Where to take the grandkids this summer

SUMMER weekends and holidays always give grandparents the chance to spoil their grandchildren rotten, with a huge choice of great days out to choose from.

SUMMER weekends and holidays always give grandparents the chance to spoil their grandchildren rotten, with a huge choice of great days out to choose from. Grandpa MICHAEL HUGHES tracked down good places, so you can start planning today.


Oasis Camelid Centre

Cratfield Road, Linstead Magna, near Halesworth. Llamas, alpacas, guanacos and camels, rare breed sheep and goats. Paddock walks with a llama. Coffee shop, picnic/play area and gift shop Open daily 10am to 5pm. Tel: 01986 7855777.

Linton Zoological Gardens

Hadstock Road, Linton, Cambridgeshire. Tigers, lions, lemurs, parrots, giant tortoises, tarantula spiders and many others in 16 acres of gardens. Coffee shop and gift shop, children's activities. Open daily 10am to 5pm. Tel: 01223 891308. Weblink: www.lintonzoo.com

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Banham Zoo

The Grove, Banham, Norwich. Five acres of parkland and gardens are sanctuary to almost 1,000 animals, from big cats to birds of prey and siamangs to shire horses. Open daily 10am to 5pm. Tel: 01953 887771. Weblink: www.banhamzoo.co.uk

Mole Hall Wildlife Park & Butterfly Pavilion

Widdington, Saffron Walden, Essex. Deer, otters, flamingos, primates, birds, wallabies and butterflies. Children's activities, café and gift shop. Open daily 10am to 5.30pm. Tel: 01799 540400. Weblink: www.molehall.com

Africa Alive!

White's Lane, Kessingland, Lowestoft. Lions and cheetahs, ibis and vulturs, pythons and creepy crawlies. Special talks, trails and children's activities. Cafe. Open daily 10am to 5pm. Tel: 01502 740291. Weblink: www.africa-alive.co.uk

Colchester Zoo

Maldon Road, Stanway, Colchester, Essex. Elephants and giraffes, rhinos and zebra, seals, and penguins, birds and monkeys. Special activities with an educational theme. Café. Open daily 9.30am to 6pm. Tel: 01206 331392. Weblink: www.colchester-zoo.co.uk.

Hunstanton Sealife Sanctuary

Southern Promenade, Hunstanton, Norfolk. See the underwater world through the eyes of experienced divers. The centre cares for seals, otters, penguins and even sharks, seahorses and rays. Open daily 10am to last admission at 4pm. Tel: 01485 533576. Weblink: www.sealsanctuary.co.uk

Train rides

Bressingham Steam & Gardens

Thetford Road, Bressingham, Norfolk. Europe's leading steam collection. Ride on a narrow-gauge railway and visit the official Dad's Army exhibition. Take a picnic or eat in the café at Blooms of Bressingham garden centre nearby. Stroll in the famous Bressingham gardens, including Foggy Bottom, this year celebrating its 40th anniversary. Open 10.30am to 5pm daily for the first two weeks of April, then Wednesdays to Sundays from April 16. Tel: 01379 686903. Weblink: www.bressingham.co.uk

The Poppy Line

The Station, Station Approach, Sheringham, Norfolk. More than five miles of track running through a designated area of outstanding natural beauty, with trips by steam trains or vintage diesels. Flowers along the track are a sight to see. Trains most days. Tel: 01263 820800 or email: enquiries@mandgn.co.uk. Weblink: www.poppyline.co.uk

Wells to Walsingham Railway

Well-next-the-Sea Station, just off the A149, or Walsingham station in Egmere Road. The longest 10¼" narrow gauge steam railway in the world. Trains leave Wells daily at 10.30am, noon, 2pm and 3.30pm. Tel: 01328 711630. Weblink: www.wellswalsinghamrailway.co.uk

Cycle rides

High Lodge Forest Centre

Thetford Forest. Follow signs on the B1107 Thetford to Brandon road. Cycling tracks from family trails to more challenging routes. Shop, café, picnic area and cycle hire (01842 810090). Open weekdays 9am to 4pm, weekends 9am to 5pm. Weblink: www.forestry.gov.uk

Rendlesham Forest

near Woodbridge. Follow signs from B1084 Woodbridge to Orford road. Up to 11 miles of marked cycling paths and tracks. Easy access trails at Rendlesham Forest Centre. Picinic area and cycle hire. Open dawn to dusk. Tel: 01394 450164. Weblink: www.forestry.gov.uk.

Marks Hall Country Park

Markshall, Coggeshall, Essex. Follow brown and white signs from A120, north of Coggeshall. Designated cycle trails. Visitors centre, with café and shop. Open Tuesdays to Sundays 10.30am to 5pm. Tel: 01376 563796, or email; enquiries@markshall.org.uk. Weblink: www.markshall.org.uk

Stately homes

Sandringham House, Gardens, Museum and Country Park

Sandringham, Norfolk. Visit the house and wander around the gardens. The museum includes Royal vehicles, rare ceramics, photographs and memorabilia. Explore the 600-acre country park. Restaurants and cafes, visitors centre and shops. Open daily from Saturday, April 7, to Friday, July 20, and Tuesday, July 31, to Sunday, October 28, 11am to 5pm.

