Ten weird and wonderful days out

Looking for something to do but want to try something different or learn something new? Check out our top ten days out with a difference...

Ten weird and wonderful days out

Banks's Brewery, Wolverhampton - The end of the process, barrels being filled up

Brewery tours
Munch on some malt, sniff some hops and of course carry our your own rigorous taste tests...  There are plenty of local breweries offering the chance to learn how to brew and try some of the freshest ale, straight from the source. 

Banks's Brewery in Wolverhampton gives you the chance to learn the time-honoured skills of becoming a Master Brewer while tasting the fastest selling cask ale in the Midlands.  Banks's are part of the Marston's group who are the UK's leading independent brewing and pub retailers, the largest brewer of cask beer in Britain, and an award winning real ale producer. They use the unique quality spring water from the Trent Valley to produce stunningly bright beers. See www.marstons.co.uk.

The Two Towers Brewery tour, in Birmingham focuses on English cask ales. Your glass is topped up throughout the day, before you finish in the Brown Lion Pub. To take advantage of the special food and drink deals see the website for more information.  twotowersbrewery.co.uk 

Sadlers Brewery in Stourbridge offers a relaxed tour, before giving you the chance to try their award-winning home-cooked food, including famous beer bread, beer-baked ham, pickles and hop cheese. Visit www.sadlersales.co.uk for details.

Land Rover Experience

Land Rover Experience

Solihull has been the home of Land Rover for over 60 years. The Land Rover Experience centre allows you to have a guided tour at the production facilities, before exploring the 15 acres that make up the ultimate test track. You will visit important stages of the production process and discover how all the technology is assembled and packaged into the vehicles.

You'll have the chance to get behind the wheel or experience an impressive demonstration with one of the expert instructors.

The Solihull demonstration areas have a wide variety of terrains. The Jungle Track is a nature refuge and the Adventure Zone is a collection of obstacles which are specifically designed to showcase the most extreme aspects of Land Rover capability. Experience a 45 degree downhill slope, articulations, side slopes, the Tipping bridge and more.

One definitely for the petrol-heads and thrill-seekers. Book a place at www.landrover.com/gl/en/rr/experience-land-rover/land-rover-experience.

Boat Trips

If you're more into relaxing and floating, boat trips might be more your thing. 

Dudley Canal Trust offers a number of different experiences to enjoy the wide network of canals in the region, ranging from 45 minute trips to six hour journeys. Discover the impressive limestone caverns and experience the traditional art of legging, where boats were propelled through the tunnels using leg power. They are right near the Black Country Museum, have a look at www.dudleycanaltrust.org.uk for more information.

Stourbridge Trips offer a tour through breathtaking scenery with the peace of the waterways, see  www.canalboattripsstourbridge.co.uk for more details.

Another way to relax on the water is by travelling on the Away2dine barge in Birmingham, which is modelled on dinner boats in Paris. To book a table go to www.away2dine.co.uk

BBC Tour

Ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes at the BBC? BBC Birmingham offers you the chance to visit their home in the Mailbox, which hosts a number of popular shows such as The Archers, Midlands Today, and BBC WM. Find out what it takes to get shows from script to screen. See the 24/7 BBC News online facilities where they deal with up to 300 stories a day and have a go at standing in front of that famous map and reading the weather!

The tours take place in the Public Space based at the Mailbox. For more information visit www.bbc.co.uk/showsandtours/tours

High Ropes Course/Challenge

Closer to the Edge based in Wolverhampton, West Bromwich and Telford, are high ropes courses suitable for all ages and abilities. Located in the woodlands of Baggeridge Park, Telford Town Park (opening very soon) and Sandwell Valley, they offer you the chance to push your limits in an engaging and safe outdoor environment. Being over 10 metres off the forest floor can be daunting but will be an experience that you'll remember for years to come. Book your space at closertotheedge.co.uk

Aerial Extreme offers a similar experience based in the Trentham Estate near Stoke. The tree-top based high ropes adventure course will thrill you whether you're a novice adventurer or a serial adrenalin junkie. The courses vary in height from 3m to 14m above the ground with no experience or skill required. Find out more at www.trentham.co.uk/aerial-extreme

Cookery Classes

Birmingham is the home to the Balti triangle and why not become a dab hand and create a little taste of India yourself.

