It seems I’ve pretty much followed in my Mum’s footsteps, although Mini almost every year gets to go somewhere. instead of going on holiday we Staycation. Our Staycation’s happen either here in Nottingham or in East London.
Wollaton Hall – Nottingham’s gorgeous Deer Park. A Tudor mansion with ornamental gardens sat on top of a hill overlooking an ornamental lake. Featuring a collection of Red Deer and a children’s adventure playground.
Or if you’re a small child, an amazing park with trees to climb, amazing old tunnels, a spooky hall with the best hill in Nottingham for sledging when it snows.
When I was a child we visited in all seasons, Summer to play games and lounge on the grass, Autumn to find Conkers and see the deer, Winter to sledge down the hills and walk around the lake, Spring to enjoy the air, visit the hall and admire the view.
Easily accessible by bus, with on site car parking and is very buggy friendly.
Highfield’s University Park – Situated within the grounds of University of Nottingham is Highfields Park, created alongside the university by Jesse Boot it features a large boating lake, stepping stones, a waterfall, putting green, Lakeside Cafe and an adventure playground.
When we were little Highfields seemed huge, it had wooded areas, places to catch sticklebacks and frogspawn, tree swings, natural formed caves and the stepping stones were so big and scary.
I don’t think I’ve actually ever been on lake apart from on the now defunct Lake motor boat rides.
In the Summer Highfields is a great place to head with a BBQ or group of you with a cricket set. When Autumn arrives there are plenty of opportunities to collect conkers and fir cones. During Winter Highfields is transformed into a wonderland when the snow, ice and frost hits! Mum still loves walking round the lake when everywhere was covered in a blanket of sparkly frost.Spring time brings baby ducks to feed, trees and plants bursting to life and a great opportunity to sit by the lake sipping a hot drink.
Easily accessible by Tram and Bus, there is very little parking on site.
Attenborough Nature Reserve – Attenborough is a beautiful place, a former gravel pit that was transformed in to a large Nature Reserve and now is also home to a state of the art visitor centre (with great cake).
Attenborough was the place my Grandparents took my brother and I on long walks with a bird spotting book and a pair of binoculars, teaching us about nature and identifying all different species of animals, trees and plants.
There is a range of walks and activities available. When I was young it wasn’t as accessible and there was no visitor centre or designated car park.
Accessible by Bus, Train and Car with lots of parking on site.
Victoria Embankment – Or the Embankment as we locals call it, is a huge recreation area of the banks of the Trent. The area stretches from the The Embankment Tram stop all the way to the Trent Bridge. On offer there are memorial gardens, playing fields, basketball courts, adventure playground, paddling pool, cricket pitches, tiered steps to the river and a cafe.
Every summer there is a huge festival held over 3 days with fairground rides, craft fair, local music, food and exhibitors. Known as the Riverside festival it finishes on a Saturday evening with a massive firework display and is a great way of signing of the summer and looking forward to the end of the year.
Every Summer my Parents would take us to this festival for few rides, a hot dog and a go on the hook a duck, we’d often walk along the river in the spring or just walk through on our way to a Forest match.
I took the kids down to The Embankment a few times this summer and they both loved it! It’s a really good paddling pool kept fairly clean with lots of seating and great for keeping an eye on the kids as there is no blind spots.
Forest Recreation Ground – Home of the famous Goose Fair, also the annual Firework display. The Forest has recently had a facelift there is a lovely adventure playground, bike track and toddler area.
The facilities have been upgraded and the popular Homemade Cafe has opened in the old pavilion. With many paths to walk, playing fields, sports pitches, full size running track, outdoor gym, and a play area.
When we were younger the only time we attended The Forest was Goose Fair, we would get on the 37 bus and get off at Canning Circus and walk down Nuthall Road towards the fair. It was busy and full of people and the atmosphere was buzzing even with a chill in the air. Walking towards the fair there was always touts selling the years buzz toy, snakes on wires, Millennium balls, light up head gear, plastic dummies (showing my age here).
The Tram has now arrived and literally stops outside and there is also a massive Park and Ride and the park is serviced by lots of bus routes.
All of these places I thoroughly enjoy visiting with my kids and meeting up with my friends and their children, it really doesn’t have to cost any money to have fun as long as you have a football, a few sandwiches and maybe £4.50 for a family all day bus pass.