Share your experiences of UK museums for kids and win a £200 hotel voucher

With the half-term break on the horizon tell us your day trip tips on museums and galleries that have a wow factor for kids

Long gone are the days when children wandered around our revered institutions in a state of extreme boredom, when the best they could hope to see was a skeleton in a glass case. Museums today use technology to create exciting interactive exhibits and run activities to engage young imaginations – and this half term many children will be chomping at the bit to visit them … hopefully. Tell us which UK museums your children have most enjoyed, and the places that go the extra mile to enthral them.

Send us a tip via GuardianWitness of around 100 words.

The best tips will appear in print in next weekend’s Travel section and the winner, chosen by Lonely Planet, will receive a £200 hotel voucher from, allowing you to stay in more than 260,000 places worldwide. Submit your tip by clicking the blue button and using the text tab.

You’re welcome to add a photo if you own the copyright to it – but it’s the text we’ll be judging.

No ticket required: see top art for free at Venice’s San Giorgio Maggiore

Across the water from the Doge’s Palace and Saint Mark’s Square, the island of San Giorgio is an integral part of the classic Venetian vista. The white facade and tall bell tower of Palladio’s majestic 16th-century church were immortalised in paintings by Canaletto, Monet and Turner. The church is one of the few in Venice that does not charge an entry fee, and inside there are paintings by Tintoretto – including his Last Supper, painted in 1592–94 – Jacopo Bassano and Palma Giovane.

But Palladio’s masterpiece is only one of many surprising free attractions here. San Giorgo is the headquarters of the Cini foundation, whose arts centre, next to the church, hosts regular, free, exhibitions.

And during each Venice Biennale (ends 26 November 2017) this is a prestigious “collateral venue”. Tickets to the Biennale Gardens are €25, but on San Giorgio, free shows running through the autumn include a show devoted to one of Murano’s greatest glass makers, the artist Vittorio Zecchin, and one on the early 20th-century Italian actress Lyda Borelli. The only paid attraction is the bell tower, a reasonable €3 to take the lift to the top, with much less of a queue than for the San Marco tower, and a much better view.

Galicia coast holiday guide: the best beaches, bars, restaurants and hotels

Lush green valleys and rugged mountains, sheer cliffs and wild, frothing, slate-grey seas. Bagpipes, baroque cathedrals and the smell of grilled seafood. The architectural grace of Santiago de Compostela and the industrial churn of Vigo. Galicia, the north-west corner of Spain, is a diverse region, but amid the variety there are two constants: first, it’s one of the best places to eat seafood in the world; and, second, its wild landscape, seemingly more Scottish than Spanish, is the most beautiful on the Iberian peninsula.

Galicia is also large, about three-quarters the size of the Netherlands, and so for this guide we’ll travel along its coast, picking out some of the best beaches, coastal towns and seafood restaurants from Ribadeo and Ortigueira in the north via A Coruña and the Costa da Morte and then south to the area known as the Rías Baixas. Although Galicia is good to visit all year round, the best time to go is from June to September. However, even during the hottest months of the year, be prepared for rain, which can be heavy and, at times, persistent.

Praia das Catedrais, Ribadeo
In Galician, Praia das Catedrais means “beach of the cathedrals” and, as you walk along this beach and through the arches and craggy domes sculpted into the rocks by wind and sea, it is easy to see why. When the tide is low, and the weather holds, it’s possible to spend hours exploring the sea caves. In summer (1 July to 30 September) and Easter week, numbers are controlled and it’s vital to book a visit to the beach (free) at

O Barqueiro and Estaca de Bares
O Barqueiro, a small, tranquil fishing village of multicoloured houses, is the perfect place to pass the afternoon staring out at the bay while sipping a nice glass of albariño, Galicia’s most famous grape varietal. From here it’s only a 15-minute drive north to Estaca de Bares, the most northerly point of the Iberian peninsula. Its 19th-century lighthouse is a quiet place from which to appreciate the uninterrupted views of the Bay of Biscay and the relentless ferocity of the Atlantic.

Set amid rolling hills covered with pines and eucalyptus trees, Viveiro is on the estuary of the river Landro. It is a picturesque place, with walls that have withstood pirate attacks and plagues, and springs that have attracted countless Santiago pilgrims. Wander through its idyllic squares, its grand entrance gates and over its medieval bridges. Covas beach is also only a short walk from the town centre.

Praia de Xilloi, O Vicedo
Replete with dunes, imposing cliffs, and fine white sand, this kilometre-long beach is one of the best in Lugo province. The turquoise waters, although brisk, are not too dissimilar to the Caribbean. The beach has parking, showers and restaurants nearby and is a good place for families.

Where to eat and drink
A Lonxa, Burela
This traditional cafe-bar-restaurant is the haunt of local fishermen. It may have a school-canteen vibe but the food is simple and delicious. The product is the protagonist here, not the chef. Try the steamed clams (€12) to start, followed by the fried bonito (€10). The swordfish is also excellent.

