Tuesday 3 July 2018

Our fun family day out at Conkers

I love getting out and about and discovering new places to explore, and a couple of weekends' ago, we visited Conkers, in Ashby-de-la-Zouch, for the first time.

I'd seen signs for it when travelling north, but never really knew what was there, so when we were invited to check it out for ourselves, I thought it was about time and that it would make a great place to go for a fun family day out.

Conkers can be found at the heart of the National Forest and offers 120 acres filled with fun things to do, inside and out, so no matter what the weather, you can still keep the kids busy. It honestly has so much to look at and explore, you can easily spend the whole day here.

There's lots of lush woodland areas to explore, with a lake in the centre providing a lovely spot for a picnic. When we went, there were ducklings and signets waddling around with their parents, which Ethan was excited to see.

There's a fairy themed maze to wander through and an adventure trail for older children and adults to tackle. Plus a number of playground spaces to have fun on, including a large adventure playground on the discovery side.

Indoors, we discovered over 100 interactive exhibits all about nature and the elements, and a play area with nets and slides and walkways, not forgetting a 4D cinema (which is free, but needs to be booked at reception upon arrival).

The website said that there would be plenty to do and we weren't disappointed. Planning ahead, I decided to time our visit with Father's Day, so we had something different to do but also because they had some more extreme fun for Ste and Ethan to try...

Ste is quite adventurous and Ethan is pretty fearless too, so I was keen to find something that they could do together. And Conkers had just the thing...

The Hi and Lo Ropes Adventure Course is an aerial activity within Conkers, but available as an add-on cost during your visit. Lo Ropes is set 10 foot high and suitable for 5 to 7 year olds, whereas Hi Ropes is 30 foot in the air (eek - not for me!) and can be used by 8 year olds / those over 1.4 metres in height.

I booked this activity myself as a surprise for my boys, and they were both excited when I revealed to them what they would be doing. Originally, I had booked for Ste to do his course first, thinking that this would help Ethan feel brave for doing his own activity, but it wasn't busy when we arrived and Ethan was keen to get going, so they both ended up doing each course at the same time as each other.

I was so proud as I watched them both from the ground. Following a safety briefing as they got in their harnesses, Ethan started his activities at 10 foot up and his Daddy with 20 foot above him, tackling his own course. Ethan had a guide to had, but she didn't stay with him the whole time, rather she gave advice and came around on her own rope track to help him if he needed it. But he didn't, really. Hard hat on and a big smile on his face, he took it all in his stride and enthusiastically completed each section, stopping every so often to shout up at Ste or to cheer as he saw Daddy try a zip wire.

We were both so amazed and so proud to see how well Ethan did and how he was so focused too. It was a real sense of achievement for him, plus Ste had a great time on his course - just the perfect thing for the two of them to do together.

It was a real highlight of the visit and I'd recommend it to anyone who has an adventurer, big or small, in their family.

We packed a lot into our trip to Conkers, enjoying a picnic by the lake (although there are places on site to eat), exploring the site and catching the train to go and play in the adventure playground.

A fun day out for all the family, if you like nature and want plenty of things to keep children happy!

Ticket information can be found here - standard day admission for an adult is £9.05 and £8.14 for over 2's.

* We were invited to review Conkers, but paid for the aerial activities ourselves, and my opinions remain my own.


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