Wiltshire and Dorset are bursting with cool stuff for kids. Let them come face to face with sharks, sea turtles and stingrays at Bournemouth Aquarium. Meet the lions of Longleat – and tigers, giraffes and monkeys. Or go tamer at River Bourne Community Farm with free entry and say hi to sheep, alpacas and chickens.
Ride Moors Valley, the south’s longest, fully signalled narrow-gauge railway. Head to Paulton’s Park for Peppa Pig World and another 70 rides and attractions. Get to grips with pre-history at Stonehenge. Put on your detective hats and follow the Salisbury Mystery Treasure Trail. Or paint some pots at Splash of Colour.
Bribe the kids with the fabulous adventure playground at Wilton House, while you admire the gardens, 17th-century interiors and world-famous art collection. Go indoor karting at Wessex Raceway. Try a mouse hunt at Trowbridge Museum. Or ride the ponies at Pewsey Vale.
Pop down to the Jurassic Coast to scoop up ammonites and belemnites off the beaches, to swim at Durdle Door, or just for buckets and spades. Polish things off with cake from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s café. Paddle a canoe at Studland Bay. Or recreate the Hovis ad on Shaftesbury’s Gold Hill.
Grown-ups can walk this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty right from the door. Get your clubs out and head to Rushmore Golf Club, High Post or Salisbury and South Wiltshire. Or get pampered at Bishopstrow Spa’s Halcyon Spa, for tranquillity body massages and hydration facials for men.
Go Ape on the high ropes at Moors Valley. Ride the go karts ten minutes away at Coombe Bissett. Climb Britain’s tallest spire and study the original Magna Carta at Salisbury Cathedral. See the Neolithic standing stones at Avebury, or of course Stonehenge. Or admire the Palladian mansion at Stourhead.
Get your boots on and follow the Ridgeway National Trail. Take a sunrise or sunset champagne balloon flight over Somerset. Or see Somerset, Wiltshire and the Cotswolds from behind the wheel of a Daimler Sovereign or open-top Triumph Stag from Vintage Classics.
Visit Wadworth Brewery to sample local ales, and see brewing memorabilia and a unique collection of hand-painted pub signs. See Wiltshire military history at the Rifles Museum. Check out the chalk-horse depictions on the hillsides. And see stately homes at Bowood House and Abbey House.