I’m bored! 25 UK outings to satisfy the stroppiest teens
Let’s face it, teenagers aren’t always as keen to come on a family day out as they were when they were younger. Here are some ideas – greatest hits from around the UK as well as some surprises -- which will inspire them to ditch the attitude and join you.
Do you want to tempt your teens to join you for some family time out of the house? These 25 ideas incorporate thrills, gaming, sports and shopping so cool that your teen is bound to want to come along to at least one of them!
1.Warner Bros Studio Tour
The Leavesden studios where the eight Harry Potter films were made are fascinating to visit, especially if you’re a fan of the famous wizarding series. We’ve been there three times so far, and my two would still happily go back.
This theme park is great for all ages, especially teenage thrill seekers. Alton Towers has some world-class rides, including Galactica, a flying virtual reality rollercoaster. There’s also a separate waterpark next door. Take some pound coins for the water shooters next to the Congo River Rapids - my son’s park highlight was shooting jets of water at passing riders!
3. Thorpe Park
A theme park with a great variety of rides with different levels of scariness. The park has quite a few fun water rides, so take some waterproofs if you go. My daughter prefers the water rides here while my son likes the scary ones
4. Chessington World of Adventures
With fewer scary rides than Thorpe Park and Alton Towers, Chessington has rides (including water rides) for all ages, a zoo, a SEALIFE centre, a Go Ape high ropes course and lots of shows.
5. Alternative clothes shopping
Markets such as London’s Camden or Manchester’s Afflecks are fun for fashion-conscious teens to browse for vintage and quirky clothing and accessories. Successful trips to places like this do depend on how embarrassing your teens find you though - they’re quite likely to prefer to be there with friends rather than parents!
6. National Space Centre
The National Space Centre has the UK’s largest planetarium, and six interactive galleries including a 42m high rocket tower. We challenge any aspiring astronaut, rocket scientist or fun-loving teen to resist the 3D Simulator experience.
7. National Football Centre
Visit the English Football Association’s headquarters where you can go on a behind-the-scenes tour with a guide. My 13-year-old was thrilled to see the replica Wembley pitch where the England teams train.
8. National Videogame Arcade
A cultural centre for all things video game, this arcade houses games from across the decades. Most of the exhibits are hands-on, and there are lots of events and workshops on offer.
9. Titanic Belfast
The Titanic was built in Belfast, and the city hosts the world’s largest exhibition about the ship. The exhibition is interactive, immersive and very moving. My 17-year-old daughter says this was her highlight of our trip to Northern Ireland’s capital. 1, Olympic Way, Queens Road, Titanic Quarter, Belfast BT3 9EP titanicbelfast.com
10. Brighton Pier
A great place for a traditional seaside excursion, with rides and attractions for all ages. Thrill-seekers will love the Turbo Coaster (a loop and two drops!); there are also trampolines, classic arcade games like the coin drop and the claw, ice cream and plenty of people watching. I spent a brilliant afternoon here with my sister and our four teenagers, who loved the buzz of it all. Madeira Drive, Brighton, East Sussex, BN2 1TW brightonpier.co.uk
11. Bristol Street Art Tour
Experience the street art and graffiti of Banksy and the local street art community on this intriguing tour of the city.
12. Blackpool Pleasure Beach
More than 120 rides and attractions will keep them entertained including a dozen (yes!) rollercoasters.
13. The Battle of Bannockburn Visitor Centre
3D technology brings history to life in this immersive experience that puts you in the midst of medieval battle preparations.
14. The Victoria & Albert Museum
The V&A is one of the world’s leading museums of art and design. It houses inspirational collections of fashion, textiles, photography, jewellery, sculpture, ceramics and more. My daughter says that this is her favourite museum in London. Cromwell Rd, London SW7 2RL www.vam.ac.uk
15. RIB boat ride
Want something to blow their hair back? How about a trip in a speedboat? The Thames RIB Experience whizzes you along the river for a rollercoaster sightseeing tour of London, accompanied by James Bond music! Victoria Embankment, London WC2N 6NU thamesribexperience.com
16. Slide at ArcelorMittal Orbit
Brace yourself for this one: You can whizz down the world’s longest and highest tunnel slide if you head to the ArcelorMittal Orbit. The journey down the 178m slide takes just 40 seconds. Definitely a slide for big kids. Wheee! Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, 3 Thornton St, London E20 2AD arcelormittalorbit.com/whats-on/the-slide/
17. Goodwood Young Driver Experience
Under-17s (over 1.5 metres tall) who are itching to start driving will love the Goodwood Young Driver Experience. Accompanied by a driving instructor, they get to drive a MINI (my kids’ dream car) around the famous Sussex circuit. Goodwood Motor Circuit, Chichester PO18 0PH goodwood.com/experiences/driving/ultimate-driving-academy/young-driver/
18. Spa day
More and more spas now offer treatments for under-18s, making for fun and pampering outings. One we like: Brooklands Hotel, which has a Mum and Daughter package (sorry, boys) for 13-17 year olds. Brooklands Drive, Weybridge, Surrey, KT13 0S www.brooklandshotelsurrey.com/leisure-packages/little-miss-all-about-us-mum-and-daughter-package-0
19. Off-road motorbiking
Wheeldon Off-Road Centre in Devon is the place to go for an all-weather motorbike adventure. It has two indoor arenas, access to miles of green lanes and a fleet of off-road motorcycles. Wheeldon Farm, Halwell, Totnes, Devon, TQ9 7JY wheeldontwo.co.uk
20. Cadbury World
A self-guided exhibition tour where you learn all about chocolate, and the history of the Cadbury family. Guess what: You can also eat some of the chocolate. I’m in!
21. York Ghost Walk
If you’re feeling brave, try the nightly York Ghost Walk. The guides share stories of the city and its inhabitants as they lead you through the city streets.
23. Cardiff International White Water
The whitewater facility in Cardiff’s International Sports Village offers rafting, surfing and more, and provides all of the coaching and equipment that you need.
24. BBC Tour at MediaCityUK
Take a fascinating behind-the-scenes tour of the BBC’s home in the North of England. MediaCityUK hosts a range of channels and programmes, including Match Of The Day, Mastermind and BBC Sport. MediaCityUK, Salford, M50 2EQ
25. Llechwedd Slate Caverns
This astonishing adventure centre has underground trampoline nets, more than 8kms of zip lines, mountain bike tracks and more.