Happy school summer holidays! That came around quickly, didn’t it?
The children are no doubt thrilled about the prospect of six school-free weeks, and it’s always great to enjoy some time together as a family. But it also requires a bit of planning for us parents, to ensure they have a fun-filled holiday.
You’ll be glad to hear that there’s plenty to keep them occupied, with lots of attractions to visit and exciting events taking place over the course of the school holiday. To save you trawling the internet, we’ve put together a bumper guide of things to do over the summer.
Here’s some brilliant events, experiences and attractions that we think you’re going to love. And, the great news, is some of them don’t even cost a penny!
We’ve included a few indoor options in case the summer sunshine gives way to rain. Take a look below and see what sounds like your kind of day out…
Sat, July 9 – Thur, Sept 1 – Dinosaur Trail, Loughborough town centre
You can take part in a Jurassic adventure and unearth some fascinating dinosaur facts this summer as a Dino Trail will be taking over Loughborough. Taking part is free, and all participants will be in with a chance of winning some prizes.
The Dino Trail will feature 15 locations and each location will have a poster with an educational dinosaur question. Participants can stomp along the trail and discover the answers by scanning the QR code on each poster.
Explorers who complete the trail, visiting all locations and scanning the QR codes will be entered into a prize draw to win one of four £50 Love Loughborough shopping vouchers. Participants are advised to keep their eyes peeled for anagram letters along the way for an extra chance to win.
Read our article about the trail here.
Sat, July 9- Sun, July 10 – Rempstone Steam and Country Show, Wymeswold
See working steam engines, vintage cars and traditional crafts. There will be a fairground, children’s entertainment, trader’s market, companion dog show and arena events all day.
There will be food vendors and a licenced bar. There is free parking. Adults £15, children (under 16) free.
Sat, July 9 – Sun, Sept 4 – Space Ranger Summer, National Space Centre, Leicester
The National Space Centre – which has just celebrated its 21st birthday is hosting a special event this summer. Inspired by the new Disney Pixar film Lightyear, you can enjoy interactive activities including VR experiences, hands on crafts, space ranger training and movie making opportunities.
You can also take a seat in the UKs largest Planetarium to see the new immersive fulldome show, We Are Guardians. Tickets are £16.95 for adults, £13.95 for children/concessions, with under fives free.
Sat, July 9 – Sun, July 31 – Ravenous Romans Children’s Hunt, Bosworth Battlefield Heritage Centre and Country Park, Sutton Cheney
Hungry Romans are on their way to Bosworth for the summer. Help find them something to eat before they devour all the local food! Solve the clues and explore the site to discover where all the Roman food is hidden – and learn some foodie facts on the way.
Complete the hunt and get a certificate and prize. It costs £2 per sheet, which you can get from the ticket office or shop.
Sat, July 9 – Sun, July 31 – Enlightening Edgar Children’s Hunt, 1629s House Donington le Heath
Edgar wants to be an explorer like his uncle, the great Sir Kenelm Digby. Can you help him find the curiosities and devices that his uncle has brought back from his travels? Solve the clues and complete the hunt to get a certificate and prize.
£2 per sheet. You can purchase one from the ticket office.
Wednesdays from July 13 – August 17 – Hinckley BID Summer of Fun, Hinckley town centre
Each Wednesday, Hinckley BID is providing weekly fun, such as The Little Land Train and Crazy Golf on July 20, and Dr Zoolittle on August 17. Free events, 10am -4pm.
Fri, July 15 – A Midsummer Night’s Dream outdoor theatre at Bradgate Park
Quantum Theatre will bring this tale of love, intrigue, magic and mayhem to life. Set on a dangerous night when fairies are abroad and nothing is as it seems, four young lovers become entangled in a magical mess.
Performance begins 7pm. There will also be a barbecue from 5pm. Tickets for show £15 adult, £10 child (3-16), family £45.
