Ideas of where to go and what to do when the Grandchildren say “I’m bored” and you don’t want to go to Wacky Warehouse again. All of these ideas are suitable for the under sevens and may be even older kids.
Top of the list must be Cleethorpes, a typical seaside resort which is popular with all ages. It is a lot nicer than its reputation. The ‘Kiss me quick’ amusement arcades are confined to a small area of the prom and easily avoided. There are miles of golden sand at low tide, and the sea does go out a very long way out. If it is too far to walk for a paddle, there is a paddling pool. There are donkey rides and a pier. The land train with a free lollipop for the kids runs along the promenade to link up with the Cleethorpes Coast Light Railway for a two mile return steam trip along a 15″ gauge track from the leisure centre to Pleasure Island Family Theme Park. This is the place for those wanting thrills and spills. It also has a furry friends farm and tractor ride aimed at the younger visitors.
Bransby Horses Rescue and Welfare
Bransby Horses Rescue and Welfare is a popular day out for locals. It has a very good fenced children’s playground with a wooden wibbly wobbly bridge, logs to walk along or climb over and a chain bridge. Next to it is a picnic site. There are over 360 horses, donkeys and ponies in paddocks or out in the fields with well made gravel walks. There are labels and photos on the fences with names of the different horses and some information about them. They also run junior walks and talks telling the stories about the different horse in their care. You can also adopt some of their horses. There is an education room with information about horses and particularly how they communicate and react with each other. The tea room sells light lunches as well as very good cakes. Prices are very reasonable. There are baby changing facilities and a small shop. Entry is free.
Hall Park Farm
Hall Park Farm is a working farm which has diversified as an activity centre for children. As well as cows and sheep, it also has pigs, ponies, donkeys, llamas, goats, ducks and rabbits. Bags of food can be bought from the shop so the children can feed the animals. They also run tractor rides to see and feed them potatoes, which the cows love. There is also the chance to walk a goat (accompanied by an adult). Hygiene is taken very seriously. There are signs reminding you to wash your hands after touching animals and hot and cold water and soap are provided in the animal bar. Hand wipes were also given out after feeding the potatoes to the cows.
There is a play area with swings, play house and small tractors. For the older children there are go-carts and an adventure playground with an assault course. There is also a nature walk through the field to woodland. For wet days there is an indoor play barn with giant sandpit, bouncy castle, toy tractors and giant ‘snow slide’ with inflatable rings to slide down.
There is a small shop and the cafe serves a range of cheap light meals and cakes.
Children over two pay full price. If intending to visit several times in a year, the yearly membership is a good deal.
Elsham Hall Gardens and Country Park
Elsham Hall Gardens and Country Park is a good place to run off energy. The highlight of the gardens is a long narrow lake with fish and lots of ducks. There are two feeding stations and food for both is available in the shop. There are walks through woodland with leaves to shuff through and bridges. The walled garden has clipped beach hedges and is a good place to play hide and seek. There are grassy mounds to run up and down, as well as pens containing sheep and goats. There is a small ‘guinea pig village as well as aviaries with doves, love birds, parakeets, budgerigars and minah bird. In the old cow sheds are more guinea pigs, rabbits an pigs. The small adventure play area has sand pit, climbing frames and wendy houses.
There is a small shop in the stable block selling ice creams, sweets and children’s pocket money toys. The cafe serves soup, sandwiches and cakes. There are baby changing facilities. There are plenty of seats and many families bring a picnic.
Children under two are free. They do offer a family ticket at slightly reduced rates.
Water’s Edge Country Park
Water’s Edge Country Park is another free day out if the kids want to run off energy and feed the ducks. Polluted industrial land has been reclaimed as a nature reserve with ponds, reedbeds, marshland, woodland and wild flower meadows. There are three short colour coded walks around the ponds as well as access to the riverside walk along the banks of the Humber and the Humber Bridge Walkway. Bags of duck food are sold in the shop. This has a selection of cheap pocket money toys. There is a small indoor play area which is popular with local families and a cafe. Forget the interactive displays in the Visitor Centre. They are not very good and may not be working.
Waltham Mill is marketed as a tourist experience. It is a large area of grass and trees around the windmill which may or may not be working. Highlight for the kids is the miniature railway run by Grimsby and Cleethorpes Model Engineering Society on Sunday afternoons from April to October. It is a decent length run round a double looped track through a tunnel, over a bridge and past the signal box. They usually have two engines in steam, pulling sit upon bench seats. There is an old fashioned sweet shop with walls lined with glass jars of sweets. The small rural museum has an old kitchen, dining room and living room with artefacts from the 1940s and 50s with tiny TV screens and not a computer or mobile phone in sight. Staff are enthusiastic and full of stories. The snack bar is in an old railway carriage, although most people have a picnic on the grass. There are baby changing facilities.
Entry is free. There is a small charge to go in the windmill and for a ride on the miniature railway.
Lincolnshire Wolds Railway
Lincolnshire Wolds Railway is a child friendly railway. There is just two miles of track so running time between the two stations is 15 minutes, not too long for small children to get bored. Paper and coloured pencils are provided in the open coaches for the children.. It is an hourly service with a twenty minute wait at Luddborough and ten minutes at North Thoresby. Look out of the left hand window as you approach or leave North Thoresby and watch the driver exchange tokens with the signal man. Staff are very friendly and children under the supervision of an adult are allowed on the footplate with permission for the driver. It is also possible to go into the signal box and talk to the signal man and watch as he opens and shuts the level crossing gates.
There is a footpath beside the track passe locos and coaches awaiting attention to the engine shed. There is no admittance to this on working days, but it is possible to look into it and see the locos.
The refreshment room in an old coach at Luddborough serves sandwiches and cakes. There are baby changing facilities.
Children under three are free. Day rover tickets are reasonably priced and they offer a family ticket.
Wilderspin National School
Wilderspin National School is cleverly designed to appeal to all ages and gives youngsters chance to learn about schooling when grannie and grandpa were little. There are clothes for them to dress up in and a Victorian classroom complete with blackboard, chalk and duster. There are slates for the pupils who sit in desks with bench seats and lift up lids. They love the stories about discipline and the dunces cap. The infants classroom is completely different with a gallery of steps for group lessons (great for running up and own and making a satisfying sound).There are outside toilets, an earth closet with two benches on either side with five holes, another talking point. There are also wooden playground games including hobby horses, hoops and skipping ropes. Don’t wake up the sleeping figure of Mr Wilderspin, dozing in front of the fire after a hard day’s work.
There is a small shop selling a range of pocket money toys for the children. The coffee shop serving soup, sandwiches, beans on toast, crumpets and homemade cakes. Prices are reasonable. There are also a few toys fort the children and a range of books for them to read. There are baby changing facilities.
Entry is free and children can explore the school in safety. Staff are excellent.
Blyton Ice Cream Parlour
And last of all is Blyton Ice Cream Parlour. Nearly all kids like ice cream and the farm has been making ice cream for nearly 30 years. There are over 50 different varieties of ice cream to choose from. It is popular with locals and on hot summer weekends there can be long queues. There is outside seating and a small children’s play area. There is a cafe for those wanting a meal.
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