Time is precious. Stuck on inspiration for what to do with that extra day off this bank holiday? We can help! Here are some brilliant things to do in 3 UK cities this bank holiday. Don’t forget to try our Best Fare Finder to find great deals on fares to all these cities.
Explore London for the day, or make a night of it with a Train & Hotel deal.
- London offers a world-beating selection of family friendly museums and attractions. Kids go free at the London Transport Museum, where you can take a ride through London’s history with their great interactive collections featuring original busses, tube trains and trams.
(Nearest tube: Covent Garden)
- Check out the largest official collection of James Bond vehicles at the London Film Museum’s Bond in Motion. Tickets are free for kids under 5 and family tickets are available for £38.
(Nearest tube: Covent Garden)
- Catch a show in the West End. London’s theatre mecca offers a great selection of plays and musicals for all tastes. Take a look at the latest dinner & show packages and theatre offers on thetrainline.com.
- Explore Covent Garden, with stores offering everything from fashion, unique gifts, and rare sweets to handmade jewellery and artisan coffee. Be sure not to miss Seven Dials, Floral Street and Neal’s Yard to get the best taste of this distinctive area. (Nearest stations: Covent Garden, Leicester Square)
- Want to avoid the hustle and bustle of Oxford Street? Pick up some new threads in Carnaby Street, the birthplace of swinging London. There’s a great selection of high street stores and independent boutiques to browse, as well as some great bars and cafes.
(Nearest station: Oxford Circus)
- Browse the world’s first pop-up mall at Boxpark Shoreditch, showcasing a selection of fashion, lifestyle and food brands, and made entirely of shipping containers.
(Nearest station: Shoreditch High Street)
Food & Drink
For the family – All Star Lanes, Holborn
All Star Lanes have 4 family friendly restaurants across the capital, all boasting a retro diner serving up tasty American classics, and bowling lanes. Get any kids main, a soft drink, choice of a dessert or shake and one game of bowling for £15. The bar offers a wide selection of drinks and cocktails, so it’s brilliant for grown ups too. (Nearest tube: Holborn)
The commuter’s treat – Plum & Spilt Milk, Kings Cross
Here’s one for those of you who commute in and out of King’s Cross St Pancras on the East Coast main line. A restaurant boasting great dishes crafted creatively from all British ingredients. Wake up with a fresh east coast kipper with parsley butter for breakfast, or look out for the red mullet with braised fennel for a tasty end to your day.
The pig-out – Barbecoa, St Paul’s
The UK’s first barbecue steakhouse, founded by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver. Barbecoa boasts British meat cooked on pit Smokers, fire pits and wood fired ovens, and a table overlooking St Paul’s Cathedral. Don’t forget to match your meal with a whiskey from their global selection. (Nearest tube: St Paul’s)
The alternative – The Pudding Bar, Soho
Dessert is the new main course! Pop into Soho’s newest dessert restaurant for a tasty dessert and matching wine. Try the tasting menu, with wine for 2, at £32 per person.
(Nearest tube: Tottenham Court Road)
- Dive into Sea Life Brighton. Sea Life provides a really fun and educational day out, whatever the weather. Then for an extra train adventure, wander over to Palace Pier and take a ride on the world’s oldest operating electrical railway, the Volks Electric.
- Visit the Royal Pavilion. Walk in the footsteps of 19th century royalty in the spectacular seaside palace and gardens. thetrainline top tip: Download the free Brighton Museums app for iPhone and Android to get £1 off adult admission.
- Head to the Brighton Sand Sculpture Festival. Take a journey ‘around the world in sand’. See some of the world’s most famous landmarks. The festival includes sand sculpture workshops, live demonstrations, unique photo opportunities, a children’s sand pit and café. Don’t forget to hit Brighton Beach and try your own sand castle skills! Tickets from £3.
Get lost in the Lanes. From independent shops to funky restaurants, bars and cafés, the labyrinth of the Brighton Lanes is an essential retail discovery. Keep an ear out for some live music too!
- Browse Brighton’s shopping centre at Churchill Square, with it 90 shops, restaurants and cafés showcasing everything from Lego to Apple.
Food & Drink
Fish & chips for all the family – Harry Ramsden’s, Marine Parade
Harry Ramsden’s restaurants have been serving traditional British Fish & Chips for 75 years. Located right next to Brighton pier on Marine Parade, Harry Ramsden’s Brighton gives diners a view of the seafront whilst tucking into your meal.
The fine dine – The Coal Shed, Boyces St
Tuck into gourmet steak and seafood in the heart of Brighton. Specialities include 35 day, dry aged Scottish steaks, and a wide selection of fish dishes including cuttlefish, oysters, sea bass, bouillabaisse and lobster. The Coal Shed was even named as one of the best restaurants in the UK by the Observer Monthly Food Awards.
- Visit Edinburgh Castle. Edinburgh’s best known landmark has dominated the Scottish capital for centuries, and helped shape the city you see today. thetrainline top tip – Book a fast track ticket at no extra cost to skip the queues and to get a free guided tour of the castle.
- Take a flight through history at the National Museum of Flight. Get inside Concorde, explore the hangars and take a look at the world’s first jet airliner, the De-Haviland Comet.
- Get a fright at the Edinburgh Dungeon and enjoy a combination of special effects, actors, theatrical sets and rides. (Nearest station: Edinburgh Waverley)
- Grassmarket is a picturesque area with independent merchants, designers and artisans. Bustling with some of the best shopping Edinburgh has to offer. Also home to some of Edinburgh’s best restaurants and bars.
