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Welcome to a West Country summer (this time a hot one)

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: July 20, 2013

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At last it looks as if our children might be able to enjoy an Enid Blyton summer with long, warm, sunny days to play out in and make their own adventures.

The weather couldn't be better for the start of the summer holidays and no doubt the kids are already nagging to go down the beach. Not having to entertain bored children cooped up indoors because of rain will come as a relief to parents who have had the last few summer holidays ruined by dismal weather.

But the fine, sunny weather is also perfect for making the most of all the West Country has to offer. Whether it's enjoying a break in one of our many resorts or a day trip to a local park, you can't go wrong exploring the attractions in the West.

At the minute everybody is heading down to the beach and enjoying the best Mother Nature has to offer, which is abundant in this beautiful part of the world. Make the most of it because the stunning coastline and breathtaking countryside look so much better bathed in the natural golden glow of a summer day rather than covered in a blanket of grey.

But kids being kids, the novelty of picnics in the countryside and playing with buckets and spades on the sand will soon wear off and they will be casting their eye around for something exciting to do.

When that happens there are plenty of places to take them to break up long weeks, or even as weekend treat.

From days out on heritage railways to small music festivals, there's so much to enjoy.

And if you want to make it a little more special, why not go by bus? It may sound strange but something as simple a bus journey can be a special treat to a young child used to being ferried door-to-door in a car.

Whatever you decide to do, one thing's for sure, the wonderful West Country is the place to do it.

Because even if the temperatures dip a few degrees or the rain clouds return, there's so much to see and do on your own doorstep.

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Kids may not be surprised to hear their parents singing "I don't like Monday" but will they know the Boomtown Rats when they appear on stage at Chagstock, Whiddon Down, near Chagford this weekend? This has been described as the best small and friendly festival in the South West. It started as a party for friends but this year 5,000 people will be camping on the edge of Dartmoor to enjoy artists such as Dizraeli and the Small Gods, Mystery Jets, Billy Bragg, and Kathryn Roberts and Sean Lakeman.

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See the British Airways' brand new A380, the world's largest commercial airline, fly with the Red Arrows at The Royal International Air Tattoo at Fairford in Gloucesteshire this weekend. Blue skies are promised for the popular annual event and a dry run over the White Cliffs of Dover has proved they can achieve the precision needed for the ambitious flypast.

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Instead of singing endless renditions of 'Wheels on the Bus' to entertain the little ones, why not take them out on real one? For just £7.50 per head you can enjoy unlimited travel across four counties in the South West. It means you can get to Bristol, Bath and Weston-super-Mare without fighting your way through traffic as the kids do battle in the back seat and you can forget about that nightmare hunt for an empty parking space. Make the bus ride part of the fun and if you can't resist turning it into an educational exercise ask the older kids to help plan your journeys at www.travelwest.info which has everything you need to know about exploring Bath & NE Somerset, Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire.

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If you'd rather let the train take the strain West Somerset Railway is running its steam engines between Bishops Lydeard, near Taunton and Minehead every day in the school holidays and a new package deal, which has to be pre-booked, means you can spend the afternoon in Butlins.

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his weekend why not take the kids to meet their favourite orange-eyed and purple prickled monster. Yes the Gruffalo is at the Dean Heritage Centre in Soudley, the Forest of Dean. The popular Gruffalo's Child interactive, woodland trail is open all summer but this weekend Julia Donaldson's creation will be making a personal appearance and there will be photo-opportunites and additional activities such as story-telling. If you are the kind of person who can't resist taking something home, go on Sunday when there will be an auction of the carved characters from the original trail.

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In our day it was cowboys and Indians, these days its gangsters and gunslingers. Both are celebrated at the American Museum in Claverton Manor, Bath. There is a shuttle bus from Bath town centre and three trails to keep the little loves amused while you take time to admire the period rooms in the Georgian mansion, take tea on the terrace and stroll in the gardens. In your dreams!

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The whole family can enjoy a taste of country life and the grandparents can take a walk down memory lane at Somerset Steam and Country Show this weekend. As well as working steam traction engines and models, there will be ploughing demonstrations, crafts, fun fair and displays by dogs and birds of prey. Weekend camping is available and under-16s are free. Head for Low Ham Farm Langport, Somerset.

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Instead of slumping in front of Saturday Kitchen head over to Gloucester Quays where James Martin is one of the celebrity chefs at a three-day food festival. Mary Berry starts it all off on Friday and TV chefs James Martin and Gino D' Acampo will be giving live demonstrations. As well as speciality food stalls, there is a 'village green and lawn area' next to the music and entertainment stage. It's also a good excuse to do some cut price designer shopping – for Le Creuset pans of course! At night you can get a babysitter and nip to Postlip Hall, Winchcombe for the Cotswold beer festival.

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You might have to pack plenty of cheese sandwiches to keep you going, but children of all ages will enjoy the Gromit trail in Bristol. Don't expect to see all 80 Gromits decorated by celebrities and artists in one expedition because you would have to cover over 200 miles. But you do have the next ten weeks to finish the trail so there's no excuse. As well as Bristol landmarks, Gromit Unleashed has work at Westonbirt Arboretum in Gloucestershire and Cheddar Gorge in Somerset. You can use a map or an app and even have a go at designing your own Gromit at the Radisson Blu Hotel which is running a competition.

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Feeling romantic? They can't promise Colin Firth in a wet shirt but Jane Austen fans can still enjoy 200 years of Pride and Prejudice 1995 style at festival this weekend. Costume experts will demonstrate Jane's fashions and a tour of TV, film and real locations has been laid on which takes in the village of Lacock. Budding Elizabeth Bennets can imagine Mr Darcy marking their card at an afternoon dance in the private house used as Longbourn, in the famous 1995 BBC TV adaptation of the novel.

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It's a few weeks away bit don't forget about tickets for Camp Bestival in the grounds of Lulworth Castle at the beginning of August. A child-friendly, quirky alternative to the Isle of Wight's Bestival, CBeebies' superstar Mr Tumble appears on the same bill as ex-Pulp man Richard Hawley and comedian Alan Davies. It is aimed at people aged from three to 83 and the line up includes The Proclaimers, Billy Bragg,The Farm and the Levellers and DJ sets from Grandmaster Flash.

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