Entertain the kids: Wonderful things to do in the West Midlands
The West Midlands includes Birmingham, Warwickshire, Wolverhampton and Worcestershire – a wideranging area with a huge range of attractions to appeal to families no matter how old the children or whatever floats their boats. Here I’ve picked out my top ten.
This is a great daylong attraction for the family. The safari is a drive-through experience where you can feed the animals out of your windows and get up close and personal to many magnificent animals including giraffes and monkeys. When we visited, a camel did stick its head in my car and eat my map! On a hot day it can be busy and the safari can take a few hours so make sure you pack plenty of drinks. After the safari, it’s time to explore the rest of the park including the reptile and small animal holding and the theme park (with additional charge). It doesn’t have huge rollercoasters but is great for younger children and tweens who are starting to get brave and seek adrenaline rides.
This is one of my personal favourites, partly as I think the company’s social history story is so interesting and important. The working factory has various zones to be explored and it’s worth going at Christmas because Santa visits and there is also a short panto that is included in your ticket price. The smell of chocolate wafts around and everyone is given several bars of chocolate during the tour.
If your children need somewhere that will tire them out, Hatton Park has it sorted for children up to the age of 13. Assault courses, survival skills and slide mania will keep little legs moving. For younger visitors, animal petting is on offer plus soft play areas where the grown-ups can sit and watch the children play with a cup of tea.
Located near Evesham, ATW offers children the chance to experience nature at their fingertips. From pond dipping to bug hunting, it’s a real hands-on experience for primary school age children. I like that there are no hidden costs: Your entrance fee covers everything including bar food and drink, which means that you don’t have to say no or steer the children away from areas that swallow more money!
This little farm provides the opportunity to bottle-feed newborn lambs and calves, hold the cutest little chicks, rabbits, and guinea pigs and even have the chance to ride one of their beautiful ponies. Highlights include Falconry displays that take place twice a month. The park makes for a great attraction all year round, especially for younger kids.
This is a free day out that requires no booking. It means that if the weather is dry you can pull on your walking boots and head out to explore the local area. The Stick Man and Gruffalo trails are great ways to keep younger children occupied on family walks. Take a picnic or buy homemade cakes from the café. Activity packs contain the trail leaflet, activity sheets, pencil, crayon and pipe cleaners to make a Stick Man. I have found this keeps my daughter entertained for ages.
The castle is part of the Merlin Attractions and if you have a Merlin card your entry is covered. The Castle offers the usual self-guided tours and you can climb the towers (not suitable for buggies). Over-10s will love the interactive dungeon (additional cost) and promises to send chills down your spine! For younger visitors, Horrible Histories bring the medieval castle to life. They also offer glamping visits if you are looking for a complete weekend experience.
This is a memory I have from my teen years. Social history is an area I have always been interested in and I remember visiting the living museum and being captivated by the period shops and costumes. There is an underground mine and school to experience and for me it bought history to life. My grandparents grew up in streets like those put together and it helped me connect with my family history.
A hands-on science museum that allows young people to explore over 200 displays. This is the type of place you can stay all day -- there is always something new for children to touch and experience. Children learn best when they are doing things and the Think Tank gives them plenty of opportunities. It is a great thought-provoking day and will allow young people to ask questions and discover the answers for themselves.
This is a playground of choice for many older children and teenagers. It is an adrenaline-fuelled theme park that will put you into a spin or fling you through the skies. My best tip for visiting is to always book in advance and search out voucher codes; never pay on the door unless you want to pay premium prices. The food is always expensive in theme parks as you pay for the convenience but buying refillable drinks can save money during the day. If you are looking for a fun day out for older teenagers, this is often top of the wish list.