Stockwood Discovery Centre

It’s winter and most of the places you usually go to are shut. Or it’s too cold/wet/windy/snowy to go there… Here’s my current list of places I like to visit (or would like to!)

Feel free to get in touch with your own…

Winter walks

On a crisp winter day there’s nothing better than wrapping up and heading out to explore out local woods and green spaces. Here’s some of my favourites:

Oughtonhead

A regular haunt for us. Mostly buggy friendly and with the fab Garden Gate Cafe too (call to check winter opening 07969 621 223).

Hitch Wood

Home to gorgeous bluebell woods in the Spring. Dens to explore all year round.

Wymondley Woods

Forms part of the Letchworth Greenway and is great for walks, picnics and exploring minibeast and pond areas. Click here to see a map.

Pegsdon & Telegraph Hill

Always a great walk for us – relatively flat and quiet (especially important with our boisterous Labrador!) Lots of walks to explore but this route is manageable for us with little ones.

Sharpenhoe

This place is stunning – perhaps even more so in winter. Well worth exploring.

Danish Camp, Willington

Offers plus a tasty (licensed) place for refreshments after fantastic walks suitable for buggies, scooters and little legs too. Don’t forget to visit Ozzie the Owl!

Salcey Forest, Northants

A bit of a drive but a beautiful place to visit on a crisp winter’s day – especially to climb the Tree Top Way that rises to 15m above the ground (or 20m if you head up the Crow’s nest!) Not quite in time for half term but from 24th February 2017 you can go Gruffalo spotting here too.

Museums

Stockwood Discovery Centre

I love Stockwood Discovery Centre in Luton. Entry is free (though donations are welcome) and it’s a fantastic place to visit in any weather. There are beautiful gardens with lots to explore, including a sensory garden – our favourite.

There are permanent galleries including an award winning display of carriages plus regularly changing exhibitions. From 21st January – 26th March, the British Wildlife Photography Awards Exhibition returns with the 2016 winners too. All this and a tasty cafe and good adventure playground too!

Also nearby and worth a visit are:

Indoor sports

Hitchin Swimming Centre is a nice local pool and my girls love it for a splash about. However I get a little bored watching them walk up and down the steps (fascinating apparently).

I prefer to head to Westminster Lodge Leisure Centre, St Albans.

confidence-pool-st-albans

They have a confidence pool as well as a learner pool that’s deep enough so they can’t just “walk” up and down it! I’d recommend booking though – especially in school holidays or wet weekends. You can so this on the phone or online with a free Everyone Active account. There is also soft play area and cafe that are worth checking out!

I was lucky enough to go to the press launch for Oxygen Free Jumping (formally Air Space), Stevenage had an awesome time. If you have child over 5 I’d definitely recommend a visit! They also now offer toddler sessions 12-1pm Monday – Friday and Sundays plus a 9am session on Saturdays.

The new kid on the block is Better Extreme Trampoline Park in Welwyn Garden City. As well as being shiny and new, of course, this trampoline park has a unique area for under 5s that can be used any time – perfect if you have children of different ages or don’t want to be restricted to a certain time. Specific toddler sessions also run – see website for details. You can read my review here.

If you have children under 5, why not check out Gravity Force Trampoline Park in St Albans. They run Gravity Tots sessions for children from walking to 5 years old on Monday – Saturday. (For full transparency I’ve not been yet – another on my “to do list”!)

Also nearby and worth a visit are:

Get close to the animals

Yes, Standalone Farm is closed until the spring but there are still places to go and see the animals this winter!

Wimpole Hall and Home Farm

Our favourite is Wimpole Hall & Home Farm, near Royston. It’s a working farm and is open all year round, although only open to the public on weekends in the winter and in the school holidays (although the grounds are open daily). You can read all about it in my review.

I always enjoy a trip to Paradise Wildlife Park too. Not too big to navigate with little legs and a great variety of animals to see plus a woodland train and soft play if the weather turns rubbish. There’s usually a discount voucher to be had too so worth a quick search when making your plans.

Shepreth Wildlife Park is another fantastic place to visit the animals, although check winter opening times before visiting. There are daily animal encounters plus indoor play too – all right next to Shepreth station (direct train from Hitchin) so you don’t even have to drive there!

I also seem to end up at Whipsnade Zoo at this time of year. On a dry day it’s still a great place even in winter with soft play too if there’s a spot of rain. Be warned, on a clear day it gets COLD so wrap up warm! It’s also over a huge space so take a buggy even if you have more confident walkers otherwise you’ll end up giving piggybacks at the end of the day!

I’ve recently visited Woodside Animal Farm in Slip End for the first time and loved it. You can get up close the animals and my girls loved feeding them all – especially the chickens and llamas! There’s crazy golf, a merry-go-round and trampolines as well as outdoor playgrounds. And if it does get too cold there’s an indoor play barn and cafe too all included in the price!

The are others on my “to visit” list including Mead Open Farm in Luton and Woburn Safari Park (can’t believe I’ve not got around to going there yet!)

I had a fab time at Willows Farm, London Colney in the Summer too – I think for the price I’ll wait until the warmer weather arrives though…

Catch a film

The Kids Club is back at Broadway Cinema in Letchworth with screenings on Saturdays and Sundays for a bargain price of £1 a ticket. Yippee! Don’t forget to see what’s on in their new theatre too.

There are also Movies for Juniors screenings at Cineworld Stevenage. Tickets are priced at £2.50 (booked online with free My Cineworld account).

Is your favourite winter haunt missing from this post? Get in touch and let me know!