Sat, July 16 – Sun, July 17 – Spitfire in the Square, Leicester
A Spitfire from the Royal Air Force Museum Midlands will go on tour this summer, visiting Leicester as part of the Museum’s 50th anniversary celebrations. The rare blue reconnaissance Spitfire PR. XIX will be in Jubilee Square for two days as it tours some of the region’s popular landmarks, highlighting and celebrating the area’s rich RAF heritage.
Mon, July 18 – Sun, Sept 18 – Wistow Maze
The giant eight acre maize maze will open for 2022 on Monday, July 18! This year’s maze will be designed in the shape of the Coronation Crown, to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee year.
The maze will have a fun quiz trail hidden among its three miles of pathways, with high level bridges and towers giving panoramic views across the surrounding countryside. Visitors have to find 12 quiz boards on which there will be questions based on great innovations during the Queen’s 70 year reign.
It will be open seven days a week, from 10am until 6pm (last admission 4.30pm) until Sunday, September 4, and will then be open at weekends only until Sunday, September 18.
The entry cost is £8.50 per adult, £6.95 per child (13 and under) with under twos free. A family ticket (2+2) is £28.00 and there is free parking.
Read our article about the maze here.
Tue, July 19 – Festival of Archaeology – Family Fun Day, Leicester Guildhall
Budding archaeologists (or those that just love digging and making things) will be able to make their own archaeologist kit including a hard hat, trowel and ID lanyard and have a go at digging in the sand pits. You never know what treasures you may find!
Create clay pots, just like the ones on display in the museum and have a go at medieval games and puzzles and dressing up. There will be an archaeological ‘finds’ trail to follow too.
£3 drop-in activity. Event runs 11am until 3pm.
From Tue, July 19 – Activity Days – Burbage Common
‘Wild Play’ sessions will take place on Tuesdays July 19 (dens) July 26 (fire), August 16 (flower power) and August 23 (fire).
Sessions are for 5 to 12 year olds, who must be accompanied by an adult. Cost: £5 per child per session.£2.50/sibling/session (2 to 4 years old) must be booked with a full price child. One adult free per family (1 adult with up to 3 children). Booking essential, via email: email@example.com
Wed, July 20 – Teddy Bears Picnic, Belgrave Hall, Leicester
Enjoy arts and crafts activities, treasure trails and games and lots of family fun. Take your favourite Teddy Bear to show off to everyone and don’t forget to take your blanket and picnic.
Drop in (cash only) or book online. £3 per craft pack.
Free car park on Vicarage Lane available (limited spaces). Event runs from 11am until 3pm.
Until Sun, July 24 – The World of Peter Rabbit Storytime Trail – Newarke Houses, Leicester
Immerse yourself in The Tale of Peter Rabbit with this walk-through experience. Little bunnies will be able to crawl under the garden gate, hide in a watering can and see their reflection in a mirror pool, just like Peter Rabbit.
Entry is free to the trail. There is an event on Sunday, July 24, celebrating Peter Rabbit’s birthday.
There will be crafts, games and storytelling, and there is a £3 charge. The event will run from 12pm until 3pm.
Wed, July 27 and Thur, July 28 – Funtopia, Croft Lodge Farm
Promising a ‘big day out for little kids’, Funtopia is coming to Croft Lodge Farm – known as the Croft Car Boot site. The event is specially designed for under 10’s, and will include inflatables, sumo suits, Nerf wars, a driving school, a crafty corner and a role play area.
You can learn circus skills and take part in fun workshops and there will also be a special area for under fives. Plus, you’ll have the chance to meet a giant T-Rex named Terry!
Wristbands can be bought on the gate and are priced at £2.50 for adults and £10 for children over 90cm, with children under 90cm going free. The Croft event will run from 11am until 5pm both days.
There will be autism-friendly sessions on the second day of the Funtopia event, from 9.30am until 11am on July 28. These are exclusively for children with autism/SEND and their families. Tickets for these sessions are £5 per child and adults are free.
