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8 days out with kids

Feral kids? Check. Valium? Check. All you need now is the top 8 child-friendly days out in Surrey. And as if by magic... voila!

Got some family-friendly entertainment sorted out for the school half term holidays then? *Hollow laugh* Yup, me neither. But I have ferreted out 8 great days out in Surrey for your delectation and diary-planning pleasure. Well, it’s a start, isn’t it? And even your resident Kevin the Teenager will surely like something here. Wallet? Check. Packed lunch? Check. Valium and hip-flask? Check. Let’s go.


1. Polesden Lacey

This National Trust property is a stunner. Home to Edwardian hostess Mrs Greville, who entertained many a famous face while she lived there – it’s where the Queen Mother honeymooned – there are 1400 acres to romp about in including beautiful gardens.  But at this time of year, it’s all about the leaves – and there are plenty to crunch underfoot, throw at your kids and, um, dodge when they’re thrown back at you. There are also hills to roll down and places to explore, a natural play area, squirrels corner, and a fab bird hide for nature spotters. During the half term, there’s a Halloween trail every day. It’s suitable for kids aged 4-11 years, and it’s all about finding the clues to reunite the dearly departed dogs of Polesden Lacey with their favourite toys. All kids will get a prize when they complete the trail. Cost is £3.

Getting there: Polesden Lacey, Great Bookham, Dorking RH5 6BB

2. Godstone Farm

Highland cattle at Godstone Farm, Surrey

More than just a farm, Godstone Farm is a brilliant day out for families, with indoor soft play, a giant adventure playground, sandpits, tractor rides and of course lots of animals. There’s plenty going on this half term including crafts and games, pumpkin carving, a spooky quiz and face painting. All week, there’s free messy play, slime making and an outdoor mud kitchen. The farm also has a pick your own pumpkin from the field, and best fancy dress competitions.

Getting there: Godstone Farm, Tilburstow Hill Road, Godstone, Surrey, RH9 8LX

3. Birdworld

You’ll need a full day to take in all the birds at Birdworld. There are more than 160 species from all around the world and 2000 birds in total. That’s a lot of feathers! Check the times for the penguin feeding – on twice a day and always a favourite. This half term there’s a Halloween Grotto, themed arts and crafts, face painting, spooky activity trails and a Halloween train ride. But it’s not all about our feathered friends. The Jenny Wren Farm is aimed at younger kids, and you’ll find all kinds of farm animals from goats and pigs to mice and ferrets. There’s also an Underwater World with over 30 exhibits including fish, crustaceans, amphibians and reptiles.

Getting there: Birdworld, Holt Pound, Farnham, Surrey, GU10 4LD, UK

4. Bocketts Farm Park

The combination of animals and play areas, both inside and out, make Bocketts Farm Park a brilliant all-weather day out for the family. As it’s a working farm, there are always baby animals to see including lambs, kids, piglets and chicks. And make sure you catch the pig race – it a firm favourite for most visitors. With trampolines, giant slides, a bouncy pillow, two large indoor play barns and outdoor adventure trails, there’s plenty to do. This half term they’ve got activities based around their Witches and Wizards theme, with daily shows by the Wizard Magician, a spooktacularly fun trail around the farm, and a craft corner. And if you haven’t picked up your pumpkin, you can get one at the farm too.

Getting there: Bocketts Farm Park, Young Street, Fetcham, Leatherhead, Surrey, KT22 9BS

5. The Lightbox

The Lightbox is a gallery and museum in the centre of Woking with three main galleries that show a range of exhibitions from classical through to contemporary art by both local artists and those who are internationally famous. Current exhibitions include Impressionism: The Art of Life, showing works by world-renowned artists such as Paul Cézanne, Edgar Degas and Pierre-Auguste Renoir. There’s also an exhibition of work by the British sculptor and printmaker, Elisabeth Frink, Elisabeth Frink: A Collector’s Passion from The Ingram Collection, and the Woking Art Society’s Autumn Exhibition. There’s always plenty going on during the half term – and this week they’re themed around Halloween with both free drop-in craft workshops and book-ahead workshops. Head here for details.

Getting there: The Lightbox, Chobham Road, Woking, Surrey, GU21 4AA

6. Brooklands Museum

A must-see if you’re a fan of fast cars or airplanes – this is the birthplace of British motorsport and aviation. Built in 1907, Brooklands was the first purpose-built motor racing circuit in the world. It was also one of the most prolific aircraft production sites in Europe, with over 18,500 aircraft built or assembled here. These days you’ll find a wide range of exhibits, from race cars and motorcycles to airplanes, including Second World War bombers and the Concorde. There’s always plenty going on during the half term holidays, including vintage car rides up Test Hill, a free drop-in workshop and special Kids’ Tours on the Concorde.

Getting there: Brooklands Museum, Brooklands Road, Weybridge, Surrey, KT13 0QN. Satnav for visitors’ carpark: KT13 0SL

7. Watts Gallery – Artists’ Village

This unique arts gallery and artists’ village is dedicated to the life of the Victorian-era artist GF Watts and his wife Mary. As well as art by both GF Watts and Mary, there are changing exhibitions. Currently there’s an exhibition of the work of James Henry Pullen, which ends on Sun 28 Oct. There’s also In Print: Making Impressionscelebrating the art of printmaking in all its eclectic variety. Limnerslease, the former home of GF and Mary is also open to the public, with tours from Tues to Sun at 2pm. The gallery hosts many workshops, and during half term there’s plenty for kids some you can just drop in to and others that must be booked ahead. This half term it’s inspired by James Henry Pullen – click here for info.

Getting there: Watts Gallery – Artists’ Village, Down Lane, Compton, Surrey, GU3 1DQ

8. Thorpe Park

If the adrenalin fuelled rides -S tealth, Nemesis Inferno, The Swarm, Quantum, Vortex… to name a few – at Thorpe Park aren’t enough, this month it’s also the Fright Night season – and you’ll easily spend a day and evening here. If you’ve got teenagers, you may not even have to trek along with them! This is the 17th Fright Night season, and as well as returning faves The Walking Dead: Living Nightmare, SAW Alive, Platform 15 and Containment, several new horror experiences have been introduced, including The Walking Dead: Do or Die, Vulcan Peak, Blair Witch and Dead Creek Woods. Also new this year, is the Screamplexx Cinema, showing horror films in gruesome 4D, and The Big Top showtime, featuring a troupe of unhinged clowns.

Getting there: Thorpe Park Resort, Staines Rd, Chertsey KT16 8PN

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