10 of the best family days out in Birmingham and the West Midlands, recommended by parents
From Lego and Cadbury-themed attractions to thrilling theme and wildlife parks, MadeForMums has selected the best family-friendly attractions and days out for visitors to Birmingham and the West Midlands
With its central location and plenty of family-friendly activities, Birmingham and the surrounding West Midlands area is a great option for a day out with the kids.
As the second largest city in the UK, Birmingham attracts up to 41 million visitors each year and is full of all-weather family attractions, whether you’re looking for wildlife or the thrills of soft play.
While its most famous attractions include the Legoland Discovery Centre and Cadbury World, the wider area of the West Midlands is also well worth a visit - families could perhaps combine a city break with a couple of days in the countryside.
In this article, we cover not just the metropolitan county of West Midlands, but the entire region informally known as the West Midlands (taking parts of Staffordshire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire and Shropshire). Located in the centre of England, the area is home to gorgeous woodland walks and a host of exciting days out, from soaking up history in Warwick Castle to riding the rollercoasters at the many theme parks.
So what are the best days out for families with young children visiting Birmingham and the West Midlands? Our roundup has been designed to help families plan a fun travel itinerary that includes everything from creative to active and educational experiences.
More like this
Looking for more days out inspiration across the UK? Check out MadeForMums' roundups of the best days out in the North East of England, days out in the North West of England, and best family days out in Scotland. If you're heading south, look for the best family-friendly attractions in Cornwall, and best family days out in Devon too.
Best days out in Birmingham and the West Midlands-at a glance
- Best for rainy days: Legoland Discovery Centre, Birmingham. Buy tickets
- Best budget day out: Atwell Farm Park, Worcestershire. Buy tickets
- Best for children of varied ages: Drayton Manor, Tamworth. Buy tickets
- Best for history-lovers: Warwick Castle, Warwickshire. Buy tickets
- Best for thrillseekers: Alton Towers, Stoke-On-Trent. Buy tickets
- Best for chocolate-lovers: Cadbury World, Birmingham.Buy tickets
- Best for short visits: National SEA LIFE Centre, Birmingham. Buy tickets
- Best for older children: Thinktank, Birmingham. Buy tickets
- Best for preschool children: Hickory Dickory’s Playhouse, Birmingham. Buy tickets
- Best for animal lovers: West Midland Safari Park, Bewdley. Buy tickets
1. Legoland Discovery Centre, Birmingham
— Best for rainy days
Family ticket from £73.20 | Best for ages 3-7 and 8-10 | All-weather attraction | Brindley Place car park 0.2 miles | Birmingham Snow Hill station 1.8 miles
A must for Lego fans, the Legoland Discovery Centre is located in the heart of Birmingham, offering two rides, a 4D cinema, ten brick stations and a soft play. It is on a much smaller scale than Legoland Windsor, everything is in one space and completely indoors which means you’re not reliant on the weather for a good day out.
This makes it a great option for families who don’t want to trek around a theme park or have children of different ages who might want to do different things: the miniland, featuring amazing brick models of Birmingham’s landmark will fascinate older children whilst the soft play is extensive enough to occupy toddlers for quite some time. The average visit time for Legoland Discovery Centre is 2-3 hours, making it perfect for combining with other attractions. You can opt for the multi-attraction pass and visit the nearby Sea Life Centre or grab lunch at one of the kid-friendly eateries in Brindley Place.
The free 4D cinema is a lot of fun and, at 20 minutes in length, is short enough for fidgety younger children. Janet, our MFM reviewer, says: “ We visited (the 4D cinema) three times. Each screening was different, with three to watch in total. A 4D scene featuring a lick from a slobbering dog was almost convincing and made us all squeal! You get wet but dry off quickly.”
Pros: All-weather attraction, attractions for a wide range of age groups, all in one space
Cons: Not many dining options, parking can be expensive
Read the full MFM Legoland Discovery Centre Birmingham family days out review.
