Embracing Hampshire, the Isle of Wight, Sussex, Kent, Surrey, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire and Oxfordshire, South East England is fabulous for family days out, short breaks or traditional summer holidays.
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Discover Berkshire, especially LEGOLAND Windsor, one of the leading family themeparks in the UK, best for ages 12 and under, and Windsor Castle. You could also head for Ascot Racecourse for one of its Family Fun days, offering kids' entertainment between the races, check out the Look Out Discovery Centre, a hands-on science and nature exhibition in Bracknell Forest, or head for Beale Park, a Thames-side venue with gardens, play areas, animals and activities.
Swing your family through the trees, slide across high wires, and zip back down to the ground with Go Ape!, the award-winning high-wire forest adventure course with several courses across the South East (and lots more across the UK), including Surrey and Kent.
Discover Surrey with its indoor and outdoor atrractions, from National Trust properties to castles and observatories, plus Mercedes Benz World, with interactive play zones and kids' driving, and the adrenaline seekers' paradise, the themepark Thorpe Park. Although dammed by the phrase ‘commuter belt’, Surrey has some delightful spots, including the UK's largest bird park, Birdworld.
Roam Oxfordshire. Oxford itself may not seem like the best place to take the kids, but it’s actually a fantastic destination for children of all ages. You don’t have to drag them round colleges all day – have a quick peak at Christ Church then a run around the wonderful Botanic Garden, or punt up the river then take a ghost walk. If you're here for the weekend, take a drive to Didcot Railway Centre and don't miss Blenheim Palace, World Heritage Site and birthplace of Winston Churchill, with heaps of family activities. See also our destination guide to the Cotswolds, which embraces part of Oxfordshire.
Check out Buckinghamshire's award-winning attractions and enjoy the stunning countryside of its Chiltern Hills and Aylesbury Vale – see our feature In the Footsteps of Roald Dahl, also embracing some attractions in neighbouring Hertfordshire.
Head to Bedfordshire to see some of the world’s most magnificent creatures close-up at Woburn Safari Park, where you can take a safari drive, be a ranger for the day, or let off steam in the indoor and outdoor activity areas, and at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo, sister to London Zoo.
Seasonal local produce is a highlight of South East England – if you're self-catering, make the most of farmers' markets and local delivery services. There are plenty of child-friendly eateries across the region, from cosy pubs to familiar chains.
Great family days out and short breaks are to be had year-round in the South East, but to fully appreciate the great outdoors in the region, May to September is best.
The South East has great transport links by virtue of its proximity to both London and the English Channel, whether you travel by air, sea, rail or road,
With heaps of self-catering accommodation available, the South East can be a great-value staycation destination. Days-out attractions can be expensive however, so do look out for special offers and discount vouchers to keep costs down.
A family-favourite theme-park, animal park and sealife centre a short hop from London.
A thrill-seekers' paradise not far from London, with a few rides for younger visitors too.
The younger kids' themepark, with rides and attractions for children up to 12.
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