Stuck for things to do during half term? We’ve picked the top 5 indoor theme parks to keep the family busy, come rain or shine. Whether you like getting wet and wild or you’re a massive Harry Potter fan, there’s something for everyone.
Harry Potter Warner Bros Studios
Harry Potter was filmed at Leavesden for ten years, and today, the studios take fans behind the scenes. Visit the sets, see the props and costumes and soak up the magic. Discover two soundstages and the original sets, animatronic creatures and breath-taking special effects, as well as the cast and crew’s memories.
For a quick bite, try Starbucks or the Studio Café, where you’ll find everything from pastries to sandwiches, cakes, and even children’s lunch boxes. There’s free parking on site, and a handy shuttle bus from Watford Junction train station (£2 return).
Stay: Don’t waste any precious time travelling. Set up home at Watford Central Travelodge just under 3 miles away from the Studios.
The Living Rainforest
With around 700 species of plants and animals, kids will love the Living Rainforest’s exotic greenhouses where birds, butterflies and lizards roam free. Meet the Goeldi monkeys who leap across branches and have up to 40 different calls or seek out the two-toed sloth named Cinammon. Get friendly with Harry the Armadillo or simply take in the beauty of the tropical flora, including giant water lilies.
Hear a rumble in the jungle? Head to the rainforest-themed café for snacks and drinks, including rainforest-friendly coffee. Just half an hour away from Oxford and an hour from Bristol, it’s easy to access by car, and has plenty of free parking. Taking the train or bus? There’s public transport via Newbury and Hampstead Norreys.
Stay: Travelodge has hotels in Oxford and the surrounding area, so you can take in the rainforest and the university town.
An institution, the famous Madame Tussauds’ waxworks is one of the British capital’s most popular indoor attractions. It’s the perfect way to get up close and personal with celebrities of all types, from musicians to sports stars and even the royal family – and get that all-essential selfie.
Over-12s will also love SCREAM!, a live-action attraction where a taxi ride whisks you through London’s sights and sounds throughout history.
You’ll also find the former planetarium 360º cinema here with the Marvel Super Heroes 4D experience – a sure hit!
To get there, hop on the Tube to Baker Street station, a 5-minute walk away.
Stay: Try our Central Marylebone hotel to be near Baker Street, Oxford Street and great transport links.
Come rain or shine, WaterWorld in Stoke on Trent is always open! The fully covered water park attracts as many as 400,000 visitors every year. Why? To make the most of the giant pool of course, but also to enjoy the 30-odd attractions ranging from wave machines to crazy water slides and wild river rapids.
It’s also worth mentioning Nucleus, the world’s first indoor roller-coaster and the Friday evening ‘Wave Rave’ or Aqua Disco! Should you wish to venture outdoors, there are also water-themed gardens and an outside pool, as well as a two-tier restaurant and barbecue spots.
Stay: Exhausted? Lay your weary head at Travelodge Stoke on Trent just 15 minutes away.
Set in the Westfield shopping complex, Kidzania offers kids aged four to 14 the chance to go out and get a job!
Instead of rides, this child-sized city covers 75,000sq ft of realistic role play, with everything from offices to hospitals and airports. Kids dress up and get to ‘be’ surgeons, firemen or scientists for a while.
The 60 places of employ, from police station to bakery even ‘pay’ their workers in ‘kidZos’ per 20-minute time slot of jobs done. And kids can spend their pretend pay cheques for real in the KidZania shop.
Stay: Travelodge has convenient, good-value hotels across London so book early and be near the main attractions.