Expand your horizons with a family holiday in the Midlands – where you can take in the rolling Malvern Hills, the sandy beaches of the Lincolnshire coast or maybe the bright lights of the city. There are plenty of kid-friendly activities to get stuck into and, with so many locations on offer on Campsited, you’ll be spoilt for choice when setting up camp, too.
Time to start exploring!
1. Unleash your inner Willy Wonka
We know that kids of all ages love chocolate... The Cadbury family created Bourneville in the late 1800s – as a model village to house its factory workers away from the bustle and pollution of central Birmingham – and today it’s also home to Cadbury World. From a 4D chocolate adventure to demos with the master chocolatiers, there are 14 zones where you can indulge your sweet tooth. You can even travel back 1,000 years to discover how the Aztecs turned cocoa beans into “chocolatl”, Emperor Montezuma’s favourite drink.
2. Bug out with the creepy crawlies
There’s a new attraction on the shores of Rutland Water, the beautiful nature reserve designated a site of special scientific interest (SSSI). Bugtopia is a small, family-run zoo that’s all about invertebrates and reptiles (some of them rehomed exotic pets). The emphasis is on education, conservation and, best of all, hands-on interaction with the exhibits! You can also find out what the zoo is doing to protect our bees through Project Honeycomb. But are you brave enough to get up close and personal with tarantulas, scorpions and lizards?
3.Become a Shropshire lad (or lass) for the day
Calling all history nuts! As part of the Welsh Marches – the border lands running between England and Wales – Shropshire is dotted with awesome castles that stand testament to the region’s turbulent past. Geographers will love the freaky-looking rock formations like the Wrekin and the Styper Stones, and budding naturalists can head for Onny Meadows to explore 30 acres of meadows, woodland, riverbanks and freshwater pools. There’s a choice of walking routes for mixed abilities, a cycle trail, and plenty of kingfisher, dipper and red kite spotting opportunities. The Shropshire Hills Discovery Centre, just next door, puts you nose to tusk with a life-size replica of an Ice Age mammoth.
4. Take your little monkeys to Trentham Forest
If you go down to the woods today, you’re sure of a big surprise – in the form of 140 Barbary macaques! At Monkey Forest these playful primates have the run of 60 acres of woodland, where they live just as they would in the wild. This unique experience allows visitors to stroll among them, with human guides along the forest path to answer any ape-related questions. The concept was first developed in France and came to the UK in 2005. Over the years this “monkey business” has worked hard to successfully reintroduce 600 of the endangered species into their natural habitat in the Atlas Mountains.
5. To be or not to be... in Shakespeare’s home town
To mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death (in 2016), there’s no better time to introduce youngsters to the wonders of the Bard with a visit to Stratford upon Avon. Whether you take them to Shakespeare’s house or for a Shakespearean tour at Tudor World, they’ll get a sense of what life was really like in Elizabethan times. For a very different and altogether contemporary experience, a few doors down from Shakespeare’s house the Mechanical Art and Design (MAD) Museum has a mind-boggling collection of automata - that’s robots to you and me – and kinetic art from around the globe.
6.Take a peek into Tim Peake’s universe
Three, two, one, blast off... to the National Space Centre. Just two miles outside Leicester city centre, thankfully no rocket thrusters required. If Captain Tim Peake’s journey to the International Space Station has fired your kids’ imagination, then they’ll find the space centre’s six interactive galleries something out of this world. They can pit their wits against 150 hands-on challenges, before being star-struck at an award-winning display in the UK’s largest planetarium.
7. Pick your favourites in the beautiful Peak District
With plenty of Campsited sites to choose from here, it’s never been so easy to start planning a foray into the Peak District National Park. Will it be hiking, cycling or horse riding for you and the kids – or maybe a guided mountain hare walk? After all that fresh air, it’s time to delve into the area’s industrial past with a visit to the Lead Mining Museum. Here you can find out what it was like to be a Derbyshire miner, with a tour of a working lead and fluorspar mine from the 1920s, and try your hand at panning for gold. Visitors can find fool’s gold, galena (the principal ore of lead) and a variety of crystals to take home. You just won’t be making off with any real gold...
8. Robbing the rich to give to the poor?
While we don’t condone lawbreaking behaviour of any type, no guide to the Midlands would be complete without a nod to Robin Hood and his merry men. So maybe it’s more about celebrating their archery skills and swordsmanship. Visit the glorious Sherwood Forest where you’ll find the famous 900-year-old oak tree thought to have provided Robin Hood and his men with shelter, or look for your very own swag as you scour the Robin Hood treasure trail. Suitable for ages six and up and following a circular route, this fun quest is self-guided and should take about two and a half hours.
9. A bracing trip to the seaside
The unpredictable English weather, as we know, can turn planning a day on the beach into a game of Russian roulette. But whether it’s brilliant sunshine or blustery wind, there’s always loads to do. Skeggie is the site of the first Butlins holiday camp (which opened in 1936), but the nature reserves between Skegness and Mablethorpe have plenty to offer more outdoorsy types. Head to Doona Nook for seal spotting, Gibraltar Point to watch little terns, redshank, lapwing, ringed plover and whitethroat, or take in the UK's first purpose-built cloud viewing platform – the dreamy sounding Cloud Bar on the beach at Anderby Creek. And if no seals are in sight, cheer up your little ones by popping into the seal sanctuary at Mablethorpe.
10. Calling water babies to Warwickshire
Finally, it just wouldn’t be a camping holiday without a chance to get wet. Hone your family’s watersports skills at the Kingsbury Water Park, where there are 16 lakes offering a choice of jet biking, sailing, water skiing and pedalos. Catering for a wide range of tastes, there’s also a miniature railway, plus donkey rides and a chance for a spot of fishing or bird watching. Perfect.
The West and East Midlands have plenty to offer family campers. From enjoying the great outdoors to high culture or a selection of educational and conservation activities – there really is something for kids - young and old. Book your sites at Campsited today.
Check out our blog on great things to do with kids in The South West of England too!