Are you visiting Wiltshire with kids?
If so, you’re in for a treat.
The region is home to many fantastic kid-friendly activities- there’s something for all ages.
From incredible history to safari and adventure parks, each of these activities is unique and will keep your kids occupied all holiday!
Best things to do in Wiltshire with kids
The best things to do in Wiltshire with kids include visiting ancient stone circles Stonehenge and Avebury, exploring the STEAM GWR Museum, climbing high up into the trees at Lydiard Park and, of course, visiting the epic Longleat Safari and Adventure Park.
Stonehenge, the prehistoric monument in Wiltshire, is a fantastic adventure for families. Managed by English Heritage, the site ensures a fun time for kids. There are interactive low-level displays and replicas that make learning fun as children get to touch and feel different artefacts.
The interesting thing about Stonehenge is that it has been confusing historians and archaeologists for centuries. Its massive stone circles date all the way back to 3000 BC, but the building techniques required for its construction likely would not have been available to a more primitive society. Interestingly, as this travel blog suggests, it’s believed that Stonehenge was used as an ancient calendar by tracking the points where the sun sets at different points in the year.
To keep your little ones engaged throughout the visit, don’t forget to pick up a children’s activity pack from the gift shop. These packs are designed to keep them occupied while they learn all about the monument.
2. Longleat Safari and Adventure Park
Located in Warminster, Longleat’s a safari park where you’ll encounter wild and exotic animals in a number of different environments.
Embark on a safari drive-through (where it’s not uncommon for animals to approach your vehicle!) or you take part in the aquatic Jungle Cruise. Here, you’ll hop aboard the Longleat Safari Boat, where you’ll see sea lions, and cruise past the Gorilla Colony. If you’re lucky, you might even get to see the resident hippo.
You have the choice of a walking safari, too. In this option, you’ll wander through habitats that house giraffes, lemurs, zebras, and even koalas. There are even special VIP experiences that include animal feeding sessions.
The park has a play area for kids that is inspired by native wildlife, offering parents a chance to catch their breath, while the Longleat Railway offers a quick 12-minute journey around the park’s woodland.
3. The Salisbury Mystery Treasure Trail
For something a bit different, consider the Salisbury Mystery Treasure Trail. This unique experience is family-friendly and combines history and mystery, allowing you to explore the city’s Cathedral Close from an entirely new perspective.
If you’ve ever watched a mystery TV show and thought you could do a better job than the detectives, here’s your chance to prove it. The trail begins at Elizabeth Gardens, where your family will head out on a one-mile path filled with clues. You have the choice of a user-friendly app or a printed booklet to guide you, and you can even have it sent by post so you’re well prepared before you arrive.
The tours are self-guided, very flexible, and can be accessed at any time during daylight hours. The main benefit of this activity is that it encourages teamwork between adults and kids as you work together to solve the mystery. It’s an activity that is lots of fun, but educational at the same time.
4. River Bourne Community Farm
If you’re near Wiltshire’s Salisbury, check out the River Bourne Community Farm. This is an ideal spot for your family if you’re keen on getting your hands dirty and learning about sustainable farming. This working farm aims to keep kids entertained while shining a spotlight on education and ecological practices.
Chickens, goats, pigs, sheep, donkeys, cattle, and even bees are among the animals that your kids will be able to engage with.
The farm has nature trails, too, where you can head out with identification sheets and try to identify the different plants and animals that you come across.
The River Bourne has free admission, but you can purchase a feed pot for £1 if you’d like to feed the animals yourself. What’s more, if you want to make it a complete family experience, you can even bring the family dog. They do need to stay on a leash and be on their best behaviour, though.
5. STEAM Museum of the Great Western Railway
The STEAM – Museum of the Great Western Railway in Swindon, housed in the former GWR works, is a trove of British railway history.
Here, you’ll find over 400,000 objects including grand locomotives, interactive displays, and insightful exhibits that appeal to all ages – plenty are kid-friendly.
Delve into the engineering prowess of the GWR through well-maintained exhibits, including the opportunity to go onto the footplates or beneath a locomotive to explore the inner workings of these powerful machines.
