5 must-visit locations in Nottingham and Derby this summer for your family

After all the beautiful hot weather we've been having recently, I bet you're starting to think about the summer holidays and what to do with the family and especially your littler adventurers. We've put together a list of 5 of our favourite summer places to visit near Nottingham and Derby.

A stunning sunrise over the main lake at Colwick Country Park in Nottingham

1. Colwick Country Park, Nottingham

This has to be one of our favourite places to visit and with stunning lakes, woodland and parks what more could you want?

SUP Fitness UK making the most of a beautiful sunny morning at Colwick Country Park in Nottingham

There is so much going on at Colwick; angling, sailing, walking, jogging, yoga, stand up paddle board yoga and it's also one for all you budding photographers - there is so much to photograph with such a diverse range of wildlife.

We've had the pleasure of photographing a number of SUP Fitness UK events here on a number of occasions including one particularly stunning sunrise. SUP Fitness UK run fun and relaxed stand-up paddle boarding sessions and stand up paddle boarding yoga classes there - for more information visit their Facebook page.

The main entrance to Colwick Country Park is off Mile Road, Colwick Village, on River Road, with another car park at the end of Racecourse Road, past Nottingham Racecourse and Colwick Hall Hotel. For more information visit their Facebook page or the Nottingham County Council website.

2. Wollaton Hall and Deer Park, Nottingham

The grand welcome to Wollaton Hall in Nottingham

In any season, Wollaton Hall makes for a stunning location for a family walk or to explore. The ancient house is nestled in 500 acres of parklands including diverse habitats such as grasslands, woodland and of course the stunning lake. The grounds also boast herds of red and fallow deer which wander far and wide across the sight and are very relaxed around people. 

Our favourite thing about Wollaton Hall and Deer Park is exploring and finding all the little quieter, less visited areas such as the orangery and garden hidden through a secretive gate or getting lost in the woodlands around the lake.

We love the deer roaming free around Wollaton Hall and throughout the deer park

As well as all these year round attractions, Wollaton Hall is holding a number of events this summer; Splendour Festival in mid July and a series of movies in their outdoor cinema - including The Dark Knight Rises, part of the Batman series in which Woolaton Hall stars as Wayne Manor, are two of our favourites.

Wollaton Hall is located around 3 miles outside of Nottingham and is easily accessible via car or public transport so access from Derby is still great. For more information about how to get there and parking charges visit their website

With well-maintained and well sign-posted footpaths, Shipley Country Park is a fantastic place for a relaxed, family walk or explore.

3. Shipley Country Park, derbyshire

We have lived incredibly close to Shipley Country park for a year and a half but only discovered it recently.

And we love it.

We visited a few weeks ago with Amy's family and it was fantastic. Easily accessible with fantastic paths, stunning reservoirs, woods and not to mention the staff who are incredibly friendly and helpful.

There are so many colourful flowers and things to see in Shipley Country Park

Just like Colwick there is absolutely loads of opportunities to get out and active at Shipley. To name just a few, there walking, cycling, horse riding, bird watching, angling, picnicking, kite flying, jogging, wayfaring, photography (yes, more great opportunities for photography - we couldn't help but mention it!), exploring the park and much more. They even have a ghost tour coming up (this one is aimed at the adults out there as it starts at 10pm)

The main entrance to the park is signposted from Derby Road (A608) and from the motorway M1 Junction 26, there is a great little map showing the best way to find the park here and find out more information on their Facebook page.


A stunning view from one of the many lake side observation decks and hidesat Attenborough Nature Reserve

4. Attenborough Nature Reserve, Nottingham

Attenborough Nature Reserve is one for the nature lovers. So if your little explorers love finding birds, bugs and bees this could be the place for you. There’s always something going on here regardless of the season and the summer is no different. It is an incredibly peaceful, tranquil and calming spot brimming with life and summer is certainly no different. 

Whilst this works as a perfect, peaceful get away for the adults, it's also a great place to explore with the little ones. There are monthly meetings of Wild Kids (a group for adventurous kids who go out and explore with a different themed activity each month - it's ‘Buzzing Around’ this Saturday) and Wild Tots (a parent and toddler group exploring the natural world focusing on the senses).

This friendly swan is certainly enjoying the summer sunshine at Attenborough Nature Reserve.

On top of all this, there is the award winning Attenborough Nature Centre where incredibly helpful and welcoming staff will happily share their wealth of knowledge and guide you on the best things to do and see and explain all the latest sightings within the reserve.

The reserve is located 6 miles from Nottingham City centre whereas it's 11 miles from Derby city centre and is easily accessible by car, bus, bike, train or even walking if you're lucky enough to live nearby. Click here to discover the best route for you. 


5. Holme Pierrepont Country Park, Nottingham

For families feeling particularly adventurous? Why not pop into Holme Pierrepoint's National Watersports Centre or their newly refurbished family-fun park? Holme Pierrepont has a HUGE amount going on, in fact it's very tricky to sum up all the amazing activities they provide!

They now have a huge range of activities from the Sky Trail and High Rope course to mini golf, cycle and Segway hire as well as all their amazing watersports - from stand-up-paddleboarding, canoeing and lazy river tubing to the newly-improved lagoon wipeout.

Their new bigger, better Lagoon Wipeout Aqua Challenge is an inflatable obstacle course, with slides, climbing walls, balancing beams, demolition balls, basher walls and much more - of course all spread out across a lake. Can you avoid wiping out?

If you or your kids are lucky enough to have a summer birthday (like Dave does!), they also offer adventurous birthday parties. They have a range of activities and you can even combine activities to have a really action packed birthday party.

Holme Pierrepont Country Park is just 4 miles from Nottingham City centre whereas its 22 miles from Derby - but worth it for an exciting day out! As you approach Nottingham, brown tourists signs will guide you towards Holme Pierrepont, it is located on the eastern side of the city and more information about how to get there can be found here


P.S. if you're interested in booking a family photo shoot at one of these locations (or one of your own favourites) click here to find out more or contact us.