Running Wild: Explore the outdoors in Nottinghamshire
Nottinghamshire has some absolutely brilliant wild and green spaces, perfect for letting kids with end-of-term-itis run off some steam! Here are five of our favourites:
They say romantic poet Lord Byron was mad, bad and dangerous to know, but you haven't had a day out with my kids! Lord Byron is famous the world over as a passionate lover, a political revolutionary and a man who inspired the Greeks to victory over Turkish rule. My wild ones love hanging out at his Nottingham pad, running through the ruined Abbey, giggling at the sculptures with bums and hopping across the stepping stones in the Japanese gardens.
I’ve even had the pleasure of taking a trip back to Victorian times inside the house on a school trip with my eldest; Newstead is especially magical at Christmas. Afterwards there’s always time for a snack in the cafe and some marvelling at the resident peacocks.
One of the first places I visited while pregnant with my first born, after moving to Nottingham, this park is a place we come back to time and time again. The perfect mix of wild and stately, with the added claim to fame of being used as the set for Bruce Wayne’s mansion in Batman: The Dark Knight Rises, Wollaton is guaranteed to spark their imaginations.
We love playing amongst old trees and watching the deer roam, disappearing into the rhododendrons and playing hide and seek. It doesn't need a playground, but it has a brilliant new adventure style play area, plus there are often bouncy castles in summer. To finish we like a hot chocolate or an ice cream in the courtyard cafe.
I won’t lie, it’s the food in the cafe on stilts on the water that always makes me crave a trip to Attenborough - lovely homemade stews, panini and cake. I first came here with my daughter in a pram, and 10 years on we are still finding plenty to keep our kids busy. The flat tracks are brilliant for pushchairs, scooters and bikes, there are lots of different loops to keep it varied and the routes extend as their legs grow.
Attenborough is a great place to encourage a love of nature, mine enjoy to sitting in a bird hide with a snack and some binoculars or saying hello to the very tame robins that always make an appearance. The weekend and holiday activity sessions for kids are inspirational here, plus the cafe has hands on activities, we loved the watching the peregrine falcon web cam, live from the city centre.
We arrived here in our VW camper many years ago to try out the campsite and didn't want to leave. Clumber Park has what feels like endless acres to run or cycle wild, there’s an amazing feeling of space where every family can find a beautiful spot to call their own for the day.
Shelter from the sunshine under the leafy canopy of Europe’s longest lime tree avenue, explore woodland, heath or park up in your own wooded grove for a picnic. You can hire bikes here and explore 20 miles of cycle track and 5 miles of lakeside track, plus there’s a cafe, shop and walled playground.
Creswell Crags sounds absolutely perfect for a day when the kids are behaving in a way that is positively neanderthal. Home of the Ice Age Hunter, Creswell Crags is a limestone gorge honeycombed with caves and smaller fissures. Stone tools and remains of animals found in the caves by archaeologists provide evidence for a fascinating story of life during the last Ice Age between 50,000 and 10,000 years ago. How wild would it be to see the only ice age cave art in Britain and inspire your kids with the work of Britain’s first artists?
Where are your favourite places to run wild in Nottinghamshire? Let us know in the comments.