10 of the best days out in the East Midlands

With a fairy tale castle, beautiful forests, wonderful wildlife and family theme parks there’s lots to do in the East Midlands

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The East Midlands is a lush region in the North East of England and comprises of Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire and Rutland.

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In and around the largest cities of Leicester, Nottinham and Derby lie many great attractions perfect for family days out, staycations and vacations.

We’ve selected a variety of fantastic family activities that include adventure, history and nature based fun.

Here are 10 of the best days out in the East Midlands

1. Bolsover Castle, Derbyshire

There’s a fairytale quality to Bolsover Castle that makes it a firm favourite with anyone looking for a great day out in the East Midlands. There is plenty to do for all the family in the Discovery Centre. Kids can dress up as a cavalier or try building a fantasy castle.

You can enjoy lots of green space and with panoramic views over the Vale of Scarsdale. This makes Bolsover Castle ideal for a family picnic.

TripAdvisor Rating: 4.5 stars

“We enjoyed half a day here, particularly the Hands on with History. Rhys was great in engaging with the children and very knowledgeable. Our boys loved the archery and sword fighting lessons.” TripAdvisor reviewer, BucksBrowns.

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2. Salcey Forest, Northamptonshire

Salcey Forest is an oasis of nature and history only 7 miles from the centre of Northampton.  ‘Secret Salcey’ guides are available from the Forest Cafe for only a few pounds, so you can discover why elephants once roamed the forest and even find a roman road.

If you have a head for heights, ascend the all ability Tree Top Way and see Salcey from a completely different viewpoint, with fantastic views to enjoy at the top. For an active day out why not try to complete the 5 mile family cycle route.

TripAdvisor Rating: 4 stars

“Beautiful forest setting with good parking, cafeteria, play ground for the children and clean toilet. Lots of lovely walks and clear marking for directions. Nice place to unwind and get lots of fresh air. ” TripAdvisor reviewer, 357christinee.

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3. Sudbury Hall and the Museum of Childhood, Derbyshire

Here you’ll find two great places to visit in one beautiful setting.  Sudbury Hall is full of 17th-century craftsmanship, featuring exquisite plasterwork, wood carvings and classical story-based murals.

The Museum of Childhood is a delight for all ages with something for everyone. Explore the childhoods of times gone by, make stories, and play with toys. Children can be a chimney sweep, a scullion or a Victorian pupil, and they will particularly enjoy the interactive areas and displays.

TripAdvisor Rating: 4.5 stars

“The museum is great and has plenty hands on fun for the kids as you walk around. We loved the toy displays and the chimney was a real hit! You must visit the schoolroom. This is BRILLIANT and was the best part of the museum! ” TripAdvisor reviewer, Mandy W.

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4. Wollaton Hall and Deer Park, Nottinghamshire

Wollaton Hall and Deer Park is a spectacular Elizabethan mansion and park set in the heart of Nottingham. There’s plenty to do on your visit, take a look around the Natural History Museum, stretch your legs with a stroll around the park and gardens or enjoy a delicious drink in the cafe.

With free entry it is great for a day out so why not take a picnic along when the weather is nice.

TripAdvisor Rating: 4.5 stars

“This was my first outing to the park and I was extremely impressed with way the house and gardens are set out, lovely to walk around and not underneath other peoples feet. The wildlife was natural and how it should be.” TripAdvisor reviewer, Katie h.

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5. Twinlakes Park, Leicestershire

Twinlakes is a 100-acre theme park, farm and water park with 10 themed zones. It’s great for families, and caters especially well for children aged 2-10 years.

A wide selection of activities makes for a fun-packed day at this theme park. The kids will enjoy the variety of physical things to do compared to other more ride-based theme parks and there’s also a farm and waterpark, fantastic fun on a hot summers’ day.

MadeForMums rating: 4.3 out of 5

“One of the things I liked most about Twinlakes was that it was quite physical for the kids – they ran, jumped, peddled and got generally involved which I don’t feel they’ve done quite as much at other theme parks we’ve visited.” MadeForMums reviewer, Janet.

Read our review of Twinlakes Park

6. Sundown Adventureland, Nottinghamshire

This fantastic theme park is designed for children under 10, but there’s lots for adults to enjoy too. They’ve got  Go-karts, a boat ride, a train ride, an adventure play area, ghost walk, sunny down farm, an under-fives play area and much much more.

The highlight for many will be the huge Angry Birds themed outdoor softplay area. Burning energy jumping, bouncing, climbing and swinging will help ensure a good night sleep for all!

TripAdvisor Rating: 4.5 stars

“The kids had an amazing time. There was so much to do. The park was well kept and staff were very helpful. The rides were well maintained and the ques for admission moved fast. ” TripAdvisor reviewer, SSowden.

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7. Tropical Birdland, Leicestershire

Tropical Birdland is a beautiful tropical bird garden, located in the heart of rural Leicestershire. Wander thorugh the large walk through aviaries and see which exotic birds you can spot.

Children will have a great time feeding the birds mealworms to get them to come up close. They have over 250 birds and 50 different species so you will see a great range of birds from Toucans and Macaws to Snowy Owls.

TripAdvisor Rating: 4.5 stars

“There is a really happy and positive vibe about this place and has to be one of the best family outings I have ever had. The owners have created a laid back kind of a place where the caged birds look healthy and content and the free birds positively relishing their interaction with visitors. ” TripAdvisor reviewer, Sandy M.

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Rand Farm Park, Lincolnshire

This working farm is perfect for children of all ages to enjoy. They have a large variety of animals for you to hold, feed, touch and cuddle. There’s a large outdoor adventure playground and the fun doesn’t have to stop if the weather is bad as they also have an indoor heated play area.

There’s a spacious tearoom and coffee bar, so everyone can treat themselves to a lovely cuppa and a bite to eat after a day’s fun and activity. For inquisitive little ones  the interactive information centre will help them discover lots about the farm and the animals.

TripAdvisor Rating: 4.5 stars

“Such a fab day out especially with smallish children. The animals are well looked after and the children really enjoy the interaction. The indoor play area fantastic for a wet day and the outside play gives scope for a lot of running about.” TripAdvisor reviewer, FMayo.

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CONKERS, Derbyshire

CONKERS is a fantastic attraction at the heart of the National Forest, a unique mix of indoor and outdoor experiences to keep you and your family engaged for hours. Ther are 23 different outdoor activities. Indoors there are four discovery zones designed for children and adults of all ages, which also includes the Enchanted Forest Adventure Play area, a simulated Tree Top Walk. They also have lots of exciting events and activities during school holidays.

TripAdvisor Rating: 3.5 stars

“A great family day out, we have an 18 month old and love being outdoors, we enjoyed completing the assault course, playing in the sand pits, running through the tunnels, riding the train and testing out the slides in all the play areas.” TripAdvisor reviewer, Kim18.

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Skegness Natureland and Seal Sanctuary, Lincolnshire

If your children love animals they certainly won’t be disappointed with a visit to Skegness Natureland. They’ve got seals, penguins, crocodiles, an aquarium and a pets corner.

There’s lots to do,  be it feeding the pets in the children’s corner or watching the beautiful Coral Fish and Tropical Butterflies. A highlight of the visit will no doubt be feeding time for the seals and penguins.

TripAdvisor Rating: 4.5 stars

“Thoroughly enjoyed my visit here. The staff are all very friendly, professional and informative. We had a brilliant day here learning lots about the seals and how they are returned to their natural habitats. There is an aquarium, penguins alpacas and more. ” TripAdvisor reviewer, ospreys10.

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