22 Jun 2012
Lonely Planet’s Mini Britain: Best Experiences for Kids
I never realised quite how many guide books were out there for families – then, when you start looking, they’re everywhere. And as a Lonely Planet fan, I’m glad to see they’re not lagging behind, with a brand new e-book for me to review called Mini Britain, on the best experiences with kids around the country.
Divided into regions, with separate chapters for London and Edinburgh, each section then lists the top attractions, with prices, contact details, opening hours and an overview of what there is to see. The alphabetical structure does mean you’re jumping from eg Bath to Brighton to Bristol, although as it’s an e-book, you’re more likely to be searching for the area you’re planning to visit anyway.
Some won’t come as much of a surprise, with favourites like the Natural History and Science museums in the London chapter, along with the zoo and Madame Tussauds, while even outside the capital, a lot of the suggestions will be familiar to anyone who’s travelled much around England, Scotland and Wales.
But there are a few quirky gems I’d never come across, including the Boscastle Museum of Witchcraft, moorland safaris around Exmoor, Enginuity and the free Bugworld Experience in Liverpool, as well as a whole range of options for most interests, from museums and castles to interactive options and outdoor fun.
There’s also useful tips about bus, boat, cycling, walking, riding and even duck tours, plus unexpected facts – such as Henry II’s proclamation back in the 12th century that Cheddar was the best cheese in Britain.
As well as geographical listings, there’s themed options like the best places for hands-on action, where kids are positively encouraged to touch, test and play with the exhibits, best rainy-day attractions, from chocolate at Cadbury’s to caves at Cheddar Gorge, and my favourite, best for stealth learning.
While the length of the e-book means you can only have a short overview, it’s done in the usual easy-to-read style, with plenty of facts and highlights picked out, and is impressively comprehensive. In fact, one of the few things which the guide doesn’t tell you is what ages it’s likely to be suitable for. There is a note that this is going to vary, but the occasional suggestion about whether it’s ideal for younger children or perfect for bored teenagers would have been useful.
But at £2.99, it’s very hard to pick fault – perfect for keeping on your Kindle, Kobo or iPod, Pad or Phone and inspiring a few days out this summer. Download it here.