2. Attwell Farm Park, Worcestershire
— Best budget day out
Family ticket from £45.80 | Best for ages 0-7 | All-weather attraction | Free onsite car parking. | Redditch station 5.7 miles
Further into the West Midlands countryside lies Atwell Farm Park, a great family attraction with lots to entertain children. This one is best enjoyed on a sunny day as there’s plenty of outdoor attractions - from the farm itself, to the adventure playground, giant bouncing orb and mini-tractor rides.
Animals on the farm include ducks, miniature horses, rabbits, cows, pigs, pygmy goats and feathery greater rheas. Should the weather turn, there are indoor attractions too, including a huge soft play area (with a smaller toddler area and a much bigger section for older children); indoor animals for petting and a small sand play area. Expect an indoor cafe with lots of seating, as well as plenty of outdoor space to bring a picnic and enjoy the sunshine.
Pros: Free parking, range of indoor and outdoor attractions, great value for money
Cons: No public transport nearby
3. Drayton Manor, Tamworth
— Best for children of varied ages
Family ticket (including one child under 4) from £93.50 | Best for ages 2-12 | Onsite Car parking: £6 | Nearest Train Station: Tamworth, 3 miles | Outdoor attraction
One of the West Midlands’ best theme parks is Drayton Manor. Along with rides and a zoo, It draws many young families thanks to its popular Thomas Land, which is an area of the park dedicated to toddlers, with rides suitable for small children. The train is often the most popular attraction in this area.
Since the park is very pushchair friendly, a stroll around the zoo is a great starting point, especially as there is also an outdoor play area located close by, which is great for toddlers who want to let off steam. “The zoo was lovely and quiet and one of the keepers was extremely friendly and full of fun facts.” said MFM reviewer Janet.
Like most theme parks, there’s not much to do indoors but you can opt to pay an extra £2 for their Rainy Day guarantee, which means you can visit for free if there’s more than 30mm of rain when you visit.”
There are plenty of rides for thrill-seekers and older children too, with splash ride Storm Force 10 and roller coaster Shockwave among the most popular.
Pros: Rides for all ages, very pushchair friendly, onsite accommodation
Cons: Extra costs for parking, few indoor attractions
Read the full MFM Drayton Manor Park family days out review.
4. Warwick Castle, Warwickshire
— Best for history-lovers
Family ticket from £116 | Best for ages 0-8 | Mainly outdoor attraction | Car parking onsite, £10 | Warwick station 1 mile
In the centre of the historic town of Warwick lies Warwick Castle, a popular attraction steeped in over a thousand years of history. There is so much to do here it is easy to fill a whole day, with the option of overnight stays to make sure you don’t miss a thing. The Castle itself has a range of accommodation- including rustic, lakeside glamping at the Knight’s Village Lodge - or you could choose to base yourself in one of the town centre’s many hotels.
There is something for everyone: primary-school aged children will love the live shows (such as Falcon’s Quest) and exploring the Horrible Histories maze, while toddlers and preschoolers can enjoy the Zog playground, which is new for 2022 and where your child can whizz down a Zog slide, roam Zog’s castle and play in a sand pit. There is also a daily, live Zog show.
If you are planning on visiting with toddlers, however, bear in mind that some of the grounds aren’t pushchair friendly. “Much of the ground is cobbled and things like the castle ramparts are up steep steps so it’s not the easiest day with a pushchair but much of the castle is accessible to pushchair users and there are some accessible lifts,” said MFM reviewer Amy.
Almost all the attractions are outdoors, which is great when the sun is shining but makes things trickier when it’s raining.
Pros: Easy accessible by public transport/central location, lots to do, onsite accommodation
Cons: Car parking is expensive, options limited on rainy days, some areas aren’t completely pushchair-friendly
Read the full MFM Warwick Castle family days out review.
5. Alton Towers, Stoke-on-Trent
— Best for thrillseekers
Family ticket from £144 | Best for all ages | Car parking onsite, £6 | Uttoxeter station 10 miles
One of the UK’s most popular theme parks, Alton Towers is located in Stoke-on-Trent (you’ll need to drive as it’s not readily accessible via public transport). The park is huge (with 10 themed areas spanning 3.7km sq) and it really does cater for all ages, from tiny tots to teenage thrillseekers.
