Our travel reviewer Laura Mason discovers the delights of family-friendly days out in the sunny West Mildlands.
West Mildlands Days Out
Birmingham is one of the UK’s cities that tend to fly under the radar. Not many people know but it’s the UK’s second city and a melting pot infused with different cultures, cuisines and some pretty good attractions.
We visited the West Midlands hub for a family weekend away and found that a weekend just wasn’t long enough! Here are my top five recommendations for some great attractions to visit:
Indulge in your wild side with this drive-through safari park. It features a wide range of animals, many of which you can feed, as you drive through the different zones. This year a new baby rhino was born so we were all eager eyes and spotting him running with his parents.
Once you’ve done the tour, be prepared to hit the ground running as you check out the animals and interactive shows within the zoo area. Land of the Living Dinosaurs was our highlight, animatronic dinos spread across a fascinating walk that little ones are in complete awe of! To top off a busy day, there are plenty of rides for young and old to squeeze in some last thrills!
Admission will set you back £22/adult, £17/child and Under 3s free.
It’s hard not to be excited by this attraction; Severn Valley is home to a network of traditional steam trains so any Thomas and Friends fans will be in their element. We are talking the smelly, steamy, loud trains that will excite kids and adults alike. The Freedom of the Line ticket gives you unlimited train travel between the town of Kidderminster all the way to Bridgnorth located 16 miles along the River Severn in Shropshire so you can train galore!
I almost think there’s more fun to be had in the suspense, yet once loaded the train journey is comfortable and fun as you chug along the tracks. You can also explore the Engine House Visitor Centre for free with the ticket, an interesting insight in to the locomotives from past and present along with some huge trains on displace, not forgetting it’s a handy place to grab some lunch if you haven’t stopped off at one of the pubs en route beforehand.
Tickets cost from £18.00/adult and £12.00/child.
As the name suggests, this is every chocoholics dream – the birthplace of the world famous Cadbury Chocolate. A great half day out, the tour takes you through the history of the cocoa bean through to finished product. Kids will love walking round the factory watching the chocolatiers crafting bespoke pieces, and don’t even get me started on all the samples and yummy chocolate bars handed out!
My little ones particularly enjoyed the adventure play ground, ride on train ride and 4D cinema experience, while my personal high was the walk through some of the brand’s most memorable TV adverts – remember the drum bashing gorilla anyone?!
A day out at Cadburys cost £16.75 /adult, £12.30/child and Under 4s are free.
This is a great local attraction that encourages kids to get interactive with animals, large and small, as well as develop an appreciation for nature. It’s filled with small handling animals, many of which they can get up close and personal with, while kids can feed the goats and pigs, and enjoy pony rides.
A bumpy tractor ride lets you take in the stunning countryside views and learn about the land, and if you’re lucky enough to visit over a harvest time then you can pick your own fruit or veg to take away. I really liked that there were plenty of extras included in the cost to mix the day up – magic shows, mini fair rides, bouncy castles, soft play, water splash to name just a few! A great set up without being too commercial.
Prices start from £8.50/adult, £9.50/child and Under 2s are free.
Take a trip to yesteryear and learn about the rich heritage and customs of the West Midlands region in a throwback village filled with houses, shops, workhouses and even working traditional transportation you can hitch a ride on. Adults will find it intriguing with some surprising discoveries to be had that I wont ruin for you, but the underground mine is a real highlight.
My children adored the costumed characters walking round that never failed to lose character, watch out for the schoolteacher with his cane! The demonstrations are also good to break the walking up for little ones – from watching needles made to live engines, they’re short and snappy to keep attention and help you get the most out of the experience.
Priced £15.95/adult, £7.45/child and Under 5s are free.