It’s half term here, in the Midlands and Staffordshire, and if my eyes do not deceive me the temperature gauge in the kitchen has topped 10 degrees.
I do believe Spring is on its way. Hip hip hooray!
Regular readers will know that I like to schedule the school holidays. In particular this first half term of the new calendar year as we rarely go away and take a holiday.
It is about time I shared our favourite places to have the best days out with kids in the nearby area. We live in Staffordshire, so we can easily travel to most Midlands attractions, as well as Shropshire.
Airspace UK – Wolverhampton
Airspace is A-Mazing. Out of all the trampoline parks the kids have visited this one cannot be beat in our opinion.
Air Space is over 100 interconnected trampolines; a huge spring-loaded urban playground for ages 5 and up. You can improvise your own moves in the main arena, freestyle jump from one trampoline to the next. There’s also dodgeball, basketball and football – all on super-sprung pitches.
Parents can walk round with the children rather than just watch from the viewing area if they wish, and the cafe is really good quality whether you’re just having a coffee, or fancy a quick bite for lunch. The Wolverhampton site is located near Bentley Bridge, where there are other eating places if you wish to make a day of it – such as Bella Italia.
My kids, particularly my son who is an aspiring gymnast and tumbler, love Airspace – and the Airspace Crew are among the best staff I have ever met at an attraction (and that includes Disney).
See below my little gymnast, and his friend, in action at Airspace UK!
Ironbridge Museum | Blists Hill Victorian Town
Most years the kids and I are annual pass holders for Blists Hill. We didn’t take one out last year as we had a pass to The Black Country Museum instead to see if we were missing out – but we prefer the reconstructed Shropshire Victorian Town. So in 2017 we’ll be taking out a pass once more – which is great value for money, because you can visit time and time again and never get bored.
We’ve been so many times it feels like going back in time to where we once lived – does that make any sense? It is as though we are visiting friends. The children are safe walking around the town as it’s car-free, just a horse-drawn carriage which you can take a ride on while there.
Pop into the pub for a quick drink, or pick up lunch from the glorious fish and chip shop. Add some freshly baked bread from the bakery and a bun to follow – it’s heaven.
At certain times of the year the Victorian fairground is open and just opposite is the school – make sure you remove any nail polish before attending class. You have been warned!
The Victorian Town is set near beautiful, and historic Ironbridge so you can easily combine a visit to see the spectacular bridge cast by Abraham Darby, while walking alongside the River Severn.
Trentham Estate | Monkey Forest
There’s just something so special about the Monkey Forest at the Trentham Estate. The first time we experienced it, I felt almost as though time were standing still. It’s such a peaceful place, but so very interesting. Watching the monkeys roaming free is fascinating, as is watching them interact with one another.
To keep costs down take a picnic as there is a large area to pitch up for your lunch. The restaurant tends to be busy and quite expensive, but good quality. Be prepared to spend some cash in the gift shop as the cuddly monkeys are irresistible.
More information on the Monkey Forest can be found here, including prices – under 3’s go free!
Hidden away, this is a true gem particularly for families with pre-school or early years children (under 2’s go free). This Shropshire attraction has a laid back style, and this is an easy day out with young children but still with much to see and do. Wonderland is set in 450 acres of Telford Town Park.
Wonderland is in sections. As you enter from the back car park (please get the correct Sat Nav co-ordinates for the car-park as it can be tricky to find) you will first encounter the rides. These rides are suitable for younger children, and never have we had to queue. In this area children will meet Wonderland characters, and very often there are activities, such as storytime, going on.
Moving further into Wonderland there is a fairytale walk where you will come across the little old lady who lived in the shoe, the 3 little pigs and Grandma’s house of little red riding hood. The kids can even mine for gold with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
Whatever the season there’s always the Winter Wonderland to enjoy, including some gentle rides such as an old-fashioned carousel.
(I couldn’t find any official Wonderland videos to share that were suitable for this post! but here’s one a member of the public put together)
This is another day out where a picnic is easily done. The car park is directly behind the picnic area, so you can leave lunch in the car and nip back to grab it. Alternatively there is an indoor play area and cafe which is reasonably priced (the play area is free).
Telford Wonderland is a fantastic venue (and great value for money) for birthday parties for young children – we’ve held 2 birthday’s here. If you book a party, a Wonderland character will take the party on a guided woodland walk.
Drayton Manor Park & Zoo
Let me tell you a little story. When I was at primary school in the early 80’s every year I used to beg an invite to join the local Brownies annual trip to Drayton Manor Park – why beg? Well, I wasn’t a Brownie – and had no desire to be (I’ve always been a bit of a free spirit and associations like this were too much like school for me). This excursion was a big deal for a primary school age girl who rarely had a day out.
This Staffordshire Theme Park has many fond memories for me.
There’s such a lot to do at Drayton Manor Park & Zoo (including Thomasland), and too much really for one day if you’re visiting the zoo also – so get there early and make the most of it – or do two days and stay overnight. There’s a hotel to book into, or for the more alfresco families they also have a campsite!
A top tip is to take spare clothing if you’re planning on going on Storm Force 10 (and leave it till the last ride of the day unless the sun is out to dry you off!) – this is the wettest water ride ever.
This is NOT a sponsored post and none of the attractions above are aware I am blogging about them.
Out of the 5 we can fit 2 in this week around other commitments – can you guess which?