Great Days out for free this summer
The Cat Survival Trust in Welwyn offers on-site housing of an array of wild cat species from the diminutive Leopard Cat and Asian Wild Cat to the Serval, Caracal Asian Golden Cat and its Amur Leopards, Pumas, Jaguar and Snow Leopards. Run on a membership basis, members can visit by appointment and be shown around by a member of staff. Family membership is just £12 a year. www.catsurvivaltrust.org
The Royal Air Force Museum London has over 100 aircraft on site, nowhere else in London enables you to get close to so many historic and ground breaking aircraft without paying. In addition to this, the Museum offers a full calendar of free events and exhibitions that not only bring their world beating collection to life but also educate whilst entertaining visitors. Entrance is free and its open every day from 10am – 6pm. Car Park fees apply. www.rafmuseum.org.uk
Download The Gruffalo Spotter app, then visit Wendover Woods, looking out for clues which lead to footprint marker posts - point the app at these and watch Mouse, Fox, Owl, Snake and the Gruffalo appear before your eyes! The trail and the app are free of charge but you need to pay for parking. Parts of the trail are steep and unsurfaced, so can get very muddy. www.forestry.gov.uk/gruffalo
Church Farm near Stevenage is a mixed, high welfare, ecological and low carbon food and farming enterprise showing wildlife, beauty, diversity, community and people. The Farm Store, Cafe and Jolly Waggoner Pub are open 7 days a week serving the best food from the farm and it's free for you to walk the footpaths to see the animals, woods and vegetable area. Chargeable workshops and events are regularly held at the Farm and they welcome group functions. Open every day - 09.00 - 18.00. www.ChurchFarmArdeley.co.uk
Natural History Museum at Tring was built in 1889, previously The Walter Rothschild Zoological Museum, bequeathed to the nation on his death in 1937. The chances are if it's furry, hairy, scaly, slimy, spiny, weird, wild or wonderful then it's here. Entry to the Museum and parking is free. Allow a minimum of 2 hours to full day to see all the galleries. Open Daily: 10.00 to 17.00 Mon to Sat; 14.00 to 17.00 Sun. www.nhm.ac.uk/tring
Scott's Grotto in Ware is a series of interconnected chambers, extending some 67ft into the chalk hillside and consists of six underground chambers linked by passages and air tunnels. Visitors are strongly advised to take torches and wear flat shoes as the underground system is unlit and uneven. There is no wheelchair/pushchair access at all. Open from Apr to Sept on Saturdays and Bank Holiday Mon from 14.00 to 16.30. Free Entry, but a suggested donation of £1 per person would be appreciated. www.scotts-grotto.org
Stockwood Discovery Centre in Luton is free to visit and has some great family activity days (charges may apply). With a fabulous array of vehicles, changing exhibitions, great children’s playground, extensive grounds and garden café there is plenty to keep everyone occupied for several hours both inside and out. Open daily, 10am - 5pm. www.lutonculture.com/stockwood-discovery-centre
Playday is the national day for play, traditionally held on the first Wednesday in August. Playday events range from street parties, festivals in parks or village greens, mass adventures in woodlands, fields, even beaches, and public events at community venues. Events are all free and offer loads of fun things to do. For events in Hertfordshire and beyond visit www.playday.org.uk
Fairlands Valley Park consists of 120 acres of beautiful parkland perfect for all the family with lots of space for walking and picnicking. Facilities include varied play areas, aqua playground, water sports, grass sledging, orienteering, mountain biking, power kiting, high ropes and climbing wall. Costellos café is open every day from 9.30am-4pm. Paid Parking, Toilets. Activity centre open 8.00am Tuesday – Saturday. http://www.sll.co.uk/sandy/Fairlands
Pinner Memorial Park provides 5.26 hectares for peaceful recreation. As well as a bowling green there is a duck pond and a small aviary, a big park ideal for picnics and ball games and a children's play area. Daisy's in the Park is open daily 8am - 5pm. Toilets and baby changing facilities. West House will also be the site of the new Heath Robinson Museum (currently under construction). There are two small paid car parks or on Pinner High Street. http://www.westhousepinner.com
The Forest Centre & Millennium Country Park offers a great destination for family days out. Walk, run or cycle some of the 17km of paths and trails with the kids, have a picnic, kick a ball or fly a kite. Facilities include the Lakeside café, outside play and picnic area, bike hire and activity sheets. Free Parking, Toilets. http://marstonvale.org/
Aldenham Country Park offers a great value day out for all the family with Winnie the Pooh's 100 Aker Wood, Pony Zone, Woodland Adventures, Outdoor Play areas, Little Farmers Play Barn and our working interactive Farm and Small Animal Petting Area! Parking £4.50 for the day (extra charges for farm, and play barn). Dogs welcome. Open 9am – 6pm. Refreshment kiosk 11.00am till 5.00 pm. Toilets, hand washing. disabled toilets and baby changing facilities. http://www.aldenhamcountrypark.co.uk
Shenley Park is a 45 acre rural Park comprising of an orchard, meadow, woodland walks, two play areas and an ornate landscaped Walled Garden with an amphitheatre where they hold plays and picnic concerts in the summer. Café in the Orchard open daily 9am-5pm. Toilets. Free Parking. http://www.shenleypark.co.uk/
Priory Country Park is an established green area made of 360 acres of lakes, meadows and woodland. You can walk, fish. dog walk, cycle, canoe, and sail and fly kites! Visitor centre, including ‘Wildlife Shop’ open Mondays to Fridays, 9 am to 4 pm, Sundays 2 pm to 4.30 pm. Free parking. Located to the east of Bedford about one mile from the town centre. http://www.priorycountrypark.co.uk/park_info.html
Ashridge Estate has over 80 miles of designated footpaths and bridle paths for walkers wishing to plan their own route and guided walks. Pick up a map and a guide book from the Visitor Centre and explore the Ashridge Estate on foot, on bicycle or by horse. Free Parking – donations welcome. Brownlows Café opens 8am – 6pm everyday. Visitors centre opens 10am – 4pm everyday. Toilets. http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/ashridge-estate
Whippendell Woods into Cassiobury Park comprises 165 acres of ancient woodland located close to Cassiobury Park. With decent paths you can gain access down to the Grand Union Canal towpath into Cassiobury Park. The park has 2 plays areas, a café and refreshment kiosk, toilets, children's paddle pool (currently undergoing refurbishment until Easter 2017) and a narrow gauge railway. Plenty of space for picnics and games as well as canal sidewalks and exploring the woods. Car parks in Grove Mill Lane and Rousebarn Lane or at Cassiobury Park. http://cassioburypark.info/whippendell-wood/
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Over the weekends and holidays there are always times when your children need some chill out time, or to fill an hour or so, or they say the dreaded 5 letter word - BORED! Well, our KidsZone is here to rescue you and them from these moments. Full of puzzles, colouring in sheets and activities from films and programmes there is lots to keep busy!