BABY IT'S COLD OUTSIDE
DESPITE the weather turning more unpredictable, there’s still plenty of indoor activities in and around the local area to keep youngsters entertained. We’ve compiled a round-up of some of our favourite undercover attractions.
SOFT play is a perennial favourite and we’re spoilt for choice locally. The small, but perfectly formed, Stamford’s The Yard has a multi-level padded play frame for under-nines, plus a designated space for under twos. In Oakham, Mini Monsters has a three-storey soft play frame, plus a
separate baby zone.
In Uppingham, the new Wiggly Worms soft play for four-year-olds and under at Welland Vale Garden Inspirations is conveniently located in the Orchard Café. As well as a slide and ball pit, there are a discover play area and activity wall for tiny tots to explore. If the kids are feeling peckish, or you want to relax with a cuppa while they left off steam, all the soft play venues have café’s serving food and drink.
Little one’s imaginations can run wild at The PlayTown, in Essendine, where there are 12 areas designed for children to indulge in role-play. Equipment, toys, and costumes in each of the areas – including a vet’s, theatre, supermarket, and fire station – offer lots of opportunities to get creative.
Slightly further afield, children of all ages can have fun at Grantham Bowl, a 12-lane 10-pin bowling alley with an American-style diner serving up mammoth milkshakes. And the town’s indoor trampoline park Jump Revolution is perfect for bigger kids with its giant airbag, dodgeball, gladiator foam pit and cardio wall challenge.
Family-friendly Oakham Castle has dressing-up, toys, colouring and storybooks, quizzes and trails – all free. Self-service tea and coffee are available most days, so adults can sit down with a cuppa while the children play.
Despite its name, Bugtopia at Rutland Water, in Empingham, is not just home to creepy crawlies, but more than 75 species including meerkats and an armadillo. The family-run, award-winning attraction combines entertainment with education and the chance for children to get hands-on with critters.
For water babies, the area’s swimming pools offer fun features including a spiraling flume at Harpers Water Park at Grantham Meres Leisure Centre, bubbles, fountain, and water jets as well as two slides and a wave machine at Bourne Leisure Centre and a wave machine, water sprays and flume at Stamford Leisure Pool. And for slip-sliding inflatable fun, kids can try the
sessions held at Catmose Sports Centre pool, Oakham and USSC pool, Uppingham.
Live family-friendly theatre – including festive shows and pantomimes –and cinema screenings are regulars at Stamford Arts Centre and Theatre, Grantham Guildhall Arts Centre, the Core at Corby and volunteer-run Stamford Corn Exchange Theatre.
BEST OF BOTH
SEVERAL venues offer both outdoor and indoor attractions perfect if the weather can’t make up its mind. CHILDREN can get hands-on with a variety of animals at family-owned West Lodge Rural Centre’s small farm in Desborough, including the cute fluffies in the cuddle corner. There are also nature trails to explore and an outdoor play area. But should the weather take a turn for the worse, the indoor playbarn has been beautifully created with a wooden treehouse with bridges, slides, and tunnels for the kids to explore.
Multi-award-winning Sacrewell Farm, in Thornhaugh, has a host of animal attractions as well as tractor rides and a playground. Head for the playbarn with its huge soft play area, pedal tractors and new play village with tool workshop, library, kitchen, gift shop, and tipi areas, if it gets too chilly or the heavens open. Fearneley’s dairy barn, situated in Whissendine, has an indoor and outdoor play area, not to mention their sumptuous choice of ice creams made with milk from their own dairy cows - that always hit the spot with kids come rain or shine.
Fun Farm Grantham combines indoor soft play with an outdoor play area. As well as the multi-level indoor adventure maze there’s a play area dedicated to under-fives. Weather permitting, youngsters can venture outside to the pirate ship-themed play area.