Sat, July 30- Sun, July 31 – The Big Age UK Leicestershire and Rutland Wonderland Trail and Family Jamboree, Everards Meadows, Enderby
Join Age UK for a weekend of free family fun at Everards Meadows for their The Big Wonderland Trail and Family Jamboree Weekender. Visitors of all ages can enjoy an ‘Alice in Wonderland’ trail and whether you choose to walk, cycle or scoot the trail, you’ll discover a range of secret Alice in Wonderland characters along the way including the Queen of Hearts, the Mad Hatter and even Alice herself.
Run 10am – 4pm both days. Free entry.
Mondays during August – Themed days – Hinckley and District Museum, Hinckley
Themed days will be taking place at the museum every Monday during August, beginning with a Stone Age Day on August 1, and finishing with a Victorian Wash Day on August 29.
All events £2, and run from 10am until 4pm.
Wed, Aug 3 – Fri, Aug 5 – Snapdragon Festival – Argents Mead, Hinckley
From Wednesday to Friday, there will be free activities including a giant sandpit, games garden, treasure trail and role play village. Plus, on Wednesday, which is National Play Day, there will be extra activities including a wild waterslide (take your costumes!) and a walkabout balloon modeller.
On Thursday, the theme is ‘Let the games begin’, and there will be a forest school, sports workshops and a mascot race among the activities. On Friday, the Kings and Queens day will include a fancy dress competition, magic show and workshops including junior jousting.
There will be donkey rides each day for £2 (cash only). Minimum age 18 months.
Wed, Aug 3 – National Play Day event – Town Hall Square, Leicester
Town Hall Square will be turned into a giant playground for babies and children. Activities will include traditional games such as skipping, hula hooping, egg and spoon races and hook-a-duck, as well as dancing, creative play sessions and lots of arts and crafts activities.
There will be storytelling with the BookBus, a stay-and-play area for parents and babies, while adventurous youngsters can have a go on the climbing wall. Height restrictions apply on the climbing wall and suitable shoes are required.
The event will run from 11am to 3pm.
Wed, Aug 3 – Pirates and Princess Day with Enter Edem Theatre – Belgrave Hall, Leicester
This day of pirate and princess-themed family fun will feature the Cross and Bone Circus with Privateer Patrick and Pirate Pete, including circus workshops, magic and balloon modelling fun, a Pirate Playground and a treasure hunt.
You’ll be able to find your pirate name with ‘Pirate n Polly’s’ Funny Fortunes and watch Tilly’s Roaming Tavern, a puppetry walkabout act with her table of trinkets. Plus, hear a tale from the oceans, with Princess Pearl and Coralia the Mermaid.
You’re encouraged to go dressed up in your best pirate or princess costume. Cost is £5 per person.
You can book via the website: www.leicestermuseums.org or pay by cash on the day.
Sun, Aug 14 – Family Fun Day, Leicestershire County Cricket Club, Leicester
As well as featuring an array of fun activities, this event will see the Running Foxes face Warwickshire in the Royal London Cup. There will be music and entertainment for the whole family, with activities on offer between 11am and 4pm, including arts and crafts, face painting and autograph opportunities.
Entry is £1 per visitor and can be booked online.
Read our article about the event here.
Tue, Aug 16 – Dinomania Educates with Ranger Chris from BGT – New College Leicester
Ranger Chris appeared in this year’s series of Britain’s Got Talent, and now he and his dinosaurs will be heading to New College Leicester on August 16.
The baby dinosaurs at the event will include a Triceratops, Ankylosaurus, baby raptors, Brachiosaurus and even a cheeky Pteranodon. You can meet some of the large walking dinosaurs including T.Rex, raptor and a huge full size Triceratops Millie.
There will be two sessions on August 16, with 200 tickets available per session. Session times are 11am and 2pm.
The age recommendation for the event is three to 14 years old. Tickets are non refundable and all participants will require a ticket including adults (under 2s are free). Tickets cost £15 each and can be purchased via the Dinomania website.
Tue, Aug 16 – Thur, Aug 18 – Great Central Railway By The Sea, Great Central Railway
Great Central Railway will be transformed with a seaside theme, offering fun and frolics for all age groups. There will be beach-side novelty stalls, a huge sandpit, circus workshops, Punch and Judy shows and face painting, plus rides for all the family to enjoy.
