15 best family attractions in Cambridgeshire
There's no need to go far to have fun this summer - our county has tonnes to offer, from historic houses and outdoor adventure to intriguing museums and art hubs. Here's our definitive guide for this summer and beyond. Print a copy and get planning!
1. The Raptor Foundation, Woodhurst, Huntingdon
For a feel good family day out you can’t beat The Raptor Foundation. This brilliant attraction rescues, rehabilitates and returns injured birds of prey back to the wild and they invite the public to watch them as they carry out their fascinating conservation work. There are lots of amazing wildlife experiences that kids and adults will enjoy, including the chance to hang out with meerkats, meet the many birds of prey and have your picture taken holding one, watch hawks hunt on a hawk walk through the countryside, and even special days where kids can learn to become a Junior Keeper. Every day there are raptor flying displays to watch too. A tearoom and playground complete the perfect family day out.
2. Imperial War Museum, Duxford
How lucky are we to have our very own Imperial War Museum in Cambridgeshire? Everyone from toddlers to nonagenarians will adore a day out at this fascinating air museum. A day isn’t really enough to be honest as there’s so much to see and do, so set off early and make sure you’re full of stamina for lots of walking and learning fascinating facts. There’s always some sort of activity for kids – last time we went they were invited to make their own mini propeller and there’s a play area too. Highlights of a visit include walking through Concorde, a ride in the simulator, and walking under the wings of some of the huge planes. Keep an eye out for special events and flying days.
3. Hamerton Zoo Park, Huntingdon
Hamerton Zoo Park won the Muddy Stilettos’ 2022 award for best family attraction in Suffolk and Cambs so you know already it’s going to be a good ‘un. As well as loads of fabulous animals (big and small cats, bears, marsupials, primates, birds and reptiles), you can take a ride on the train through a dinosaur infested zone, have fun on the two play areas, enjoy a picnic or lunch in the coffee shop, visit the gift shop and go on a Stroll-a-Safari where you get up close to domestic animals.
4. Sacrewell Farm, Peterborough
Sacrewell Farm and Country Centre, just outside Peterborough has plenty to keep the kids entertained, with friendly farm animals to meet, outdoor spaces to discover, an area dedicated to all things tractor, a restored eighteenth century watermill and every parent’s nightmare, but every child’s dream – a large soft play centre! The farm also hosts lots of interesting workshops for older children like willow weaving, and wood work.
5. Cambridge University Botanic Garden, Cambridge
Cambridge’s Botanic Gardens are gorgeous at any time of year, although it has to be said they are particularly stunning in spring and summer. Lots of events take place within the grounds throughout the year too. The gardens feature more than 8,000 species of plants and trees including a descendant of the apple tree that helped Sir Isaac Newton develop his theory of gravity. There are also a couple of glass houses that are beautifully toasty on a cold day and are home to all sorts of exotic species.
6. Johnsons of Old Hurst, Huntingdon
This Muddy Award-winning sustainable family attraction has something for everyone and you can while away several very enjoyable hours here. There’s a large and bountiful farm shop with a butchery full of meat directly from the farm. They also sell exotic meats – ostrich, crocodile, buffalo and unusually python. Kids will love visiting the crocodile farm (one of the only ones in the country). There’s also the zoological gardens where you can see alligators, wallabies, macaws, lizards, snakes, owls, cattle, deer and buffalo amongst others. Once you’ve had your animal adventure it’s time to check out the on-site cafe or steakhouse, and then burn off energy from lunch at the excellent play area.
7. Anglesey Abbey and Lode Mill, Stow-cum-Quy
Another National Trust property, we love visiting to Anglesey Abbey to get some fresh air and enjoy the great outdoors. There’s always something to do for little ones here with a wildlife discovery area, a treehouse, play area, den building, bug hunting, and bird watching, as well as seasonal events like summer sports challenges and of course a spectacular light show in winter. There’s a fab restaurant and gift and plant shop too.
