When you’re half way in to the summer holidays and running out of ideas for things to do then a trip to the local park is the easiest thing to organise. Take a backpack with your lunch and some water, pop the bike or scooter in the car boot and away you go. You can keep kids amused for hours outdoors, especially if there’s a play area but we enjoy going a little off the beaten track and finding places to explore nature, especially after our trip to the theatre to see Sarah and Duck last week Arlo has been requesting to feed the ducks every morning.
I’ve collated a list of our favourite places to visit and I’ve printed off a selection of RSPB resources from twinkl.com which we use on our adventures, usually scavenger hunts and bird spotting sheets work best but you can find practically anything to suit your trip, we can spend all day outdoors and most of the time Arlo doesn’t want to come home.
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Twinkl have created a family staycation guide with resources linked to places to visit all across the U.K. Middleton Lakes which is the closest site to me are featured and Twinkl are working alongside the RSPB with resources crated for The wild challenge, which is a great way to keep kids busy. The idea is you complete nature related challenges, upload pictures as ‘evidence’ after registering on the RSPB website and then earn your medals. Tap the infograph below to find out more.
Your evidence can be photographs or even examples of your children’s art work, and twinkl resources are perfect prompts – you can get creative and enjoy making memories together. There’s minibeast hunts, rockpooling guides, snail art and all sorts of fun project inspiration.
You can complete most of the activities by exploring parks close to home, hence I’ve created a lost of some of the best parks in Birmingham which is full of hidden green spaces if you know where to look. You can have a grand outdoor adventure in the middle of the city, its not just about feeding the ducks.
Whilst I’m here, bread isn’t the greatest thing for ducks so stick to small quantities and try taking out oats with you instead. I always keep a box in my car boot so we can take a pit stop whenever we pass a duck pond.
Without further a do, here’s our top parks in and around Birmingham for you to explore:
1. The Leasowes
Postcode: B62 8DH
Free parking here on site, with a small play area and plenty of open space to explore. Woodlands, grasslands, streams and lakes. This site is a designated site of scientific interest and a must visit. No toilet facilities available.
2. Sutton Park
Postcode: B74 2YT
Parking is free (various sites)
Sutton Park is a huge National nature reserve and you could live in Birmingham your whole life and still not have the chance to explore it all. Feeding the ducks is great fun but if you’re lucky you might spot wild grazing horses too!
3. Cannon Hill Park
Postcode: B13 8RD
Car park: fees charged (pay via RingGo app)
This park in central Birmingham is easily accessible via public transport and home to two pools, with swan boats for hire. There are play areas and other paid for activities such as mini golf, a fun fair and a train.
The MAC is on site with a cafe and toilet facilities for users.
4. Edgebaston Reservoir
Postcode: B16 9EE
Car parking is free on site.
There’s a surfaced 2k route around making this ideal for scooters and pushchairs. The Edgbaston Watersports Activity centre is on site for more high octane adventures.
5. Earlswood Lakes
Postcode: B94 5RZ
These are for more of a natural experience, the trails around the lake can be quite uneven and muddy but here is the place to spot a greater variety of wetland birds and take great photographs.
6. Chase Water
Postcode: WS8 7NL
An environmentally friendly attraction that includes a visitor centre, lakeside cafe, activities such as wake-boarding, sailing, water skiing, nature walks and nearby heritage steam railway
7. Rowheath Pavillion
Postcode: B30 1HH
One of our favourite local parks with a beautiful small pool to wander around and an expansive lawn behind the pavilion for picnics. They have a brand new natural woodland themed play area which is great for clambering on. Every weekend you can find street food vendors serving an array of treats, and there’s a licenced bar and cafe on site too. Toilet facilities are available in the sports block.
8. Bittell Reservoir
Postcode: B45 8BH
On street parking (please respect the local community). It’s easier to start a walk from Barnt Green station and follow the North Worcestershire Path. This is a country route and not suitable for prams and can get very muddy. This reservoir is the home of the Barnt Green Sailing club and there’s public walkways around one side of the reservoir and then up and around country trails. You’re out on your own here with no toilet facilities etc so plan ahead. It’s worth the effort for the views and the wildlife. Read our walkthrough here.
9. The canals
The network of canals throughout Birmingham provides ample opportunity to find ducks and maybe even go fishing – it’s a different way to get from one place to another and see the city wandering along the towpaths. You could try going from the Mailbox to Broadstreet right in the City Centre, or head out to places like Alvechurch Marina. Some areas are nicer than others, plan your routes ahead.
10. Arrow Valley
Postcode: B98 OLJ
Parking is free. This park in Redditch has just added a brand play area which Arlo loves. There’s also gym/exercise equipment and fabulous trails around the lake to enjoy a leisurely stroll or a fast paced jog. The park often hosts funfairs and other events too. There’s a cafe and toilet facilities on site.
