15 things to do for families in Warwickshire
We're spoilt for choice locally for great days out. To help narrow it down, here's my tips my fave castles, zoos, museums, farms, train rides and more - that should keep them (and you!) busy this summer
The Butterfly Farm, Stratford-upon-Avon
Walk through this rainforest-inspired wildlife sanctuary which features hundreds of the world’s prettiest butterflies alongside splashing waterfalls, fish-filled pools and landing beautiful tropical flowers. If you’re feeling brave there’s lots of creepy crawlies too in the ‘Minibeast Metropolis’, also home to snakes and reptiles. Count me out!
MAD Museum, Stratford-upon-Avon
The Mechanical Art and Design Museum is the UK’s only permanent venue for mechanical art. It’s a great day out for kids who love science, maths or experimenting, with loads of interactive pieces to keep them busy – while ticking extra boxes of promoting STEM subjects and design. It’s a real sensory experience and there’s lots of crafty bits – so that’s most interests covered.
Warwick Castle, Warwick
We all like a wander around a historic old castle – but not all castles are created equal (there’s only so long a pile of ruins will keep them occupied…). Warwick Castle is one of the exceptions – there’s dungeons, spooky tours, mazes and a Zog playground for little ones. Did I forget the jousting, pyrotechnic displays on the castle walls and host of foodie events it puts on? If you fancy making a night of it there’s the Knights Village for glamping and luxury lodges where there’s extra entertainment like sword fighting, archery and meeting the birds of prey.
Lucky Tails Alpaca Farm, Atherstone
Now this is pretty much a guaranteed animal-lover hit! Alpacas, donkeys, meerkats, baby rabbits — all the fuzzy farmyard (and, er, savannah) cuteness you could ask for, in one well-organised and friendly place. It makes for a dreamy family trip: a hint of education and a hefty dose of cuteness, with the thrill of walking a fluffy alpaca (and posing for selfies), or meeting a curious meerkat. Here’s our review.
Vintage Trains, The Shakespeare Line
These are the only charity train operators running express steam trains on the main line – and lucky us, they’re right here on our patch. Vintage Trains runs along the line from Birmingham Snow Hill to Stratford upon Avon through the scenic Warwickshire countryside. There’s also speciality train rides perfect for the family like the Polar Express which sees the film theatrically re-created onboard (book now for Christmas – yes, really!), or step into Wonderland at the Mad Hatters Tea Party on 31 July or 7 Aug.
Hilltop Farm, Hunningham
Head for a glamping break at this wonderful outdoor rural retreat which is right inbetween Warwick and Leamington Spa. There’s an adventure playground as well as cute rescue farm animals (baby goats!), the farm’s dogs running around to keep the nippers entertained, as well as a chill out zone with barbecues and wood burners. The onsite cafe is reasonably priced and offers delicious food – we love the breakfasts and Sunday roasts. The shop is pretty special too, having just won the Muddy Stilettos Award for best farm shop in Warwickshire and the West Midlands.
The RSC, Stratford-upon-Avon
Fancy a bit of culture? We have the RSC right in the middle of Stratford and while one of its heavier shows might be a bit much for littles we’d definitely recommend catching one with bigger kids. They also put on some awesome workshops and have really interesting tours of the theatre. Make sure you book in for dinner at the onsite Rooftop Restaurant too – it’s one of the best value meals you can get in the town (show days only).
Hillclose Gardens, Warwick
These Victorian gardens having been lovingly restored and are nationally recognised. There’s a sensory garden, mud kitchen and kids can muck in to help with planting, weeding and picking from the veg patch. Grab a bite in the lovely on-site tea room if you visit at the weekend, or head into neighbouring Warwick for food – we love cafe Revive which is full of parlour games to keep you and them busy.
Shakespeare’s Birthplace, Stratford-upon-Avon
The first thing most people think of when they come to Stratford is (rightly) Shakespeare. For a trip steeped in history spend a day exploring his birthplace, Anne Hathaway’s Cottage and New Place – his home for 19 years. A family pass to all three costs £70 and is available from charity Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.
Hoar Park Farm, Nuneaton
Pigs, goats, alpacas and deer – they’re all ready to be fed at this lovely little farm. Once you’ve finished walking around visiting the animals then head indoors to meet some of the smaller critters – rabbits, guinea pigs, chicks and ducklings. There’s a great little shopping village on site too with cafe, gift shop and craft shops.
Magic Alley, Stratford-upon-Avon
Calling all little witches and wizards! Magic Alley promises a day of the mythical and magical to keep even the busiest youngsters happy exploring a world of time-travel, dragons, fairies, pirates and even unicorns. If you’re into the weird and wonderful too then make sure you stop at Magic Alley’s Emporium before you leave – just try and stop the kids throwing a tantrum when you tell them they don’t need a crystal ball.
Leam Boat Centre, Leamington Spa
Fancy a family kayaking, canoe or stand-up paddle board experience on the River Leam? Head over to Mill Gardens, across the river from Jephson Gardens, where there’s been a boating lake and boat house since the Victorian heyday. We recommend packing a picnic and take in the pretty gardens, or head into town which is a foodie paradise – we love Hart&Co for burgers and delicious pancake stacks.
This place just next to Dobbies home to the UK’s largest collection of permanent mazes with six mazes themed around the continents. At the same site there’s a treetop trail and treehouse along with soft play for under 8s – that should keep them and you busy for a bit.
Compton Verney, Warwickshire
Pop along to pretty Compton Verney where there’s an art gallery for a bit of culture and acres of gorgeous Capability Brown landscape for them to run around. There’s always lots of activities on to keep the kids busy and there’s a restaurant on site to grab lunch or a coffee hut if you want something on the go.
Hatton Adventure World, Hatton
Looking for a full on day? Here kids can meet the farm animals, tractor rides and there are more than 100 acres to scream about in. There’s also some cute shops and a sweet tea room for when they finally pass out.