Visiting Conkers Discovery Centre

Besties and boys day out at Conkers

A short while back my bestfriend and her nearly 3 year old son (my godson) came to visit for the weekend.  After a fleeting visit round the corner to Upton House on the Saturday, she was heading back up east to her parents’ on the Sunday, so  we decided to head out for the day in that direction and visit Conkers.

N’s a bit obsessed with conkers although he’s now transferred his attention to sweet chestnuts as well.  I think he got a bit confused when we decided to head for a day trip to the place Conkers after some recommendations from friends.

It’s about an hour’s drive from me – or would have been if I’d listened to my sat nav instead of thinking ‘Leicester direction, M69 and ignoring it’.  Although it was a dry Sunday, the car park was fairly empty when we arrived about an hour after it opened.

Visiting Conkers Discovery Centre

Conkers is a Discovery Centre in the National Forest, set in acres of countryside.  There’s an indoor discovery area which we fleetingly wandered round but headed quickly outside to investigate and work out what we wanted to see.

The boys straightaway wanted a ride on the train, so we got on (free!) for the brief ride to the playground area.

riding on the Conkers train

The playground is great because it’s enclosed, and caters for both toddlers through to older children who’re able to climb high.

hanging around on the climbing net
Conkers playground images

N and O were happy enough on the lower equipment, until they decided they wanted to try the bigger climbing towers and rope bridges.  N of course, wimped out of going higher up to try the slides, so they pottered for a bit before we found our way to the next thing.

We headed to the amphitheatre to try out the wobby bridges behind it.  While everything is great for children, you do need to keep an eye on younger children because there are drops down to water or just ground that only a rope or cord as a walking guide prevents you falling down.

Conkers - wobbly bridge

The boys thought the bridge was brilliant and had a couple of stomps around.

signposts at Conkers

By just wandering around the site you can find a whole lot of activities and places to explore.  We checked out the willow swamp.

walking in the woods at Conkers

The fairy labyrinth

fairy labyrinth house
hazel fairy sign at conkers

And the extremely high rope bridge after a bit of a meltdown from little O who didn’t want to walk and refused to come with us.  We just left him to it as we could see him and hear him.  I loved the way an older family wandered past us and him saying ‘We’ve done that before too’ in empathy.  Next thing we knew another family who’d already noticed and said ‘there’s a lost baby there’, to which my friend had told them he was hers and perfectly fine, and to ignore him, then wandered over to him, picked him up and carried him back to us.  Why on earth they interfered is beyond me when we’d already told them that he was fine and not too.  Grr, people shouldn’t interfere in a tantrum case.

Eventually he decided to stop crying of his own accord and we all headed over to walk across the rope bridge.  N and I had already walked over (oops, it said adults and teens only because it was part of the activity trail), but we couldn’t say no to the kids and we’d already seen another toddler walk over with her dad.

walking the high bridge
high up on the rope bridge

N wanted to go over again with O and my friend, so I was able to get some photos of how high it really was.  N managed the bridge perfectly, then fell over a post walking back to me, so there were a few more tears.

huge daisy
teasel macro
leapfrogging the posts at Conkers
Introduction to leap-frogging posts

Next stop was the Sensory Trail.  This is within one of the woods, and is simply some boxes that you can put your hands in and guess what you’re feeling.  N was moaning that he didn’t want to take part, but we persuaded him and O’s excitement was catching, and soon N was running off to the next box to get there first.

checking out the sensory boxes
checking the sensory boxes

Once we’d got our fill, we decided lunch was on the cards.  The choice in the café is pretty limited, but luckily there wasn’t a queue and we were able to get a kids lunchbox for N, a sandwich for O and loaded chilli nachos for us adults.  They were mammoth but definitely worth the money.  The prices weren’t too bad for an attraction, and N was allowed to have an ice lolly afterwards.

fruit pastille lolly eating

Just before setting off home N wanted a go in the water play area so he had some fun pumping the water through and damming it up again.  Thankfully no falling in, and no wet clothes either.

playing with the water pumps
 playing in the water area
playing in the water

A final walk through the centre inside and the boys had a good run around on a light display on the floor which was falling leaves and by running on it, they could clear the leaves.  Great fun, and so amusing to see how the different ages met the challenge.  Toddlers just run backwards and forwards, while N at nearly 5 would run through it, then run round the edges to make sure all the leaves were cleared up.

selfie time waiting for the train at Conkers

We had a lovely day out at Conkers.  It was a nice warm Autumn day, there was plenty to see and do, lots of exercise with all the walking, and more to see should we come back another time.

What we liked about Conkers

  • Variety of activities, it’s great for toddlers, preschoolers and school age children
  • Indoor and outdoor activities
  • Large car park and cafe
  • There’s a train
  • Different playground areas – the actual playground, plus netting obstacle style activities for ‘older’ children.

Have you been to Conkers?  Or do you similar places near you?

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  1. I really like how there’s such a choice of activities – you can clearly see how much N and O are enjoying their visit. Very curious about what’s in those sensory boxes too!

  2. We live really close to Conkers but haven’t got round to visiting yet. I think it’s a case of ignoring the attractions on your doorsteps! It looks like a great day though with lots of activities to keep everyone entertained. Boo to the parents who interfered with your tantrum management, why do people think this is ok?

  3. We haven’t been to Conkers but looks like a fab place to explore! There a place near us called Moseley Bog which is a adventure to explore

  4. I’ve heard great things about Conkers and would certainly visit if it was close to us. So many great ideas there, I’m rather taken with the sensory walk too and curious what they had inside those boxes? Sounds like having N’s friend was a great influence in joining in and lovely for you Mums too. Lovely photo of you and N together, I hardly ever see you in the photos. Thank you for sharing your day out on Country Kids

  5. Oh wow, looks like this was one amazing adventure park – I love all of those different climbing frames and little ideas for fun on the walk. Like that fairy labyrinth 🙂 I haven’t been to Conkers, but will have to investigate, looks like fun 🙂 #countrykids

  6. Love that last photo. Knew you’d like it there, and you did a few different things to us. The water park bit wasn’t working when we went either. We will definitely be back as its close to where my best friend lives. #CountryKids

    1. There’s so much to choose from. We just ambled. N was ready to go home several times, but then spotted something else and was fine staying!

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