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21 family-friendly days out for exploring engineering this summer

18 June 2019

If your child likes to know how things work, and you want to help foster their interest in all things engineering-related, these free or low-cost family days out are just for you. 

21 family-friendly days out for exploring engineering this summer

Taking place all over the country, businesses, schools and cities are hosting events designed to inspire and educate the public about the built environment around them, through fun engineering-themed activities for all ages.

See what’s on near you this summer.


1. Explore Engineering – Kelvin Bridges Walk

Where: Botanic Gardens, Glasgow

When: 11am – 2pm, 21 June 2019.

Cost: Free

Meet at The Kibble Palace, Botanic Gardens, for a guided walk about bridges on the River Kelvin. Walk finishes at Kelvingrove Museum.

2. Explore Engineering – Forth Bridges Road Trip

Where: South Queensferry, Edinburgh

When: 6pm – 7.30pm, 23 June 2019.

Cost: Adults £14, child £7

This 90-minute boat trip along the Firth of Forth explores the civil engineering marvels that are the Forth Bridges.

It will include commentary that will give insight into how the bridges work and how they’ve transformed our lives.

Arrive at 5.45pm for 6pm departure.

Booking required.

Read more.

Forth Crossings.

Northern Ireland

3. The Walls at UU Magee

Where: Ulster University, Northland Rd Entrance, Derry/Londonderry, BT48 7JL.

When: 11am – 12pm, 21 June 2019.

Cost: Free

During the 400th anniversary celebrations of the “Walled City”, three groups from Ulster University, Magee, were tasked with “constructing” the Walled City using modern-day civil engineering techniques.

Visitors will be able to compare, first hand, the different civil engineering techniques from the past and present. Suitable for all ages. Under-18s must be accompanied by an adult.

Read more.

4. Carrickfergus Gasworks – Explore Engineering

Where: 44 Irish Quarter West, Carrickfergus, BT38 8AT

When: 2pm – 5pm, 21 June 2019 and 23 June 2019.

Carrickfergus Gasworks, which has been around since 1855, is the sole surviving coal gasworks in Ireland.

This tour will allow you to climb the gas holders for a panoramic view of the town.

Read more.

5. The Derry Walls, Designed by Engineers – Explore Engineering

Where: Guildhall, Derry/Londonderry, BT48 7BB

When: 10.30am - 12.30pm, 3pm – 5pm, 23 June.

Learn about how 17th century town fortifications influenced the development of the science of engineering.

The event is suitable for over-12s, and anyone under 18 must be accompanied by an adult.

Read more.

6. Magilligan Martello Tower

Where: Magilligan Point Road, Limavady, County Londonderry, BT49 0LP

When: 11am – 4pm, 22 June 2019

Suitable for all ages, this free event will give visitors a feel for what life was like for soldiers that manned Martello Tower during the Napoleonic Wars. You’ll be able to see how they were armed, what equipment they used, and how they were dressed.

Read more.


Menai Suspension Bridge.


7. ICE Wales Cymru Family and Friends Day 2019

Where: Mountain View Ranch, Tongwynlais, Cardiff

When: 11am – 4pm, 23 June 2019.

ICE is running a range of engineering-related activities in a field next to the start of the Gruffalo Trail at Mountain View Ranch.

The event will feature the famous 15m-long #ICEBridgetoSchools model of the Second Severn Crossing, and there will also be an ICE Invisible Superheroes-themed trail using the Gruffalo Trail.

Make sure you book online, as you’ll be asked to pay the full admission fee if your name isn’t on the guest list.


8. Explore Engineering – walking tours of the two historic bridges across the Menai Straits

Where: Meet at Thomas Telford Centre

When: Tours start at 10am and at 2pm, lasting 2.5 hours. 23 June 2019.

Cost: £5 per adult, £3 per child

The walking tours, which start at the Thomas Telford Centre, will go over and underneath the Suspension Bridge, and underneath the Britannia Bridge.

Booking is essential due to limited space.

9. Explore Engineering – tour of the historic Bridge House

Where: The Bridge House, Menai Suspension Bridge, Holyhead Road, Bangor, LL57 2HZ

When: Tours start at 9.30am, 11.15am, 1.15pm, 3pm, 22 June 2019.

Cost: £5 per adult, £3 per child

Four tours, each lasting 1.5 hours, will be taking place of the historic, and seldom-opened Bridge House, where the great chains that anchor the Menai Suspension Bridge are fixed.

This event isn’t suitable for children under 5, unfortunately. Sensible shoes are essential, and hard hats will be provided.

Booking is essential due to limited space.

Yorkshire and Humber


10. Explore Engineering: a civilised place walk

Where: Sheffield Cathedral

When: 10.45am - 12.45pm, Friday 21 June 2019, Sunday 23 June 2019.

