Top 10 summer days out


Where’s the best place to take the family on a day out? Discover the castles, stately homes and historic sites you can spend the long summer days exploring

View from the sea of Dover Castle and the famous white cliffs Credit: VisitEngland
Dover Castle and the famous white cliffs. Credit: VisitEngland

1. Dover Castle, Kent

The ‘Key to England’ for more than 900 years, Dover Castle boasts a long and immensely eventful history – meaning there’s nearly a millennium’s worth of secrets, scandals, intrigue and mystery to discover on your next visit. Climb the Great Tower to meet medieval royalty or head underground in the Wartime Tunnels.

Whats on: On 11 and 12 August, visit the castle and travel back in time to 1544, where you can join King Henry VIII in a colourful Tudor pageant, complete with the sounds of drums and cannons.

Kenilworth Castle
Kenilworth Castle. Credit: Pixabay

2. Kenilworth Castle and Elizabethan Garden, Warwickshire

One of the most spectacular castle ruins in the country, Kenilworth is the perfect spot for feeding imaginations and banishing boredom. Follow in the footsteps of royalty, discover secret nooks and crannies amongst the ruins and get hands-on with action-packed events and activities.

What’s on: On 21 and 22 July, the castle will be hosting a sandcastle building workshop with the sand sculpture experts Sand in Your Eye.

Whitby Abbey
Whitby Abbey. Credit: Pixabay

3. Whitby Abbey, North Yorkshire

Boasting an awe-inspiring location, fascinating history and top-notch visitor centre, it’s not hard to see why Whitby Abbey is  popular family day. It is a beautiful and magical place, steeped in history, and makes the whole family feel part of something bigger – amazing memories to be made.

What’s on: From 23 July – 2 September, Whitby Abbey are hosting a series of fun sea-themed activities with the Hands on History Crew.

Battle Abbey and Battlefield Credit: VisitEngland/English Heritage
Battle Abbey and Battlefield. Credit: VisitEngland/English Heritage

4. 1066 Battle of Hastings, Abbey and Battlefield, East Sussex

This incredible spot inspires, and it’s not hard to understand why. Spend the day exploring the atmospheric ruins, learning in the interactive Discovery Centre and of course, visiting the very spot where King Harold is said to have fallen in 1066. It truly is a magical and amazing place to visit.

What’s on: Head over to the battleground on Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 July for a masterclass in the birds of war. With a plethora of falcons and hawks soaring above, you’ll have the opportunity to hear legendary tales from medieval times and discover how to best use your bird in battle.

The ruins of Tintagel Castle on the Cornish coast. The steep cliffs and pathways along the cliff edge. The site of King Arthur's birthplace Credit: VisitEngland/Visit Cornwall/Adam Gibbard
The ruins of Tintagel Castle on the Cornish coast, which claims to be King Arthur’s birthplace. Credit: VisitEngland/Visit Cornwall/Adam Gibbard

5. Tintagel Castle, Cornwall

With its spectacular location on one of Britain’s most dramatic coastlines, Tintagel is an atmospheric spot; a place of mystery and legend that offers endless opportunities for discovery, exploration and imagination. Steeped in Arthurian legend and with glorious coastline views, there is much exploring to do.

What’s on: From 25 July to 31 August, the Hands on History Crew are offering a series of action packed events for children, including epic tales at the Castle.

Pendennis Castle, Pendennis Castle, Cornwall, England Credit: VisitBritain / Britain on View
Pendennis Castle, Cornwall. Credit: VisitBritain/Britain on View

6. Pendennis Castle, Cornwall

Whether it’s the adrenaline-pumping action of a medieval joust, the sights and sounds of a Tudor gun battle, or the excitement that comes from descending the castle’s historic tunnels, this spectacular coastal fortress is a standout favourite among adventure-seeking families everywhere.

What’s on: Visit Pendennis Castle between 31 July and 2 August for an epic Tudor Pageant.

Carisbrooke Castle, a historic Elizabethan fortification, a tower on a mound with a surrounding wall Credit: VisitEngland/Visit Isle of Wight
Carisbrooke Castle, a historic Elizabethan fortification. Credit: VisitEngland/Visit Isle of Wight

7. Carisbrooke Castle, Isle of Wight

This great hilltop crowning fortress offers all of the ingredients required for a fabulous day out. As well as the stunning panoramic views from the keep, you can get hands-on with the interactive exhibits, transform into a character from history with the castle’s dressing up box, and meet Carisbrooke’s most beloved residents, the donkeys.

What’s on: Come to Carisbrooke Castle to watch a legendary joust between the four best knights in the kingdom in a battle between good and evil. Medieval musicians and soaring falcons set the scene.

Wrest Park, Bedfordshire, a landscaped park and gardens CVredit: VisitEngland/English Heritage/Jim Holden/Wrest Park
Wrest Park, Bedfordshire. Credit: VisitEngland/English Heritage/Jim Holden/Wrest Park

8. Wrest Park, Bedfordshire

One of Wrest Park’s most appealing attributes is the sheer amount of space it affords for running around, exploring and discovering. With more than 90 acres of historic landscape surrounding the mansion, you could spend days here and never get bored.

What’s on: A temporary exhibition displays a series of prints and engravings inspired by the magnificent wallpaper in Wrest Park, until 22 July.

Framlingham Castle seen from across the mere at Framlingham in Suffolk Credit: VisitBritain / Rod Edwards
Framlingham Castle. Credit: VisitBritain/Rod Edwards

9. Framlingham Castle, Suffolk

This magnificent 12th-century fortress has a long and colourful history – just one of the many attributes that makes it a top family destination. Take a step into the past using the castle’s themed trails and lively audio tour, and burn off some energy on the incredible wall walk.

What’s on: From 23 to 27 July, Framlingham Castle is hosting a masterclass in chivalric etiquette: spend the day with courtly experts learning to be a knight or princess.

Audley End
Audley End. Credit: Pixabay

10. Audley End House and Gardens, Essex

This Jacobean manor makes a fun day out, with beautiful grounds, fully restored historic stables and costumed characters in the Victorian Service Wing.

What’s on: Come on 4th or 5th August for the Stables Weekend, to witness first-hand the life of a horse on a Victorian estate.