We were delighted to be invited to a Family Blogger Day at Conkers in the heart of the National Forest. It was quite far for us to come so we made a long weekend adventure out of it. This was a good decision as the five hour journey to Tamworth the night before ended up taking eight hours with summer holiday traffic.
Conkers was easy to find and well signposted. There was plenty of free car parking on arrival.
The Discovery Centre
While we waited for all the blogging families to arrive, we began to explore the Discovery Centre. It was such fun in here, that we didn’t notice when everyone else had been led through to start orienteering- oops! Never mind, we quickly caught up with everyone again outdoors and listened to the instructions for our first family challenge.
The orienteering activity was great for family team building and for us to get to know our new whereabouts. At first the kids were a bit too competitive with each other and kept running ahead to find the next letter clues. They eventually realised that this made the challenge harder in the long run and if we all stuck together we could find all our clues and make our word more quickly.
Along the way the kids enjoyed the assault courses- although these are intended for over 13’s only- and I loved walking around the wildlife pond spotting butterflies and dragonflies.
Bush Craft Skills
Building a Shelter
After orienteering it was time for bush craft skills. Danny gets to do a lot of these activities at Sea Scouts and at local bush craft events, but it was lovely to get to do this together as a family.
First we had to build our shelter with just one piece of tarpaulin and two bungee ropes. There was a lot of problem solving along the way and eventually we had a secure enough shelter. Rebecca loved collecting huge logs for seating, while Izzy sat and pretended to make her own fire from small sticks. Rebecca also made a sun lounger!
Starting a Fire
Once our shelters were approved we were given some cotton wool and a flint to start a fire. As readers, know we love a camp and beach fire but I admit that I “cheat” and add fuel to keep the fire going, so it was a good challenge (for Dave and Danny mainly I admit!) to keep the fire going on their own.
Toasting Marshmallows (Making S’mores)
Once the fire was made, the kids could toast marshmallows and make s’mores (or smores). This was a lovely reward treat after all the hard work. I was starting to flag a bit by this point and ready for lunch but we still had more fun to fit in…
We all found the park rangers very friendly, helpful and patient.
The Barefoot Walk
I loved the Barefoot Walk Experience. I always prefer to be barefoot anyway so couldn’t wait to get my Docs off and begin the walk.
The refreshing cold water and stimulating stones were just what I needed to wake myself up again. It was really fun walking around with everyone. I found it interesting that the walk represented the history of Conkers. The clay part is quite slippy so take care and if at all worried then bring someone to hold your hand!
At the end there is a station to clean your feet and get your shoes on again.
Watch our video to see the Barefoot Walk for yuorself.
The Conkerchoo II
We then took the Conkerchoo train ride to our destination for lunch. I love parks that have a train ride. It’s so exciting for the small kids and a chance for us grown ups to rest our legs and take in the view.
Eating at Conkers
A delicious buffet lunch was provided for us but there are plenty of places to choose from to eat at Conkers. There are also lots of picnic benches to bring your own food too.
Playdale Play Zone
After lunch, we had time to explore Conkers on our own. First stop was the Playdale Play Centre as the kids couldn’t wait to run about and play.
There are the usual park activities as well as an explorer dome and the zipwire.
Woodland Walks and Sculpture Trail
I enjoyed just taking the time to explore the woodland walks and sculpture trail. We also had another train ride.
The Enchanted Forest
We then went back into the Discovery Centre and played in the Enchanted Forest while we waited for the show to start. Izzy had seen a scary troll on the posters and couldn’t wait to find the troll inside. Rebecca got a bit scared in places as she isn’t keen on enclosed spaces or the dark, but she managed to get through.
Pirate Pat’s Show
During the school holidays there are extra activities at Conkers, such as Pirate Pat’s show. Danny went off to explore with Dave while me and the girls enjoyed this. They love pirates and this show included magic, humour and songs. We even got to dance on the enchanted forest floor. His kids were so good in the show too! While we were driving back to our hotel I was singing some of the songs from the show. I found out from the kids that we were meant to be singing “Pirate Pat” not “Pirate Pants” as I had heard the lyrics (oops- I blame the Trevor and Simon “Swing your Pants” years!).
By this point we were exhausted and all Conker-ed out! It was a great day and we will definitely go again, especially as we didn’t get the chance to do everything. There is also a Sky Viewing Tower, new Hi and lo Ropes Course (booking required and extra charges apply), canoeing, cycling and karting.
Stay Play Explore Leicestershire is a great, affordable way to make the most of your family break in leicester. For just £129 a family of four can visit any three out of five world class attractions and enjoy overnight accommodation including breakfast at a choice of 4 star family friendly hotels.
We were Guest of Conkers and asked to review a Stay Play Explore break.