All day family train ticket £42. Other tickets are available.
Sat, Aug 18 and Sun, Aug 19 – The Tale of Peter Rabbit and Benjamin Bunny – outdoor theatre at Bradgate Park
Peter and his naughty cousin Benjamin know very well that they are not to go into Mr McGregor’s garden, but they just can’t resist. Soon enough, they find themselves in all sorts of scrapes – they might even come face to face with Mr McGregor himself! How will they ever escape?
Tickets £15 adult, £10 child (3-16) £45 family. 11am and 2.30pm Sat, 2.30pm Sun.
Sat, Aug 20 – Awful Auntie, De Montfort Hall, Leicester
Heartbreak productions presents David Walliams’ Awful Auntie, adapted for the outdoor stage. You’re invited to join in the dedication of the new playground at Saxby Hall and hear how it all came about.
Begins 3pm.Tickets £12, children £19, group of four save £1.50 per ticket – book via the website.
Other day out ideas…
Visit an escape room attraction, such as Escape Coalville
There’s a handful of escape room attractions around Leicestershire – including Escape Coalville, which is about to open a new room that it promises will be ‘the first of its kind in the UK.’ It will be set completely in the dark, and people who go inside will only be able to operate using touch, hearing and smell to solve the clues and escape.
According to Escape Coalville, this means it will be ideal for blind and partially-sighted players. In a nod to Coalville’s mining history, the new room is called The Mine, and it involves you searching for some missing mining lanterns.
It is due to open on August 5. The new room will be for up to six players and the cost varies depending on how many players join in (from £17 each if there are six players to £22.50 each if there are two players).
Read our article about the new room here.
Have a swim at Leicestershire’s only lido – Ashby Leisure Centre
Ashby Lido is the county’s only outdoor public swimming pool. The pool is currently open at weekends only for public swimming, from 10am until 6pm.
But from Monday, July 11 until Monday, August 29, the pool will be open from 8am until 10am for lane swimming and then from 10am until 6pm for public swimming. The cost is £4.30 for adults and £2.90 for children.
There are actually two outdoor pools that make up the lido – the main 30m by 10m main pool and a smaller 10m by 6m pool. There is also a new ‘Ashby-by-the-Sea’ sandpit feature and a /catering hub’ serving refreshments – both of which launched last year.
Read our article about the lido here.
Cycle around the trails at Hicks Lodge, near Ashby de la Zouch
In the heart of the National Forest, Hicks Lodge is a former coal mining site that now features cycling trails. There’s the family-friendly, off-road Wood Farm trail as well as the longer, more challenging Shell Brook trail.
Parking starts at £1 for up to an hour. You can stay all day for £6.
Pick your own fruit at one of Leicestershire’s fruit farms
Not many things beat the taste of a juicy, fresh strawberry on a summer’s day. They taste even better when you’ve picked them yourself – and here in Leicestershire, we’re lucky to have a number of farms which enable you to do just that.
Other fruits, such as raspberries, gooseberries and blackcurrants are also ripe for the picking. Read our article on local pick-your-own fruit farms here.
Enjoy a walk and a picnic at a local park
We’ve got some gorgeous parks in Leicestershire, including Bradgate Park, with dramatic rocky outcrops and gnarled old oak trees and the historic ruins of Bradgate House (home of nine-day queen Lady Jane Grey), Beacon Hill Country Park, made up of some of the oldest rocks (700 million years) in the world, and Abbey Park, situated just a mile outside of Leicester city centre, and divided in two by the River Soar.
Entry to the parks is free, but you might need to pay for parking.
Visit a farm park
The children are sure to love meeting the furry inhabitants at one of Leicestershire’s farms. Local farms include Gorse Hill City Farm, a registered charity, based on a 20 acre site on the outskirts of Leicester city centre.
