20 ideas for indoor family days out – Leicester & East Midlands

They say ‘there’s no such thing as bad weather’, but there are days that it’s just sometimes just too wet, too cold or too windy for an outdoor adventure – and no one likes grumpy kids (or parents!).

So if you’re looking for rainy day out ideas with indoor activities (not just soft play!), that are easily reachable from Leicester, somewhere to escape the sun, or something different to do at weekends or the school holidays, check out some of our favourites below.

Please note, some of our reviews were visited pre-Covid, as we’ve only just started returning to indoor attractions. Please visit their website for the latest information.

Ninja Warrior UK Adventure Park

The Ninja Warrior UK adventure park is suitable for kids 5 years and over, with a Ninja Warrior obstacle course with climbing walls, nets and more, as well as a huge inflatable Air Park.

There are sessions for kids under 5 years and it is suitable for adults too – the kids don’t always get to have all the fun 🙂

Can you beat the wall at Ninja Warrior UK?

There is a great cafe area with spectator gallery, plus parking is free for 3 hours in the St George’s Retail Park, so you can enjoy a quick bit of shopping while there too!

Check out our full review here or book your session here.

National Space Centre, Leicester

It may be an obvious choice, but the National Space Centre is a great place to visit with the kids.

The whole centre has recently been refurbished, with a great deal of investment in the entrance area and galleries too. It really looks fantastic, and is a welcoming entrance for visitors.

Loved to the moon and back!
The moon!

For the younger ones, there’s dressing up areas available on your way round, such as stars and space rockets, as well as plenty of sensory opportunities – from space rubbings in the rocket tower, to puzzles, buttons to press, and little tunnels to crawl through as you go round.

It’s also pram and wheelchair-friendly, with wide, open paths between galleries, and lifts to go up between the floors.

For the older kids, it’s a pure learning and sensory experience, with plenty of interactive features, such as launching space rockets and going into weather tunnels, helping them learn about space in a fun and interactive way.

Check out our full review here or visit their website here

Boost Trampoline Park – Leicester and Northampton

Boost Trampoline Parks are in both Northampton and Leicester. Lily has bounced at Boost since she was 2 years old, and was really excited to head back upon reopening.

Boost Trampoline Park, Leicester
Boost Trampoline Park, Leicester

With trampolines, foam pits, balance beams and more, we really do recommend a visit to Boost Trampoline Park.

Check out our review here or visit their website here for session details.

Loving life at Boost Trampoline Park
Loving life at Boost Trampoline Park

Tamworth SnowDome

There is so much fun to be had at Tamworth SnowDome, whatever the weather. From their amazing snow fun park to their climbing walls and tobogganing too, we’ve always loved our visits to SnowDome.

We recommend signing up to their newsletter for huge discounts on all their activities, but we can’t recommend it enough for an adventure with the family!

Find out more here or check out our review here.

Snow much fun! Enjoying the snow fun park at SnowDome Tamworth
Snow much fun! Enjoying the snow fun park at SnowDome Tamworth

West Lodge Farm Park, Kettering

We’ve enjoyed West Lodge Farm Park in every weather condition, whether it’s visiting after school, for Lily’s birthday or one of their fantastic events, and we’ve had a fantastic time every single time.

Most of the farm is outdoors, however their walking trails are sheltered by trees for a bit of a break from the rain outdoors, and they have the most amazing wooden indoor play barn too around a huge tree, with slides, bridges and more.

For smaller kids, there’s even a dedicated area with interactive light-pond and smaller climbing area with slide.

Such a fantastic setup for all ages to explore

What’s more, you’ve the café here, so you can enjoy lighter snacks and hot / cold drinks indoors, with plenty of seating, and easy access to the toilets (including a disabled toilet). It is warm, bright, safe and friendly, and was definitely a very welcome escape from the rain with a hot drink!

Plus, if you’re attending any of their seasonal events, most of the event areas take place in barns, such as Santa’s workshops and their spooky walkway, so you can still enjoy the events, even if the weather turns really bad!

