When it comes to family days out, Wiltshire has something to suit all tastes. From safari parks and nature reserves to castles, adventure playgrounds and museums.
So if you’re looking for fun family days out near Swindon, Salisbury or in the Wiltshire countryside, let us provide some inspiration for some great family days out in Wiltshire.
STEAM is Swindon’s museum of the Great Western Railway and a fantastic day out for kids of all ages.
Inside this former railway building, you’ll find exhibits and displays which tell the story of the people who worked and travelled on the Great Western Railway. Visitors can get up close to the powerful steam locomotives, have a go at driving the steam train simulator and operate the interactive GWR Signal box. And there are even more fun activities available if you’re visiting during the school holidays.
You’ll be able to see animals from around the world in the grounds of a stately home when you visit Longleat Safari Park.
The UK’s most popular safari park has a Safari Drive-Through where you can see lions, tigers, monkeys and wolves roaming through the parkland. Then take a Jungle Cruise to see if you can spot the hippos, or watch the otters playing in their underwater playground. There’s also an Adventure playground, Hedge maze and much more to keep young visitors entertained.
Adults love Bowood House and Gardens for its stunning Georgian architecture and landscaped gardens. But kids know that it’s also a fantastic place to let off steam!
Its exciting adventure playground features aerial walkways, a 19ft vertical drop Space Dive and climbing frames as well as a life-sized pirates’ ship. The Den is an activity centre for under 4s, while the Activity Barn hosts imaginative play for under 7s with opportunities for role play in a farmyard, farm shop and café.
And if all of that doesn’t wear them out, kids can also burn off energy on the tractor trails, tree wall climbing and den building activities.
Stonehenge is a renowned World Heritage site and probably Wiltshire’s best known landmark. The exhibitions at the visitor centre explain how the people who built Stonehenge lived and worked, and there are expert staff and volunteers on hand to answer your questions. You’ll also find multimedia displays, prehistoric artefacts, demonstrations of Neolithic crafts and replicas of the houses where Neolithic people would have lived 4500 years ago.
And you can make your visit really unforgettable by booking a Stone Circle Experience to see Stonehenge up close and learn about the secrets of the stones from your knowledgeable host. Availability on these tours is very limited, so book early for this once-in-a-lifetime experience.
You’ll see and meet animals of all shapes and sizes at Studley Grange. Be transported to the tropics when you enter the butterfly house, where you’ll find many types of free-flying butterflies. Then move on to the zoo, for a chance to explore the indoor reptile area and meet the park’s giant tortoise, Rigby the racoon and Darwin the otter.
And once you’ve seen all of that, the sheep, goats, chickens and more will be waiting to meet you at the Studley Grange farm park. You can even enjoy ‘access all areas’ privileges with the Zoo Keeper experience, which allows you to help one of the members of staff as they feed and care for the animals.
Cotswold Wildlife Park is home to over 260 species of animals, including one of the largest reptile collections in the UK. Based in the grounds of a Gothic manor house, kids will be able to spot giraffes and rhinos in the park, watch the penguins being fed and stroke the goats in the Children’s Farmyard.
There are plenty of daily activities to keep kids entertained, together with special events on offer throughout the year. And the park also has a narrow gauge railway and an adventure playground packed with exciting slides, swings and more to suit different ages.
Learn about times gone by and play at being a prince or princess when you visit Old Wardour Castle near Tisbury. This castle was built in the 14th century but now is an exciting ruin to explore on a family day out in Wiltshire.
Embark on an adventure to ‘Keep the Castle’, check out the grotto and castle rooms, or climb up to the top of the castle for fantastic views of the surrounding countryside. Kids can join ‘Knight School’ to sharpen up their skills with some knight training challenges, and there’s lots of space to run around and play or have a picnic.
There’s plenty to see and do when you pay a visit to Wiltshire’s medieval city of Salisbury. The city was built around Salisbury cathedral with its 123m high spire, which is the tallest in Britain. Inside the cathedral, you can see one of the surviving original copies of the Magna Carta, dating back to 1215.
But there’s a lot more than just the cathedral to keep you busy in Salisbury. You can take a self-guided tour of the city with a Treasure Trail, or try to crack the code at an Escape Room. And fans of scary stories will surely enjoy the Salisbury City Guides ghost and horrible history tours. There are fascinating museums, exhibitions and events and of course there are lots of places to eat and drink.
While Wiltshire is a landlocked county, it does have its very own inland beach at the Cotswold Water Park. This 42 square mile park lies northwest of Cricklade on the Wiltshire/Gloucestershire border, and has a total of 180 lakes.
Whether you want to enjoy a gentle walk and watch the wildlife or do something a bit more energetic, the Cotswold Water Park is one of the best days out in Wiltshire for families. The park runs a variety of nature conservation activities as well as offering recreational activities such as sailing and fishing. There’s a country park and an inland beach with play areas and water sports facilities, and the park runs additional events and activities throughout the year.
If you’re visiting Wiltshire with young aviation fans, they’re sure to enjoy the Boscombe Down Aviation Collection near Old Sarum.
The collection is housed in two aircraft hangars which are packed full of vintage aircraft, fast jets, replica planes and models. The museum’s friendly guides are on hand to show you around and answer any questions, and you can actually sit in many of the cockpits. The museum’s interactive displays are sure to keep everyone entertained plus there’s also a cafe and shop on-site.
As you can see, when it comes to family days out, Wiltshire has a lot to offer. These are just a few of the best family days out in Wiltshire, which one would you like to visit next?