Despite appearances, the Dordogne isn’t all about ancient castles and stunning architecture – although this can be fun for Mum and Dad.

There are in fact a wide range of places for kids to while away the hours; whether they’re water enthusiasts, really into animals or history buffs. For those water babies desperate to explore the fluid delights of the area, why not consider taking them to one or more of the water parks and beaches Dordogne has to offer?

In Bergerac, the Aqua Park Junior Land provides not only pools, chutes and canoeing for its visitors, but also table tennis and beach volleyball. The park also provides parents with the option to hire quad and mountain bikes for themselves and the kids; a perfect way to explore the nearby scenery.

Further along in Grojelac, Plan d’Eau de Grolejac contains a large lake and beach, complete with a qualified lifeguard. Its playground and picnic spots provide respite from the water, for both parents and children, and in peak seasons, pedalos are available to those looking for a slow float along the water. These are also on offer in Etang du Ligal, in Langquais, where the exciting water slide is sure to entertain kids of all ages.

Or for a more scenic swimming experience, tourists could head to Le Paradou, in Parcoul. Set by the River Dronne, in the Double Forest, this stunning location is home to the usual watery activities, as well as crazy golf, trampolines and a bar.

Kiddies who love the water – but more because of its contents – would love spending a few hours at the Parc Aquarium du Perigord Noir, in Le Bugue. This 3,000,000-litre aquarium is the largest of its kind in Europe, and treats its inhabitants with the utmost care. Myriad fresh and sea-water fish swim around in the massive tanks, and once the children have worn themselves out counting them all, they can head to the snack bar for a bite to eat.

Those who adore animals of the less aquatic kind should think about spending the day at Le Begue’s Jacqou Park; where highland cattle, llamas and angora goats roam free. Jacqou also boasts a small amusement park, with rides for younger kids and a bouncy castle sure to keep the little monsters entertained.

However some kids just aren’t that into animals, preferring instead to bury themselves in history and worldwide cultures. There’s plenty for them to do in the Dordogne too, such as Le Thot Espace Cro-Magnon, a centre celebrating pre-historic cultures. Its stunning reproduction of the Lascaux caves is sure to excite, as are the pre-historic scenes which have been set up, allowing kids to experience what it was like living in a time long forgotten.

The Dordogne also boasts Western Europe’s oldest and largest cave site, perfect for curious children. La Roque St Christophe is home to some 100 caves, and at its most popular time, was the site 1,000 people called home. It spans 900 metres, and visitors will delight in the faint paintings left on the walls by these pre-historic artists.

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