Magical UK day trips for the family
The school summer holidays are here at last and after months of online lessons and lockdown activities, you may be in search of some inspiration for your outdoor exploration. From sites made famous by blockbuster films to geological wonders, these mythical UK destinations may just be the touch of magic that the whole family needs.
Wistman’s Wood – Devon
The tangled branches and moss-carpeted boulders of Wistman’s Wood evoke tales of the supernatural. The oakwood is one of the highest in Britain and has been named a Site of Special Scientific Interest.
Go to the Visit Dartmoor website for more information.
Glenfinnan Viaduct – Highland, Scotland
The Glenfinnan Viaduct is renowned for connecting the muggle world with the magical realm of Hogwarts in the Harry Potter films. Take in the stunning site from one of the surrounding viewpoints or ride the Jacobite steam train to experience the magic for yourself.
For train schedules and tickets, visit The Jacobite website.
Giant’s Causeway – Northern Ireland
Legend has it that the causeway was the result of a rivalry between two giants when Irish giant, Finn McCool built a bridge to confront Scottish giant, Benandonner. The 40,000 basalt stone columns were actually the result of volcanic eruptions around 60 million years ago but traversing the unique geological landscape will have you wondering if there may be some truth to the legend after all.
For visitor information and tickets, visit the National Trust website.
Fingal’s Cave – Isle of Staffa, Scotland
Connected by geological history and legend alike, the basalt stone columns of Fingal’s cave in Scotland are just as magical to experience as their Irish counterparts. Venture into the cave on foot via the natural pathway created by the columns or explore the surrounding area by boat, spotting the puffins and seals that inhabit the nearby islands along the way.
For more information, including opening times and directions, visit the National Trust for Scotland website.
The Dark Hedges – County Antrim, Northern Ireland
This avenue of over 150 entwined beech trees will be instantly recognisable to adult fans of the Game of Thrones series but equally as enchanting for children too. The Dark Hedges were planted by James Stuart in the late 18th century, who wanted to create an imposing entrance to his estate. Today the tunnel of trees attracts many visitors who want to experience their mystical atmosphere.
Visit this website for more information.
Puzzlewood – Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire
A visit to Puzzlewood feels like stepping into the pages of a fairytale so it’s no wonder the site has been the filming location for sci-fi and fantasy films alike. The ancient woodland will capture the imagination of children of all ages while offering an educational experience of discovery and learning.
Find out more by visiting the Puzzlewood website.
Painshill Park and Crystal Grotto – Surrey
Inspired by the natural caves of the Italian coastline experienced on his travels abroad, Charles Hamilton designed this magnificent grotto over 250 years ago. The naturalistic cave features bubbling waters and crystal-covered stalactites that catch the light to create a truly magical atmosphere. The grotto is located in the picturesque grounds of Painshill landscape garden.
To find out when the grotto will be open to visitors again, check the Painshill website.
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