Ideas for family days out in the East Midlands: What’s reopened – Summer 2020

Details correct as of June 22nd 2020, further updates on July 3rd 2020

Thank you to those who have messaged asking for ideas for days out with the family around the East Midlands – it means a lot that you trust us with recommendations!

It’s great to see people’s confidence building as we see an end to the lockdown, and many businesses can start to reopen in some form.

It is fantastic to be able to support places that we love to visit as we know so many farms, small and large businesses as well as tourist attractions have really struggled, from feeding the animals to retaining staff.

Taking a paddle at Bosworth Water Park
Taking a paddle at Bosworth Water Park

What we do know is that everywhere who can reopen, has had to put in new measures to ensure everyone can stay as safe as possible, while following ever-changing government guidance.

The majority will have to open with some kind of booking system, so please be patient if you can’t yet get a slot – they’re clearly working as hard as they can to keep their numbers down, and we hope it won’t be long until we can enjoy even more of our favourite places again.

Paddling at Bradgate Park

This list will change and evolve (details currently correct as of June 22nd 2020), but I hope it can help those looking to head on a day out with the family, something to do at the weekend or even ideas for the summer holidays.

I know there will be many more, so please do let me know if you know somewhere we should share, and I’ll happily update when I can šŸ™‚

To help you find something you may be interested in, scroll below to find out the latest from:

  • Strawberry picking/ PYO
  • Farm parks & zoos
  • Visitor attractions & theme parks
  • Nature & outdoors
A socially-distanced walk at Calke Abbey
A socially-distanced walk at Calke Abbey

Strawberry Picking / PYO

Whetstone Pastures Farm

Whetstone are currently open for strawberry picking and other berries, with strict social media guides in and out of the farm. It is a beautiful, small farm, which we love to visit every year. The cafe and play areas are still closed, and we’re looking forward to returning when there is more fruit available.

Strawberry Picking at Whetstone Pastures Farm - June 2020
Strawberry Picking at Whetstone Pastures Farm – June 2020

Booking is not needed, just follow the guidelines on the farm.

Follow the farm on Facebook for the latest updates

Cattows Farm

Cattows Farm has always been one of our favourite places for pumpkin picking and their annual events, so we’re looking forward to their strawberry picking this year too. As of 22nd June, they hope to open for PYO strawberries by the end of the week, but other berries are already available.

Picking raspberries at Cattows Farm – June 2020

Now, into July, strawberries are available, and we had a beautiful time there last week enjoying some fruit picking, a coffee/ice cream from the farm shop and relaxing with our picnic blanket! It was a lovely experience and the little ones enjoyed it too!

The views over Cattows Farm
The views over Cattows Farm

You don’t need to pre-book, just follow the guidelines when you get there. You can also enjoy their takeaway cafe and farm shop when you visit too, with areas for bringing your picnic blanket to relax outdoors. The toilets are also open.

For their latest fruit updates, visit their Facebook page here

Farm parks & zoos

West Lodge Farm Park

West Lodge Farm Park has had their stunning family-friendly trails open for several weeks, where you can visit the animals along the way. Animal feeding and farm park activities are not yet available, but you can still enjoy picnics, takeaway food from the cafe, toilet facilities, den building and more. From 4th July they’re also opening their amazing barrel rides again – very exciting news!

So much to explore at West Lodge
So much to explore at West Lodge

Pre-booking is essential to help control numbers during each slot, but we really do recommend it for a family day out.

For booking and more information, click here

National Forest Adventure Farm

The National Forest Adventure Farm is opening its doors again on 18th July in time for the school holidays. They’ve been keeping the local community well-fed with their much-loved farm shop through Covid, so we’re excited to see what their opening plans are when they’re released.

The National Forest Adventure Farm - a great day out for all the family
The National Forest Adventure Farm – a great day out for all the family

Pre-booking will be essential but tickets not yet available. Keep an eye on their Facebook page for more information.

Mini Meadows Farm

Mini Meadows Farm has reopened with plenty of social distancing and safety measure in place to have a fun, safe visit. They’ve split sessions into morning or afternoons so they can control numbers.

Tractor riding at Mini Meadows Farm

From 4th July you can also visit their guinea pigs in the indoor pen, enjoy the indoor sandpit, all the play areas and all their hot and cold food and snacks indoors from their cafe.

We’ve always loved our visits to Mini Meadows Farm, and know it will still be a fun day out. Booking tickets in advance is essential so visit their website here.

Manor Farm Park & Woodlands

Manor Farm Park is reopening from the 4th*5th July for members only and then 6th July for all other visitors.