It costs £4.50 per adult, £3.00 per child, with under twos free. Other local places include Stonehurst Farm at Mountsorrel, which also has a great motor museum and farm shop (£7.50 per adult, £6.50 per OAP/child, with under twos free) Windmill Farm Park at Kibworth, which has an indoor play area (£7 off-peak, £8 peak, under twos free).
See the longest set of staircase locks in Britain, Foxton Locks, Foxton near Market Harborough
This is a beautiful spot for a wander by the canal, and gives children the opportunity to see the amazing Grade II listed locks.
The flight of 10 locks is the longest set of staircase locks in Britain. It takes an average of 45 minutes for boats to travel the entire flight and on a busy day as many as 40 boats can make the trip – so chances are, you’ll be able to see at least one or two passing through!
Parking costs £3 per day at the long stay Top Lock car park an £3.50 for four hours at the short stay Bottom Lock car park.
Explore the galleries at Leicester Museum and Art Gallery, Leicester
Formerly known as New Walk Museum and Art Gallery, this city centre attraction offers a great free day out.
Galleries include Ancient Egypt, Dinosaurs, Wild Space, the Victorian Art Gallery, Arts and Crafts Gallery, Picasso Ceramics: The Attenborough Collection and Leicester’s internationally renowned German Expressionism collection.
Entry is free, and you do not need to pre-book.
Get hands-on at Abbey Pumping Station, Leicester
You can get hands-on with the history of science, industry, transport, health and hygiene at Abbey Pumping Station. Sewage and hygiene were big problems in the Victorian city and Leicester had a big solution with its four magnificent beam engines, now restored to working condition.
You can also check out the museum’s collection of vintage vehicles including buses, fire engines, a chip van, and a hansom cab. Entry is free – although there’s often a small charge for special events, and for a ride on the narrow gauge railway.
There will be Tuesday Railway Days from July 12 to August 23. Rides cost 50p per ride.
See all of the great apes at Twycross Zoo
This county attraction is the only zoo in the UK where you can see all types of great ape – gorilla, orang utan, chimpanzee and bonobo – which is pretty impressive, isn’t it?
You can see a whole lot more, too – from meerkats to snow leopards. The zoo is also now home to The Gruffalo Discovery Land, and there’s indoor and outdoor play areas (extra cost for indoor play).
Tickets £21.95 for adults, £17.40 2-16 year-olds.
Go for a walk with an alpaca
Well, it’s sure to make the walk a bit more interesting! There are a few farms in Leicestershire giving you this opportunity.
One is Charnwood Forest Alpacas, at Boundary, North West Leicestershire. A 90 minute alpaca walk experience costs £35 per person. It is not suitable for children aged four and under.
Another place is Grange Alpacas, near Melton Mowbray. A child experience with accompanying adult is £25.
Enjoy a day of adventure in the National Forest at Conkers, Moira
Conkers offers a mix of indoor and outdoor experiences across 120 acres of maturing woodlands, lakes, ponds, play areas and an 18-stage assault course challenge. Indoors, a British Woodland has more 100 indoor interactive exhibits in four seasonal zones or you can experience the Enchanted Forest, climbing through the treetops and along rope walkways.
There is also a recently opened Splash Zone outside. Tickets from £9.05 per person.
Play a round of golf in the rainforest – Treetop Golf, Highcross, Leicester
Step into Leicester’s lushest rainforest, where temples crumble, ancient spirits stir and mini golf reigns supreme. You can tackle the Tropical Trail or the Ancient Explorer – two indoor, 18-hole courses.
One course £9.50 adults, £8 seniors/students, £4.50 under fives, family of four £31.50. Two courses £15 adults, £12 seniors/students, £7.50 under fives family of four £48. No need to book.
Play a round of golf in the jungle – Congo River Crazy Golf, Blaby Golf Centre
This outdoor 18-hole course is packed with features such as life-sized animals, abandoned camps, aircraft and vehicle wreckages and bridges across water.
The cost is £7 for adults and £5 for under 12s. No need to book.
