Kent beach scene.
© VisitBritain and Thanet District Council
Kent beach scene.


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.

Things to do with kids in South East England

See our detailed destination guides to Hampshire including the New Forest, the Isle of WightSussex and Kent.

Discover Berkshire, especially LEGOLAND Windsor, one of the leading family theme parks 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 Wildlife Park and Gardens, 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 attractions, 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 theme park 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 around colleges all day – have a peek at Christ Church then a run around the wonderful Botanic Garden, punt up the river then take a ghost walk, and visit The Story Museum with its immersive galleries. 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.

Isle of Wight© VisitBritain

Isle of Wight


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.

Playing pooh-sticks in East Sussex© VisitBritain

Playing pooh-sticks in East Sussex

When to go to South East England

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.


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.

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