We can’t recommend West Lodge Farm Park enough to families and the friendly, helpful staff always brighten up any day.

Find out more about West Lodge Farm Park here.

Social Climbing, Leicester

For kids over 5, Social Climbing is a great activity in Leicester city centre, based at Highcross shopping centre.

You don’t need to prebook, but signing the forms online saves you time when you arrive. You pay an extra ÂŁ3 to hire the climbing shoes, you’re given a brief induction and then left to enjoy the climbing space.

It was fairly busy when we went on a Sunday afternoon, but there was still plenty space for the girls to enjoy the easier green and yellow walls. The floors are bouncy too, so easy to jump onto from the floor. They also have drop-off sessions at weekends for different age groups where you can leave the kids for an hour!

You’re also not limited to time, so can spend as long as you like there once you’ve booked in for the day.

You can find out more about Social Climbing here.

Little Avenue, Leicester

Little Avenue is a children’s role play centre built during lockdown within the Go Kids Go soft play centre.

Please note, Little Avenue is upstairs within the building and there is no lift access, so it is not accessible, however there is baby changing and disabled toilet within the Go Kids Go play area.

Little Avenue features 12 separate child-sized play areas, including a vet, supermarket, fire station, café and more.

There is also a seating area with drinks and refreshments.

Lily really enjoyed playing at Little Avenue and had a really great time. The staff were really friendly too – it would just be great if they could make it accessible for more children to enjoy.

We visited Little Avenue as part of a PR Visit on their opening night.

You can find out more about Little Avenue here.

National Forest Adventure Farm, Burton-on-Trent

We’ve always enjoyed events at the National Forest Adventure Farm all year round – and we’ve always had great fun in every weather condition.

There’s the huge indoor play barn (currently bookable in hour slots for ÂŁ1 on top of entry), the indoor animal areas for feeding the animals, as well as the marquee for events.

The tractors have a covered over section to keep you dry on the tractor rides, and events (particularly in the winter) have plenty of indoor areas to escape the elements.

Check out our full review here or visit the website here

New Walk Museum, Leicester

We’ve always enjoyed New Walk museum and count ourselves lucky to live in a city with such a fantastic and free museum to visit.

It is only a small museum, but it is packed with artefacts and there’s always something new to explore every time you visit.

Walking with dinosaurs

Our favourite area has always been the dinosaurs, as Lily loves playing with the interactive features and pretending to be a palaeontologist, but she has also loved exploring the new Egyptian gallery upstairs, which is beautiful!

Read our full review here

Manor Farm Park & Woodlands

360 Play

I know it’s a cliche to head to soft play when it’s a rainy day, but if you are looking to head to one, we do recommend 360 Play at Meridian Leisure Park, Leicester, for kids of all ages.

You have an area for younger kids as well as all your usual soft play fun with slides and climbing for older kids, a family-friendly cafe, a roundabout, craft activities and more – plus they do various daytime sessions and reduced price after school sessions too during term time.

Find out more here

King Richard III Visitor Centre

Located right next to where King Richard III’s remains were found, the King Richard III Visitor Centre tells the fascinating and moving story of the king’s life and death, and reveals one of the greatest archaeological detective stories ever told.

The exhibition gives visitors a chance to learn more about the King’s life and death – and to understand the huge events that led to his hasty burial and eventual rediscovery.

It reveals one of the greatest archaeological detective stories ever told and features the first-ever genome sequencing of ancient DNA.

Visitors can see the exact place where Richard’s remains were buried over 500 years ago and this poignant place has been transformed into a glass-floored contemplative space for visitors.

The Visitor Centre is the centrepiece of a series of regeneration projects including Cathedral Gardens – an area of open green spaces, paths and artwork between Leicester Cathedral and the Visitor Centre.

