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The summer holidays might be here but that doesn’t mean that the learning has to stop. We’ve put together a list of fun places in the Black Country and beyond that you can visit with your little ones during the school holidays.
Where is it: Cannock Chase Forest, Birches Valley, Rugeley, WS15 2UQ.
Why not get outside for some fresh forest air? Cannock Chase Forest has several beautiful trails available, including a family friendly Gruffalo walk. This is a completely free walking trail with the option to purchase a Gruffalo orienteering leaflet with a certificate and map for £1.50 from the cafe nearby.
Following a simple map to find 12 Gruffalo markers hidden within the deep, dark wood with a surprise for your little ones at the end. This is a great opportunity to get your young explorers outdoors and a chance to immerse yourself (and them) in the story of the Gruffalo once again.
Where is it: Lichfield Street, Walsall, WS4 2BU
Walsall Arboretum first opened in 1874, spanning 170 acres including Hatherton Lake, gardens, green spaces, play areas and sports facilities, with a beautiful array of flowers and wildlife, with over 10,000 different species of trees and shrubs. There is something for every age group from primary school aged children to teens.
Activities available throughout the Arboretum include fishing, skate park, play areas, splash pad, football pitches, bowling greens and table tennis tables – many of these activities are free and make up for the lack of PE lessons during the break!
Where is it: Mary Stevens Park, Stourbridge, DY8 2AA
Mary Steven's Park is a hive of activity all year round – with daily health and fitness activities, community group events and heritage and wildlife activities. Facilities within the park include a large play area, Healthy Hub Activity Centre, Crown Green bowls and croquet, War Memorial, water play, (Seasonal), café and an outdoor gym.In addition to the activities mentioned above you can also feed the ducks with food purchased from the activity centre or cafe. It offers children a really great chance to burn some steam and learn more about nature. Why not take along a picnic and some stationary and ask your child to draw the world around them?
Where is it: Saltwells Local Nature Reserve, Dudley, West Midlands, DY5 1AX
Saltwells National Nature Reserve offers the biggest woodland in the borough and is one of the UK’s largest urban nature reserves, with a sea of bluebells and the home to one of the biggest sculpture parks in the Midlands, located just across the road from Merry Hill Centre. There are well marked trails for all abilities, maps can be downloaded for free.
There is a nationally protected Scheduled Ancient Monument of Medieval coal workings, as well as an old clay and coal mining landscape which has now been transformed with orchids and butterflies. There are several large ponds throughout the park and a staggering 16 species of dragonfly can be spotted! With that said, it makes the perfect location for a science history lesson.
Where is it: The Close, Lichfield, WS13 7LD.
Lichfield Cathedral is the only medieval three-spired cathedral in the UK, and is a treasured landmark in the heart of England. The cathedral hosts lots of family activities during the summer holidays that promise to be both educational and fun.
This summer the cathedral is opening their doors for a summer of science, creativity and spirituality. The free exhibition will focus on science through the ages, taking visitors on a journey of exploration and discovery, from the first smallpox inoculations to the current day fight against COVID - perfect for any aspiring doctors or nurses in the family.
Where is it: Kingsbury Water Park, Bodymoor Heath, Sutton Coldfield, B76 0DY.
Kingsbury Water Park spans across 600 acres of land, with surfaced paths and 15 stunning lakes. There are plenty of activities to keep young and old entertained, from spotting the various wildlife, sitting down to enjoy a picnic, or hiring a bike or paddle boat. There is a fully equipped on site café and gift shop where you can purchase duck food and souvenirs. The park provides a wonderful escape into nature.
Again, this is another great location to visit if you are looking for a way for the kids to burn some energy. We recommend renting a KMX go-kart for a fun way to see the park.
Where is it: Tipton Road, Dudley, DY1 4SQ
Looking for a way to show the kids how life was way back when? The black country museum is an immersive experience for all the family, set across 26 acres of land, visitors will travel back in time and learn how life used to be across the Black Country!
From meeting historical characters who will tell you stories of what it was really like to live and work during the revolutionary period of history. From travelling down the on-site mine to eating the famous chips or enjoying some sweets from the old-fashioned sweet shop.
On behalf of everyone at Smile Education, we wish you a lovely summer break. If you do happen to visit any of the places mentioned above, we’d love to hear your reviews. Feel free to also share any other suggestions you might have in the comments below.