Manor Farm Park is surrounded by beautiful countryside
Manor Farm Park is surrounded by beautiful countryside

There are some beautiful areas to explore on the farm, but for now you won’t be able to enjoy the animal petting, donkey rides, the indoor play barn or Ernie the Milk Float. There are still plenty of animals to visit, the Fort Adventure Play Area in the woodlands area, places to eat and drink, toilets, and all their smaller animals to visit too.

To book your tickets or for more information, click here.

Windmill Farm Park

Windmill Farm Park is reopening part of the farm on 4th July, with new ticket slots opening every Tuesday. The indoor wooden play area remains closed but there is so much to explore including the outdoor animal areas, outdoor play areas, a new sandpit,pedal tractors and some animal activities.

The huge outdoor play area has so much to do!
The huge outdoor play area at Windmill Farm Park has so much to do. This one couldn’t wait!!

Toilet facilities are available and they will be serving tea/coffee too.

To find out more, click here.

Twycross Zoo

Twycross Zoo has reopened, with booking slots essential, one-way systems and closure of indoor attractions, play areas and indoor food facilities. You can still enjoy takeaway refreshments, toilet facilities, and even buy face masks from the gift shop.

For their latest updates, visit their Facebook page

A lovely guided tour of the Twycross safety measures
We love Twycross Zoo!
We love Twycross Zoo!

Stonehurst Farm

Stonehurst Farm is due to reopen on Friday 26th June, with social distancing and government-compliant access to the animals. There are toilet facilities and the lovely farm shop is open – we’ve enjoyed many of their farm vegetables and fruits over the lockdown.

Enjoying a wander around Stonehurst Farm - June 2020 (when we visited the farm shop!)
Enjoying a wander around Stonehurst Farm – June 2020 (when we visited the farm shop!)

You can also get refreshments such as snacks and drinks while there too!

Keep an eye on their Facebook page for further information.

Paradise Found Educational Farm Park

Paradise Found has reopened on Wednesdays to Sundays, with the outdoor areas open only – cafe and soft play currently closed. There are no food or drinks available, but you can visit the animals outdoors.

Find out more from their Facebook page, including how to book

Paradise Found has opened their outdoor areas
Paradise Found has opened their outdoor areas

Bluebell Dairy

Bluebell Dairy are opening in a phased pattern from June 29th, initially to members only. They have opened up a scenic trail for walks and a large field for families to play, and you can still see their lovely animals. There are one-way systems in place and you can enjoy their fresh farm ice cream too!

For the latest updates, visit their Facebook page.

Hatton Garden

With strawberry picking, a new nature trail, Treasure Quest and outdoor refreshments, Hatton Country World is a great place to visit with the family. We’ve loved our visits here, so look forward to heading back soon to enjoy their lovely outdoor spaces.

Hatton Adventure World in the winter! :)
Hatton Adventure World in the winter! šŸ™‚

They are operating with a reduced entry price, new social distancing measures and online booking only.

For the latest updates, check out their Facebook page

Trentham Estate and Monkey Forest

Trentham Estate has opened their gardens with plenty to explore. Despite some areas remaining closed, there are so many lovely areas for walks, as well as toilet facilities and take away refreshments available too.

Trentham Monkey Forest
Trentham Monkey Forest

They’re also planning on reopening the Monkey Forest from 25th June, however booking is essential!

Find out more here.

Charnwood Forest Alpacas

Pukka Pacas is a firm favourite of ours and although they’re not taking bookings yet (as of June 2020), they’re taking bookings for their beautiful alpaca walks as well as their new experiences with sheep walking, donkey experiences and more.

We’ve been on around 5 experiences with them so far and can’t wait to head back again!

Find out more on their Facebook page about experiences and reopening.

Alpacas at Charnwood Forest
Alpacas at Charnwood Forest

Tropical Birdland

Tropical Birdland in Desford has reopened with booking slots and social distancing measures in place, the walk-in aviaries closed however the walk-through aviary will be open. There will be limits on numbers and time in the parrot walk area too, and take-away only from the Real Macaw cafe.

Find out more on their website here

Enjoying a visit to Tropical Birdland in 2019
Enjoying a visit to Tropical Birdland in 2019

Visitor Attractions

Twin Lakes Theme Park

Twin Lakes is reopening their Farm Park and falconry from June 29th and then selected areas in their fantastic theme park from July 4th.

Rollercoaster fun at Twin Lakes Theme Park
Rollercoaster fun at Twin Lakes Theme Park

There will be takeaway food and drinks available, toilet facilities and the gift shops too.

