Holidays In Northamptonshire and Cambridgeshire
To help make packing and fitting into the car that little easier, we have a portable high chair and a travel cot and mattress although you will need to bring your own bedding for the cot.
Barnwell Country Park. I quote from a guest, 'Delightful. Fabulous nature trails and a wonderful, imaginative playground are a firm favourite with our children. Every year there is something to do - this year we did the Treasure Hunt. Family Pond Dipping on Thursday is also very successful.' There is also full disabled access including fishing. This is a small gem you could drive past and not know it was there.
Hamerton Zoo Park. See Cheetahs, Maned Wolves, Bengal Tigers and lots more. When our kids were little we loved to see the Meerkats. Well worth the trip.
Wicksteed Park. If your kids are under ten they will have a really great time. It doesn't have the highest, fastest or best of anything but I went lots of times as a kid, as did my wife and so did our kids and nobody has a bad word to say about it.
Stanwick Lakes. Cycling, walking, fishing and general outdoor pursuits for all the family including an assault course for the adventurous. My Godaughter Evie thinks it's the best place in the world and would go every day if she could.
Wimpole Hall. Lovely country house for the grown-ups and lots for the kids.
Kelmarsh Hall arranges various attractions.
Rutland Water. You can cycle here too. Combine it with visits to Uppingham or Oakham which are beautiful market towns. Hambleton Hall is a Michelin starred restaurant in the middle of the lake accessed by a causeway although you won't find us recommending it. Overeager use of the pepper mill reminded me of a sixties trattoria and offhand service on a subsequent occasion means my wife won't go back either.
Snibston sounds perhaps the least appealing attraction you could imagine; a disused mine in a town called Coalville with industrial artefacts to look at. Surely not. Browsing the website, which must have been produced by a local government official, doesn't help either but when you look elsewhere on the web you get a feeling of something for everyone; a mine for the kids with a play area for the little ones, a beam engine for Dad, fashion history for Mum, lots of interactive exhibitions and a train journey for everyone. There is also a country park to run off excess energy and the icecreams. It has been highly recommended by guests which is the best recommendation at NVC.
And now for an uncomfortable question. Have your kids ever run around in a real wood? For a few the answer may be a surprise to their parents but there is a solution nearby. In a recent article in The Times, there was one of those de rigueur journalist lists of the best twelve wildernesses in the UK and the National Trust's excellent Old Sulehay Forest featured alongside the Inner Hebrides, Cape Wrath and the forts at Whitstable. 'This ancient woodland above the Nene Valley is a mosaic of habitats. In its oak, ash and maple coppice, nuthatches push hazelnuts into cracks in the trees to hold them steady while they split them open, Under the trees the ground is a carpet of oak and hazel leaves, scattered in autumn with enough crab apples to make a lifetime's WI jelly.'
We have had visitors who have come on Geocaching holidays. If you dont know what it is, follow the link and watch a video but it is essentially orienteering without a compass. It's a way to see the countryside with a purpose so is, I guess, the children's equivalent of walking to the pub.
On the way back to London, pop in to Church Farm, Ardeley where you can visit this 175 acre ecological mixed farm near Stevenage. You can see the pigs, cattle and sheep and even feed some of the animals. Personally, I think all children should know where meat comes from but the squeamish might not want to draw attention to the source of the meat in the excellent store and café. You can even arrange to buy meat and veg boxes and collect them in London if you want to raise your food sources from the horrors of the supermarkets.
Alton Towers for the brave, albeit it a bit of a drive away.