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Top family friendly days out whatever the weather on the beach

The seaside is the best natural theme park in the world. We look at three coastal strips boasting superb beaches but also great indoor attractions that won’t break the bank

Head to Thanet for new and thrilling attractions

Sandcastles, splashing in the sea, ice-creams galore and staying up late, when school’s out Thanet’s packed with choice rain or shine.

For generations families have been making memories at Margate, Ramsgate and Broadstairs in Thanet.  Easily reached from London, this Kent coastal corner has fun built into its DNA. 

Boasting miles of coastline, there’s no need to just sit on the beach, delve deeper with a Coastal Explorer Pack, hire one from Margate Visitor Information or Broadstairs Lilliput Mini Golf for just £5. Let the kids learn how to make a sundial, use a compass and much more, they’ll be absorbed for hours. 

Or get over to the new WonderWorks in Margate featuring mini worlds of Hornby, Airfix, CORGI and more. Join in daily workshops and enjoy lunch at the redesigned café featuring local Kent produce. 

Reopening 10 Feb is the Powell-Cotton Museum, Quex House and Gardens offering plenty of family events, from Japanese live music to open-air theatre and falconry. This is separate to Quex Park which offers a great day out or to stay over. Kids can get creative in the craft village, younger ones can meet farm animals and explore the Maize or walk an alpaca, goat or miniature pony. 

If the heavens have opened while you’re in Thanet, there’s still masses of options.  The much-celebrated Turner Contemporary features a new exhibition of more than 50 women, Beyond Form runs from 3 Feb to 6 May.  For something completely different, pop into the Crab Museum in Margate, Europe’s only museum dedicated to decapods. 

New this year is the Lancaster Experience, get over to the Spitfire and Hurricane Memorial Museum near Ramsgate, sit in the cockpit for a simulated flight, fire-up the four Merlin engines in what’s likely to be the world’s only authentic Lancaster cockpit. 

Still looking for rainy day activities? Visit The Shell Grotto, Margate Caves or Ramsgate Tunnels. Or there’s axe throwing at Margate Leisure Centre, bounce park and soft play at Elev8 and climbing walls galore at Clip n Climb in Broadstairs. 

Top family friendly days out whatever the weather on the beach Top family friendly days out whatever the weather on the beach
Top family friendly days out whatever the weather on the beach

Lancashire’s coast bursts with all-weather gems

Roll up! Blackpool is the home of glitz and glamour and a raft of new attractions will ensure it stays in pole position.

Opening 15 March, Showtown is Blackpool’s glitzy new all-singing, all-dancing family museum set right on the prom. Discover the comedians, actors, dancers, acrobats and all-round entertainers who have showered the town with showbiz sparkle. 

Still on the Lancashire coast, young thrill-seekers should head to Sandcastle-Waterpark, South Beach, Blackpool, for the world’s longest indoor Roller Coast waterslide. Play under the Aztec Falls and Sidewinder, wave pools, water chutes and much more. 

Tots will love the over-sized world of Peter Rabbit Explore & Play, spend 45 minutes in five fluffy-themed areas, a new interactive multi-sensory family attraction. Packed with Beatrix Potter favourites, feed young imaginations at Jeremy Fisher’s Pond, scary Mr Macgregor’s Garden, Mr Bouncer’s Invention Workshop and inside Peter Rabbit’s Burrow. 

Kids under 10 can join The Gruffalo and Friends bursting through the pages of favourite stories, coming face-to-face with The Gruffalo, Zog, The Snail and the Whale, Room on the Broom and lots more across six immersive zones. It’s all about storytelling, feeding the imagination and hands-on play! 

A multi-attraction ticket gives more than a third saving. Package up your choice from those above and also Sea Life, Madame Tussauds, The Blackpool Tower Eye and the Blackpool Tower Circus

In Morecambe, Jump Rush bursts with family attractions including a two-metre air bag, ninja zone, 100 trampoline beds, reaction wall and inflatable section – Inflatarush.  Genuinely for all the family, there are sessions for toddlers and babies in the soft play bounce area, as well as mini and family sessions. There are also Disney and Super Hero Days as well as air hockey and retro arcade games for those who’d rather not bounce! 

10 lanes of bowling, huge food choice and luxury play bar area make Soul Bowl Boutique Bowling a fun all-weather attraction, head to the arcade area downstairs after perfecting your strike. 

Top family friendly days out whatever the weather on the beach
Top family friendly days out whatever the weather on the beach Top family friendly days out whatever the weather on the beach

Create stirring coastal family memories with a trip to East Yorkshire

Two award-winning beaches and attractions by the bucket-load make Bridlington a winning choice.  Ice-creams, paddling, giant sandcastles on the sandy beaches are perfect on sunny days, but also catch a thrilling boat ride, visit Bridlington Animal Park, hop aboard the land train, tour a rock factory and explore beautiful Sewerby Hall and Gardens to meet penguins at the zoo. 

Seaside nostalgia is in big supply at Hornsea, stroll the prom and enjoy the amusements and try new water sports.  Hornsea Mere is the largest freshwater lake in Yorkshire and attracts huge numbers of wintering birds including tufted ducks and reed warblers. Hire a rowing boat, fish or take a motorboat ride or try the putting green and relax in the café.  Visit Honeysuckle Farm and get up-close to animals, although teens might prefer Hornsea Freeport outlet village to grab a bargain.  

In addition to its blue flag beach of golden sand with its regal, castellated entrance, Withernsea offers a mile-long prom, rare inland lighthouse museum and a packed programme of events and summer carnivals in the Valley Gardens, the perfect outdoor family event venue.