Star Wars is back! Thirty years after defeating the Galactic Empire, Han Solo and his team of trusted allies are back defending the galaxy once again in Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens.
The movie will be a family favourite this Christmas, as the intrepid intergalactic warriors fight a new threat from the evil Kylo Ren and his army of Stormtroopers.
To celebrate the return of this cult classic, VisitEngland tells you the top sci-fi experiences across the country that will keep both big and little Jedi entertained and safe from the ‘Dark Side’.
Here’s the Top 10 Star Wars experiences:
Explore the Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens film location, Puzzlewood, Gloucestershire
Puzzlewood’s forests and ancient ruins have inspired some of the best fantasy and sci-fi productions of the last decade, and have recently hosted film crews for Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens. The woods are a maze of self-tours and pathways winding through gullies of moss covered rocks, twisted roots of Yew trees and look outs.
It is also rumoured that these ancient woods were the inspiration for the forests of Middle Earth in The Lord of the Rings, so you can imagine yourself strolling through the elven realms of Mirkwood and Lothlórien as you explore the undergrowth.
See Wyedean Tourism
Check out Hubble at 25 at the Centre for Life, Newcastle
The Centre for Life in Newcastle upon Tyne is a science village where scientists, clinicians, educationalists and business people come together to promote advancement of the life sciences. Experience their stunning planetarium – the biggest in the North of England – and join the inspiring Science Explainers doing demonstrations in the Science Theatre.
Have the ride of your life on the motion simulator ride and little ones will enjoy having fun in the Young Explorers’ Zone.
The fascinating Hubble at 25 exhibition shows how the infamous Space Telescope has change the way we see our universe, and learn about its amazing triumphs as well as near-miss disasters over 25 years of communicating from space.
LEGO Star Wars Miniland Model Display, Legoland, Windsor
The Force is all around the LEGOLAND Windsor Resort this winter as guests can enjoy seven of the most famous scenes from the six live-action Star Wars movies, as well as a scene from the animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars, all made out of 1.5 million LEGO bricks built in 1:20 scale.
Follow the chronological path through the Star Wars timeline and retrace the major events of the beloved Saga featuring 1,500 LEGO models, authentic sounds, and lighting effects, in the ultimate LEGO Star Wars experience.
Warminster Alien Portal Destruction, Warminster, Wiltshire
Warminster is renowned for being the country’s UFO capital and home to unofficial UFO ‘observatories’. For almost 50 years it has been a meeting place for UFO spotters, drawn by talk of lights in the sky, flying objects and other unidentifiable oddities.
Treasure Trails, the hugely popular self-guiding activity, takes visitors around villages, towns and cities to solve clues that can be found on buildings, statues and monuments. Warminster Alien Portal Destruction is the popular UFO-themed trail to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Warminster Thing (see below).
See Treasure Trails
Spaceport, Wallasey, Wirral, Liverpool
Spaceport takes visitors on an inspirational journey through space. Become a virtual astronaut in the incredible 360-degree, fully-immersive Space Dome show; fly through the galaxy in the Space Explorer craft; admire the Solar System and Milky Way, or venture into the Alien Zone.
With six different themed galleries brimming with interactive hands-on exhibits and audio-visual displays, this is a family experience with a difference. But be warned: children might not want to come back down to earth!
National Space Centre, Leicestershire
The award-winning National Space Centre is the UK’s largest attraction dedicated to space. From the minute you catch sight of the Space Centre’s futuristic Rocket Tower, you’ll be treated to hours of breath-taking discovery and interactive fun.
Home to the UK’s largest planetarium, The National Space Centre is a hands-on, interactive journey through six stunning galleries. Interactive exhibits, shows and simulators allow children to explore black holes and the universe, and test-drive a martin rover robot.
Assess your family’s mental and physical ability and see if they’ve got what it takes to become an astronaut, or blast off on a stunning 3D SIM journey to the ice moon Europa.
On December 15 you can join the Space Centre to watch the live coverage of UK born ESA Astronaut Tim Peake blast off for his six month mission on the International Space Station.
See Space Centre
The hands-on science centre Explore and its planetarium offer an amazing world of hands-on discovery, where exploration and education go hand in hand with an unforgettable, fun day out. Take a trip to the stars beneath an immersive domed screen in Explore’s very own planetarium. Sit back and discover coloured stars, giant planets and how to navigate your way through space. If you have ever wondered how stars are made, or how to find the constellations in the night sky, here is your chance to find out.
The Science Museum, London
The Science Museum is world-renowned for its historic collections, awe-inspiring galleries, family activities and exhibitions – and, even better, it’s completely free.
See thousands of life-changing scientific inventions from Stephenson’s Rocket to the Apollo 10 command module, and encounter the past, present and future of technology in seven floors of free galleries, including the Museum’s famous hands-on galleries where children have fun investigating science with dedicated Explainers.
From firm favourites to world firsts, Launchpad is packed with over 50 interactive exhibits, plus electrifying shows and lively demos, all from the wonderful world of physics.
See the Science Museum
International Dark Sky Park, Northumberland
Northumberland Dark Sky Park comprises the whole of Northumberland National Park and most of Kielder Water & Forest Park, totalling 572 square miles or 14,832 square kilometres. Because of the unpopulated nature of Northumberland Dark Sky Park, you will be amazed by the number of stars you will be able to see on a clear night with no street lights in sight.
A major catalyst for the Northumberland Dark Sky Park initiative has been the phenomenal success of the Kielder Observatory, perched 1,200 feet above forest and moorland in Kielder Water & Forest Park.
As Britain’s largest public observatory, the site has attracted more than 43,000 visitors since its opening in 2008. On average it stages 30 events a month and the observatory is one of Northumberland’s most popular visitor attractions.
See the Kielder Observatory
This little Wiltshire town was at the centre of controversy in the 1960s when a number of locals reported a number of UFO sightings – and the eeriness isn’t confined to the past. Mysterious noises, intriguing balls of light and odd shadows in the sky attract visitors from all over the UK to hunt across Cradle Hill and neighbouring Stonehenge for a glimpse of the alien action. The Bishopstrow House Hotel, prices from £120 per night.
See Bishopstrow House Hotel
For more SCI-FI-inspired attractions and break ideas, see Visit England