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Top 10 indoor activities for kids

Indoor kids activities
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.

More info
Find a local Haven Holiday Park
www.rheged.com

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.

More info
Great value family accommodation nearby, with pool and spa
www.edenproject.com

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.

More info
Great value family accommodation nearby, in beautiful natural setting
www.sealifeeurope.com

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.

More info
Great value family accommodation nearby
www.whitescarcave.co.uk

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!

More info
Stay in a local Haven holiday park
www.altontowers.com

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.

More info
Great value family accommodation nearby, with sports and leisure facilities
www.alnwickcastle.com

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.

More info
Great value family accommodation nearby
www.museumwales.ac.uk

The Science Museum, London

Of all the great London museums, this one probably has the most 'infotainment' for children (though admittedly, there are no dinosaurs...) Before they get to the wonders of the IMAX 3D cinema, the kids can explore the various areas, including the ever-popular Space exhibit, and run the gamut of interactive experiences, learning about energy, genetics and even neuroscience. Plus, running from 27 March to 31 October is a special exhibition: Wallace and Gromit Present... A World of Cracking Ideas, in which the popular characters take visitors through the story of some of the greatest inventions ever, from the printing press to the telephone.

More info
Find a local Haven Holiday Park
www.sciencemuseum.org.uk

SnowDome, Tamworth, Staffordshire

Never mind those painful artificial ski slopes of old, the state-of-the-art SnowDome has a generous, fluffy covering of real snow for your kids to learn on, or work on their best moves. There's skiing and snowboarding, and all the equipment is provided as part of the ticket, so all they need bring is warm clothes, gloves and a sense of adventure. There's a 170-metre main slope and two teaching slopes, with all ages catered for, and courses include Learn to Snowboard in a Day (they decline to add that you will end up with a sore bottom).

More info
Find a local Haven Holiday Park
www.snowdome.co.uk

Scotkart Indoor Kart Racing, Glasgow, Scotland

Kart racing is not just for stag and hen parties. Your kids can emulate Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton as they burn the rubber at this award-winning indoor racetrack (there are actually two tracks, one on either side of the city). Those aged 12-15 can drive the full-size carts, and those in the 8-11 bracket can get behind the wheel of special junior karts. There's excellent training available, and a high level of safety provision. A booking includes all the equipment: race suit, helmet, neck brace and those all-important driving gloves.

More info

Great value family accommodation nearby, in beautiful natural setting
www.scotkart.co.uk

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