- Browse high street favourites in Princes St, including Topshop, House of Fraser and John Lewis. Don’t forget to explore the beautiful Princes St Gardens on the south side, and a popular selection of shops and restaurants in Princes Mall.
Food & Drink
For the family – Wannaburger, Queensferry St
An American style diner in the West end of Edinburgh. Offering a full menu of burger combinations with all the classics alongside some more unusual treats. Kids meal with mini burger, fries and drink for £2.49.
The fine dine – The Ship on the Shore, Leith
This waterfront wine bar and sea food bistro was featured in the Guardian’s Top 10 Edinburgh Restaurants, Offering a range of fine seafood in the form of shellfish and lobster, as well as a separate Crustacea & Mollusc menu. All with a waterside view.
Stuck for half term entertainment ideas this February? Fear not! We’ve got suggestions from city-breaks to outdoor adventures (for the brave) plus a few sneaky offers to help make your budget go further.
City-breaks: Museums and Attractions
Whether you get up early for a day trip or find a hotel and make a stay of it, half term’s a great opportunity to show the whole family the sites and sounds of the UK’s great cities. Here are a few ideas that will help you decide which escape is right for you.
The Tate Britain and the Tate Modern both have events for kids this half term and both are open daily. Check out the Tate’s Kids and Families page for more info.
- The Imagine Children’s festival at Southbank Centre has enormous sculptures, drawing and LEGO® activities, plus a dazzling Light Showexhibition. Children visit free outside of school hours and there are tours on 19th or 21st February.
- The Natural History Museum in South Kensington is perfect for kids with its interactive displays. For more information visit the Museum’s website.
- Explore the diversity of the natural world, world cultures, art and design, science and technology and Scottish history, all under one roof at the National Museum of Scotland. The museum is open daily and has family facilities.
- Visit the UK’s only Koala’s at the Edinburgh Zoo.
- Great for kids and parents, the Museum of Childhood showcases toys and games from across the ages, with hands-on activities, a puppet theatre and a dressing up area.
- Visit the Museum of Science and Industry to crawl through a victorian sewer, watch a 4D theatre or stand on the oldest surviving railway platform station in the world. The nearest station is Deangate, or a 20 minute walk form Manchester Piccadilly. Find out more at http://www.mosi.org.uk.
- The National Football Museum has something for kids of all ages, including games and displays and a Discovery Zone. Admission is free and the Museum is right next to Victoria Station.
Be brave: venture outdoors
There’s nothing worse that couped up kids. Our advice, keep an eye on the weather and when there’s a break in the weather, be brave: make a go of it! We’ve found a bunch of ideas, accessible by train, to help you get out of the house and keep everyone sane.
National Wetland Centre, Wales
The National Wetland Centre in Llanelli, Wales has a special half term family fun programme. There’s even an Estuary Café and a heated viewing tower, just in case you end up needing shelter.
Access via Llanelli Station, where you can get a bus or do the 2 mile walk if you’re feeling energised. The centre is open every day between 9.30am, and 5.00pm.
Visit http://www.wwt.org.uk/wetland-centres/llanelli/ for more information.
Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh
With space to run around, and many gardens, including a rock garden to explore, these gardens are a delight whatever the season. Even in the chilliest weather, there are always the heated Glasshouses, in fact the gardens have more than 25 of them, hosting flora from warmer climates, all over the world.
The Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh are open daily during half-term, from 10am to 5pm. For more information visit http://www.rbge.org.uk/the-gardens/edinburgh. The nearest rail station is Edinburgh Waverley, which is only 1.5 miles away and is connected to the Garden by Lothian Buses service 8.
Beaches in Winter
The beach in winter? Sounds crazy? Well, not if you rug up! On days when there’s a break in the weather there are great activities to enjoy, from walks to crabbing, amusements to rock hopping. Take a breath of fresh air and enjoy the nature you can take in along the UK’s coasts.
- Ayr Beach: One of the best in Scotland, Ayr beach is great for picnics and sandcastle building and is easily accessible via Ayr Station for services from Glasgow.
- Bristol: Take the Severn Beach line to Severn Beach, enjoy magnificent views of the estuary and imposing bridges.
- Brighton: With regular trains from London and around the south coast, it’s easy to get to Brighton, where you can enjoy the famous beach, bustling lanes and the grand pier.
- Formby: a glorious beach with dramatic sand dunes and sweeping coastal pinewoods. The beach is a 1 mile walk from Formby station with services to Liverpool.
- Southend-on-Sea: With services from London Liverpool street in around an hour, visit Adventure Island amusement park, cliff gardens and several beaches.
Pssst – Did you know you can buy tickets less than 10 minutes prior to travel on our mobile apps?
Offers to help your half term budget go further
It wouldn’t be trainline.com if we weren’t trying to help you save.
East Coast: Save when 3 or more travel
If you live along the East Coast line (routes from London to Yorkshire and Scotland), then our friends at East Coast have a deal for you! Anytime you book a journey of between 3 to 9 people on thetrainline, we’ll discount the fare by 22%.
So if you’re in London and fancy a break away to York or Edinburgh, or maybe you’re up north and want to visit the sites of London, taking the family just got a lot cheaper.
£10 off at brilliant attractions, right across the UK
From duck boat tours in London to ghost and ghoul tours in Edinburgh, our partner Getyourguide provides tickets to more than 624 attractions in towns and cities all up and down the country. This special offer to trainline.com customers mean you get a £10 discount whenever you buy £50 worth of tickets.
But hurry! This offer expires 31st January 2014.