By Kingfisher Visitor Guides
Keeping the kids entertained on holiday can be tricky. Luckily, Middlesex has lots of surprises up its sleeve, from zoos to crazy golf to play parks, with some fun thrown in for the parents too.
If your kids love wildlife, a family trip to Hanwell Zoo, near Ealing, is a must. Known locally as Bunny Park, this award-winning zoo has been introducing the public to all sorts of animals since 1975. From margays to capybaras and lemurs to meerkats, you’ll find a whole host of characters here.
Sprawling 29 acres, Hounslow Urban Farm is a jewel in the middle of an urban crown for kids who don’t usually get access to nature or farm animals. It’s one of London’s largest community farms and a place to make friends with pigs, goats, cows, rabbits, ducks, geese, alpacas and more. If you want to get even more hands-on, you can even ride a pony.
If your kids love wildlife, a trip to Hanwell Zoo, is a must. From margays to capybaras and lemurs to meerkats, you’ll find a whole host of characters here
If you fancy a swim in the great outdoors, head to Ruislip Lido, which was built back in 1811 as a reservoir to supply drinking water to London via the newly built Grand Junction Canal. Now the 60-acre lake has a huge sandy beach spanning the whole of its southern end, complete with children’s splash pad and water jets. There’s also the Ruislip Lido Railway, offering train rides through the ancient Ruislip Woods.
Games and play centres
If the heavens open and you need some indoor fun, younger children can go wild at Jungle Monkeyz in Pinner. Not just your average indoor soft play, this jungle-themed playground will bring the animal out in your little ones, who can crawl, climb, prowl, leap, slide and jump around this three-tier adventure zone.
Got a young dino fan on your hands? Head to Dinosaur Escape, in Northolt. While you won’t see any fossils or skeletons, this crazy golf course is a must for a fun day out and you can learn a bit of history along the way. And what could be better than a near life-size moving dinosaur to distract you as you attempt to make a hole in one?
If the children are still excitable, embrace the spring in their step and let them burn off all that excess energy at Oxygen Freejumping Acton. The trampoline park has 150 wall-to-wall trampolines, which kids (and adults!) can run riot on. Slam dunk some hoops, tackle a giant obstacle course, indulge in some free running or have a game of dodgeball – there’s no end to the bouncy entertainment on offer.
For a bit of healthy competition, try a game of bowling. Airport Bowl in Harlington offers classic family-friendly ten-pin bowling with gutter guards and bowling ramps to give the kids a better chance. There’s also a selection of pool tables and a video arcade with the very latest games.
Museums and historic buildings
If you need some train action, Hampton & Kempton Waterworks Railway in Hanworth runs on Sundays from mid-March to mid-November (and select dates in December for special Santa runs) and takes passengers to and from Kempton Steam Museum.
The museum houses two 1,000-ton triple-expansion steam pumping engines, known as Triples, one of which has been restored and is now the largest working example in the world. In their day, the engines each pumped 19 million gallons of water to North London and worked 24 hours a day, seven days a week, from their installation in 1927 to their decommissioning in 1980.
Mini history buffs should get down to central London, where they can hear all about the gruesome and funny side of history at the Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, the Houses of Parliament and Hampton Court Palace. Head a little further out and you can indulge their historical passions at the county’s grand country houses: Syon Park, Marble Hill House and Osterley Park and House to name a few.
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