Things to do in East Midlands

Days out and things to do in East Midlands and surrounding areas

Search our site for things to do in the East Midlands, places to visit, and family days out in Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire and Northamptonshire.



Derbyshire is home to the glorious Peak District National Park, a great place to visit for family days out, short breaks and holidays. The Park was the first to be designated in Britain in 1951, in recognition of its outstanding and largely unspoilt scenery covering 555 square miles of the north of the county. With an estimated 22 million visits each year, it is one of the most visited National Parks in the world.

Whilst in Derbyshire make time to visit some magnificent country houses, like Chatsworth, Kedleston and Haddon, pretty towns like Buxton, or see The Grand Medieval Joust at Bolsover Castle– a favourite destination for anyone looking for things to do in East Midlands, with plenty to do for all the family.

National Trust’s Calke Abbey, near Ticknall in Derbyshire is set in over 600 acres of rolling parkland, with a magnificent mansion and walled garden- why not combine your visit with a digital photography workshop at this superb venue?

Derbyshire caters for nearly every kind of sport, from rock climbing and pot holing to fly fishing and canoeing. For something different, why not visit the Pavilion Gardens, a wonderful historic venue situated in the heart of Buxton in 23 acres of recently restored pleasure gardens, with its own miniature train. Every year, the Gardens host more than 100 fairs, events and Farmers’ Markets.



Leicestershire hosts the annual East Midlands Food & Drink Festival in Melton Mowbray – where you can come and enjoy a real taste of the countryside. Steeped in rural tradition, the area is famous for its fine food and drink, including the famous Melton Mowbray Pork Pie, Stilton cheese and locally brewed ales, wines and Sloe gin.

Explore the countryside with its picturesque waterways, country parks, cycle paths, quaint villages, and the famous National Forest with its beautiful nature trails.

A visit to Ashby Castle makes a great family day out exploring its colourful history from its beginnings as a manor house in the 12th century. Escape from the hustle and bustle with a visit to the Belgrave Hall and Gardens in Leicester, or enjoy a show and a picnic at the Rutland Open Air Theatre, located in the grounds of historic Tolethorpe Hall, Little Casterton. The spectacular surrounds, fine acting and magical costumes make us one of Europe’s finest open air theatres.

For something different, take an angling course with the Fly Fishing Academy, to benefit from their hands-on no nonsense approach, keeping the tuition simple as possible and focusing on what works for you.



Lincolnshire is England’s second largest county, with a fascinating heritage, and traditions. One of the finest gothic building in Europe, Lincoln Cathedral was for almost 300 years the tallest building in the world.

Explore the rolling Lincolnshire Wolds, the stunning Skegness coastline, or the many animal parks, historic houses, museums, theme parks and even a seal sanctuary. Download free walks and all the information you need to get walking in the beautiful Lincolnshire countryside, or search local walking clubs and join other walking enthusiasts in your area.

For a great family day out visit the Woodside Wildlife and Falconry Park, set in beautiful surroundings five miles east of Lincoln and only a few miles away from the Lincolnshire Wolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty; or come to Grimsthorpe Castle Park and Gardens , a historic house, park and garden open in the summer for adults and children to enjoy the countryside, nature and history.

Kids will enjoy a visit to Rand Farm Park in rural Lincolnshire, for a high quality “hands on” learning and fun experience for visitors of all ages. The Farm has a well equipped indoor heated play barn and large indoor and outdoor picnic areas, making it a perfect destination for families with kids come rain or shine.

Photography enthusiasts can join one of Going Digital’s workshops, available at over 130 venues in the UK; Lincolnshire venues include Burghley House and the Whisby Nature Park.



There really are plenty of things to do in Nottinghamshire, from family days out to an array of weekend breaks to suit all tastes and budgets.

Visit Nottingham for a weekend break or a day out with the kids at top attractions. Hear legendary tales of Robin Hood and experience Sherwood Forest, or learn about industry that built a city around Nottingham Lace.

For a day out in any season visit Wollaton Hall, a spectacular Elizabethan mansion and park in the heart of Nottingham. Kids and grown-ups alike will enjoy the Sherwood Forest Country Park, one of the world’s most famous woods, the home of the legendary Robin Hood- and the Festival dedicated to him each August. For something different, try clay-pigeon shooting or visit the Stonebridge City Farm for a slice of the countryside in the heart of Nottingham.

If wildlife and conservation interest you head for the Attenborough Nature Centre, an award winning Visitor and Education facility surrounded by the tranquil waters of the beautiful Attenborough Nature Reserve.



At the very heart of England, Northamptonshire offers something for everyone who visits.

Northamptonshire is home to some of the most beautiful countryside in England, with miles of walks, beautiful country parks, canals and substantial areas of ancient woodland. Download free walks or search local walking clubs and join other walking enthusiasts.

Stately homes and ancestral seats, including that of the Spencer family at Althorp, are all part of the local heritage. Nestling in the Northamptonshire countryside is Kelmarsh Hall and Gardens, a graceful 18th Century house with romantic gardens surrounded by an estate of rolling countryside.

The Old Dairy Farm Centre located in Upper Stowe, Northamptonshire, is a great destination for a fun family day out, offering shopping and crafts, a small animals farm, a restaurant and tearoom, and bed & breakfast accommodation

Art lovers can take a botanical and landscape illustration course with Field Breaks, a leading provider of art workshops UK – visit their page for details of venues and dates.

Last but not least, the network of canals that interweave the county are perfect for exploring, with stops along the way at the old navigational inns.