There is so much to do in the East Midlands. The East Midlands includes the counties of Lincolnshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire. Which is a large area of the UK. There are more days out than there are days in the year between the four counties. Today I am bringing you a list of our Top 10 places to visit. All attractions are perfect to visit as a family.
In no particular order.
Crich Tramway Village – Derbyshire
Things to do – You can take a ride on an authentic tram down recreated streets from the past. A visit to Crich Tramway village is like stepping back in time. There’s also a woodland walk with sculptures to find, an outdoor playground plus a small indoor soft play. The surrounding scenery is stunning. As well as being able to ride on different trams during your visit they also have exhibitions to look around, with 60 different trams in total. There’s plenty to do for a full day out.
How much – The great thing about Crich Tramway is that once you have paid for a visit you are then entitled to return for free for the next 12 months. An adult ticket is £17.50 and a child is £10.50 (4-15 years). Under 4’s are free and a family ticket is £40.50).
Belton House – Lincolnshire
Things to do – Belton House is run by the National Trust. It has one of the largest outdoor adventure playgrounds in the country. There’s so much to play on and a lot of it is ‘natural’. Make sure you take a change of clothes for your kids. There’s water play as well as sand. They will get dirty. We love the little steam train and there’s also an indoor play area which is like no other I’ve seen before. Belton also has a lovely house that you can look around and some fabulous grounds that are well worth a wander in.
How much – If you have a National Trust membership there is no charge to visit Belton House. You do have to pay a small fee to ride on the train. They have different price options according to the season and if you want to visit the grounds or the house as well. A standard house and grounds ticket is £16.50 for an adult and £10.50 for a child. Children under 5 are free. We usually purchase a grounds only ticket which costs £12.50 for an adult and includes the indoor soft play.
Fantasy Island – Lincolnshire
Things to do – Fantasy Island is a theme park near Skegness. They have plenty of rides for young and old. If it’s a bad weather day don’t worry about what to do as they have lots of rides indoors, as well as outdoors. They are adding more rides in 2019 and if you don’t fancy going on the rides you can visit for no cost and wander around the outdoor market.
How much – You can purchase tickets for individual rides or purchase day ticket wristbands which entitle you to ride all the rides that you are tall enough for. The rides are open from the spring until early autumn. The wristbands are also priced according to when you visit. On a yellow day which is mid season, an adult wristband costs £10.80 and £7.20 for a child (over 1.1m) if bought online.
Twycross Zoo – Leicestershire
Things to do – Twycross is one of the biggest zoos in the UK. They mostly have a large variety of primates, most of which have been given some very fancy enclosures these past few years. My favourite area is the walk-in Lemur enclosure which is great fun to visit during feeding time. My son loves the walk in Lorikeet aviary, especially if one lands on him wanting to be fed. Make sure you visit in warmer months as you may be lucky to have a butterfly land on you in the tropical house.
How much – This is the most expensive of all the attractions on this list. An adult ticket bought online in advance costs £19.95 and a child ticket (2-16) is £15.40.
Things to do – Donna Nook is the place to go to see wild seals and their pups. They return every year during the late autumn to have their pups. During this time the public are allowed to visit and you can observe them from the fence. Some of the females and their pups come right up to the fence giving you a great view. There’s nothing quite like the sound of their calls as you scale the sand dunes. We go every year as we love it so much.
How much – It is free to visit Donna Nook. During the pupping season it costs £5 to park.
Adventureland Springfields Retail Outlet – Lincolnshire
Things to do – Springfields retail outlet in Spalding has had things to do as a family for a few years now. In 2018 they opened their new and vastly improved attraction ‘Adventureland’. Kids can ride on mini JCB’s around a realistic track with a petrol station, shop and more. They also have high nets suspended in trees which are so much fun. Such a strange sensation to walk on and I challenge anyone not to fall over. Other attractions include panning for gold, a miniature steam train, crazy golf and a covered sand and water play area.
How much – You can pay separately for each attraction at Adventureland and there are varying prices for each attraction. I recommend buying a wristband as this gives you access to all and saves you money. A peak all-inclusive price is £7.95, this is for adults and children. A family pass is £29.95 for peak times. These are their online prices.
Sundown Adventureland – Nottinghamshire
Things to do – Sundown is located up near Retford and it is a large theme park especially for the under 10’s. It is full of things to see and do. There are rides which are perfect for little ones plus a couple of slightly more adventurous rides to help break little ones in. They have large indoor and outdoor play areas including Angry Birds. A lot of the areas have themed interactive attractions with buttons to press and realistic smells. It’s a fabulous place for young imaginations.
How much – They have different prices for quiet days, low season, high season and Christmas. A regular ticket for an adult or child over 90 cms costs £16.75 online in advance. Under 90 cms are free. A ticket for a family of 4 over 90 cms costs £61.00 online.
Bolsover Castle – Derbyshire
Things to do – Bolsover castle is run by English heritage. It has a large ruined castle that you can have fun exploring. There is also a smaller but intact castle with a few floors to explore. Some of the rooms are decorated, others not. This is surrounded by a castle wall that you can walk on and a lovely garden. Up by the cafe, there is a castle-themed playground for the kids.
How much – It costs nothing to visit Bolsover castle if you are a member of English Heritage. An adult ticket is £11.30 and £6.80 for a child aged 5-17. A family ticket is £29.40.
National Space Centre – Leicestershire
Things to do – Although billed as somewhere for older kids we have been visiting the National Space centre since my son turned 3 and he loves it there. They have plenty of interactive exhibits. Some of which are really unique. You can stand for photos in a spacesuit and if you talk into it your voice goes over their tannoy. There’s a couple of rooms where you can pretend to send someone into space and we love visiting the Planetarium cinema. There’s also the opportunity to train as a spaceman by completing different tasks.
How much – The National space centre in Leicester also has a great deal where once you purchase an entry ticket you are then entitled to return for free for the next 12 months. An adult ticket is £15.00 and £12.00 for a child aged 5-16. Under 5’s are free and it costs £3.00 to park all day.
TwinLakes – Leicestershire
Things to do – Last but not least is TwinLakes near Melton Mowbray. This is a theme park with plenty of rides. There’s something for everyone and we never quite manage to do everything in one day. If it’s a warm day take swimmers and some towels as they have a fun splash park. There’s plenty to do indoors and outdoors and if your kids like soft play they won’t be disappointed. My highlight is the Buffalo ride as it used to be at my favourite theme park that I visited as a child. They even have an area full of animals waiting for you to come and see.
How much – They have 5 different pricing levels at Twinlakes depending on when you visit. We try to visit on orange days which are £16 for an adult and a child over 108cms is the same price. Toddlers 95-108cms are £8 and under 95cms are free.
This is a guest post by Suzy McCullough over at Our Bucket List lives. Suzy and her family have a family travel bucket list and their website is full of ideas and inspirations from their travels and days out. In 2019 they are undertaking a quest to have at least 80 days out in one year #80dayschallenge. Every Wednesday there will be a new post and vlog over on Youtube – or posts and vlogs if they manage more in one week – because let’s face it, they will have to fit in more than one a week at some point. They have recently been to Lapland to meet Santa and their adventures for this year will involve a 5 night holiday to Iceland plus many weekend breaks in the UK. Their favourite social media platform is Facebook – check them out at Our Bucket List lives
That’s our top 10 list for the best days out in the East Midlands! Have you been to any of these attractions? Would you add anything else to the list? Let us know in the comments!