Sometimes you feel like you’ve just been inside for way too long and it’s time to get out and about. With N’s tennis matches having been cancelled at his asking, we were searching for something to do do that was less than an hour drive away. I come across Cannon Hill Park a while back but hadn’t put it on my list of places to visit; it popped back up up in my search online. I decided it’s just the sort of place that we would like.
Cannon Hill Park is in the Edgbaston area of Birmingham and is only 45-minute drive away for us. There’s a few different car parks. My recommendation would be to park in the one near the wildlife conservation centre as that’s at the bottom of the hill and nearest all the activities.
We parked at the smaller car park at the top of the hill which was fine but after a day of walking around, it’s a bit of a slog to walk back up the slope to the car. You don’t pay for entry to the park, just for parking. At under £3.50 all day parking it’s a bargain compared to where we live. And I imagine in the summer it gets packed out with people visiting for a day out.
The activities in the park open at different times depending on the season so do check online before going. When we were there, the crazy golf opened at 10 so we were there for opening time. It’s not the cheapest crazy golf but you can choose to do 18 or 36 holes, and there’s two 2 courses to choose from. We opted for the red course which was evidently the less challenging one, but more interactive with all the water features. I think the lady was tricking us because it was quite a challenging course. I dread to think what the yellow one was like.
We had great fun but be warned, the ball will probably fall in the water at some point. Helpfully they do have fishing nets around the course to fish the balls out. On one hole I’m convinced that no one would ever be able to get the ball from one side to the other without chipping it straight over the bridge. We tried several times and N nearly lost his ball as it it fell off the route then knocked off the bridge and disappeared under te walkway bridge. We had to wait for it to come drifting through to pick it out.
The course was lots of fun and not busy while we were there. but be prepared to wait if you’re there on a hot sunny day. I was back to my winning ways which I was pleased about after losing the last 2 times we played crazy golf.
Cannon Hill Park tennis
I wish we taken our tennis rackets because the park has five really nice tennis courts which are free to play on. They were quite busy while we were there and you can book in advance. If the course is free you are able just to go on without booking. It’s a great idea – where we live there are only 3 public courts available which get ridden on by children and teens with scooters and bikes. They certainly don’t get the respect that these courts looked like they get.
The lakes and gardens at Cannon Hill Park
The funfair wasn’t open when we were ready so we went for a walk around the lake to check out what birds and wildlife we could see. The grey squirrels are very tame and if you have food they will probably come up to see you and try and steal it. One dog walker was telling us how they will actually eat out of your hand if you want.
There are some beautiful gardens at Cannon Hill Park and the autumn colours were looking beautiful around the lakes and ponds.
One walk round and the funfair was open by that time. We were able to use our FunPASS card that we use at Warwick park. If you have a similar card be sure to take it so long as you can just top it up for more ride credits. If you don’t have one you can get a card for £1, then add credits.
The rides were a little disappointing but for younger children there was a good choice for them to go on. N loved the rollercoaster which spun around the individual carriages. He proclaimed it much better than the one at the Warwick. Our card is now topped up for the next time we visit there as well.
It wasn’t quite lunchtime by this point so I suggested a tour on the land train. The train goes from just outside the MAC centre in the park by the lake. It’s about a 15-minute drive around the park which is great to see some of the areas that you wouldn’t necessarily walk to. There’s a beautiful sculpture which someone said was the Millennium sculpture, an old historic house which is undergoing a lot of work at the moment, as well as the two playgrounds.
It’s literally just a ride on the train but I think it’s always nice to go on these trains to have a look round the whole of the place you are visiting.
Eating at Cannon Hill Park
At Cannon Hill Park there is the garden tea room further up the hill for snacks and drinks, and the Midlands Art Centre (MAC) has a Cafe and Bar. The MAC holds exhibitions, shows, films and other events. In school holidays they also put on family activities although we didn’t join in with the ones that were there when we were there.
We totally missed the fact that the cafe was on the right and headed towards the bar instead which was a bit confusing as there was no one. Then we realised that the cafe must be elsewhere, so found it and and got in the queue for food. It does get busy as soon as well it’s lunchtime. so get there early or late, or hope that you can get a table outside or in the bar area.
They have some good hot and cold options and and the kids menu is a very good price. They offer either sandwich plus 4 items for £4.25 or the same price for for a kids hot meal with two sides. N chose tomato and cheese pasta with garlic bread and salad. It was a fair sized portion.
I opted for avocado on toast with two poached eggs and halloumi which was delicious and worth the £7 50 it cost. They obviously got a bit confused because the waiter brought out mine and N’s food then came out a second time with another bowl of of avocado on toast so I’m not sure why they ordered two plates for me given I didn’t pay for two.
The dining area acoustics mean it gets very loud so if your children are sensitive to noise try setting out in the bar area or outside.
Other activities and walks
Luckily we didn’t go on the Swan Lake boats. It was a bit chilly and pedaling always cramps my legs.
I’ve made the mistake of only paying for up to 4 hours of parking thinking we wouldn’t be there any longer, but it did mean that we didn’t have time to go to the wildlife conservation centre as well. We walked all the way down there, not realising that we should have parked that end to be closer. By the time we arrived, an hour just wouldn’t have been enough time to go round the centre and walk back up to the car in time. It means we’ll just have to visit another time and make sure we had to the wildlife centre first.
There are two playgrounds at Cannon Hill Park although we didn’t visit the second one. The one on our walk back pass the lake was quite low-level with lots of bright coloured walkways, a few slides and ladders. It’s definitely for younger children so I’m not sure what is available in the other playground for older kids. N wasn’t keen to go on it so we decided that we’d finish our trip and walk back up the hill to the car.
We stopped at the tea rooms for him to have a cake. The garden tea rooms are quite old-fashioned and a bit run down, but do the job if you’re just after a quick drink and light snack. Be warned they don’t take cards, so you will need cash to visit. Similarly with the car park, it’s either cash or Ringo.
We had a really nice morning out at Cannon Hill Park, and I’m sure it’s somewhere we will be back again in warmer weather. Next time with our tennis gear, and I’ll be booking the car park for the full day to ensure that we get to see and do everything we want to.
Have you ever been to Cannon Hill Park?
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