly, desperately behind) these are some of our favourite places to stop with the kids, even if the weather is a bit iffy.
M6, Junction 36
Wander through this low-key cross between a zoo and a wildlife park (including a ‘walk through’ enclosure for the rare snow leopard) before enjoying snacks up close with the tamarin monkeys in the cafe.
M6, Junction 18
Earthlings and would-be astronauts pull in to learn some of the secrets of the universe at this engaging attraction, part of the University of Manchester. You’ll need to buzz in, which makes it feel like an exciting secret, and the cafe serves wholesome, generous meals.
M5, Junction 21
A vast farm attraction near Weston-super-Mare, Puxton Park has everything for a diverting stop, from an indoor animal discovery barn (don’t miss the meerkats) to a huge soft play area. Parents can entertain themselves in the farm shop where they can pick up some of the farm’s own cheese.
A30, Ottery Saint Mary
A stylish play cafe in Devon, featuring slides, treehouses and a new pirate ship where kids can burn off some energy while parents sup barista coffees and enjoy one of the homemade cakes or biscuits.
Ship ahoy! Have you tried our new play section yet? Lots more seating plus our fabulous pirate ship to explore pic.twitter.com/gGAdzuRrpL
— Tickety-Boo (@TicketyBoo_OSM) December 29, 2017
An extraordinary collection of vintage fairground rides that will thrill the whole family. Admission is little expensive but you can save 15% when you book online.
A38, Three Burrows
One for bigger kids and teens, Mount Hawke is an impressive indoor skate park for scooters and skaters alike. Sessions are arranged into under-11 and over-11 so check the website in advance for the sessions.
M3, Junction 3
A farm-themed play centre in the Surrey hills with indoor and outdoor play zones, wholesome food and adorable touches such as special, child-sized doors into the loos.
M1, Junction 39
A large, brilliant farm attraction with a massive indoor play barn and specially-designed farm buildings with windows onto the milking parlour and piglet nursery. Mums and Dads can raid the farm shop for delicious hampers for the onward journey.