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.
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.
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 🙂
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
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.
Booking is not needed, just follow the guidelines on the farm.
Follow the farm on Facebook for the latest updates
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Toilet facilities are available and they will be serving tea/coffee too.
To find out more, click here.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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 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
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 £5 per person.
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.
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 £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 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.
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.
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.
There are portaloo toilet facilities as well as takeaways available from their cafe and bike hire too!
For more information, visit the website here
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.
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.