Find out more here

Treetop Adventure Golf

The Treetop Adventure Golf is a brilliant indoor mini golf centre situated in Leicester City Centre that has an incredible jungle theme.

Image: Treetop Adventure Golf

There are two 18-hole mini golf courses – the Tropical Trail and Ancient Explorers, own with their amazing decorated holes to tackle. There’s even a bonus 19th hole!

What’s more, you can also pick up drinks, cocktails and pizza while you’re there.

Find out more here

Abbey Pumping Station

Abbey Pumping Station has exhibits that encourage all the family to get hands-on with the history of science, industry, transport, health and hygiene.

Abbey Pumping Station, Leicester

The museum also charts the early days of motorised transport with a rare collection of vintage vehicles including buses, fire engines, a chip van, a hansom cab and its own narrow-gauge railway.

To see one of our massive beam engines in full-steaming action, look out for our special event days and while you are here, enjoy our technology-themed outdoor children’s play area and sensory garden.

Parking is available at the neighbouring National Space Centre. 

Find out more here – we’d also recommend looking out for events at the Abbey Pumping Station as they host some great affordable days out for all the family.

Van Gogh Exhibition – The Immersive Experience

For something truly unique, check out the Van Gogh Exhibition in Leicester at All Saints Church.

The experience will let you discover the life of the artist in a new way: his time at the convent and in Arles, the secrets from the letters he wrote to his brother and much more. You will participate in a unique sound and light show that will immerse you in the world renowned and familiar images of Vincent Van Gogh.

Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience, Leicester
Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience, Leicester

No one will leave uninspired. Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience is a 360 degree experience in the universe of one of the greatest geniuses of the last century.

Find out more here

Hatton Adventure World

Hatton Adventure World is a fantastic place to visit, whatever the weather. They have a great indoor play area with slides galore, an indoor area with meeting reptiles, arts and crafts, Guinea Pigs and more, all under cover.

Throughout the year they have events both indoors and outdoors, including for Halloween and Christmas, plus a whole world of outdoor activities too.

Meeting the snakes at Hatton Adventure World

We’ve always loved our visits to Hatton Adventure World and really do recommend it whatever the weather.

Check out our full review here or visit their website here

Hollywood Bowl

We’ve lost count how many times we’ve visited Hollwood Bowl – it really is a great day out for all the family.

Not only can you enjoy the high-quality bowling lanes, but you can also enjoy the arcades and some great food too!

Find out more here

Picture from Hollywood Bowl

The Wave Coventry

The Wave is a huge indoor water park in Coventry. From high-speed slides and a fun-packed splash zone to the exhilarating Wave Pool and relaxing Lazy River, there really is something fun for all ages to enjoy.

You can enjoy water rides such as the Rapids and the Cascade, as well as the Riptide and the Torrent, or enjoy the more peaceful Lazy River!

Find out more here

Newarke Houses Museum, Leicester

Newarke Houses holds the collections of the Leicestershire Regiment in dedicated galleries.

These two houses, owned by William Wygston and Thomas Skeffington respectively, will take you on a historical journey with objects dating from Tudor times.

Since 1953 the Museum has brought together a collection of the things which make up people’s everyday lives, including collections of toys from the beginning of the 1500s to the present day, a thought-provoking regimental collection and a recreated First World War trench.

You can enjoy a play area for kids to try out some games and they also have a 1950s street scene with its shops and pub where you can hear the stories of people who call Leicester their home.

Entry is free, except on event days. Find out more here.

The Riverside Hub Play Centre, Northampton

The Riverside Hub is somewhere I’ve never been but have heard amazing things about, whether you have babies, toddlers or older kids!

There’s a 4-level playframe, including a football pitch, interactive multi-ball wall game, 2 cool slides, and loads of fun play features, Go Karts for kids of all ages, laser tag for kids 4 and above, climbing walls, a climbing tree feature, carousel, sensory area and more.

You can also find a fantastic role play village and for an additional cost you can enjoy crafts too.

Find out more here

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