Keeping any child entertained through the Summer Holidays will always be a challenge but keeping a boy entertained is another level altogether. What is it with their restless souls and their endless desire to be doing something? There are only so many times you can get him to mow the lawn or send him to the shops and, it takes brain power on my part to set him tasks to do that will occupy him for more than half an hour. I have him on Pinterest designing his bedroom for a future date, I get him to make us music playlists for certain events, design and build assault courses in the garden that we’ll all have to compete in later, etc. etc. But a lot of the time, a day with my son inevitably involves a trip out somewhere – a chance to run off some energy, use the grey matter exploring new things and raising the levels of excitement so that at the end of the day his soul is replete and inspired. Rinse and Repeat 12 hours later.
I have lived in this fair city of Nottingham for 20 years now, 14 of them with kids and I was recently asked by my friend Nicci over at TravelWithBoys.com what there is to do here. Thing is, my answers even surprised me! There is just so much to do with kids in Nottingham, so I thought I’d share some of my answers with you here.
What is Nottingham famous for?
Are you kidding? Erm, Robin Hood, the oldest surviving football club (Notts County), Nottingham Forest football club (home to legends like Brian Clough, Frank Clark and Stuart Pearce), Trent Bridge cricket ground, and, Wayne Manor (Wollaton Hall). So if it’s not a town to inspire boys then I don’t know where is!
It’s also the home of Ibuprofen and lace but most boys wouldn’t raise an eyebrow at such. Well, not until they hit 18 at least! Oh, and I can’t forget mushy peas with mint sauce.
What Is there To Do With Boys For Free In Nottingham?
Nottingham has some great parks, several with quite a history too. For instance Wollaton Hall has it’s very own Natural History Museum (free mid-week) with quite a collection of animals and insects. The Hall itself was used as Wayne Manor in Batman – Dark Knight Rises so most boys would relish a visit. The grounds themselves have some great GeoCaches : if you’ve never tried GeoCaching before then just download the app and take yourself on a worldwide treasure hunt. Some are much better than others and Wollaton Park has some clever hiding places for some.
Alternatively, Rushcliffe Country Park in the village of Ruddington has a great BMX track and table tennis stations, alongside an excellent adventure play park too.
Green’s Windmill is a stones throw from the city centre, even considered walking distance if you’ve got good legs, and free to the public from Wednesday – Sunday 10 – 4pm. It’s a working windmill and very impressive when the sails are going. There’s also a little science museum inside of the shop, it’s a bit dated but there are some interesting puzzles for the kids to play with which will keep them entertained for half an hour. You can also climb right to the top of the mill and watch the cogs and mechanics of this old flour house.
Just wandering around Nottingham is a pleasure in itself, imaginative graffiti is popping up all over the place these days and another good app is the Nottingham Cave Trail app which takes you on a tour of the city centre showing you 3d moveable images of the caves below your feet. Pop into the Contemporary while you’re out too – a modern art museum with a nod to the crazy : last time we were there we were chased by something resembling cousin it from the Adams Family.
What Are Some Of Nottingham’s Attractions?
City Of Caves, Broadmarsh Centre – A guided cave tour under some of Nottingham
Go Ape – Sherwood Forest
Sherwood Pines cycle trail – cycle tracks for all abilities
Clumber Park – A National Trust property half an hour north of the city centre.
Holme Pierrepont Country Park : Canoeing, white water rafting, wake boarding, high ropes trail, crazy golf, segways.
What To Do With Boys In Nottingham When It’s Raining?
Quite a lot actually. I’ve already mentioned Wollaton Hall Natural History museum and Greens Windmill but if the rain has stopped play for over a day and the boys are climbing the wall then I can highly recommend the following…
Planet Bounce – a trampoline centre with basketball hoops, vertical bounce pads and dodge ball. Admission starts at £9.99 and boy will they need a shower afterwards!
Jump Giants – a similar place near Wymeswold on the way to Loughborough but with the added element of a half pipe, foam zone and a Wipe Out platform – just like the TV show. From £11.
The National Video Game Arcade, Hockley – if your boys prefer a more sedate afternoon.
Where Do Boys Want To Eat In Nottingham?
My son loves Southbank City because the burgers are gooood and you can combine it with a game of pool, FIFA, darts or table football, all to the tune of whatever sports game is on the TV.
Another burger favourite is Annie’s Burger Shack in the Lace Market – my son loves The Elvis : peanut butter and jelly! It’s actually not as bad as it sounds.
Barburito’s – our kids LOVE Mexican food!
Inferno Pizza – baked in 3 minutes if you need something good quick!
Pudding anyone? Places have been opening up left right an centre lately but our favourites are Creams (a gelateria) and The Pudding Pantry, both just off Trinity Square.
Where To Stay With Kids In Nottingham?
I can not recommend Roomz Aparthotel highly enough. Breakfast is free, the rooms are great with a cooking area and fridge, the bathrooms are so lovely and there’s even a pop up TV at the end of the bed! For the best hotel deals click here.
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