Another expedition to amuse grandchildren was to Rosliston Forestry Centre, near Swadlincote, Derbyshire.
The attraction here was free entrance, only a modest charge in the car park. The downside was finding the place, down miles of country road, (Between the A38 and A444). There was a large outside play area, with lots of wooden constructions, in keeping with the national forest! I particularly liked the huge wooden owl for children to climb in. The site covers a large area with woodland trails, meadows, a lake, sensory garden, café and gift shop. There was also plenty of picnic tables.
Although free to enter, there were lots of additional paid activities; crazy golf, the soft play area and bouncy castle. There was a paddock area with owls and falcons on perches, and for a fee of 3 pounds you could hold a barn owl on your gloved hand. Two of the grandchildren wanted this – which I thought expensive, but worth it to see the look of wonderment on their faces when they stroked its soft plumage.
Activities are available, archery, crafts, woodland laser combat, some are booked in advance, some drop in – but check the website to see when they are held. There was nothing suitable on the day we went. Events are also held e.g. science discovery days, last night of the proms, bushcraft days. Once again, see the website for details.
The gift shop was well stocked with child friendly items, but the ice cream too tempting to ignore, so an expensive addition to the day.
An interesting expedition, more research needed next time, to make sure there is an activity they want to try – rather a long way to go for a play area and owl experience. Ideal if you live nearby though.