Country Park open daily dawn to dusk. Tel: 01553 612908, or email: visits@sandringhamestate.co.uk Weblink: www.sandringhamestate.co.uk

Wimpole Hall

Arrington, Royston, Cambridgeshire. Wimpole Home Farm is an 18th century rare breeds farm, with sheep, goats, cattle, pigs and horses, wagon rides, interactive displays, historic farm implements and café. Also visit nearby Wimpole Hall. Open Saturdays to Wednesdays 10.30am to 5pm (also open Good Friday). Tel: 01223 206000. Weblink: www.nationaltrust.org.uk

Kentwell Hall

Long Melford, Suffolk. Take a glimpse into both the past and present of this unique family home, famous for its magical Tudor and WWII re-creation days. Check opening days and times for house gardens and farm and also dates for the re-creation days. Tel: 01787 310207 or email info@kentwell.co.uk. Weblink: www.kentwell.co.uk

Layer Marney Tower

Layer Marney, near Colchester, Essex. Climb England's tallest Tudor gatehouse and pause to admire the exquisite dolls' house. The livestock farm, medieval barn and surrounding fields include traditional breeds of cattle, deer, goats, ducks, chickens or turkeys. Wildlife walk and 120 acres to explore. Children's play area and tearoom. Open Sundays to Thursdays noon to 5pm. Tel: 01206 330784. Weblink: www.layermarneytower.co.uk


Colchester Castle Museum

Castle Park, High Street, Colchester. Meet a Roman soldier, who will be showing his weapons and armour. Monday to Saturday 10am to 5pm, Sundays 11am to 5pm. Tel: 01206 282939, Weblink: www.colchestermuseums.org.uk

Framlingham Castle

Framlingham, Suffolk. Climb to the battlements and relive the tempestuous history of this 12th century castle. Explore the astonishing earthworks and visit the nearby mere nature reserve. Open daily 10am to 6pm. Tel: 01728 724189. Weblink: www.english-heritage.org.uk

Orford Castle

Orford, Suffolk. A unique tower-keep developed by Henry II to counterbalance the power of turbulent East Anglian barons like Hugh Bigod of Framlingham. Almost intact from the basement to the turrets. Magnificent seaward views. Open daily 10am to 6pm. Tel: 01394 450472. Weblink: www.english-heritage.org.uk

Castle Acre

Norfolk. Impressive earthworks and Bailey Gate. Also ancient Castle Acre Priory, a pit stop for pilgrims over the centuries. Visitors centre and parking. Open daily 10am to 6pm. Tel: 01760 755394. Weblink: www.english-heritage.org.uk


Time & Tide Museum

Blackfriars Road, Great Yarmouth. This maritime museum stages children's craft days on Sundays. Tel: 01493 743930. Weblink: www.museums.norfolk.gov.uk

Bridewell Museum

Bridewell Alley, Norwich. Once a city centre prison for women and beggars, now home to a collection of historic objects and machinery. Open Tuesdays to Fridays 10am to 4.30pm and Saturdays 10am to 5pm. Tel: 01603 629127. Weblink: www.museums.norfolk.gov.uk

Natural History Museum

High Street, Colchester, Essex. Housed in the former All Saints Church. Child-friendly hands-on-displays, live animals plus a churchyard nature reserve and shop. Open daily Monday to Saturday 10am to 5pm, Sundays Sun 11am to 5pm. Tel: 01206 282941. Weblink: www.colchestermuseums.org.uk

Christchurch Mansion

Christchurch Park, Ipswich. Open Tuesdays to Saturdays 10am to 5pm and Sundays 2.30pm to 4.30pm. Tel: 01473 433550. Weblink: www.ipswich.gov.uk

Museum of East Anglian Life

Stowmarket, Suffolk. This 75-acre site includes woodland and riverside nature trails, historic buildings, displays of crafts, Gypsy culture and steam machines. Open Mondays to Saturdays 10am to 5pm, Sundays 11am to 5pm. Tel: 01449 612229 or email enquiries@eastanglianlife.org.uk. Weblink: www.eastanglianlife.org.uk

The Fitzwilliam Museum

Trumpington Road, Cambridge. Activity kits are available free for youngsters, as well as drawing materials. Open Tuesdays to Saturdays 10am to 5pm, Sundays noon to 5pm. Tel: 01223 332900. Weblink: www.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk

Cromer Museum

Church Street, Cromer, Norfolk. Open Mondays to Saturdays 10am to 5pm, Sundays 2pm to 5 pm. Tel: 01263 517965. Weblink: www.museums.norfolk.gov.uk.


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This article first appeared in Let's Talk magazine. See www/letstalk24.co.uk