The benefits of time spent in the fresh air are clear: freedom, space to roam, a boost of vitamin D and a happy, tired child by the end of the day. There is a vast selection of places to choose from for an outdoor excursion, including the perennially popular wildlife parks and zoos, some of which allow your child to get up close and personal with the animals. If you are looking for something physically challenging, there are adrenaline-filled tree-top adventures on offer, or if you are in the mood for a picnic, explore the list of playgrounds and parks which includes some lesser-known hidden gems. In addition, look out for lidos, watersports, tree-top high ropes, mud painting, strawberry picking, ghost tours, imaginative birthday venues and beach play areas (always a winner in our house).
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- Outdoor swimming pool (typically 26c) and learner pool.
- Open every summer May to September.
- Free for children between 9am–11am.
- Inflatable play sessions.
- Pool party options available.
Abbey Close, Abingdon, Oxfordshire, OX14 3JD
- Child friendly tearoom with free towpath or woodland nature trails.
- Free Treasure Hunt, Bat Hunt & Narrowboat Name Search for ages 4+.
- Open every day 10am–5pm.
- Available as a party venue with catering.
- Can arrange party entertainment: canoes/kayaks, waterzorbs, and bouncy castles.
Canal Yard, Canal Road, Thrupp, Kidlington, Oxfordshire, OX5 1JZ
- Historically informative costumed guide of Oxford. (Children must be 4+ years).
- Illustrated with props and illusions.
- Walking tour departs at 6:30pm every Friday and Saturday.
- Tours last approximately 1 hour 45 minutes. (from Oxford Castle Unlocked).
- Private bookings available.
Oxford Castle Gift Shop, 44 - 46 New Road, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX1 1AY
- Parks and Bury Knowle House are open all day every day (for all ages).
- Pirate play feature and Sand pits.
- Climbing rocks and timber frames.
- Sensory garden.
- Tennis courts.
Off London Road, Headington, Oxford
- 18th century house and pleasure gardens.
- Trails for all the family, including the 'Woodland Life' walk.
- Children can try building a den, tree climbing and bird watching.
- Pond dipping and bug hunting.
- Course fishing is permitted 25th March to 30th September.
Faringdon, Oxfordshire, SN7 8BU
- National Trust Jacobean country house and garden for all the family to visit.
- Family activity packs and trails for house and garden.
- Search for the 'Secret Room' and then picnic in the garden.
- Hip-carrying infant seats available.
- Braille guide and induction loop available - ask at reception.
Chastleton, Near Moreton-in-Marsh, Oxfordshire, GL56 0SU
- Over 80 hand crafted punts available to rent, for ages from 7+ years old.
- Rowing boats and canoes for hire.
- Punts - for a maximum of 6 people.
- Chauffeured punts available for up to five people.
- Dependant on weather conditions.
Bardwell Road, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX2 6ST
- Swimming pool with retractable roof, for all ages and abilities.
- Children 0-12 years welcome during the day, and family sessions run after school.
- Swimming lessons and summer holiday intensive lessons available.
- Toddler splash sessions are held during the summer holidays.
- Available for swimming parties and includes the use of all pool toys.
St Andrews School, Station Road, Chinnor, Oxfordshire, OX39 4PU
A lovely family day out where you can enjoy the historic farmyard, feed the animals, explore the manor house and grounds. Every Monday children of all ages can enjoy their Monday Morning Storytime.
- Visit and feed the farm animals, check for times. Mondays am: Children's Storytime.
- Soft play for children under 5 years, in the stables. Dress up in the Manor house.
- Den making, nature play in the nature areas and sheltered sand pit.
- Adventure Playground with timber fort includes slides, zip wire, and wobbly bridge.
- Open March to November, check website for dates.
Church Lane, Witney, Oxfordshire, OX28 3LA
- Designed around needs of children with varying disabilities but open to everyone.
- Farm with donkeys, goats, pigs, birds, alpacas, miniature ponies, and rabbits.
- Enchanted Walk with sensory garden, weather areas, water play, & musical chimes.
- Animal handling, sandpit, adventure playground & birthday party venue.
- Giant rabbit burrow with a play kitchen, and a model village 'Mouse Town'.
Southcombe, Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, OX7 5QH
- The Folly woodland hides many sculptures to seek out, such as the hare, mole, bat.
- Find the 'fairly unless bridge' (for fairies or trolls) & fairy house in a tree trunk.
- Picnic in the woodland, with logs and balances nearby for children to play on.
- Views over 5 counties from the 100ft tower.
- The Tower is open April - October, please check website for dates.
Folly Path off Stratford Road, Faringdon, Oxfordshire, SN7 7AQ
- Animals include: cattle, chickens, ducks, goats, geese, pigs, sheep and turkeys.
- Adventure playground, treasure hunts on the giant bale climb, and trailer rides.
- Opportunities to handle and feed the animals.
- Workshops: Shepherd for the Day, Family or Farmers, and Farmer for a Day.
- Birthday party venue: 'Hands on' farm animal experiences and adventure play.
Fernham Road, Longcot, Faringdon, Oxfordshire, SN7 7PR