Top tips for days out the whole family will enjoy

Ideas for things to do with grandparents, parents and children of all ages

So you’re hoping to have a family day out which will keep grandparents happy and will be fun for children too! You need ideas for activities will work for all generations. Happily, we’ve pulled together some great suggestions for things to do that will keep all the family happy! Plus some tips for things to consider when planning a day out for family members of different ages.

Top tips for a successful multi-generational day out.

  • Make sure there’s something to interest everyone.
    Your child may love a theme park but will your elderly parents feel the same way? Why not look for an historical house and garden which has plenty of interest for adults but also has a play area and a schedule of family friendly activities.
  • Focus on food.
    Toddlers can’t go too long without eating, teenagers get grumpy when they are hungry and grandma loves a cup of tea. So check your destination has a cafe or remember to take food with you.
  • Take your time.
    One thing toddlers and their grandparents have in common is that they generally don’t like to be rushed. So don’t try to cram too much in. Just slow down and let everyone enjoy the moment.
  • Avoid too much walking.
    If you have very young children or anyone with mobility issues think about how much walking will be involved and plan accordingly.
  • Keep an eye out for family friendly events.
    Don’t just look at permanent attractions. Scour what’s on listings for family friendly events near you (see links at the bottom of this page). Events for families are usually geared up to have something to engage everyone.

Here are some great suggestions for family activities all generations will enjoy

Pack a picnic

Everyone loves a picnic! Take a variety of foods so everyone has something they like. Make lots of small sandwiches rather than a few door-stoppers, they’re easier to eat, more suited to smaller appetites and it won’t matter if one or two accidentally get dropped on the ground. Choose somewhere the children can play within sight of your picnic blanket;  a play area in the park, a nearby stream to splash in or maybe a small hill to climb.  For more hints & tips, see our 10 Tips for a Successful Family Picnic

Take a train ride or a boat trip

For a family day out with a difference try a steam train ride. There are a number of authentic restored steam trains in the region offering steam train rides and some hold themed days ideal for your little Thomas the Tank Engine fan.  There are some lovely boat rides too including a round trip on the Mersey Ferry, a picturesque ride down the River Dee from Chester and cruises on the Manchester Ship Canal. See our lists of boats, trains and automobiles in Cheshire, Manchester, Merseyside and Wrexham & Flintshire.

Go to the beach

Grab your bucket and spade, slap on the sunscreen and head to the beach. Energetic members of the family can play beach cricket and make sand angels while the rest of the family soaks up the rays and enjoys the view. There are lots of top beaches in the area each with its own character so you can pick one to appeal to your family. Formby has huge dunes and red squirrels, Crosby is fascinating with its iron men stretching out into the sea, Southport boasts seaside attractions and a pier, Thurstaston is perfect for nature lovers and kite flyers and Talacre‘s huge beach is a traditional family favourite. For more suggestions see Kidsguide’s blog on the best local beaches for families.

Visit a National Trust property

The National Trust makes a massive effort to attract families hosting frequent family-friendly activities. Larger properties often have trails for children to follow,  historical themed activities and, of course, cake! If you are going to visit a number of properties consider investing in National Trust Membership which can save you a small fortune and be used for parking at their nature attractions too. Major family events at local National Trust properties can be found on Kidsguide’s what’s on guide (see below).

Go for a walk and a pub lunch

Get some fresh air on one of the many lovely countryside and coastal walks in the region. There are short circular walks for little legs and longer more challenging routes for keen hikers in the family. At the end, reward everyone with a pub lunch. Sunday roasts go down well with all generations. And someone else does the washing up! For inspiration take a look at our suggestions for places to eat out with children in Cheshire, Manchester, Merseyside and Wrexham & Flintshire.

Visit a family friendly museum

Here in the North West we are particularly blessed with some world class family friendly museums and science discovery centres. For dinosaurs and Egyptian mummies visit the World Museum in Liverpool.  Manchester Museum is packed with fascinating exhibits and holds Big Family Saturdays. Kids love the interactive exhibits at Catalyst, Techniquest and Jodrell Bank. And MOSI has something for children of all ages and their grown ups! For the perfect location for a rainy family day out, try one of the family friendly museums, galleries and Science Centres in Manchester, LiverpoolCheshire and Wrexham & Flintshire.


Still need more ideas? For lots more family-friendly events plus 100s of ideas for places to go, see your local listings: