Wednesday, 16 August 2017

FAMILY: 50 Things to do in the Midlands

Having lived in the Midlands for the whole of my life I've enjoyed many days out across the region in my time. Now that I have my own family we are constantly trying to think of places to visit and things to do at the weekends or during holidays. Below I've put together my top 50 things to do in the Midlands, many of which I can personally recommend as you can see by the photos dotted throughout. Let's get started... 

Bradgate Park, Newtown Linford - If you're looking for a beautiful place to go for a walk then this is for you. Bradgate Park has woodlands, a stream to paddle in, open fields, hills, paved paths ideal for pushchairs/wheelchairs, deer's and picnic benches dotted throughout. A lovely place to visit with a picnic, flask of tea and a towel for paddling.
Belvoir Castle, Grantham - The Castle has many layers of history throughout, offering its visitors a walk through time and a glimpse at stunning art to admire. You can also enjoy the vast grounds, including Japanese Woodland, formal gardens, duchess garden and many garden walks. There's a tearoom offering a delicious array of meals and snacks or if you're looking for a real treat then you can enjoy an Afternoon Tea.

National Space Centre, Leicester - Rocket into space at the National Space Centre through its Sir Patrick Moore Planetarium, various space related exhibitions and rocket tower. You can learn all about the planets, universe and what life is like for astronauts.

Twinlakes Theme Park, Melton Mowbray - An all action theme park offering rides and attractions for both older and younger children. There's a large indoor soft play area, farm animals, fun seasonal events, Bird of Prey Centre and plenty of roller-coaster rides to be enjoyed.
Hamerton Zoo Park, Nr. Sawtry - There is an wide range of animals to see here, including tigers, tiger cats, wolves, jackal, ring-tailed lemurs, collared lemur, wallaby, anteaters, camel, sloths, bats, donkeys, rabbits, reptiles and cheetahs to name a few. Other attractions include the Express Railroad Train, play areas, picnic areas, stroll-a-safari, gift shop and coffee shop.

Rutland Water Nature Reserve, Nr. Oakham - You can walk around the Nature Reserve on a paved path, making it ideal for pushchairs or wheelchairs. They have various events on throughout the year, such as guided walks, a Nature Detectives Week and bird watching.

Belton House, Belton - You can wander around the classic country house built in the 1680s or discover the beautiful gardens. There is a large children's adventure playground, creative Discovery Centre and a maze. A fantastic combination of history and nature making a lovely family day out.
Twycross Zoo, Atherstone - The World Primate Centre, this is the zoo to visit for all the monkeys and apes. Twycross Zoo focus on breeding endangered primate species, with the UK's only group of bonobos. They also have snow leopards, Asian elephants, penguins, tapir, meerkats and hyenas amongst others. There is a fun indoor soft play area, keeper talks throughout the day and the chance to adopt an animal.
Black Country Living Museum, Dudley - This is the largest open-air museum in the United Kingdom, offering its visitors a chance to go back in time through costumed characters, original period shops and houses, live demonstrations, underground mine, St. James' School, Fairground, Fish & Chip Shop, transport collection, animals and a Pub. A unique museum spread across 26 acres with so much to learn and discover.

Cadbury World, Birmingham - Chocolate heaven. It's as simple as that, with tours around the factory, a trip through the history of chocolate, chocolate bars to eat as you go around and a 4D chocolate adventure. It really is any chocolate lovers dream. They also have special events on throughout the year, so it is worth checking their website prior to visiting.
Hatton Country World, Nr. Warwick - Here there is the combination of Hatton Shopping Village and Hatton Adventure World at the same location, something for adults and children. The Adventure World is packed with fun attractions for children up to 12 years old, including Laser Combat, tractor safari rides, farm animals, parachute slide, PYO (crop varies throughout the year), maize maze and assault course to name a few.

Castle Ashby Gardens, Nr. Northampton - This place takes gardens of a big old house to the next level; they're immaculately kept with a butterfly garden, orangery, menagerie and arboretum amongst other beautiful things to see throughout the grounds. You aren't able to look around the house, but as you walk past it to get to the gardens your breath will be taken away due to its sheer size. Take a picnic or enjoy refreshments from the café, this is the perfect place to visit on a sunny day.


Charlecote Park, Wellesbourne - Discover the public rooms of Charlcote house, along with the Victorian kitchen, outbuildings and parklands. There are Cuddly Critters hidden around the house for children to find, which the room guides will be more than happy to help with.

West Lodge Rural Centre, Desborough - The Rural Centre has a range of farm animals, including: pigs, sheep, ponies, goats, poultry, ducks and geese, as well as fun attractions like a den making area, play barn, outdoor play area and barrel ride. There is plenty to see and do to fill a whole day and a wide range of events on daily, such as pony grooming, piglet racing, bottle feeding the kid goats, craft activities and small animal petting sessions.
Burghley House, Stamford - On a sunny day head to the Garden of Surprises within the grounds on Burghley House because it is filled with basins of water, jets and a mirrored maze. They also have a Beastly Boring Burghley children's guidebook and tours through the Gruesomely Grubby Gardens. If you plan to make the most of the fun water jets then it is worth checking on their website for what attire your children need to wear, so that you go prepared.

Kelmarsh Hall and Gardens, Kelmarsh - The gardens here are simply stunning, vast open space combined with a walled garden filled with colourful flowers and growing vegetables. There is a tearooms offering lunches and cakes and seating outside the front of the house with beautiful views of the house.
Northamptonshire and Lamport Railway, Chapel Brampton - During March to October on Sundays a steam and diesel tourist railway opens throughout the heart of the Northamptonshire countryside. You can buy Day Rover tickets that allow you to ride all of the trains throughout the day, so you can discover the area at your own pace.

Draycote Water, Kites Hardwick - A reservoir surrounded by a five mile flat, tarmac road which is perfect for cycling, walking, pushing a buggy or running around. The road goes all the way around the reservoir with a café located next to the car park and plenty of pretty spots to stop for a picnic next to the water.

Wistow Maze, Nr. Leicester - Every year one of the country's largest maize mazes is set into 8 acres of maize and sunflower crop. The theme for the maze changes each year, with 2017 bringing a focus on Sherlock Holmes. It's perfect for all ages, but is only open throughout the summer months so it is worth checking their website before visiting.
Wicksteed Park, Kettering - Offering a range of children's rides, playground, lake boats, monorail, treetop walk, aviary, indoor soft play and zip wire. An action packed day out perfect for families with younger children.

Warwick Castle, Warwick - Explore the history, magic and myth during your visit to Warwick Castle. There are so many different attractions to visit within the castle grounds, such as: Horrible Histories Maze, Bird of Prey Show, The Castle Dungeons, The Mighty Trebuchet Show to name a few. You can even have a sleepover in the new Knight's Village, adding a mediaeval glamping touch to an already magical experience.

National Sea Life Centre, Birmingham - Dive into the underwater world with the new Octopus Hideout, Penguin Ice Adventure and fish ranging from sharks to clownfish. Talks and feeding sessions are held throughout the day, as well as many special events throughout the year.
Thinktank Science Museum, Birmingham - An award winning science museum that offers interactive exhibits on anything from steam engines to talking robots. There are over 200 hands-on displays throughout the museum, all focused on various aspects of science and technology. There is also a science garden outside and planetarium to discover.

Butterfly Farm, Stratford-upon-Avon - Perfect for those rainy days, the Butterfly Farm is the place to discover hundreds of the world's spectacular and unique butterflies all in a tropical environment. There is also a range of mini-beasts to discover, so one for the creepy crawler lovers.

Brixworth Country Park, Brixworth - Located on the edge of Pitsford Reservoir this country park has a children's play area, café, cycle hire and the little grey men walk trial. It's a great park to take a picnic, go for a wander and let the children enjoy discovering the local woodland.
Daisy Made Ice Cream, Skellingthorpe - Delicious ice-cream is made on the farm, using the milk from Daisy cows. There's a small farm to wander around, crazy golf, jumi cars and a bouncy castle. But, of course, the main focus is the ice-cream with over 60 flavours to choose from you won't be disappointed! There's even an ice-cream drive thru, perfect for a quick stop if you're passing.

Conkers, Nr. Ashby-de-la-Zouch - In the heart of the National Forest it offers a unique combination of indoor and outdoor experiences. In the 120-acre of woodland and lakes there is a sensory walk (think walking through mud, puddles, on stones...all barefoot), a train, activity trial, water play, woodland walks, sky viewing tower, Hi/Lo ropes, tree top walk, 4D cinema experience and paint a pot to name a few.
Riverside Hub, Northampton - Think soft play, but on a new level. Riverside Hub has a soft play experience for all aged children, including a baby sensory room, toddler village, huge climbing tree, laser tag arena, go-karts, creative studio and a café. There really is so much fun to be had there!

Rockingham Castle, Rockingham - This castle was built after William the Conqueror requested it and had been held by the crown until the Watson family took ownership over 450 years ago. You can take a castle tour, enjoy the gardens or visit the tearooms.

Top Lodge Fineshade Wood, Nr. Corby - The perfect location for a family adventure with the Gruffalo Spotters dotted throughout the woods, a children's play area, café and cycle hire. There are 3 trials of varying lengths to follow, all through the beautiful woodland.
Tattershall Castle, Tattershall - A very grand National Trust 15th-century red brick castle with impressive views over the local area. There are often events held there, bringing history to life so well worth checking their calendar.

West Midlands Safari Park, Bewdley - A drive-through safari park allowing you to get close to animals including: white rhinos, buffalo, zebra, lions, cheetah and elephants. You can then walk into another section of the safari park and discover the sea lion theatre, penguin cove, lorikeet landing, reptile world creepy crawlies, Land of the living Dinosaurs, Adventure Theme Park, African village and the new Boj Gigglepark. So much to see and do, well worth a visit for anyone who loves animals.

Salcey Forest, Hartwell - A combination of wildlife, nature and history through the tree top walkway, trials, family cycle routes, Gruffalo Spotters trial and various children's events throughout the year. There is a café, toilets and children's play area, so lots of ways to burn off some energy.
Tattershall Farm Park, Tattershall - A farm park that is fun on both sunny and rainy days, with plenty to do both indoors and outdoors. There are cows, chickens, ferrets, reptiles, sheep, pigs, ponies, birds of prey, goats etc., as well as an indoor sandpit, soft play barn, indoor activity centre, adventure play area, café, picnic area (both indoor and outdoor) and swing barn.

Coventry Transport Museum, Coventry - A completely free museum to visit that is filled with largest publicly owned collection of British vehicles in the world! It offers plenty of interactive exhibits, including dressing up in World War II attire and a new 4D land speed record simulator. There's a lot to learn and discover.

Clumber Park, Worksop - A vast National Trust park with plenty to see and do you can easily spend a long day there. There is parking throughout the park, toilets, fully-licensed café, gift shop, kiosks selling refreshments dotted around, bike/buggy/child seat/tandem hire, BBQ area, Garden Tea House, The Burrow play centre and many events throughout the year.
Bontanic Gardens, Leicester - Entry into these beautiful gardens is free, with plenty of space for having a picnic or you can visit the various greenhouses dotted around. A pretty place to have a wander and see lots of beautiful flowers/plants. 

East Carlton Country Park, Corby - A free family day out perfect for a sunny day. The park offers free parking, as well as a children's play area, toilet, craft workshops, café and mass woodland for taking a wander. Take a picnic to enjoy in the picnic area and let the children enjoy burning off some energy in the open space.
Kinema in the Woods, Woodhall Spa - A cinema with a twist, full of history and surprises. One of the screens offers a unique experience, with a break midway through the film, an organ popping up and there's also a chance to buy some mid-film refreshments. A fun way to see current films, as well as some classics.

Coombe Country Park, Coventry - A beautiful 500-acre park with walks through woodland, fields and next to water. There's a children's play area, toilets, visitor centre, gift shop, Crafty Cat Paint Your Own Pottery Studio, Heron Table Restaurant and plenty of trials/walks to follow. Entrance to the park is free, but there are very reasonable car parking charges making it an affordable family day out.

Ryton Pools Country Park, Bubbenhall - 100 acres of woodlands, pools, play areas, surfaced paths and wildlife to explore. You can enjoy the park by walking, running or cycling; there are also audio trials, geocaching, miniature railways, orienteering, children's clubs to book on to and bird watching.
Planet Ice, Coventry - An ice skating rink in the centre of Coventry (right next to IKEA and within walking distance to the city centre shopping), which offers lessons, Penguin Club for younger children, disco sessions and membership packages. They always have plenty of offers, especially over the school holidays and there is a café onsite if you get peckish after all that skating.

Whetstone Pastures Farm, Nr. Leicester - The place to pick your own berries, including strawberries, raspberries, red currants, blackcurrants, blackberries and gooseberries. It's open during the PYO season with a tearoom onsite if you get tired from picking all those berries. The strawberries are grown on the ground, so children can get involved too.

Foxton Locks, Nr. Market Harborough - Plenty of narrowboats, the famous flight of 10 locks and the BoilerHouse museum there's lots to discover at Foxton Locks. You can also enjoy boat trips most weekends between April and October.



Odeon Cinemas, Nationwide - They do kids screenings at selected cinemas, which aren't only child friendly but also only £2.50 each for both adults and children. There is often a choice of films to watch and under two's (if they don't have their own seat) are free.

Irchester Country Park, Nr. Wellingborough - A country park that has a lot going on, including a Quarry themed play area, three walking trials, Railway museum, Jungle Parc high ropes and a café. You can bring your bikes and cycle around the surfaced routes, join the Nature-Tots for pre-school children, build a den and find the Velociraptor and giant T-Rex skeletons. 
Coventry Cathedral, Coventry - The old cathedral was partially destroyed during an air attack in the Second World War. It's a fascinating place to visit, with some much history and culture.

The Paint Pottle, Market Harborough - Pottery painting is such a calming activity and you can create something to keep for life; whether it be painting a special place, capturing hand/footprints or a gift for a loved one. The Paint Pottle has such a vast range of items to paint, from plates and mugs to figures and letters. You can even enjoy a cup of tea while painting your masterpiece!

Bugtopia, Kettering - A world of amazing bugs and insects, with hands-on experiences for your little ones. They also focus on conservation through education, so there's lots of learn about at Bugtopia.

Sundown Adventureland, Retford - The under 10's theme park, it's a fun family day out for little ones. There are plenty of rides and attractions aimed at children, with a River Barrel Ride, Smuggler's Cove and Storybook Village to name a few.

There you have it, my top 50 things to do in Midlands!

Where is your favourite family day out?

Feel free to leave a comment - I love reading every single one :) 

Helen x

My Random Musings
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18 comments

  1. Awesome list of places to visit! We love Cadbury World too and we have been to West Mids Safari Park loads of times. Going to bookmark this! Thanks for the ideas :) x

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  2. Great list, I've actually done a few of them but I'll have to add a few to my list for if I get to go to the Midlands again.

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  3. Would've loved to visit Wistow Maze when we were up in Leicester visiting family. Must think of your list next time we're up in the midlands :)

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  4. Great ideas. Living in the midlands i've done lots of these wonderful things. Could probably add a few more too! ��

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  5. Thanks for this! I live in the Midlands and some of these are new! We love Rutland Water :) x

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  6. What a great list, we live in the Peak District so lots of these are not too far away x

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  7. Such awesome ideas, I have not yet ventured to the midlands so would be good to visit one day.

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  8. What a fab list! I'm up North but the midlands aren't too far from me for a day out. I was looking at Cadburys world today actually and wondering if it was worth a visit. Lots of fab ideas thank you!

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  9. We've never thought of visiting the midlands. To be honest, I don't think I realised how much there is to do. I love the gardens, parks and nature reserves. What love days out! My two would love visiting Cadburys, they love chocolate. I'm sure someone mentioned a good safari park as well. Will have to look at visiting.

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  10. Have to say, I was born in Dudley, well at Wordsley Hospital, and lived there until I was 24 when I moved down south. I go back often to visit family. Even still, I've only done a few of these myself. Just goes to show that there is so much more to do there - other than canals etc.

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  11. oh my gosh, who would have thought there was so many of them! Some great tips, will share with my family :)

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  12. Wow some great places . I think Cadbury world is definitely our next place to visit :)

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  13. I'm from Stratford and we are so lucky aren't we? Whilst being so far from a beach is a tad depressing at times, we do have so much other stuff to be grateful for. I have been to a lot of places on your list but there are many I am still to do. It's a great post to bookmark and come back to. I haven't been to Cadbury World since I was a kid and a looking forward to taking the Little Man when he's just a little bit older. #BloggerClubUK

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  14. I love the sound of these places especially the theme park. Sounds great.

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  15. We visit West Midlands quite a bit, with my in laws living there, and have had fun exploring a bunch there with a recent favourite being The Birmingham Botanical Gardens. I'll have to keep these in mind for future visits when we want to go further afield. Great list!

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  16. This is so helpful. Can't wait till my little girl is a bit older and we can start having adventures and fun days out!

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  17. We went to Leicester's space centre last year on our way to York and Warwick Castle is somewhere I'm desperate to go. Anya keeps going on about wanting to visit a butterfly place so I'll bear the Midlands in mind!

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  18. I have always wanted to go to Cadbury's world as I am a big chocolate fan!

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