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Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Places to visit with your children

There are lots of interesting places for you to visit with your children all over the country - and many of them are free of charge. Even museums and libraries these days provide interactive exhibitions and interesting things to do. Find out what’s on offer in your area.

School farms and city farms

There are 59 city farms and 66 school farms spread right across the UK. They offer a great chance for children to see - and often play with and feed - newborn animals like lambs or piglets. Children can also see tractors in action, and learn about how food is grown.

More than three million people visit these farms each year, and admission is either cheap or free. Also, if you become one of the estimated 500,000 volunteers who help out at these farms across the country, then you'll never have to pay.

Heritage sites

There are more than 400 historic sites to visit in England, including castles, palaces, abbeys, stately homes and ancient ruins like Stonehenge. Fun activities for children are usually  provided. Many of these places have also been used as sets for films that your children may have seen, like Harry Potter.

A popular place for older children to visit is the Houses of Parliament (also known as the Palace of Westminster). The best way to book a visit to the Houses of Parliament is to contact your local MP (Member of Parliament). To find out about other historic sites and what events they are running, go to the English Heritage website.

BBC tours

Many BBC TV and radio stations, especially regional ones, offer guided tours free of charge. Particularly popular with younger children is the CBBC tour. Children over seven can take a two-hour tour of some of their favourite TV studios, like the Blue Peter Garden. They may even bump into some famous faces. They can also take part in the interactive tour, and have a go at TV presenting themselves.

Libraries

internet access is available in every public library

Libraries offer a huge range of mostly free services you probably wouldn't expect - from internet access to magazines, newspapers and even DVDs. And of course you can still borrow books.

Internet access is available in every public library, so children can get online whenever they like. And there's no need to worry about what sites they might be visiting, as parental controls are in place.

Many libraries also run free homework clubs. Any child over eight can attend, and each club has an assistant to help them find the information they need to help with their homework. Parents are also encouraged to attend to offer support.

Museums and galleries

From dinosaurs to space rockets, local history to modern art, there's something for everyone at the hundreds of museums and galleries across the country.

In addition to their featured exhibitions, museums and galleries often hold special workshops, activities and events. These are often aimed at children and are usually arranged to coincide with the school holidays.

You can use the 24 Hour Museum website to search for all museum and gallery events taking place across the UK.

Online exhibitions

If you don't want to travel far, children can always take an online tour of a virtual exhibition. Details of these feature on the 'Show me' website - provided by the 24 Hour Museum. For children aged 4 to 11, it is an exciting collection of games and interactive content, designed to encourage children to visit museums and galleries.

There is also a dedicated section for parents and carers, offering ideas to help you encourage your child's interest in the country's cultural heritage.

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