With the summer fast approaching, it’s time to don our summer hats and sun cream and embrace the great outdoors. The West Midlands has a great deal to offer in the way of outdoor activities, and here we've put together our top picks for you to enjoy over this summer.
West Midlands Safari Park - Bewdley
Offering not only the safari drive-through but also a an interactive discovery trail, brand new Lorikeet Landing, shows and talks through the day and rides galore – West Midlands Safari Park is the perfect summer outing.
Drive through the African Plains and feast your eyes on the hulking white rhino and dainty giraffes, explore Wild Asia and feed sambar and Philippine spotted deer, Behold the Carnivore section and the beauty of the African lion, and end your journey with an aww-factor with their latest baby white rhino and African elephant.
Onsite you can get up-close and personal with even more animals by feeding nectar to the chirpy birds in the Lorikeet Landing, attend their infamous sealion show and learn everything there is to know about their wildlife in talks held throughout the day.
You can also explore their exclusive Land of the Living Dinosaur and step right into your very own terrifying, exhilarating and breath-taking Jurassic Park set.
Summer season admission tickets can be brought in advance to save up to 15%
Shakespeare's Birthplace - Stratford-Upon-Avon
Home to one of the world’s most famous playwrights, Shakespeare’s Birthplace is a 16th century restored house situated upon Henley Street in Stratford-Upon-Avon where it is believed the bard was born and raised.
The Shakespeare’s Birthplace Trust has set up a Giant Wallbook of his plays on a timeline that stretches over 9m, with 38 of his greatest works.
The trust also has their own troupe of professional actors known as Shakespeare Aloud! Who perform scenes from various different plays every day in and around his very own birth-place, and even allow you to make requests.
Cannock Chase Forest - Cannock
Cannock Chase Forest is an area of outstanding natural beauty, comprised of a mixture of woodland, open heath land and the remains of early industry.
The area has much to offer in the way of outdoor adventure with amazing bike and hiking trails for those of all fitness and experience levels to observe the splendour of nature.
Go Ape offers an above-ground experience with zip-wires, Tarzan swings and a variety of obstacles. For those less-inclined towards heights, Go Ape also offers all-terrain Segways for hire to explore the area off-road.
To boot, Cannock Chase has an adventure play area, camping, caravanning, barbecue areas, orienteering and horse riding on offer for all the family.
Dudley Zoological Gardens - Dudley
This summer marks the arrival of lorikeets entering Lorikeet Lookout alongside the March installation of Flamingo Falls as well as their normal attractions at Dudley Zoo.
The historical site offers everything from their Lemur Walkthrough, interactive talks and feeds throughout the day, and a range of beautiful exotic animals such as the Asiatic black bear, Bornean orang-utan, giraffes, the majestic Asiatic lion and many more.
The zoo also offers a number of meets and greets along with animal experiences with many of their resident creatures, along with eerie ghost events and arachnophobia workshops.
Tickets start from £14 adults and £9 children
Hoo Farm Animal Kingdom - Telford
Home to Shropshire’s big cats, there’s always something going on at Hoo Farm Animal Kingdom where you can get up-close and personal to some of your favourite animals.
You can get up close and personal with various farmyard critters, meerkats, and one of the UKs only giant flying squirrels on display to the public with daily events and programmes available for all the family such as feeding lambs, goats, deers and the famous sheep steeple chase.
Tickets for adults are priced at £9.95 with children’s at £9.45. Under twos go for free
Umberslade Adventure - Hockley Heath
The Umberslade Estate has been a family-run business since the 1800s, and now offers a range of exciting outdoor activities in a beautiful woodland environment.
You can take part in a low ropes course, a commando course, tree climbing and zip line for your adrenaline fix or take it easy with winding woodland and nature trails, archery and even a kids play area.
The site offers a bush craft course where you can learn how to survive in the wilderness utilising only your natural surroundings, as well as modder pool fishing.
Wolf Mountain Climbing Centre - Wolverhampton
Wolf Mountain Indoor Climbing Centre offers a range of adventurous activities for people of all-ages and all experience levels.
You can take part in abseiling, air-rifle shooting, archery, bouldering, indoor climbing and caving, mountain biking, paddlesports and multi-activity days suitable for various groups both indoors and outdoors in excursions from the site.
