Going slow is a different kind of fun family day out. It means getting under the skin of a place. It’s about taking time to experience nature and local culture with all your senses. It can mean meeting locals, from farmers to artists, who’re passionate about their region. But it’s also to do with opening up space for creativity and micro-adventures. Jane Anderson, co-author of Slow Travel Family Breaks: Perfect Escapes in Britain’s Special Places, selects her top five slow family experiences.
Seaweed foraging: a fun family day out with kids in Guernsey
Ben Trustin, aka Vraic Man, is a bit of a superhero. Or should I say seaweed hero. As the only seaweed farmer in Guernsey he’s a passionate campaigner for this wonder plant. His fun and educational seaweed foraging experiences take place on Soif Beach, at low tide when the rock pools are at their best.
He gets the most reluctant of kids to squidge the poppers of bladderwrack, and even take a nibble. So everyone’s taught that seaweed is in fact nutritious, as well as being a massive carbon store and fabulous fertilizer. Best for kids aged 2 and over
Capture the spirit of slow travel, woodworking in the National Forest
If there’s one part of the UK that captures the spirit of slow family travel, it’s the National Forest. This manmade, purposefully planted forest straddles Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Staffordshire. Here, landscapes which were once black coal mines and clay pits have been transformed over the past 30 years into a green playground.
A highlight for craft-loving kids is Greenwood Days near Calke Abbey. This canopied woodland workshop offers over 60 courses in green woodworking including willow weaving, basketry and spoon carving. Families can collaborate and create a three-legged stool from a chunk of greenwood. Best for kids aged 7-16
A fun family day out in the Lake District with fell ponies and secret sculptures
Tom Lloyd inherited his fathers Hades Hill herd of 35 fell ponies and now offers walks around Grizedale Forest where families get to lead the ponies with a traditional rope halter.
This fun family day out in the Lake District includes a homemade picnic lunch by Grizedale Water carried by the ponies in large panniers. And the sculptures hidden deep in the forest include Andy Goldworthy’s, ‘Taking a Wall for a Walk’, a winding drystone wall that’s part forest snake, part moss-covered boundary. Best for kids aged 10 and over
Take kids on an ammonite adventure in North Yorkshire
Although many people associate the Jurassic Coast with Dorset, this North Yorkshire beach is awash with fossils too, if you know what to look for. Will encourages kids to find grey sedimentary rocks with a tell-tale fault line marking the edge of a fossil. He’s also a dab hand at cracking them open with his hammer to reveal an awesome ammonite. However, it’s his exultant cry of ‘You are the first living creature to see that for 185 million years!” which really jolts young imaginations. Best for kids aged 5-12
Go wild on a Heilan’ Coo Safari in Dumfries & Galloway
If you’ve always hankered after taking your children on safari, but the expense and carbon miles of getting to Africa are just too much to stomach, Kitchen Coos & Ewes is your slow travel alternative. However, on this Highland cow safari near Stranraer families get really close to the beasts. Local farmers, Neale and Janet McQuistin take you round the farm in natty tractor pulled trailers and are full of passionate knowledge about their herd, and also keen to share their expertise on rewilding and conservation. Best for kids aged 2-16