I live near Tamworth in Staffordshire, and have grandchildren in the school holidays, usually for a week at a time as my children do not live nearby. I am just recovering from having 5 little people, ages ranging from 5 to 9. Here are a few of my suggestions. Tamworth. There is a park in castle gardens. It has a good range of play structures for all ages. There is sand play, but take your own bucket and spade. Free to play but parking nearby is pay and display. You could walk along river from Ventura shopping centre, where parking is free. There is a small café for snacks and ice cream.
Tamworth castle is interesting and educational. You pay to go in. Park and display is near the castle. It is of local and national interest, with child friendly displays. I reminisce about what life was like when I was a child, and they are always fascinated to see the photo of their great grandfather, who was a coal miner.
Tamworth-Strykers On castle grounds. Free parking for 3 hours. Good soft play, but no comfy sofas to sit on, but 90 minutes to sit down and watch the children wearing themselves out! Coffee and snacks are available.
Kingsbury Water park has an excellent play area, cycle hire, and model trains some weekends. There is a cafe and shop. The car park is a bit expensive.
Planters garden centre has a small play area for younger children. There is a sky trail for teenagers/adults. A beach area appears in the summer holidays while reindeers and excellent Christmas display starts in November. There is a large cafe with comfy arm chairs and newspapers and kids eat free in August. Free is parking.
Snibston Discovery Park Coalville is an excellent day out. Hands on science and technology, exhibits, displays and play areas, both inside and out. The outdoor water feature with locks, dams, water channels and pumps is a favourite with my grandchildren. My granddaughters liked the exhibition of costumes through the ages. Small cafe, but recommend a picnic, in their railway carriage if weather poor. Not too expensive to go in, and worth it.
RSPB Middleton Lakes has Wild on Wednesday events in the school holidays. Pay a small fee and join in with pond dipping, den building, treasure trails or craft activities run by volunteers. Free on other days to explore round the play meadow. Toilets and cafe in nearby Middleton Hall Courtyard. Free parking for RSP members. Hopwas woods is a free place to walk and explore (you are supposed to keep to the bridle paths). It is a nice walk along canal too to see the boats and feed the ducks. Park in the tame Otter car park and enjoy a drink in their enclosed outdoor area near the canal. There is a small play area in village – but be careful of the busy road. Drayton Manor is a favourite, especially Thomas Land. It is very crowded in the school holidays though and very expensive to get in, so we only go off peak and when combined with a special offer or competition win.
Although it is helpful to have ideas to visit, you need to have ideas for at home amusements and activities as money and energy dictates plenty of home time too!