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Attractions with themed fun

Looking for fun with the family? Here's a few of our top picks

Keeping little ones entertained has never been so much fun

With a range of theme parks built around different characters and themes sprouting up abroad and right here in the UK, celebrating your inner child, while keeping your own little ones entertained, has never been so much fun.

At a glance

  • Theme parks can be great fun for all the family
  • If you don't want to go abroad, there are lots of options in the UK too
  • There are lots of theme parks with tot friendly rides for little ones to enjoy

Here’s just a few of our faves…

Walt Disneyworld

Flight time: Just under 10 hours (bring a good supply of toys and games!)

Walt Disneyworld is in a league of its own when it comes to family holidays. It’s one of the few places in the world that can actually claim it’s got something for every age group, which is why it’s so highly rated.

At its heart are four incredible theme parks – Magic Kingdom, where you’ll find Cinderella’s Castle, Animal Kingdom, where you’ll get up close to lions and tigers, Hollywood Studios, where you’ll learn about how movies are made, and Epcot, a place that showcases different cultures around the world. You’ve also got two waterparks to choose from.

The best part? Each of these mini ‘worlds’ is home to as many adrenaline-pumping rollercoasters as it is tiny tot-friendly attractions. So teens and big kids – yes, that’s including you too - are covered as well as little ones.

Rides aside, you’ve got spectacular parades and shows, fireworks displays and, of course, Mickey and Minnie to gawp at.

It may be one of the most expensive family holidays out there, but if you’re splashing out for a special occasion, it’s a real once-in-a-lifetime kind of place.

Check out the Disney website to find out more.

PortAventura, Costa Dorada, Spain

Flight time: 2 hours (great news if you’ve got little flyers!)

Think Disney, but on a much smaller scale. PortAventura is a theme park in the heart of mainland Spain’s Costa Dorada, and it’s split into six themed zones – Polynesia, Mexico, Mediterraneo, China, Far West, and Sesamo Aventura.

The layout of the park means that one minute you could be nibbling on noodles by the Great Wall, and the next, rubbing shoulders with Big Bird and co. (Sesamo Aventura is based on the Sesame Street characters). The theming doesn’t stop with the park, either.

There are five hotels close by, which are themed, too. Our favourite is Hotel Gold River, which is modelled on an old Wild West town.

Just like Disney, amazing shows and fireworks displays are included in the price – and the staff here go all out on the entertainment front.

Unsurprisingly, you won’t find Mickey and Minnie roaming the park, although you will spot Woody Woodpecker now and again – he’s the official PortAventura mascot.

To find out more about the park and the hotels, check out the PortAventura website.

Warner Brothers Studio tour UK

Where: Leavesden Studios, Watford, Hertfordshire

By car on the M1 or 20 minute train journey from Euston to Watford Junction

Cost: £21 for a child aged 5-15, £28 for an adult, £83 for a family of four

Family tickets available? Yes

It’s technically not a theme park as it doesn't have the rides, but we couldn't do a ‘character’ entertainment round up without giving a nod to our favourite wizard and his friends. Last year Warner Brothers opened the doors to us muggles giving the opportunity to wander around the hallowed halls of Hogwarts on the Harry Potter film set.

The attraction is probably more suitable for older kids and fans of the films due to the sheer amount of walking  and lack of interactive games – although there is a green screen room where you can sit on a broomstick as the streets of London fly past you. However, fans will love viewing the sets, props and costumes as well as having a wander around the cobbled streets of Diagon Alley, a glance at the table in the Great Hall of Hogwarts and a sneaky peak through the windows of number four Privet Drive.


For more information visit Warner Brothers Studio Tour.

Peppa Pig World

Where: Paultons Park, on the edge of the New Forest National Park – accessible by car on M27

Cost: Adults and Children over one meter: £25. Children under one metre free.