Take the family bowling – Lane7 or East Street Lanes in Leicester, Hollywood Bowl, Meridian
All the family can join in the fun with a game of bowling at one of these local bowling alleys. Children are welcome at East Street Lanes until 7pm (due to a condition on the venue’s premises license).
Find out about the King in the car park at King Richard III Visitor Centre, Leicester
Using great storytelling, beautiful design and 21st century technology, this centre tells the fascinating and moving story of King Richard’s life and death, and reveals one of the greatest archaeological detective stories ever told.
Ticket prices are: Adult (16+ Years) £9.25, Child (5 – 15 Years) £4.75, Family (2 adults and 2 children) £23.00, Over 60s, Student £8.30. Children aged 4 and under and carers are admitted free of charge.
There’s a number of events happening at the centre over the summer, including Dig It! from July 16 to 24. Junior archaeologists can try the techniques used during the Greyfriars dig, which uncovered the remains of King Richard III, to see what treasure is buried in the mini archaeology dig pits.
Jump around at Boost trampoline park, Leicester
Located in the former Leicester Mercury building, Boost features an inflatable wipe-out zone, a basketball hoop with a trampoline, a battle beam over a foam pit, and a cardio wall. There’s also a trapeze into a foam pit, a platform high-jump into a foam pit and an interactive climbing wall, plus inter-connecting trampolines with a runway lane and angled walls.
Prices start from £12 per person for one hour when booked in advance online.
Beat the Wall at Ninja Warrior, Leicester
Inspired by ITV’s hit programme Ninja Warrior UK, this adventure park gives you the chance to climb, balance, jump and swing across different obstacles using and developing your Ninja skills. And, of course, there’s the Warped Wall for you to try and conquer.
A standard one hour session costs £13.95.
Take part in a go-kart race at TeamSport Karting, Leicester
TeamSport has a 500m multi-level circuit, featuring ‘wild bends, exhilaratingly long straights and jaw-dropping ramps’. Sounds like an ideal place to challenge your family to a race.
Children do need to be at least eight years old to take part. Prices from £33.30 per person.
TeamSport is also now home to a Putt Club crazy golf course, E-darts area, and RoamDome VR experience.
Let the kids go wild at an indoor play centre
Children can enjoy the multi-tiered soft play frame, coconut tree climbing, laser arena and go karts at Leicester’s Go Kids Go. Prices start at £1.95 for 6-12 months, £5.50 for ages 1-3 years, £6.95 four years and above.
Other options include the recently-opened Sunnyside Adventure Play, at Sunnyside Garden Centre in Ibstock. The five floor play frame includes more than 100 features to explore, including a four lane Astra slide and even a self-contained football pitch.
Sunnyside Adventure is free for babies under six months old. For children aged six months to two years, the cost is £3.50 off-peak and £5.00 during peak times, for children aged between two years and 11 years, it is £6.50 off-peak, £9.95 during peak times. All children must be accompanied by a paying adult (£2.00 off-peak and peak)
There is also 360 Play at Meridian, which includes indoor and outdoor play areas. Peak prices, when booked online are £10.75 1-3 year-olds, £12.75 4-12, £7.50 13-17, and adult £5.50.
Bounce around at Rebound inflatable park, Ashby de la Zouch
Rebound is a 20,000 sq ft facility in Ashby, packed full of inflatable fun. It is also now home to the TopVR Zone, offering a virtual reality experience.
Prices start from £10 for one hour open jump session.
Get up close with the free-flying parrots at Tropical Birdland, Desford
The Parrot Path is a great place to get up close and interact with the birds at Tropical Birdland. There’s plenty other areas to explore, too – including walk-through aviaries and a woodland walk – and you can even buy food to feed to the birds if you like.
The attraction is also home to a great children’s play area. Adults £9.95, children £6.75 (four years and over).
Take part in a game of laser tag
Phasers at the ready! Head into the darkened arena and see how many points you can score. Laser tag venues include Laserforce, which is holding summer holiday games sessions from 1pm until 4pm from July 11 to August 29.
The session costs £16 per player. There is also Megazone, which costs from £7 for a single game, per person.