8. Shepreth Wildlife Park, Shepreth
Shepreth is another of Cambs’ wildlife parks but we think this one is ideal for younger kids (although older kids who want to get involved in animal care will love the experiences). It’s a brilliant size for little legs to get round and has some interesting animals including super cute red pandas, lemurs and two tigers. A walk through the bat cave is a must (unless you’re scared of them as they fly right at you!) and the bugs in the Tropical House are fascinating and scary in equal measure. There’s also an indoor soft play, fabulous outdoor play area, sand pit, and safari train (although this was closed last time we visited due to covid). Each day there are talks about the animals and you can book on to do experiences where you can meet and feed some of them.
Grafham Water is England’s third largest reservoir and has a whole host of activities on offer for a family to enjoy. It is surrounded by 1500 acres of countryside and families can walk and cycle the many trails around the water. There’s also fishing, sailing and windsurfing to get involved in. If it’s adrenaline-fuelled entertainment you’re after head to the aqua park or nearby Rumble Live (live gaming activity). There are two cafes on site too.
10. Wimpole Hall and Home Farm, near Royston
Wimpole Hall is an absolute stunner of a stately home in Wimpole between Cambridge and Royston and is also the largest house in Cambs. It’s a National Trust property now, and in the past few years has had a real facelift with new visitor facilities, car parks and toilets, so it’s a guaranteed good day out. It’s not just the house that’ll impress. Make time to explore the stunning and vast gardens and kids will love the Home Farm, where you can meet pigs, chickens, horses, sheep, cows and bunnies, plus enjoy regular farming demos. There are three places to eat too, as well as a lovely shop for the obligatory National Trust knick-knacks at the end of the day.
11. Skylark Maize Maze and Funyard, Wimblington
Skylark Garden Centre is so much more than just a place to buy plants. In summer the gardeners create an amazing Maize Maze to get lost in with a design that changes every year (think The BFG, and a giant T Rex). This year (2022) it’s a Marvel themed Maize Maze so look out for Spiderman as you have to help him find his friends hidden in the maze. There’s also an impressive play area, tractor rides, pig racing, go karting, a jumping pillow, bouncy castle, den building and a beach area complete with food outlets. Phew, that’ll wear them out.
12. Museum of Zoology, Cambridge
Don’t tell your kids you’re taking them to Cambridge University for a day out, as you’ll be met with groans. Little do they know how cool our amazing Uni can be though, especially the Museum of Zoology, which is the city’s smaller answer to London’s Natural History Museum. The galleries showcase all the coolest animal skeletons and tell the story of the evolution of everything from marsupials to monkeys, mammoths to manatees. There are always lots of kid-focussed workshops and events on throughout the year too.
13. Southlake Aqua Park, St Neots
This action-packed activity for anyone aged 6 and over (and who can swim of course!) is all about making a complete fool out of yourself on an inflatable course,Total Wipeout style. If you’d prefer not to look like a right wally, you can try your hand at some more skill-based water sports here too – Stand Up Paddle-Boarding, Water-Skiing, Wakeboarding and Ringo Rides at Dams Watersports just a few hundred yards away from the park.
14. Nene Valley Railway and Ferry Meadows, Peterborough
This living heritage steam railway is a fabulous family attraction in North Cambs. You may recognise the route and trains from the many films and TV shows it has starred in. Little ones will love visiting Thomas the Tank Engine or even going for a ride on him, and there are lots of themed trains during the holidays such as a Princess Express, The Teddy Express and a special superheroes day. Take the train to Overton Station to enjoy the tea room and direct access to Ferry Meadows Country Park which will mean you can make a full day of it.
15. Linton Zoo Conservation Park, Linton
Linton Zoo is a lovely laidback place for a morning or afternoon of animal spotting. Standout wildlife sights include snow leopards, lions, tigers and giant tortoises. There’s even a section for dinosaur lovers (not the real things obvs!). You can also book in for keeper experiences when you get to feed to animals and feel like a real zoologist for the day.
You might also like