Family tickets available? Yes

Your little one’s favourite pig is brought to life at Paulton’s Park in Hampshire with half of this theme park taken over by the porky round cartoon character. With rides and attractions based on this character toddlers and older fans alike will be snorting with delight as real life versions of Peppa and her friends come and say hello.

Some rides may not be suitable for little ones – there’s an over one meter rule with some of the bigger attractions – but there’s also enough to keep little fans entertained, including train rides and a paddling pool for those warm summer British days.

Once Peppa becomes too much, take yourself and the kids away from it all and explore the dinosaur park area, formal gardens and aviaries housing birds of prey, Penguins and other birds. There’s also a number of what the park describes as ‘thrill rides’ from the pirate trip to the roller coaster – perfect for older members of the family who don’t have that penchant for Peppa. 

For more information visit Paultons Park.

Angry Birds Activity Park

Where: Lightwater Valley, Ripon, Yorkshire

Cost: Adults and Children over 1.3m: £28, over one meter £23, under one meter £5 (includes entrance to whole of the park)

Family tickets available? Yes

Incorporating all the Angry Birds characters fans of the mobile gaming app have come to love, the Activity Park offers over 30,000 square feet of play complete with tube slides, pig tunnels, slingshots and Angry Birds nesting towers from which to survey the enemy - the Piggies. The Angry Birds Space indoor activity centre is also specially for the under 10s meaning they can enjoy some soft play time with younger fans.

Big and small kids are given the opportunity to pitch their skills in the interactive Red Bird and Yellow Bird dance zones, which use movement and sound to deliver a different way of play and there are plenty of gigantic touch screens to play the classic Angry Birds game too.

If you fancy more of a thrill then head to the park where you’ll be spoilt for choice with thrill rides, including The Ultimate, which at 1.5 miles is the longest roller coaster in Europe.

For more information visit Lightwater Valley.


Where: Windsor

Cost: Adult, £45, Child over three £39, kids under three go free

Family tickets available? Yes

Go retro and indulge your little one’s love for Lego by taking them to a theme park made of this childhood fave. Catered for three to 12 year olds, this theme park has over 55 rides, live shows and those all-important building workshops, because let’s face it, that’s what Lego is really all about. Take your little ones to the Miniland, which has the largest number of Lego bricks in the park - nearly 40 million pieces have been used to create scenes from the USA and Europe, with sounds, traffic, trains and boats to boot.

Take advantage of a warm summer’s day and visit Duplo Valley with its water playground, or keep tiny tots entertained with the Duplo Train ride. Fancy a trip under the sea? Then ride the Atlantis Submarine voyage and show your little ones the amazing creatures that live there or take advantage of older children’s adventurous natures and jump on bigger rides such as the rollercoasters.

If you’re coming from afar then there’s also the option to stay in the park’s themed resort hotel.

For more information visit Legoland.

Thomas Land

Where: Drayton Manor

Cost: 12 - 59 years £36, 4-11 years £27, 2-3 years £5

Family tickets available? Yes

Little trainspotters will love this Thomas the Tank Engine dedicated area found in Drayton Manor. Thomas fans can fill their boots at the Thomas and Friends exhibition, or watch him, Rosie and Percy chug into action at the station. There’s a mini themed roller coaster for young thrill seekers, older children can show mum and dad that they are better drivers than them with Terence's Driving School activity and younger fans will love scrambling up and down the indoor play area.

Bribe those older ‘too cool for Thomas’ kids with the promise of visiting the rest of Drayton Manor’s thrill rides such as the UK’s first reverse chute water coaster with a 180 degree platform that sends boats backwards down a nine meter drop! Prepare to get wet.

For more information visit Drayton Manor.

At a glance

  • Theme parks can be great fun for all the family
  • If you don't want to go abroad, there are lots of options in the UK too
  • There are lots of theme parks with tot friendly rides for little ones to enjoy
My little one was so excited we took her to Peppa Pig World that it was all she talked about for weeks after!

Attractions with themed fun