Nottingham should definitely be next your family getaway list. The city is jam-packed with fun things to do with the kids, whether you’re outdoorsy types, animal lovers or a bunch of history geeks (which is totally cool by the way!).
Plant yourselves in the centre of the city at our Nottingham Aparthotel and check out our top family days out in the area.
Explore Wollaton Hall and Park
500 acres of parkland, museums galore, over 200 deer, an awesome adventure play area – Wollaton Hall has got it all. Don’t tell the rest but it’s our absolute favourite family day out in Nottingham! And it’s only a quick 13 minute car journey from Roomzzz Nottingham (all day parking is £5 and entry is free!).
The grand, Grade I listed Elizabethan mansion houses a whopping natural history collection, in fact it’s the largest in the country. Check out the 1930s-style bird gallery, walk through an African waterhole surrounded by hyenas and zebras, and come face to face with weird spirit preserved animals.
Outdoors keep your eyes peeled for red and fallow deer, stretch your legs and spot birds on the lake, have a picnic in the formal garden or let off some steam in the adventure play area. Pick up a family trail from any of the shops around the site or have a bash at geocaching by downloading an app.
Where: Wollaton Park, Wollaton, Nottingham, NG8 2AE
Suitable for: all ages
Go on a Sherwood Forest adventure
Have you even been to Nottingham if you haven’t visited Sherwood Forest? There’s a whole load of trees and a forest full of folklore waiting for you. Lace up your walking boots and spend a day exploring Robin Hood’s legendary home.
Freestyle your way through the dramatic woodland (getting lost is guaranteed to entertain the kids) or pick up a trail sheet from the visitor centre. One of the trails leads to Robin Hood’s famous hideout, the 1000 year old Major Oak.
Combat any achy leg moans by hiring a children’s backpack full of fun activities to try along the way. The Robin Hood adventure play area is worth a stop off too. Each year in August there’s also a week long Robin Hood festival where you can have a go at archery, hear some medieval music, see historical demonstrations and meet the man himself.
Where: NG21 9RN
Suitable for: age 5 and over
Step back in time at the National Justice Museum
If your kids are into their Horrible Histories then the National Justice Museum is bound to be a hit. The museum is set in Nottingham’s historic courthouse and gaol, complete with original courtrooms, dungeons and prison cells which all add to the atmosphere.
Who knew justice through time could make for such a fun day out with the family? Stand on the steps where public executions were held, get involved in a live trial, take a selfie in the stocks and get hands on with loads of interactive exhibits as you find out about crime and punishment through the ages.
Oh, and did we mention that you’ve been caught in the act? Use the prisoner ID on your admission wrist band to work out what crime you’ve committed and how you’ll pay for it. This place is definitely not your standard stuffy museum!
Where: High Pavement, Nottingham, NG1 1HN
Suitable for: age 5 and over
Discover the Attenborough Nature Reserve
Go wild with the whole family in 360 acres at this extraordinarily stunning nature reserve. The huge lakes, reed beds and grasslands are just teaming with wildlife. Bring your sense of adventure and a sharp pair of eyes (or you could just bring some binoculars).
This Nottinghamshire haven is best known for its birds but throughout the year you’ll also find butterflies, moths, bats, otters and so much more. Follow one of the nature trails to spot nesting herons, kingfishers or skylarks – the shortest is 1.9 miles.
Grab a spotting guide from the visitor centre and while you’re there check out the discovery area too. Then get twitching (that’s another word for bird watching – look we’ve even learnt the lingo!) in the bird hides and join in with school holiday activities. The whole thing is free entry with a suggested donation of £3 for car parking.
Where: Barton Lane, Attenborough, Nottingham, NG9 6DY
Suitable for: all ages (bring a pushchair for little legs)
Tour the City of Caves
It would be downright wrong to visit Nottingham without having a nosey at the city’s famous caves. Get ready to don a hard hat and delve into the fascinating history of Nottingham’s hidden world with your little history buffs. Be warned: book in advance so you don’t miss out!
There are 500 man-made caves and counting, dating back to the dark ages, all carved out of the sandstone beneath the streets of the city. Explore some of the caves for yourselves on a 45 minute City of Caves tour. It’s cold, it’s dark but it’s really cool down there.
Find out about people who have lived and worked in the caves over the past thousand years, see a medieval underground tannery and an air raid shelter from WWII. This is nothing like your usual guided tour – the guides are funny, informative and really bring the stories of the caves to life.
Where: Garner’s Hill, Nottingham, NG1 1HF (bottom of the steps next to Nottingham Contemporary)
Suitable for: age 7 and over
Pet animals at White Post Farm
White Post Farm is the king of all farm experiences – the place is huge! You’ll easily be able to spend a whole day here with your clan of mini animal lovers. See highland cows, pygmy goats, wallabies, pigs, reindeer, llamas and all sorts of other farm animals up close and personal. If you’re lucky you might even catch some sheep racing too (it’s hilarious, trust us!).
There’s loads of chances to get hands on: head to the incubator room to hold chicks, stroke chinchillas, and mice in the rodent room, and be sure to buy some feed if you want to tempt the outdoors animals to come a bit closer! And if the kids are after a pony ride we’d recommend booking in advance because they’re really popular.
But it’s not just about the animals at White Post Farm, the play barns and outdoor activities get 10/10 from us. Tackle the adventure fort, get go-kart crazy, whizz down fake grass sledge runs, go wild in the soft play den and get messy in the beach-sized sandpit.
Where: White Post Farm, Mansfield Road, Farnsfield, Nottinghamshire, NG22 8HL
Suitable for: Under 12s
Originally published on 12 August 2016, updated 17 May 2019.