Where to see spectacular autumn colours around the world: our readers’ tips

Winning tip: Ojców national park, Poland
They call it the Złota Polska Jesień – the Polish Golden Autumn. It’s when the oaks and sycamores around Krakow do their best New England impression. Just 20 minutes’ drive north of the city is the smallest national park in the country: Ojców. A series of small, sylvan valleys turns into a beautiful patchwork of ochre and rust-red starting in September. There are forest trails running past streams, caves and crooked cottages. You can climb up to lookout points for views over the tops of the woods, and see Ojców Castle studding the hillside like something out of Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

Bolton Abbey, North Yorkshire
A walk through Strid Wood with its sessile oaks and Wharfe river views takes in various types of autumnal wonder. The abbey is wonderful abbey, there’s a river feature called the Strid, where the Wharfe suddenly narrows, or a longer stroll to the top of Simon’s Seat in the moors to view the season’s multicoloured glories from above.
Jamie Samuel

Lake District
As you stroll along Windermere to the centre of Ambleside, autumn colours are abundant. Looking across the water, it seems that the treeline is alight with red and orange leaves. As you round the bend on to the road into town, you are faced with a hillside that celebrates autumn at its best, highlighting different colours throughout the day. Catch it at just the right time in the morning and you’ll see the mist creeping down and giving the trees an eerie presence. Catch it as the sun is descending in the late afternoon and you’ll be amazed at the vibrancy of the colours as the leaves are framed by the light from the setting sun.
Alice Southern

Westonbirt Arboretum, Gloucestershire
The entire arboretum is fascinating at any time of year, but in late October the acer (Japanese maple) glade is absolutely magical. It’s a good idea to stay at the Hare and Hounds hotel (doubles from £125 B&B), which almost adjoins the arboretum and go to Westonbirt early in the morning to beat all the daytrippers and photographers because it does get very busy in the autumn. Another attraction is a new 300-metre aerial walkway that takes you 13 metres up into the canopy.

Herne Hill, London
After picking up a coffee in Herne Hill or breakfast at the wonderful Lido Cafe, take a stroll around Brockwell Park for wonderful views of the London skyline and beautiful autumnal colours. One place to stay or go for a drink is the Half Moon, right on the doorstep.

Dolgoch ‘rainforest’, north Wales
Snowdonia national park provides some of the richest, and most unspoilt autumnal views in the world. The Talyllyn Railway spoils visitors not just with a seven-mile journey from the Tywyn seafront up the beautiful Fathew valley towards the peak of Cader Idris on steam trains, but also gives direct access to the autumnal majesty of the Dolgoch Falls and Nant Gwernol woodland. Alighting at Dolgoch station and following the waymarked trails, visitors are soon amid the valley’s temperate rainforest habitat, sometimes referred to as the Celtic Rainforest, surrounded by ancient trees and carpets of moss and ferns. This habitat is full of life and, in autumn, the landscape glows in lush greens and golden browns.

The glorious town of Peebles, an hour’s drive south of Edinburgh, is scenic at all times of year but, come early October, the trees that surround the town explode into a riot of colour. For close-ups of huge specimens (including the caramel-smelling Japanese katsura tree) visit the nearby superb Dawyck botanic gardens (adult £6.50, child free), which has an excellent cafe. Peebles itself has a top-notch coffee shop/chocolate boutique, Cocoa Black.
Gavin Pearson

Cinque Terre, Italy
Autumn is the best season to see and sense the explosion of colours in the woods and paths high above the Mediterranean as you walk from one town in Italy’s Cinque Terre to another. The Sentiero Azzurro connects the villages between Monterosso al Mare and Riomaggiore over 12km and will take you from shady copses sheltered by red- and gold-leafed trees to deep green olive groves before you emerge into sunlit walkways with views of the shimmering sea. However, some of the route is closed at present (most famously the Via del’Amore at Riomaggiore, reopening in 2019) due to landslides, and in autumn there are often closures as wet weather damages paths. On some sections there’s a charge if €5-€7 to use the path – the money helps with repair bills.

Great outdoor activities in Colorado: readers’ tips

Winning tip: Strawberry Park Hot Springs
Strawberry Hot Springs in the Rockies mixes very hot natural spring water with ice-cold runoff from melted snow. There are a number of pools at different temperatures, including (for the brave) an all-cold pool. The rustic design is very peaceful and attracts locals and tourists. One local said: “After dark you can tell who’s from out of town because they’re the ones wearing swimsuits!”
• Adult from $15, child (3-17, daylight hours only) from $8,

Run away to Glenwood Springs
The relaxing hot springs of Glenwood Springs, between Aspen and Vail, make a perfect getaway. Nearby, the Hanging Lake Trail ascends more than a mile and hugs a rushing river. At the top is a pristine lake with trout and a lovely waterfall. It’s definitely worth the hike.