The centre also has an indoor store where you can buy all the equipment you need for outdoor and indoor activities, for novices and experts alike within all price ranges.
Entry starts from £7 for adults and £6 for children, with equipment hire starting from just £1
Central Boat Parties - Gas Street, Birmingham
Championed as Birmingham’s best boat party experience, Central Boat Parties offer a unique experience on a private canal boat.
The experience includes a fully-licensed bar, food options, excess seating, an integrated sound system that welcomes your playlists, washroom facilities and both open and enclosed decks that are heated.
Cruises start from just £170, with a mid-week offer at just £150
Aquasport International LTD - Birmingham & Solihull
You can be assured the highest level of instructors at Aquasport International LTD where you can embark on various courses to learn to dive the depths of the dark, deep sea.
You can enrol on a simple Discover Scuba Diving experience or your very own Scuba Party all the way along to PADI certified beginner and experienced courses. There are Bubblemaker courses for youngsters and the PADI Seals Team that introduces children to wreck, navigation, buoyancy, underwater photography, environmental awareness programmes and more.
Owl and Falconry Centre - Shipley
After opening its doors once more last November, the Owl & Falconry Centre offers a range of bird of prey displays, meet and greets and other farmyard critters.
The centre has a wide array of owls, eagles, falcons and hawks that you can learn to handle and fly starting from just £25, along with keeper for the day experiences for the whole site.
Their pets corner gives you the opportunity to spend quality time with a range of domestic animals such as donkeys, goats, sheep, rabbits, guinea pigs, ferrets, chickens, geese and ducks.
Adult tickets are priced at £3.50, concessions at £2.50, children at £2 and under fives go free. A family ticket is available for £10 that covers two adults and three children
Moseley Park and Pool - Moseley, Birmingham
Moseley Park and Pool has been untouched for hundreds of years, and offers 11 acres of peaceful woodland with a beautiful lake and heaps of wildlife.
You can feast your eyes on their resident black swans Samson and Delilah in their natural habitat, as well as visiting their listed Ice House that was created at the end of the 18th century for cold storage.
Himley Hall and Park - Himley, Dudley
Himley Hall is a stunning early seventeenth-century house that can be explored by visitors, as well as its gardens and pond that surround it.
The site is home to many woodland walks suitable for dogs and bikes, and ponds that are thriving with local wildlife. They host regular events for all the family both in the stately home.
As well as this, they also have a quaint cafe with homemade goodies for you to recharge after a long, busy day.
Black Country Living Museum - Dudley
You can join in with 300 years of history at the Black Country Living Museum, where you can step right back in time to Victorian England, complete with period costumes and authentic props.
Rain or shine there is something to do. Step into the re-built shops and homes and peruse their wares, go underground to their spooky mine, ride around in vintage transport, taste the best fish & chips (they reckon!) and go back to school with a lesson in their schoolhouse.
You will be greeted by traditional characters in period costumes that bring the experience to life and supervise regular events and talks held throughout the day.
Tickets for adults are priced at £15.95, students and the elderly at £12.50, children at £7.45 and fives and under go for free. Various family tickets are available starting from £33
Sedgley Golf Centre - Sedgley, Dudley
Sedgley Golf Centre is a nine-hole, par seventy two, pulic, parkland golf course that is also home to The Mark Butler Golf Academy.
The site offers panoramic views of the surrounding Staffordshire countryside and welcomes players of all experience levels.
The academy offers coaching for all ages, including a junior school, as well as activities days for various corporations and equipment services.
After all of this, you can indulge in a bite to eat at their on-site cafe that boasts attentive and friendly staff.
For £7 you can play nine holes and for £10 you can play eighteen holes.
Virgin Balloon Flights - Telford, Shropshire
Virgin Balloon Flights, with their headquarters in Telford, began flying balloons in 1987 and offer a range of different experience packages for you to experience the skies.
You can rise in a balloon as the sun does and watch it rise or set from above with champagne, experience romance amongst the clouds with chocolate truffles or see the sights in luxury with a range of different packages.
You can reach heights of 5000 feet as you take in picturesque views from a unique perspective, in a once in a lifetime experience.
Flights begin from £114 on weekdays and £134 on weekends.
By Becci Stanley