One huge selling point of Alton Towers is CBeebies land, which is a must for fans of popular shows such as Hey Duggee, Andy’s Adventures and Mr Tumble. You could easily spend a big chunk of your day here, with rides including Duggee’s adventure playground and Mr Tumble’s Something Special Sensory Garden. “The Get Set Go Tree Top Adventure is great for scanning the park from above, while the Octonauts Rollercoaster Adventure is the most thrilling ride in CBeebies Land. But these tend to attract large queues,'' explained our MFM tester Amy.
Slightly older children will enjoy The World of David Walliams, whilst adults and teenagers can take a turn on one of the park's many theme rides. The more popular attractions do attract big queues, which can be hours long in peak times but opting for fast track tickets can quickly make costs pile up. Fast track prices start from £30 a person (to cover 4 rides) and go up to £65 (to cover all 12).
Pros: CBeebies World, all-ages attractions, lots to do, on site accommodation
Cons: Expensive, not accessible via public transport, additional expenses (parking and fast track passes), big queues at peak times
6. Cadbury World, Birmingham
— Best for chocolate-lovers
Family ticket from £63 | Best for 2-8 | All weather attraction | Free car parking onsite | Bournville station 0.6 mile
Cadbury’s chocolate is something of a British institution, so this attraction combines fun with a behind the scenes look of how the iconic chocolate is made. There’s a range of different play zones: the 4D cinema takes children on a virtual chocolate adventure, while smaller children will love the gentle, magical ride through Beanville. There are plenty of interactive elements too.
In the Purple Planet, children can play in chocolate rain and learn how to grow their own cocoa tree. There is fun to be had outdoors too with the African Adventure Play area. If you’re taking toddlers, there is still lots to do but it’s worth noting that some of the educational areas are better suited for older, primary-school aged children. Overall, this is a great, informative all-weather attraction.
Pros: Free parking, under 4s go free, family tickets are good value for money, all-weather attraction
Cons: Some educational areas aren’t suitable for toddlers and preschoolers
7. National SEA LIFE Centre, Birmingham
— Best for short visits
Family ticket from £82.60 | Best for all ages | All-weather attraction | Brindley Place car park 0.2 miles| Birmingham Snow Hill station 1.8 miles.
Transport your family to the ocean on a rainy Birmingham day with a visit to the SEA LIFE Centre, located just a few minutes away from the Legoland Discovery Centre (multi-attraction tickets are available). You’ll most likely only spend a couple of hours here but the centre’s central location means you are well placed to explore other Birmingham attractions.
The trail you follow through SEA LIFE is designed to make sure you don’t miss anything and there is certainly lots to see. There’s also quite a bit of walking but the centre is fully wheelchair accessible.
One of the aquarium’s star attractions is the 360 degree ocean tunnel - there’s only one of these in the whole of the UK and it’s right here in Birmingham. It surrounds you with views of giant turtles, sharks and tropical fish, as you essentially ‘walk’ through the sea. When you’re ready for a break from walking, a 4D cinema offers a short interactive film but it does cost an additional £3.50. Children will also love the penguin ice adventure (which makes for a great photo opportunity). Once a month (dates vary so check here) is Quiet at the Aquarium, where doors open an hour early to provide a quieter environment for those with Autism and other sensory requirements.
Pros: Central location, fully wheelchair accessible, monthly quiet hour, all-weather attraction
Cons: Expensive ticket add ons (4D cinema and parking)
8. Thinktank Birmingham, Birmingham
— Best for older children
Family ticket from £48.56 | Best for all ages | All-weather attraction | Millenium Point car park 0.3 miles | Birmingham Moor Street station 1.6 miles | Closed: Mon and Tues except in summer holidays
A hub of activity for science lovers, Thinktank Birmingham offers an interactive learning experience for children of all ages. While older children and teens will love learning about the magic of science, there’s more than enough for younger children too. The Mini Brum area is specifically designed for those under 8.
