Father’s Day 2019: The best things to do with your dad

Joanna Whitehead

With Father’s Day fast approaching on Sunday 16 June, we’ve selected some of the best experiences to make your dad’s day extra special.

Become master of the barbecue

Cook up a storm at the London Barbecue School (istock)

Alfresco cooks will love the classes on offer at London Barbecue School, which specialises in the art of smoking and slow roasting. The five-hour Low and Slow class is the school’s signature course, teaching budding chefs how to set up a barbecue, select and prepare meat and fuel, and add flavour with marinades, rubs and smoke. Predictably, classes are fully booked this weekend, but a voucher for a future session will spark a fire in the heart of any cook.

Drool over classic cars

Get your motor running at Hever Castle (Cove Studios Sittingbourne)

Petrolheads assemble! Hever Castle in Kent is hosting a supercar weekend on 15 and 16 June for dads who like things fast and furious. Saturday 15 June sees a selection of Alfa Romeos on display, while Ferraris take centre stage on Sunday 16 June. In addition, two rare Lancias, a Lancia Fulvia 1600 and Lancia Integrale will also be on display, as well as bikes and a car driven by the world famous F1 champion Sir John Surtees. Kids will also have the chance to take part in a free craft workshop to make dad a decoration to hang from his rear view mirror. Start your engines…

Bond over the beautiful game

Nikita Parris of England celebrates with team mates (Getty Images)

If your dad’s not already on board with the FIFA Women’s World Cup, now’s the perfect opportunity to convert him. Sunday sees defending champions and world number one the USA competing against Chile (kick off at 5pm, BBC2), while Sweden go head-to-head against Thailand (BBC red button and online). The recent England v Scotland game broke UK TV viewing figures for women’s football and, well – if it’s good enough for Gary Lineker…

Get some artistic inspiration

Keith Haring’s biggest UK exhibition to date opens at Tate Liverpool on 14 June 2019 (FRANCOIS GUILLOT/AFP/Getty )

Today sees the opening of the first major UK exhibition of Keith Haring at Tate Liverpool, with more than 85 artworks on display, while York Art Gallery’s exhibition Ruskin, Turner and the Storm Cloud: Watercolours and Drawings explores our relationship with the environment and mental health. With only a few weeks remaining, this show includes a dozen works by Turner and more than 40 by Ruskin, plus art from Constable, John Inchbold and Hubert Herkomer. Further north, Dundee’s new V&A gallery cuts an impressive figure on the waterside – plus, most of its exhibitions are free to enter.

Tickle your funny bone

Enjoy a giggle with your dad at Bristol’s Hippodrome (Matt Cardy/Getty)

If the steady stream of news is getting you down, suspend reality for a while and catch some comedy. With many performers showcasing Edinburgh Festival previews, now is a great time to catch some of the UK’s best comedians. On Sunday 16 June, The Wardrobe in Leeds hosts Jamali Maddix and Ed Night, while Bristol Hippodrome presents Funny Bones, a night of comedy with The Mash Report’s Nish Kuma, Laura Lexx, Jake Lambert and friends. Best of all, the event will be raising funds for Bristol city hospitals. Find a comedy night near you here.

Get out in the garden

Take some time to stop and smell the flowers (istock)

If nothing else, the UK’s relentless wet weather does mean we’re spoilt for choice when it comes to English country gardens. Green-fingered dads will love the opportunity to get some gardening inspo in some of our most impressive green spaces. Great Dixter House and Gardens in East Sussex is the famous garden of Christopher Lloyd and contains plenty of interesting plants and colour schemes, while Stourhead in Wiltshire boasts a remarkable sunken garden. Throughout June, this watery landscape is also celebrating Floralia: an ancient Roman festival in honour of Flora, goddess of flowers and spring, with rhododendrons and azaleas in full and magnificent bloom.

Pet some fur babies

Make some furry new friends this Father’s Day (istock)

Let dad channel his inner Chris Packham at the Avon Valley Adventure and Wildlife Park near Bath this Father’s Day, when dads pay just £1 entry when accompanying a full paying child – this also includes grandfathers and great grandfathers. The park is home to more than 150 animals, including reindeer, alpacas, pygmy goats and reptiles. Visitors of all ages can join in the regular animal handling sessions that take place throughout the day at weekends, before taking a steady stroll along the pretty riverside trail.

Ignite a love of literature

Exercise the grey matter with a new book (istock)

If your dad loves nothing better than getting lost in the pages of a good book, consider taking him to a literary festival. With over 350 taking place throughout the UK each year, there’s bound to be something happening near you. This weekend alone sees events taking place at the Balham Literary Festival, Belfast Book Festival, Greenwich Book Festival, Montgomeryshire Literature Festival (Monty Lit Festival) and Winchester Writer’s Festival.

Take a boozy tour

Treat your dad to a dram in the beautiful Scottish countryside (istock)

A brewery tour is a great idea if your dad likes a tipple. From cider to ale, wine to whisky, there’s guaranteed to be a tour – and tasting opportunities – to satisfy all palates. We like Oxfordshire’s Wychwood and Brakspear brewery tour and, further north, Scotland’s Malt Whisky Trail: a partnership of nine whisky destinations in Speyside, home to the largest concentration of Scotch malt whisky distilleries in the world.

Uncover the past

Explore the past at historic Dover Castle (istock)

We’re fortunate in the UK to have incredible historical sites to explore and conserve. English Heritage is responsible for over 400 of these around England, while Historic Environment Scotland and Cadw are the major bodies protecting our heritage in Scotland and Wales respectively. The National Trust also cares for many of the UK’s historic homes and gardens and is the largest membership organisation in the UK. Some of the most popular sites include Brodsworth Hall and Gardens, Dover Castle and Leeds Castle in Kent.