As a seasoned campaigner, you’ll know that there are pitfalls to avoid when planning your family holiday. All you want is a great time spent with your tribe without them turning savage on you. The key to a harmonious holiday is good planning and making sure there is something to entertain every member of your entourage.
With its wide array of options, a great Midlands family break is going to do exactly what a getaway is suppose to do: leave you feeling relaxed and bonded as a family. We are going to get you started with a few ideas to help you plan a family holiday that’ll keep kids of all ages interested while also having something to entertain the adults too.
Well, it is the Midlands Meander, so we absolutely need to start with the art. If your family boasts a budding artist among their number, then keeping them satisfied will be no problem. The Midlands is, after all, famed for its unique arts and crafts. There are plenty of places to choose from and they’ll often offer courses aimed at children. If your kids fancy trying their hands at a bit of pottery, painting, mosaicking or candle making, there is a place that can make it happen.
You could check out Aladdin’s-de-Light for pottery, mosaicking and ceramic painting. There are projects for kids and adults alike, so every age group will be catered for. Or try Zulu Lulu’s Art Bar at the Piggly Wiggly in Howick, which offers ceramic painting and mandala canvas painting for the family and a host of restaurants and shops for the adults. There is also the Candle Dipping Shop at the Nottie’s Junction where your kids can design, paint and decorate their own candles or try their hand at sandart, while the Junction offers the parents a selection of eateries and bespoke shops.
For the kids that can’t stop, there are a host of action packed activities for them in the Midlands. They can get their adrenaline fix by zip-lining through tree canopies, taking to the sky in a hot air balloon, careening around on an indoor kart track or honing their marksman skills with clay pigeon shooting. And the best part is you can join in the fun and make it a whole family experience complete with magic memories and quality bonding time.
For the zip-line enthusiasts, you won’t want to miss the Karkloof Canopy Tours. It’s an extensive zip-line spanning a valley in the Karkloof Nature Reserve and offering adventure seekers awesome valley views, a thick forest canopy, a 20 metre waterfall, abundant bird life and vocal samango monkeys. You might also enjoy an outing to Checkpoint 103 which is an “activity hub” serving up a dose of adrenaline in the form of indoor karting, zorb ball, bubble soccer and paintball. For the target shooters out there, you could try your hand at clay pigeon shooting at Country Pursuits. And there are more great places to cater for the action lovers out there, so do a little research and you’ll find something on offer in the Midlands to suit your family.
This is a great opportunity for the family to live a little and try out a new adventure, so strap on your helmets and hold on tight!
Do you have a future zoologist, vet or farmer in your family? Then your child is going to love hanging out in the Midlands. The rolling green pastures are home to many farmyard favourites, and numerous stops along the Meander offer the kids the chance to pet, feed or interact with their furry or feathered friends. Parents can either join in the feeding frenzy, or take a load off at the accompanying restaurants, shops or picnic sites.
If your kids go gaga at the sight of bleating goats, bounding bunnies or strutting cockerels, then you might want to consider a stop at Yellowwood Cafe, a family restaurant which is also home to miniature horses, Dexter cattle, pot belly pigs, miniature goats and rare miniature donkeys. These diminutive wonders are the perfect height to enchant the pint sized members of your crew. Aside from the animal attractions, there is also a garden with jungle gyms and a small bike track. The family might enjoy a stop at Swissland Cheese where you can grab a cheesy picnic from the on site shop and then settle down in the garden to watch the antics of the goats as they hop around on their climbing platform. On the first Sunday of each month, Swissland Cheese often hosts a live music event which offers a zip-line, goat feeding, sandpit, tree platforms and hopscotch for the kids and music and picnic festival vibe for the adults (please check dates to confirm).
And let’s not forget the firm family favourites that offer a variety of shopping and crafting experiences all in one convenient location. These centres will offer the family an assortment of entertainment from eateries to art and from activities to shopping. They are, of course, handy pit stops for the travellers needing to stretch their legs or grab a toilet break. These spots are often popular and the restaurants in particular may need advance booking on busy days.
The Junction at Nottingham Road is a whimsical collection of unique shops and restaurants that offer everything from wooden toys and chocolate dipping to antiques and books. You can settle down at the restaurants while the kids scramble and clamber over the jungle gyms in the play area. Or you can head over to the Piggly Wiggly. This is another charming spot that is a very popular stop over. It offers a range of shopping experiences from bespoke wood furniture to kitchenware and handmade African crafts. The family can grab a bite to eat at the local restaurant or buy some nibbles for the road at the various food stores on site. There is plenty for the kids to do; with chocolate dipping, putt putt, jungle gyms and a mini train ride.
So there you have it! Just a small taste of the treats on offer for a memorable getaway with your clan. And remember to confirm opening times and availability beforehand directly with the venue to avoid disappointment.