Updated: Apr 26
Now is the time to start thinking about some great British family activities to fill those long summer days. And what child doesn’t love treasure hunting?
Luckily Britain is packed with fun and educational things for your mini rockhounds and gemstone enthusiasts to explore. While researching this book, Buying Gemstones and Jewellery in Great Britain, I was able to get the lowdown on tourist experiences.
Here are my top recommendations for family days out.
Visit a mine
Mine visits are always a big hit with kids and adults of all ages. Educational and exciting, the tours allow visitors to learn about life in the mines and see the equipment used in the mining process. Some are working mines, while others are open purely to give you a taste of the past. As well as the mine tours themselves, you’ll also find activities and educational resources above ground. Try Blue John Cavern in Castleton, Killhope in the North Pennines, Poldark Mine near Helston in Cornwall and the Dolaucothi Gold Mine in South Wales.
Go beach combing
Turn your day out at the beach into a hunt for gemstones and other minerals! The Dorset coast, particularly the beach at Lyme Regis, is famous for fossils, but great finds also await you at Whitby beach in North Yorkshire, Folkstone in Kent, Walton-on-the-Naze in Essex or Llantwit Major in South Wales. For those looking for something a bit shinier, why not hunt for jet on Whitby’s beaches or garnet in Elie Bay, Scotland. Get the lowdown on how to maximise your chances of finding a gemstone or two by popping a copy of Buying Gemstones and Jewellery in Great Britain in your pocket.
Try your hand at panning for gold
See if you can spot that tell-tale glint among the gravel by panning for gold. Many of the mines that offer visitor experiences offer gold panning, too. Try the Dolaucothi Gold Mine in South Wales, or head north to The Lead Mining Museum at Wanlockhead in Scotland, where you can purchase a gold panning license, sign up for a taster session, hire some equipment and dip into the streams of the Lowther Hills. For the really enthusiastic among you, the museum also runs longer gold panning courses of 5 hours or 2 days.
Visit a museum
Most of Britain’s major cities have excellent museums, often with an impressive natural history section. You’ll see some fabulous gemstone and mineral specimens at the Natural History Museum in London, the Oxford Natural History Museum, the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery and the Creetown Gemrock Museum in Scotland. For stunning collections of jewellery, try The Crown Jewels collection at the Tower of London, The British Museum or the Victoria and Albert Museum. As an added bonus, all National Museums in the UK are free to enter.
Don't forget to buy and take the book with you!
Happy treasure hunting!
Kim Rix, GG GIA
Be sure. Be smart. Buy with confidence