Ballooning, Steamboat Springs
he best way to enjoy the spectacle and variety of Colorado’s mountains, valleys and lakes is from a hot air balloon. At Steamboat Springs, northern Colorado, colourful balloon launches begin in the calm early morning hours. As you rise slowly above the misty fields, villages, forests and herds of cattle become visible, the Yampa river snakes its way through grasslands, and snow-topped peaks stretch to the blue horizon in all directions.

Ride the Rockies
Cycle 400 magnificent miles with locals across the mountain passes of Colorado by taking part in the annual, fully supported Ride the Rockies bicycle tour. Each night you stay in a different mountain town and the organisers come up with routes to ensure that some of the most beautiful reaches of the state are included. This year some 2,000 cyclists crossed the stunning 3,300-metre Red Mountain Pass in the San Juan mountains.

Enjoy a ‘Cliffnic’
As a wedding gift, relatives promised us a hotel stay in Estes Park at the gateway to the Rocky Mountains national park, and lunch at a place with “Colorado’s best views”. Little did we realise it would mean abseiling 100ft down a rock face to eat on a portaledge! From the Stanley hotel, our guides drove us, equipped us and then waited on us, zipping the meal down to our ledge. The views were spectacular and food was delicious. As if our dining experience wasn’t scary enough, the Stanley was the inspiration for The Shining, and back in our room the movie played on a loop on one of the TV channels.

Bag a ‘thirteener’ in the Rockies
Colorado has 58 mountains over 14,000 feet high, and every tourist, local and distant cousin wants to “bag a fourteener”. The result is overcrowded trails, especially on the less-challenging fourteeners near Denver, such as Mounts Bierstadt and Evans. Instead, summit one of Colorado’s thirteeners. From Denver, head to Georgetown to Guanella Pass, and spend a beautiful fall day on 13,763ft (4,204 metre) Square Top mountain. Enjoy a top-notch hike with stunning views all the way to the top. Fall colours abound this time of year. The summit view will not disappoint. As a bonus, the hike also offers fantastic close-up views of Mount Bierstadt, as it starts at the same trailhead.
Dianne Cole

Ute Mountain tribal park
This park is more than twice the size of the adjoining and better known Mesa Verde national park, and contains hundreds of wall paintings, petroglyphs and cliff dwellings. There are still pots lying where they fell that broke centuries ago. The tour of the park requires you sign up at Towaoc visitor center, a small office building about two miles from Ute Mountain Casino and Resort (a wonderful place to stay). A tribal guide leads groups of all sizes into the park. There are a number of tours: the half-day one is a very good start ($29pp plus $12pp transport). We first saw Mancos canyon, which has a petroglyph that may be of the 1054 supernova on the canyon wall. You can also camp in the canyon. Our guide, Marshal Deer, told us about the spiritual meanings of petroglyphs.

Share great autumn foodie destinations in Europe for a chance to win a £200 hotel voucher

Autumn is a fantastic time for a foodie trip as festivals and restaurants across Europe celebrate the harvest season. And in many rural areas, old traditions of foraging – for berries, mushrooms, chestnuts and truffles – put dishes on the table that aren’t around at other times of the year.

Tell us about your favourite places in Europe to visit in autumn with full details of the meals, drinks and festivals, and where you tried them. Please also mention walks and places to stay if they formed part of your food trip.

Send us a tip via GuardianWitness of around 100 words.

The best tips will appear in print in next weekend’s Travel section and the winner, chosen by Lonely Planet, will receive a £200 hotel voucher from, allowing you to stay in more than 260,000 places worldwide. Submit your tip by clicking the blue button and using the text tab.

You’re welcome to add a photo if you own the copyright to it – but it’s the text we’ll be judging.

Steep steps and tall tales: a local’s walking tour of Pollença, Mallorca

There’s nothing quite like exploring a new place with a local – and on a Thursday in Pollenca, a town in the north of Mallorca, it’s possible to do just that – for free.

Run by the tourist information office, the three-hour guided walking tour of the old town starts at 10am at the 17th-century Convent de Sant Domingo and takes in eight key sites.

What’s more, free entry into many attractions, including the Pollenca museum, housed in a beautiful old convent and crammed with important works of art, is included, too. The Joan March gardens, with a medieval tower, the 13th-century Our Lady of the Angels church and the Placa de l’Almoina, named for its 18th-century alms house, are among other stops.

There are stories of scandals and crimes, plus plenty of facts about Pollença past and present. The highlight of the tour has to be the 365 Calvari Steps. The guide stops to point out interesting buildings as the group climbs higher, discreetly letting people catch their breath. The view from the top over the pretty old centre and to the coast beyond is spectacular.

Tours run from September to mid-June, but not in peak summer season. Sign up at any tourist office or just go along – but if the group already has more than 30 people, those without a booking may not be able to join in.