Welcome to the second part of our bumper guide to fun things to do during the sunny season and beyond. Take some inspiration from the suggestions below and make sure you share your experiences with us on Twitter @ escapebyrail
Believe it or not, you can kayak on the River Thames. Take one of Kayaking London’s tours and you could see the capital’s major sites, including Big Ben, HMS Belfast and the Tower of London, all from the water. If you’re looking for something off the beaten track, you can also visit the tranquil Grand Union Canal, including a trip to the aptly named Little Venice.
If you fancy getting your hands dirty and having a bash at pottery, then where better to start than perhaps Britain’s most famous pottery workshop, Leach Pottery in St Ives, Cornwall. Founded by Bernard Leach in 1920, Leach Pottery offers a range of courses, including a half-day ‘teaser’ session and a one-day introduction to glazing.
If you’re new to these two-wheeled, futuristic buggies, then taking a relaxed tour through Battersea Park could be the start of a new tech romance. The tour begins with a training session, but by the end you’ll have tested your skills in an exciting round of Segway games. And of course, you get to see Battersea Park on two wheels, which is nice.
There’s no better way to relax than spending time sliding along on the water. Canals were once an important mode of freighting goods around the UK, and the country is still full of leafy canal routes. Check out Canal Holidays from Blue Water Holidays, select a route, such as the Oxford Canal, and then decide how long you’d like to take travelling the waterways.
Shute Fruit and Produce is a family-run farm near Teignmouth where you can take the whole family – and well-behaved dogs – to pick fruit, including the exceptional strawberries that thrive on the fertile red soil of the Teign Estuary. Shute Fruit also produces loads of tasty preserves, all made in their farmhouse kitchen and available to buy.
Pick one of the major works of art at the National Gallery in London, such as Madame Moitessier by French neo-classical painter Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, and sit with it for as long as you can. See how beautifully Ingres has rendered the sitter’s pearly white skin, admire the detail in her magnificent dress, and imagine the intensity of the artist’s penetrating gaze.
With play areas, a maze, wildlife walks, a farm safari, an adventure barn and more, the Cotswold Farm Park near Cheltenham really does have something for everyone – families and children can easily while away a whole day here. There’s even a farm park shop and kitchen for those feeling peckish, with a daily menu of delicious homemade food.
Spend a night at the Natural History Museum. You get a three-course meal and a tour of the museum, as well as live music, a pub quiz and an all-night monster movie marathon. When you wake up, you’ll get a full English breakfast and the opportunity to take part in a yoga session. There’s also a kids’ equivalent.
When the Romans took up residence in the spa town of Bath, they were sure to make good use of the region’s natural resources – subterranean warm springs – and created one of the finest hot tubs you can find. Check out the beautifully-preserved ancient pool and find out what the Romans did with their spare time.
Explore the history of Great Western Railway at the Steam Museum, Swindon. Housed in an impressive Grade II Listed building, the attraction considers the lives of the men and women who worked on the railway during the city’s steam era heyday and includes archive film footage, interactive displays and memorabilia.