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Free Family Days Out In The East Midlands

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Everyone needs some fun time out from work to enjoy a day out with your family. If you live in the East Midlands, here are some great free destinations listed below. From parks, museums and even a working windmill, you will find plenty of options for fun days out that will not cost you a penny in admission fees.

Sherwood Pines Forest Park, nr. Mansfield, Notts.

Enjoy the great outdoors and let your children run wild, in what is the largest area of woodland in the East Midlands that is open to the public. If your children are old enough to ride a bike there are a number of cycle routes from which to choose, ranging from unmarked off-road trails that will test the ability of advanced cyclists to an easy 3-mile family route that starts and finishes at the visitor’s centre. Other attractions at Sherwood Pines include walking trails, bridleways (for which a £40 annual permit needs to be purchased if you wish to ride a horse in the park), pond dipping and orienteering.

Rutland Water Nature Reserve

Everybody in the East Midlands has heard of Rutland Water Reservoir, the second largest manmade lake in the country by water capacity, but perhaps not everybody is aware of the existence of the nature reserve at the western end of the lake or the many activities that you can enjoy when visiting the reserve. Admission is free but some activities need to be paid for so it is best to do a little research before you visit, to establish whether or not you will need to bring some cash along. Attractions include 2 children’s play areas, walking and cycling trails, guided tours with wildlife experts, fishing and bird watching.

Bosworth Battlefield Heritage Centre and Country Park, Sutton Cheney

If you and your family are keen amateur historians who have enjoyed watching programmes such as Time Team in the past, this is a fantastic place to visit whenever you have some free time. If you would like to see a re-enactment of the battle during your visit, you will need to go there on the nearest weekend to August 22nd, as this is when the annual event is held.

August 22nd, 1485 was the day that the Battle of Bosworth Field was fought, the last major conflict of the 32-year War of the Roses. At any other time of the year you can enjoy walking across the area where the battle actually took place. Entrance to the Country Park is free but there is a £2.50 parking charge if you are coming by car. There is a separate fee for the Heritage Centre so if you are organising a free day out it is probably best to stick to exploring the Country Park with your family.

Foxton Locks, Leics.

For a relaxing day out with free entertainment, Foxton Locks is hard to beat. On a nice sunny day you can sit by the canal and watch as one narrowboat after another negotiates what is the largest set of staircase locks to be found anywhere in the English network of canals. While you are there, you can also see the remains of the Victorian barge lift that was built to speed up canal traffic but was only in operation between 1900 and 1911. If you would like to learn more about the lift, known as Foxton Inclined Plane and Foxton Locks, you can pop into the nearby museum. There is an entrance fee of £3.50 for adults who wish to visit the museum but children get in free. There is no charge to visit the Locks themselves and watch the passing canal traffic.

Stanwick Lakes, Wellingborough

Although there is a variable parking fee that is basically an admission charge, if you arrive by foot or on a bicycle, admission is free, so Stanwick Lakes qualifies as a free destination. Once you arrive, you will find a central children’s play area that is constructed from wood to blend in with the landscape. Featuring a climbing tower, a stream with water wheels and a sand pit among other attractions, it is a great area for young children to work off some excess energy before enjoying a tasty picnic overlooking the lakes. There are a ton of activities on offer at Stanwick Lakes, some of which will involve a fee and some of which won’t. Cycling, horse riding, bird watching, fishing, canoeing and tackling an assault course are just a few of things you can do during your visit.

Mansfield Museum and Art Gallery

Parents with small children often switch off as soon as they hear the word museum but this one is a little different and is well worth checking out, no matter what age your kids are. Open Monday to Saturday from 10am-5pm, Mansfield Museum does not charge an admission fee and has a fun corner with crayons, pencils, puppets and games that is sure to be a big hit with the youngest members of your family. Older children can enjoy exploring the museum’s permanent display as well as the various temporary exhibitions that are held there on a regular basis. Among the permanent exhibits is an impressive collection of 18th century porcelain, some beautiful watercolour paintings by Albert Buxton and various objects that help to bring Mansfield’s history to life, such as a penny-farthing, an old red telephone box and examples of the many things that were once manufactured in this great market town.

Abington Park, Northampton

With a Victorian bandstand, a museum, many beautiful old trees and the remains of the original medieval village buried under the surface, Abington Park is so much more than just a place where you can enjoy a picnic while the kids run around and amuse themselves. Admission is free and there is a café in the park that serves tasty snacks if you forget to bring your own food.

Whichever of these places you choose to visit, you are sure to have a great time, without having to worry about money for once.

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About the author

Peter Davis Peter Davis is a Marketing Analyst at PaydayLoan123 specialising in financial products. Peter writes most of our articles as he stays up to date with the latest information. He enjoys most sports, particularly playing football and watching his favourite football team. Peter really like his food too as we have all witnessed first hand!

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