Tiscali's top ten ideas for entertaining the kids during the winter months.
Rheged Centre, Penrith, Cumbria
The Lake District is one of the UK's most beautiful areas - maybe not when it's raining, though. Luckily, the Rheged Centre is there to save you from those plaintive cries of "I'm bored, mum." The main, guaranteed child-awing attraction is the Giant Movies, shown on an IMAX-style screen that's more than 20 metres wide and nearly 15 metres high, with a six-channel, 12-speaker sound system (expect the word "wicked" to be uttered in a hushed tone of respect). The special movies include Dinosaurs: Giants of Patagonia, Mysteries of Egypt and the breathtaking Grand Canyon: the Hidden Secrets.
Find a local Haven Holiday Park
The Eden Project, St Austell, Cornwall
Show a child a bunch of space-agey 'Biomes' in the middle of the countryside and you'll have them wowed before they've even stepped inside. As well as exotic global plants (including coconuts and rubber) there are children's play areas, and kids who like to quote the Guinness Book of Records can tick off the world's biggest greenhouse (the Humid Tropics Biome). The cafes serve reassuringly wholesome food, and the emphasis on recycling and clean energy should turn the kids on to the global eco-mission thing - useful for when the future of the planet falls into their mitts.
Great value family accommodation nearby, with pool and spa
Brighton Sea Life Centre, East Sussex
The big idea at the Sea Life Centre is that your children can 'dive in the sea without getting wet' - which is much easier for everyone, all round. The centre is not short on creatures of the deep, with more than 150 species in the 57 displays, including giant turtles and, crucially, sharks. The tropical reef even has a shark-encircled shipwreck. There's also a new 'mirror maze', Amazonia, that takes them through a tropical rainforest and river, where they will learn about the terrible effects of deforestation and global warming, while still maintaining their fun quotient - and seeing piranhas.
Great value family accommodation nearby, in beautiful natural setting
White Scar Cave, Ingleton, North Yorkshire
The longest show cave in Britain, White Scar was discovered in the Twenties by gentleman cavers with candles attached to their hats. The limestone has been sculpted by nature over thousands of years, and rather than resorting to Cheddar Gorge-style bells and whistles, here they let Mother Nature perform the show, with simple lighting added. There are gushing streams and waterfalls, including an underground stream that flows beneath your feet as your walk the raised steel path. At every turn there are fascinating cave formations, the highlight being a huge Ice Age cavern with thousands of stalagtites.
Great value family accommodation nearby
Cariba Creek Waterpark, Alton Towers, Alton, Staffordshire
This place is a Disneyworld-level attraction and it's sure to impress even the most demanding water-loving child. It's open year-round as most of it is indoors, and the bits that go outdoors have nice hot water. The must-have-a-go ride is Master Blaster, in which a blast of water twists you up, down and around at breathtaking speed. The kids will love getting each other drenched under the Tipping Bucket, and for the smaller kids there are 70 interactive water games on the Wacky Waterworks Treehouse. Ahem: water way to have a good time!
Stay in a local Haven holiday park
Alnwick Castle, Northumberland
Your kids are obviously too young to remember the first series of Blackadder, but mention to them that parts of the Harry Potter movies were filmed at Alnwick Castle and you'll have their attention, big time. As well as recognising bits of the castle as seen in the films, they'll have lots of fun in this atmospheric place, the seat of the Duke of Northumberland. They can experience what it's like to be put in the stocks (albeit without having stuff thrown at them), then outwit goblins and ghouls before taking on the ultimate medieval monster in the interactive game, Dragon's Quest.
Great value family accommodation nearby, with sports and leisure facilities
Big Pit National Coal Museum, Blaenafon, Wales
You can't get much more indoors than 300 feet underground, and a trip down this real coal mine, lead by a proper miner, is one of the highlights at this excellent museum. The kids even get to 'kit up' in helmet and cap lamp before they descend in the pit cage. If any of your brood get a bit claustrophobic, no matter: they can try the exciting, multimedia virtual tour of a modern coal mine, complete with a virtual miner. The town of Blaenafon and its surroundings are now a World Heritage Site.