School’s out for summer. School’s out forever. Well, that’s according to Alice Cooper’s 1972 rock anthem but don’t let the kids see it, because the second part’s not true. School’s only out until the end of August, but that’s long enough for boredom to strike unless you know where to go for summer fun over the holidays. And all these attractions are within 45 minutes of Leicester City Centre.

If you want to head out for a wild day out, you really can’t go wrong with Twycross Zoo. From adorable meerkats to hairy creepy-crawlies, it’s home to more than 500 animals. You can watch gibbons swing through their forest habitat, feed colourful lorikeets and stand under a tunnel with tigers prowling overhead, and while you’re having all this fun, you’re also helping the zoo to do the serious business of saving animals from extinction.


Forget the Amazon – Desford delivers

When you think of a tropical paradise, Desford, just 20 minutes west of Leicester city centre, might not immediately spring to mind but the village is home to Tropical Birdland. With more than 250 rainbow-coloured parrots, cockatoo and other exotic birds resident, you can put off that trip to the Amazon and feed the birds (it might be a little more than tuppence a bag). Don’t put off a trip to Moira though, where as well as the Victorian era furnace, adventures of the indoor and outdoor kind await at Conkers. A full day of fun activities here include a simulated night-time tree-top walk, with bats included, and a squelchy, mud-laden barefoot walk.

Why not take a journey back in time on a steam train at Loughborough’s Great Central Railway, or in one of the city’s fascinating museums? Leicester Museum and Art Gallery has dinosaurs and a spooky collection of Egyptian mummies, while visitors to Newarke Houses Museum can walk through a First World War trench, and best of all, our city museums are free!


Rockets fuel the imagination

Your youngsters will have a blast at the National Space Centre located near Leicester city centre, where rockets and Moon rock are on display, and they can peer into the actual grave of a king at the King Richard III Visitor Centre. At Bosworth Battlefield Heritage Centre, they’ll be at the spot where Richard met his death, and can even get a taste of medieval warfare at a ‘Knight School’ event.

All these summer holiday treats come with the added bonus that whilst having tons of fun, your children will also be learning about nature, science and history without even knowing it!


Treats for all the family

For a more active way to enjoy the summer holidays, why not start with a family walk? Hands up who fancies a treasure hunt! Visit treasuretrails.co.uk to find a selection of self-guided walks with intriguing clues. They’re a great way to explore Leicester, and themes include a King Richard III Murder Mystery trail and Leicester City Streets Spy Mission trail.

Other adventures in the great outdoors include a fun quiz trail through eight acres of living maize crop at Wistow Maze. Don’t worry if you get lost, it’s all part of the enjoyment. Once you’ve escaped, how about some fun down on the farm? You could head to Mountsorrel, a short drive north from Leicester where Stonehurst Family Farm gives visitors the chance to get up close to the animals, take a ride on a tractor and admire its classic car collection.


Take a walk on the wild side

You can also meet the animals at Scamhazel Farm near Ashby-de-la-Zouch, which include donkeys, sheep, pigs and chickens. This is also the base of Charnwood Forest Alpacas, and a walk with these charming creatures is an experience to cherish. There are no alpacas at Leicester’s Gorse Hill City Farm, but the animals here – from cows and donkeys to rabbits and guineapigs – are equally cute and love a bit of human attention.

If rainy days make the outdoors seem less great, there are plenty of indoor activities to keep your kids entertained for hours on end. Twinlakes Theme Park gives you the best of both worlds as you can explore the rides and farm zoo and if the weather turns, there are huge indoor play areas (plus food) to entertain everyone. Younger children will love you for taking them to Go Kids Go, an indoor play centre with tons to do, from a soft play frame perfect for babies and toddlers, to a space-themed laser arena and go karts. A trip to Fun Valley will also get you in their good books, and this giant play area will get them running, jumping, climbing and sliding.


Unleash your inner ninja

As well as being great family TV viewing, Ninja Warrior UK is also an adventure park, where you and your brood can put your ninja skills to the test. Or why not see if there’s a budding Rory McIlroy in the family at Treetop Adventure Golf. No need to book, just swing by and tee off.

Crazy golf is also one of the many activities on offer at Lane 7, based in the former Leicester Central Station. There’s bowling, shuffleboard, ping pong and retro arcade games too, plus street food vendors, and bars for the adults. Another destination where the whole family can have a ball is Hollywood Bowl. As well as 10 pin bowling, there’s an amusements arcade to give you that ‘day at the seaside’ feeling.


Wage war on boredom

We’ve all had our ups and downs during lockdown, but Boost Trampoline Park will definitely leave you on a high with its 42 interconnected trampolines, a battle beam and foam pits. Entertainment gets a little more hi-tech at Megazone Leicester, where in its laser tag arena you can let the non-contact battle commence! There’s also Laserforce Leicester, where the games are played in a sci-fi-themed maze, and combatants zap targets and opponents with Star Trek-esque phasers. It wears you out just thinking about it, which means no arguing from anyone when it comes to bedtime!

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