Delhi

The Delhi Restaurant in Solihull offers cookery classes to help you get that perfect curry flavour. Self-trained award winning Chef Maz Rahman gives a step-by-step guide, teaching you you how to cook in the authentic style whilst enjoying a fun experience in the Delhi kitchen. This hands- on course covers a full meal with all ingredients and recipes provided, and importantly, it includes the opportunity to eat what you cook at end. To book a spot visit www.thedelhi.com/restaurant.html .

For more traditional foods there is always Brompton Cookery School in Shrewsbury. Celebrity chef Marcus Bean creates seasonal set menus, using only the finest local produce using fresh produce from their very own kitchen garden. Understand flavours, textures and techniques so that you can create fabulous food for any occasion in your own home. See the options at www.bromptoncookeryschool.co.uk

Eckington Manor in Worcester also offers you the chance to become a whizz in the kitchen, offering knife skill classes and cuisine in a number of different areas. For more information go to www.eckingtonmanorcookeryschool.co.uk

Flight Simulation

Whether you are an experienced pilot, someone who's always dreamed about becoming one, or you just want to experience the thrill of a lifetime  - you can have a go at flying a Boeing 737 – the simulator version anyway! Flight Simulators Midlands, based at Coventry Airport, offers you the chance to sit where pilots from Ryanair, EasyJet and Thomson do and learn how to handle a big jet.

You can take off from a number of different airports, hand fly or use autopilot and watch the view. You will learn how to take off and land from anywhere you want, and experience what it's like for real pilot in bad weather conditions. To have a look what's on offer visit www.flyfsm.co.uk for more details.

Cadbury World
Cadbury World

Uncover a world of chocolate delights at Cadbury World. Experience the magic that goes into the making of the creamy distinctive Cadbury taste and discover the history beneath the world famous brand. Treat yourself to the wonderful sights, smells and tastes in the world where chocolate comes to life.

Journey through the Aztec jungle and Europe, discover the Cocoa bean and watch the story grow from there. Don't miss out on the demonstration area where demonstrators will show you how they 'temper' chocolate and make it easier to work with.  For information on tickets and how to find the place visit www.cadburyworld.co.uk

Farms

Local farms are a great way to teach young children where food comes from and the processes behind it. Park Hall Farm in Oswestry, Shropshire, is a great countryside experience which lets visitors get stuck in, with hands-on animal activities such as feeding the lambs or milking the cows. 

See www.parkhallfarm.co.uk for the entire programme for the summer, including their maize maze.

At Broomey Croft Farm in north Warwickshire, you can have a tractor ride around the farm or feed the friendly animals by hand. There is also an undercover picnic area which is great if the British weather doesn't hold up. See www.broomeycroftfarm.co.uk for more details.

In the heart of the countryside, Rays Farm in Bridgnorth lets you pat ponies and donkeys, explore a fairytale forest and lets you get face-to-face with owls and deer. To check out what they've got go to www.raysfarm.com

Ghost Walks
Dudley Castle

If you are interested in the history and not easily scared, you might consider a ghost walk. Many buildings in the Midlands including Dudley Castle, Alton Towers, The Feathers Hotel in Ludlow, Shropshire, The Manor House in West Bromwich and the Abyss Drakelow tunnels in Kinver, offer a chance to check for paranormal activity with a team of experts. There are loads of chances throughout the year, particularly around Halloween, to see if there is really life after death.

 www.frightnights.co.uk and www.hauntedrooms.co.uk  both offer night walks and overnight vigils with experts on hand to help with anything that's heard or felt.

By Jody Ball

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