11. Sanders Park
Postcode: B61 7JP
Bromsgroves most beautiful park, with a great play area, duck pond and skate park plus cafe and toilet facilities. There’s a bandstand which often hosts events, a bowling green and tennis courts available to hire too.
12. The Vale
A small pond nestled amongst the student Village in Edgbaston, on Edgbaston Park Rd. There’s no designated parking but if you’re local or happen to be visiting the city this is a nice outdoor space to explore, and I’ve even been down to rescue a lost parakeet in this area so you might get lucky and find some more tropical birds to add to your lists.
13. Edgebaston pools
Postcode: B15 2RT
Accessible via paid entry to WinterBourne House and Gardens, so this isn’t a free day out but a nice trip to take, maybe with grandparents who would enjoy the beautiful gardens too.
14. Bournville Boating Pond
Postcode: B30 1QS
On street parking available. This small pond is home to the local model boat sailing club which meets most Sunday’s and its a sight to behold. A great spot to pause and feed the ducks, and have a stretch of the legs especially if you’re visiting nearby Cadbury World. If you’re around in the evening you might spot the local herons too. No cafe or toilet facilities.
15. Sandwell Valley
Postcode: B71 4BG
Parking: small charge
This vast expanse of woodland offers plenty to explore, with lakes perfect for spotting nesting herons in the spring if you head off the beaten track. There’s Forge Mill Farm on site along with huge play areas, a splash pad and plenty of activities to enjoy.
16. Kingsbury Water Park
Postcode: B76 0DY
Parking: £4.50 all day
A vast area of multiple lakes to explore – to get around I recommend hiring bicycles which are great fun. There’s the Echills Wood Railway, two huge play areas and a visitor centre and cafe with toilets on site too.
Other places to explore in and around Birmingham are:
Cofton Reservoir, Cofton Hackett, B45 8GW
Thimblemill Pool, Thimblemill Road, Smethwick, B67 5RG
River Rea, Mill Lane, Northfield, Birmingham, B31 2RT
Moor Pool, Moor Pool Ave, Birmingham B17 9HN
Shard End Lake in Norman Chamberlain Playing Fields, Kendrick Ave, Shard End B34 7SA
Sarehole Mill, Cole Bank Rd, Hall Green B13 0BD
Valley Parkway, Bournville Ln, Birmingham B30 2HP
Frankley Reservoir, Birmingham B32 4BN
Beacon Park, Swan Road, Lichfield WS13 6QZ
Swan Pool, West Bromwich B71 4BQ
Fradley Pool Nature Reserve, Alrewas, Burton-on-Trent, DE13 7DN
Ryton Pools Country Park, Ryton Rd, Ryton-on-Dunsmore, Coventry CV8 3BH
Holly Wood Nature Reserve near Great Barr, B43 6EA
Meriden Park, Moorend Ave, Chelmsley Wood, B37 5TB
Malvern and Bruetons Park, Warwick Rd, B91 3HA
Elmdon Park, Tanhouse Farm Road, Solihull, B92 9EY
Bourne Pool, Wheats Garden Centre, Chester Rd, WS9 0PW
New Hall Valley Country Park, Wilde Green Rd, B76 1NL
Plantsbrook Local Nature Reserve, Eachelhurst Rd, B76 1DZ
Witton Lakes Park, Gipsy Lane, B23 7AS
Swanshurst Park, Yardley Wood Rd, B13 0TB
Newbridge Farm Recreation Ground, Yardley Green Rd.
Kingfisher Country Park, Cole Valley Rd, B28 0DG
Ward End Park, Ward End Park Rd, B8 3PH
Trittiford Park, Priory Rd, B28 0TB
Moseley Bog, Wake Green Rd, B13 9YP
Moseley Park, Alcester Rd, B13 8HJ
Pype Hayes Park, Chester Rd, B24 0NR
Grove Park, Harbourne Park Rd, B17 0BJ
Kings Heath Park, Vicarage Rd, B14 7TQ
Handsworth Park, Holly Rd, B20 2BY
Perry Park, Perry Avenue, B42 1RP
Kings Norton Park, Pershore Rd South
Small Heath Park, Coventry Rd, B10 0PL
Manor Farm Park, Bristol Rd South, B31 2AB
Brookvale Park, Park Rd, B23 7YT
Lifford Reservoir (off tunnel lane) B30
Salford Park, Lichfield Rd, B6 7SS
Shenley Fields, Shenley Fields Rd, B29 5AL
Lickey Hills, Warren Lane, B45 8ER