Today we had an impromptu visit to Normanby Hall Country Park. We were originally going to a farm park but when we got there, it was closed (doh!). We decided that we weren’t just going to head back home so we thought we’d go there and let J burn off some energy. As it back to school week, it was pretty quiet apart from a few older people having a stroll and parents with babies/toddler. I like quiet, so I was pleased!
There is so much to do at Normanby Hall for both children and adults, including a play park, nature trails, tree climbing, a farming museum, walled garden, sunken garden, a tour of the Hall itself, and much more (including beautiful photo opportunities)! We headed to the park first, though I wish we’d gone on the way out as we couldn’t drag J away!
I left Daddy with him and went for a wander with N (who I was wearing). We came across this gorgeous peacock and of course I couldn’t resist some photos.
After Daddy had managed to drag J away, we headed to the main country park so he could have a run around. We should have taken a ball if we had known we were going (we really must keep one in the car for occasions like this) but J befriended a little girl who he played ball with for a little while! When he left her he decided he would keep taking a few steps and then roll around on the floor. He nearly had his first go at climbing a tree too after Daddy showed him, but he chickened out!
Once again I left Daddy & J to it, and headed for a wander around the sunken garden. All the times I have visited here I have never actually been in there and had a proper look. There are some gorgeous flowers and colours so I had to take a few photos. It is a lovely place for just sitting and taking in the scenery & fresh air. Also for feeding hungry babies!
We would have wandered further but it was getting on and we wanted to be home for tea. Next time we will plan in advance and take a picnic, and make a day of it. We did have to stop for an ice cream on the way out though!
As hubby works 6 days a week and doesn’t know very far in advance when his day off will be, we usually do things as a family on a spur of the moment. Today was the day for this week so I was hoping the weather would be nice so we could go to the local park for a picnic and a fun afternoon. It was sunny when we woke up but then black clouds were looming – we thought we would risk it anyway!
First things first we had our picnic – I just popped to the supermarket beforehand and got a few items to nibble on (sausage rolls, mini sausages, chicken bites, cheesy puffs and jam & custard Jammie dodgers, yum!). It was still a bit cloudy so we managed to find some shade under a tree. N was in the pushchair and just enjoyed having a good look around whilst we all ate.
After our picnic J & Daddy had a kick around with the football that we took along, before we headed to the play area with a sandpit and water area. I’m not totally sure who had more fun though!
We then headed over to the park where J had his first go on a roundabout, though I don’t think he was very keen as he didn’t stay on it for very long. He was more interested in the huge slide and we could barely drag him away!
In the park there is a water fountain which has been there for years, but it was out of action for a while. It has been restored a few years ago and this is the first time we have been to it. J loved dipping his feet in the water for a cool down.
Whilst the boys were playing I did a bit of flower spotting.
N slept pretty much the whole time so I think the fresh air got to him straight away! (And the sun popped out again in the end!).
On Saturday we had a family day out, travelling to Chasewater Railway for a friends 40th birthday party. I was really looking forward to it as a few other mutual friends who I don’t see very often were also attending, and of course we were all looking forward to the train ride!
The train wasn’t due to leave until 1.30 pm but we decided we would set off a little earlier than the time it would take us to get there, as the station is set in a country park so we would have a little walk beforehand – to make room for cake of course…
“Mummy, me want cake!”
Chasewater was easy to find, being well signposted. Even the GPS didn’t get us lost! There was plenty of parking, though by the time we left we wished we had carried on up the road a little to the station parking as it was a good 10 minute walk, and when you have a tired toddler and a pregnant tired lady, it felt like much longer.
When we arrived, the first thing we had to do was find the toilets, I had gone two hours without going so I was desperate! We then decided we’d take little man to play in the park, but we were a little disappointed that there were no baby/toddler swings, as he just wouldn’t have stayed on a normal one as he wouldn’t have held on.
After deciding the park was a no-go we decided to go for a walk next to the lake and find where we needed to be later on. We had taken little man’s backpack and rein so he could have a run around, so the walk took longer than we were expecting! We still didn’t find where we needed to be so we headed back to the car park to put his pushchair in the car, at which point we met one of our mutual friends arriving, so we decided we’d find it together.
Once we got to the station we saw lots of familiar faces and hugs and hello’s galore were had! We were given our tickets then it was time to board the train. I thought little man would be okay as the last time we went on a train he loved it. The journey was great, we stopped at each station before stopping a little longer at the last one so that the birthday girl (lady) could go in the engine, and it was taken to the other end of the train for the return journey. Little man had fun running up & down the carriage and smacking all the seats for the whole journey! Though he did manage to sit still for a few minutes to look out the window with Daddy.
This was paid for by a friend but I wasn’t asked to write this review, I just wanted to share our experience! All thoughts & opinions are honest & my own.
On Saturday we visited Birmingham Nature Centre (previously known as Birmingham Zoo). The Centre houses a wide assortment of animals from around the world including lemurs, meerkats, porcupines, goats, spiders, snakes, cranes, and many many more! We visited along with a few of my online friends and their families as part of a ‘big meet’ of the forum we use.
The Centre is very easy to find, directly off the main road with signposts and the entrance located on the main road too. There is a large car park, although I didn’t realise the Centre is very near to Edgbaston cricket ground, and that on the day we visited, there was a huge match happening. This led to a huge queue of traffic to even get the Centre, and then a sign saying £15 for parking, when on the website it says free! No way were we paying that, but we found out afterwards that we could have been directed to separate part of the car park, even though we did tell them that we were just visiting the Nature Centre. In the end we found somewhere to park just up the road, outside the entrance to a construction site – luckily they weren’t working that day.
The entry fee is £5 for adults, £2.50 for children aged 5-16 years, and free for under 5’s. It was a fairly reasonable price for what there is, and there are also many of these dotted about for the children (and adults!) to have their photo taken in:
We all stopped and had a picnic at lunch time; this gave us opportunity to chat, take a huge group photo, and for the more mobile children to run away! The picnic area is nice, with a few picnic tables and a grassy area – though I think our group took up most of the area! There is also a cafe if you wish to buy something there, but we didn’t use it so don’t know of the range of prices.
Many of the animals were very active and visible, but some were sleeping, though anywhere you go, you can’t expect them all to be full of beans for visitors! Unfortunately we didn’t see all the animals that the Centre had to offer as we had to dash off a bit early, but we may go back another day if we are ever down that way again.
I paid for this myself and wasn’t asked to write this review, I just wanted to share our experience! All thoughts & opinions are honest & my own.