Tried & tested: Family attractions in Europe

Our writers review some of Europe's top family attractions

By National Geographic Traveller (UK)
Published 14 Aug 2016, 16:00 BST, Updated 7 Jul 2021, 14:29 BST
Llechwedd Slate Caverns, Gwynedd, Wales
Llechwedd Slate Caverns, Gwynedd, Wales

Llechwedd Slate Caverns, Gwynedd, Wales

Llechwedd's zipwires, underground trampolines and mountain biking have regenerated this former slate quarry and annex town, but to focus on the adrenaline activities and miss out on the Deep Mine Tour would be a mistake.

Don a hard hat and board a steep funicular to descend into a warren of tunnels and chambers. My kids were shocked to learn from our passionate guide Val, whose family worked in the mine, about the conditions in which workers toiled, often from the age of seven, spending 12 hours a day in semi-darkness, inhaling lethal dust. Projections onto invisible screens using iPads and the chance to set off your own explosion bring it all to life.

More info: £20 per person (£5 discount when you buy three tickets, including a child).
Rhonda Carrier  

The Vasa Museum, Stockholm

The ill-fated 17th-century Swedish warship that sunk on its maiden voyage — having got no further than Stockholm's harbour — the Vasa was resurrected from its sea grave 333 years after it capsized. Its well-preserved, carved, gothic hull dwarfs the cathedral-like museum built around it — a ghostly galleon for kids to ogle, with intact canons, masts and oak figureheads vividly visible from five overlooking floors.

Satellite exhibitions explain the ship's salvage and reconstruction, along with the vessel's human stories. The Elsewhere in the 17th Century display puts this tall ship tale in its historical context. From skeletal bones to weighty ballast, this has to be one of the most complete nautical stories ever told.

More info: Adults, SEK130 (£11); under-18s, free.
Sarah Barrell

Historial de la Grande Guerre, Picardy, France

This First World War museum in the 13th-century chateau at Péronne might not sound like a cheery day out, but with this year marking the centenary of the Battle of the Somme, it's the most family-friendly attraction in the region.

Some displays are inset into the floor, with uniforms, weapons and possessions laid out, to help convey that these were real human beings who lived real lives — not just names on a list of the dead.

Books and toys from the era, including trench football pinball, show how the conflict and its related propaganda infected daily life. A new app helps the over-8s make the most of the museum, in languages including English.

More info: Adults, €9 (£7); children (ages 7–15), €4.50 (£3.50); family ticket (2 adults, 2 children), €24 (£27).
Rhonda Carrier

Published in the Summer 2016 issue of National Geographic Traveller Family (UK)


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