With Birmingham landmarks on show, the area features a range of play zones where children can do everything from race cars and build dens to immerse themselves in imaginary play (in the salon, workshop, shop, post office, health centre and cafe). There’s even a dedicated sensory area for babies. “In Mini Brum, kids are in charge. It’s fabulous, be sure to head there and just let your kid do what they do best - we loved it,” said MFM reviewer Emma.
For an extra £2.50 (well spent), you can head to the new 4k planetarium system, an immersive theatre showing the power of astronomy and space. The outdoor space includes a science garden with 30 hands-on exhibits and, for those that don’t have time to visit the museum itself, the science garden is free after 3pm.
Pros: Free science garden after 3pm, good value parent and toddler ticket, educational and interactive for all age groups
Cons: Extra costs on top of ticket price (for parking and for planetarium)
9. Hickory Dickory’s Playhouse, Birmingham
— Best for preschool children
Family ticket from £13.90 | Best for 3-8 | All-weather attraction | Free onsite car park | Bournville station 2.6 miles
What’s a top days out roundup without a mention of soft play? Once you’ve done the many tourist attractions Birmingham has to offer, your toddlers and preschoolers might want a run around at an all-weather soft play centre. It's a great option if you want to 'divide and conquer' while one of you takes older kids to another attraction, although as one of Birmingham’s biggest and most varied soft plays, Hickory Dickory’s actually offers appeal for those beyond the toddler stage.
This is far more than just a ball pit: Hickory Dickory’s Playhouse is home to one of the highest indoor slides in the UK, as well as trampolines, a sports pitch, air hockey and ball canons which are perfect for older kids. “Hickory Dickory’s is our favourite soft play for my daughter who is 3. It’s huge and there is also a great sized area for under 5’s,” said MFM reviewer Sarah.
There are even free magazines and newspapers for mums and dads to enjoy with a well-earned cuppa. While there is free, onsite parking, the soft play can get very busy in peak times which means you may struggle finding a spot. However there are other parking facilities available nearby.
Pros: Free on-site parking, great value for money, soft play that caters to older children, all-weather attraction
Cons: Can get very busy at peak times, car park gets full quickly
10. West Midland Safari Park, Bewdley
— Best for animal lovers
Family ticket from £90 | Best for 3-8 | All-weather attraction | Free onsite car park l Kidderminster station 3.2 miles
West Midland Safari Park offers a great alternative to zoos, with the chance to see animals in a more natural-style habitat. New to the park is an African Walking Trail, which allows you to see animals such as giraffes and African elephants roaming freely while on foot. It’s worth pointing out that the gravel surface means this trail isn’t fully wheelchair accessible and may be difficult if you’re coming with a stroller.
However, you still can enjoy the safari drive, where you’ll catch a glimpse of animals such as rhino, tigers and camels - you can even wind down the window to feed them. Alongside this, there’s also an extensive theme park but wristbands cost an extra £15 per adult and £13 per child, or £8 on the day if your child is 0.8-1 meter.
Toddlers will love Boj’s Giggly Park - a multi-sensory play area with 5 interactive zones.
Pros: Free on-site parking, great chance to see lots of animals up close
Cons: Can’t be reached easily by public transport, additional costs for rides on top of ticket prices
How we tested
Our 10 of the best lists are compiled by qualified and experienced parenting journalists. When testing the best family attractions in Birmingham and the West Midlands, we relied on feedback from parents, including our MadeForMums reviewers. Our list is not ranked in order from 1-10, instead it is a carefully selected group of tried and tested attractions designed to meet different familiies' interests. We test each attraction for value for money, age suitability, accessibility and the fun factor.
About the authorJenna Farmer is a freelance parenting journalist based in the West Midlands and mum to Jude, who is 3 years old. Jenna regularly writes parenting review content for publications such as The Evening Standard and The Independent.
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