For more information and pre-booking, visit their website

Warwick Castle

Warwick Castle has also reopened with booking slots only and non-contact temperature checks on arrival. You can enjoy their castle grounds and gardens, and they look to reopen further areas of the castle from July 4th.

There are toilet facilities, you can bring a picnic or enjoy a takeaway refreshment while there too.

Find out more on their website here

Warwick Castle has reopened!
Warwick Castle has reopened!

Gulliver’s Theme Parks

We are huge fans of Gulliver’s Kingdom at Matlock Bath and Gulliver’s Land Milton Keynes, and they’re currently taking bookings for their T-Rex trails for just Ā£5 per person.

Gullivers Land Milton Keynes
Gulliver’s Land Milton Keynes

You can even turn your visits into a weekend or staycation by staying in one of their incredible themed accommodations. We’ve enjoyed their Dino Dens and Pirate Cabins, so look forward to checking out more.

Dino dens at Adventurers Village
Dino dens at Adventurer’s Village

When they do open fully, they’ve released more information on what to expect. Some rides you will need face masks for, however there will be some rides open, take away food facilities, limited numbers and social distancing markers in place to keep your visit as safe as possible.

Dates for the reopening of Gulliver’s Theme Park resorts are:

  • Milton Keynes & Warrington – 4th July
  • Matlock Bath – 18th July
  • The brand-new Gullivers Valley Resort in south Yorkshire – 11th July

Find out more on their website here

Swandlicote Snowsports centre

For something very different to experience, Swandlicote Snowsports Centre will be reopening on July 4th and taking bookings from the end of June. Not all activities will be open straight away, but it looks like you can access the slope for ski and snowboard practice and we can’t wait to get on their toboggan and tubing trails!

Follow them on Facebook for more information

Congo River Adventure Golf – Blaby Golf Centre

The 18 hole adventure golf course at Blaby Golf Centre has opened with lifesize animals and jungle themed holes – no booking needed, open 6am – 9pm, 7 days a week, with rounds of golf just Ā£5. Social distancing and cleaning of clubs is in place. You can also get hot and cold food, drinks and snacks for takeaway from their cafe.

Find out more on the website here.

Nature and outdoors

Conkers

Conkers is reopening on July 4th with a booking system only and some restrictions on some of their areas. There is so much to explore outdoors as well as the sensory trail, barefoot walk and plenty of adventures for all the family. There is also takeaway food as well as toilet facilities.

Enjoying the barefoot walk at Conkers
Enjoying the barefoot walk at Conkers

Find out more on their website or in the video below.

Bosworth Water Park

Bosworth Water Park is the nearest you can get to the beach in the East Midlands! You can enjoy the lagoon where you can paddle in the water, go for walks around their lakes, go fishing, enjoy some mini golf, as well as a drink or snack from their cafe.

Enjoying a walk at Bosworth Water Park
Enjoying a walk at Bosworth Water Park

You do not need to pre-book, and parking can be paid for by contactless. We look forward to the pedalos and play areas opening up here too!

Follow their Facebook page for the latest updates

Forestry England Hicks Lodge

Hicks Lodge has a whole host of family-friendly trails for walking and cycling, as well as nature trails along the way.

Cruising through Hicks Lodge with noone around!
Cruising through Hicks Lodge with noone around!

There are portaloo toilet facilities as well as takeaways available from their cafe and bike hire too!

For more information, visit the website here

Family-friendly walking and cycle trails
Family-friendly walking and cycle trails

National Trust

National Trust properties have reopened with booking slots only, even for members. These go very fast and are released on a Friday morning, but I really recommend heading to one of them if you can.

We enjoyed Calke Abbey on the first day of opening, and most locations have similar setups with limited access, toilet facilities, one-way systems in areas where people may gather, and closed play areas. They do have wide areas to walk and wander with the family and often have takeaway drinks available in some locations too.

Visit the National Trust website for more information.

Enjoying her wander around Calke Abbey
Enjoying her wander around Calke Abbey

Bradgate Park & Beacon Hill

Bradgate Park is always a firm favourite of ours, with family-friendly cycle paths (although this can get busy), beautiful walks with stunning views, streams to paddle in and all the wild deer to enjoy. You can also enjoy their takeaway cafes (there are some opposite the park entrance in Newtown Lindford too) and toilet facilities in the park too.

Further along you can also visit Beacon Hill for lovely walks as well as a natural play area (currently closed) and stunning views.

Paddling at Bradgate Park
Paddling at Bradgate Park

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