The museum not only showcases the mechanical side of railway history but also the human side, with exhibits like ‘Women on Film’ offering an insight into the roles women played in the railway industry, especially during the war years.
The museum is highly interactive, with activities for children spread throughout the exhibits.
6. Bowood House and Gardens
Bowood House and Gardens boast 100 acres of parkland designed by the renowned landscape architect, ‘Capability’ Brown.
The elegant Italian-inspired terrace gardens and the florally rich East border are ideal for adults and children alike.
The Georgian house at the centre of these gardens is not only an architectural gem but also houses a unique collection of art and antiques, offering a glimpse into the rich history and cultural heritage that Bowood preserves.
For families with children, don’t miss the adventure playground, featuring a life-size Pirate Ship and aerial walkways.
You can easily spend a full day at Bowood, engaging in seasonal activities such as the pumpkin hunt in the autumn half-term or Easter walks in Spring.
The property hosts events that keep both adults and children entertained, with plenty of open spaces for children to explore freely.
7. Salisbury Cathedral
The architectural masterpiece of Salisbury Cathedral is ideal for families who wish to immerse themselves in ancient history.
Step into the Cathedral and surround yourself with echoes of history; every pillar and stained glass window has a story to tell.
The cathedral gives you a sense of life in the 13th century, being home to one of the original copies of the Magna Carta which was a cornerstone of modern democracy.
Adventurous families can embark on the Tower Tour, where knowledgeable guides will take you through the cathedral’s hidden passages, ultimately leading to the base of the spire.
Here, amidst the backdrop of Wiltshire’s sprawling vistas, you’ll gain insights into medieval construction methods and appreciate the cathedral from a new perspective.
Salisbury Cathedral boasts the tallest spire in Britain and Europe’s oldest working clock; if you have older kids, they’ll be enthralled with the history of this 800 year old building.
8. Coate Water Country Park
Coate Water Country Park, situated a convenient 5 km southeast of central Swindon and near junction 15 of the M4, is ideal for families and outdoor adventurers.
It’s easily accessible and welcomes visitors year-round, 24 hours a day.
Upon arrival, you’ll be greeted with a range of facilities, including a ranger center and an information point located in the car park.
Here, you can gather insights into the park’s many offerings!
The park’s café serves up delectable treats – their bacon rolls are always highly recommended.
There’s a play area for families, and the chance to see deer and foxes in the nature reserve.
There’s even a large heronry which you can enjoy from the bird hides!
9. Lydiard Park
Lydiard Park – right on the western edge of Swindon – encompasses a Palladian house, walled garden, and vast parkland, including a children’s play area.
The Adventurer Course is ideal for adventurous kids (over four and above 1.05 meters tall).
The Xplorer Course, designed for older kids and adults, dangles high in the treetops, offering over 50 challenging activities.
Once you’ve had your share of exhilaration, step into the grandeur of Lydiard House, enjoy the tranquility of the walled garden with its tea rooms and cafe, or stroll along the lake and over 260 acres of parkland where dogs are welcome.
The children’s play area is a haven for the little ones, and for those looking to make a day of it, a BBQ or picnic amidst the scenic picnic areas is a must. There’s also a newly refurbished restaurant with a menu that caters to various tastes, including gourmet burgers and Caesar salads.
10. Avebury Stone Circle
Avebury henge and stone circles stand as a testament to Neolithic ingenuity.
Unlike its more famous counterpart, Stonehenge, Avebury’s a free alternative; it’s a much more intimate and less commercialized experience.
This impressive site is not only the largest stone circle in Britain, encompassing part of Avebury village, but it also sits at the heart of a complex of Neolithic and Bronze Age monuments.
For families with older children, Avebury can be particularly intriguing.
The vast open space means that kids can roam and explore, getting close to the stones that have stood for thousands of years.
Avebury’s part of a broader sacred landscape that includes the enigmatic Silbury Hill and the long barrows, all of which contribute to its status as a World Heritage Site. And it’s totally free to explore!
Are you ready for Wiltshire with kids?
These activities each offer different ways for families to have an enjoyable day out together. Your kids will enjoy themselves, learn a lot, and importantly, be worn out at the end of the day!
Why not get started planning your day out in Wiltshire right away?