Meet at Sheffield Cathedral for a pushchair- and wheelchair-friendly walk with knowledgeable guide David Tatersall, as he tells the stories behind some of the city’s most recognisable landmarks, including The Winter Garden, Millennium Galleries and Sheffield Passenger Transport Interchange.

North West England


11. Science and Industry Museum & Castlefield Tour

Where: Meet at the Science and Industry Museum, Liverpool Road, Manchester, M3 4FP

When: 11am, 1pm, 2pm, 22 June 2019

This walk, led by ICE North West Graduates and Students Committee, will take visitors of all ages around a number of historical structures in Castlefield.

The tour will take place three times on the day, each lasting around 20 to 30 minutes.


12. Albert Dock tour

Where: Merseyside Maritime Museum, Albert Dock, Liverpool, L3 4AQ

When: 10:30am - 12:30pm, 22 June 2019.

Learn about the engineering history of the Albert Dock estate in the 1840s on this walk organised by ICE Merseyside and ICE North West Historical Engineering Group.

Meet outside the front entrance to the Dock Traffic Office for the 1km-long walk.

Read more.

South West England


13. Guided Cotswold Canal Walk

Where: Wallbridge Visitor Centre, Wallbridge Lock, Stroud

When: Tours start at 10am and last for 1.5 hours. The final tour will start at 1pm. 22 June 2019.

Stroudwater Navigation is one of the country’s earliest canals, built in the 1770s to link Stroud with the River Severn. This tour will explain to visitors the work of the Cotswold Canals Trust, which has been working to restore these canals since the early 1970s.


14. Plymouth Engineering Extravaganza

Where: Devonport Guildhall, Ker Street, Plymouth

When: 10am – 2pm, 22 June 2019

Don’t miss out on this free, family fun event, with lots of exciting engineering activities for all the family to enjoy.

Activities will include virtual reality demonstrations, an interactive sandpit, face painting, bridge building and flood resilience activities.

London and South East England


15. Romsey Waterways

Where: Alma Road Car Park, Alma Road, Romsey SO51 8BS

When: 1.30pm - 4.30pm, 23 June 2019

Visit the Romsey Signal box and go on a 7km (4.5 miles) walk around the Romsey Flood Alleviation Scheme, to see some historic features and learn about the future of water management in the town.

Email [email protected] to book the signal box visit in advance.


16. Historic walk along the River Medway

Where: Meet at East Farleigh Bridge, Farleigh Lane, Farleigh, Maidstone ME14 0JG

When: 9.45am, Friday 21 June 2019

At about 5.5 miles, this is not a walk for too little legs, but there’s no reason why you can’t join for part of the walk and stop off, if so.

Meet at East Farleigh Bridge, thought to be the oldest medieval bridge in Kent. The walk will go from here to Yalding at The Boathouse, not far from Yalding Railway Station.

There’s no need to book, but if you do want to go along, email [email protected] with the details of the number in your group.


Tower Bridge. Image credit: E. Dichtl/Pixabay

17. Explore Engineering: East London Cycle tour to Abbey Mills Pumping station

Where: Meet at Southwark Gateway Needle

When: 10am – 12.30pm, 23 June 2019.

ICE London has partnered with Southwark Cyclists to do a cycle tour that takes in civil engineering sights such as Abbey Mills Pumping Station, Limehouse Basin, Wapping Hydraulic Power Station, Wapping station, St Katherine’s Dock and Tower Bridge.

You’ll have to bring your own bike, but Santander bikes will be enough for this leisurely ride.

Approximate cycle route.

18. Fantastic Feats – Architecture of London Family Day

Where: Guildhall Art Gallery, Guildhall Yard, EC2V 5AE

When: 11am – 4pm, 22 June 2019

Bring your family to help create an art installation on the architecture and engineering of London. There will be a range of activities throughout the day, including storytelling and a family trail.

Read more.

19. Open House Families

Where: London, multiple locations

When: 22-23 June 2019

There are loads of free and fun, family-friendly events on around London this weekend that are ideal for craft-crazy kids who love to build constructions out of a whole range of materials, from cardboard to Lego.

Read more.

20. Big Fat Poo Bergers – Fantastic Feats

Where: Aldgate Square, London, EC3N 1AF

When: 12pm – 6pm, 19-22 September 2019

The Bureau Of Silly Ideas (BOSI) is celebrating the 200th birthday of the inventor of London’s sewers, Joseph Bazalgette, with free activities throughout the summer. BOSI will play with water, smells, pipes and sewers, finishing with what it promises will be a September spectacular.

Read more.

21. Tower Bridge celebrates its 125th anniversary

Where: Tower Bridge, London

When: 29 – 30 June 2019

For one weekend, general admission to Tower Bridge will be reduced to just £1.25. There will be 125 free, themed family activities taking place throughout the weekend.

Read more.

  • Anh Nguyen, content strategy manager at ICE