We were excited to be off to Conkers, outdoor pursuits centre, in the National Forest last weekend. We’d heard of it and often seen signs and leaflets for it, but this was to be our first foray and we were keen to find out what it was all about.
On entering, we were given a map and directed to a board sharing various activities on that day. On the day we visited, they had storytelling, pond dipping, gingerbread-man making and Forest Dwellers and Pirate Pat shows, as well as all of the normal attractions and activities. I was immediately impressed!
On entering, we took in the Discovery Centre….
There are lots of interactive exhibits about the world around us, from recycling and energy through to nature and wildlife. I found it fascinating, and though the children were a little young to appreciate it all, there was plenty there for their senses to take in. There’s also an Enchanted Forest play zone, with rope walks and slides, but it’s for slightly older children (though the Husband still enjoyed a good look round in there!)
We then had lunch in The Olive Tree Restaurant. They have both hot and cold meals, and a kids menu, and as well as the service and food being good, there was a little tree slide in there that kept the kids happy while waiting! After lunch, we headed out to explore outside, and this is where Conkers really comes into it’s own.
It’s in the National Forest, so all activities and trails aside, it’s beautiful. A place to stroll around and take in the nature around you, or run about like little crazy people in loads of space, as my children are wont to do. There are plenty of trails to keep you busy..
We headed to the Fairy Labyrinth…
As you walk round there are fairy signs for each month, a little like horoscopes, so we were looking eagerly for Boo’s as she wanted to see what hers would be like and was delighted that her ‘fairy symbol’ was a butterfly.
We then strolled a wildlife trail through the woodland, putting hands in boxes to discover what they held (I couldn’t really get past the whole Flash Gordon thing with this, so struggled, but the kids loved it!)
We took a train ride…
We loved the train! It’s quite a short journey, but it’s part of the ticket price, and the kids loved going on it. They run every 10 minutes, have room for pushchairs on the back and the drivers are really friendly. Little Man’s highlight would have to be the ConkerChoo!
The train took us to a fabulous playground, and as you can imagine, we spent a fair bit of time there, chasing both of the children around…
And my highlight of the day, we all took a Barefoot Walk..
Now, be prepared with this one. You do walk across stones so it will be uncomfortable! Boo put us to shame, just running around it all, whereas I was there yelping in parts! There is a little cabin to wash and dry your feet in at the end, but there’s only one little dryer that you’ll wait a while for on busy days, so take a towel to save you waiting.
We had a great day out there, though I’d say to make the absolute most of your time there, the kids would need to be a little older, as much of the Discovery centre went over Little Man and Boo’s heads, and some of the trails and activities were for older children. I can see it being a place that we’ll be returning to in a couple of years time, when they’re both that bit older, and we will definitely return as this is now on our list of brilliant places to visit! That said, there is plenty to do here for little ones, as you can no doubt see, I just want them to be old enough to every single part of it!
We visited Conkers as part of our Stay Play Explore pass. For £109, a family of four can stay at a 4* hotel in Leicestershire (we’ve yet to do this part but I will fill you in when we do), and choose to visit 3 great attractions from a list of 5, so we’ve been to Twycross Zoo, which we loved and I blogged about last week, and we’ll be going to Twinlakes Theme Park in a couple of weeks time. There are other breaks available, too, for family adventures, theme parks, and adults gourmet breaks, amongst others – take a look, they’re fab!
Disclosure: We received a Stay Play Explore Family Fun Break FOC for the purposes of this review, but as ever, all words and opinions remain my own.