Summer bucket list: 17 things you must do in and around Sheffield | Best parks, picnic spots and family days out ideas

Summer is coming! Are you looking for good things to do in school holidays in South Yorkshire? Here are 17 things you must do this summer in and around Sheffield, Yorkshire and surrounding areas.

Summer Bucket List: 17 things to do in school holidays in South Yorkshire and surrounding areas

  1. Go to your local parks and playgrounds much as possible!

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Enjoy free days out at your local parks. We are so lucky in Sheffield to have amazing parks and with 1/3 of the city being in the Peak District there is more than enough green space to enjoy. Take advantage of them! These are some of my favourite parks: Endcliffe Park, Botanical Gardens, Forge Dam, Norfolk Heritage Park, Hillsborough Park and Graves Park. There’s many more, see all of Sheffields parks here.

See my Botanical Gardens blog with video, and top 5 things to do in Sheffield with a toddler for more parks.

2. Visit splash and water parks.

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Cool down on hot days with water play fun! I love splash play in the summer, there are many local places to go and enjoy the day which have great water and sand play. Check this guide for 8 splashtastic places to go for outdoors water play including Magna Aqua-Tek, Millhouses Park, Sheffield Peace Gardens and lots more.

3. Consider visiting Nottingham! 

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Go to Nottingham for the city centre pop up Nottingham BeachSherwood Forest, White post farm and Wheelgate adventure park. Wheelgate Park is just outside Nottingham near Mansfield and has SO MUCH TO DO! For just £10 you have access to a massive water park, soft play centres, rides, farmyard, adventure playground and more; it is so fun for kids of all ages. Read our review here to see what there is to do! The park has so much to keep families entertained with loads of rides, play areas both indoor and outdoor, farm and more. In Nottingham there is also the castle, kitty cafe and Wollaton Hall which are all worth a visit. This summer, Wollaton Hall has a world exclusive exhibition: Dinosaurs Of China.

4. Swimming outdoors and wild paddling!

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For outdoor swimming in the Peak District, try Hathersage Outdoor pool. This hidden gem is a heated pool in the heart of Hathersage, a medieval village in the Peak District. The pool is open daily and there are timetables here. There’s amazing views, sunbathing areas and a lovely cafe make this a really lovely day out. There’s also a playground just behind which I recommend; even if you don’t want to go swimming, it’s still worth a visit. You can read about that here. Hathersage can easily be acccessed by bus or train from Sheffield. We love wild paddling, especially at Damflask Reservoir and Low BradfieldPadley Gorge is a favourite!

5. Go on a family walk in the Peak District.

Ladybower and Upper Derwent landscape walk,17 things you must do this summer
Landscape in Upper Derwent and Bamford, Peak district

Take a walk in the countryside and find a picturesque picnic spot; this is a perfect free day out which will clear your mind. The Peak District has so much to see, you’ll be spoilt for choice. Try any of these 6 beautiful walks and enjoy.

6. Heights of Abraham, Matlock Bath

heights of abraham, matlock, 17 things you must do this summer
Heights of Abraham, Matlock Bath

Ride a cable car in Matlock Bath, have fish and chips and ice cream, and enjoy a seaside atmosphere in Derbyshire. The Heights of Abraham has 60 acres to explore and has more to see than just the cable cars! Two playgrounds, cafe, country park, museum, show caves and more… it’s a really nice day out. There are lots of free things to do in Matlock Bath and it has a really nice atmosphere to just wander around and enjoy including parks with water splash, theme parks, museums and more.

Read all about our daytrip to Heights of Abraham with photos here.

7. Do a free Room on the broom book adventure trail!

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Love Julia Donaldson’s Room on the broom? See the Room on the broom book come to life at the trail in Wakefield, Anglers Country Park. The trail is free and you can go around and find all the characters which is so fun for all the family! At Anglers Country Park you will find a good playground, ducks, cafe and visitors centre. There are activity packs for the trail to purchase at the visitors centre but you can enjoy the trail without one.

Watch our video from the trail in this blog post here.

8. Go wild in the best adventure playgrounds

Chatsworth House Farmyard and amazing adventure playground, 17 things you must do this summer
Chatsworth house playgrounds

Go wild in an adventure playground. We really love Chatsworth House farmyard and playground and Web Adventure Park, York. Cannon Hall Farm have great adventure playgrounds and Harewood House, too. A new free adventure playground has just opened on August 1st at National Coal Mining Museum, and there are free playgrounds (and water splash) at Clifton Park in Rotherham!

9. Have a picnic by a castle, medieval ruins or historical site

perevil castle in castleton
Perevil Castle, Castleton

A picnic by an historic castle sounds like England in a nutshell! We have many castles to appreciate nearby, they look even better in summer. Try Coinsborough castle, Brodsworth hall and gardens, Perevil castle or Bolton Abbey, to name a few! See this map for yorkshire’s great castles, houses and gardens.

Click here for my blog post from a day at Perevil Castle, Castleton which includes photos and a video.

10. Go to a museum

york railway museum, national railway museum york, 17 things you must do this summer
Eric at the national railway museum in York summer 2016

You might be surprised when I say this, but: visit a museum on a hot day. Everyone wants to be outside when it is good weather; and of course! But museums are the least busy when itis hot weather outside, even during school holidays. Eureka! The national children’s museum recommend visiting them when it’s nice out to get the best experience during their busiest times. Heading indoors to a museum with your family on a hot summers day might cool you all down.

Blogs from museums with photos and videos: Eureka!, Kelham Island Museum, see all in the museum category here.

12. Visit as many FREE days out which you’ve never been to before as possible (and download my checklists for free!)

57 free days out

Free days out are fantastic and what we are all about here at trips with a tot. Read this blog full of 57 free things to do in and around Yorkshire; find ones you’ve never been to before and go! Summer holidays don’t have to be expensive, and it’s all about trying out new things. You might discover a local gem you never knew was there, find your new favourite picnic spot, have a fun day at a free museum or try a new activity. You can download free checklists that I have made in a PDF file to download or keep on your laptop/phone, you can tick them off as you go. How many can you do?!

13. Sculpture hunt

norfolk park

Sculpture hunting is fun for everyone and makes a walk that little bit more fun, plus it motivates toddlers to keep going. Did you know Norfolk Heritage Park has a sculpture trail? There’s the Journey to hidden places sculpture trail in Firth Park and wincobank in Sheffield, sculptures at Sheffield Manor Lodge, and don’t forget the fantastic and free Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

14. Go to the seaside!

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A seaside trip is a must in the summer; for the arcades, fish and chips, beach, the sand castles, rides, sea breeze… shall I keep going?! The closest seaside town to Sheffield is Cleethorpes and there is so much to do there that little ones love. You can easily make it a very cheap day out if you take a packed lunch, enjoy the beach, free paddling pool and playground, and spend a few pennies in the arcades. The lollipop express goes up and down the promenade and is a hit with my son. Chips and ice cream optional! Skegness, Scarborough, Bridlington and Filey are all good options for seaside trips too: there is a steam train in Scarborough and good beach, Sewerby Hall and gardens in Bridlington with a nice little zoo, and Filey has some of the most lovely beaches in Yorkshire.

15. Camp at a family festival

Go to a family festival to really appreciate the outdoors and have loads of fun! Camping optional but a must for the whole experience. This is one that is on my summer bucket list, I just can’t choose where to go. Here’s a list of dates for the top 15 family festivals in the UK.

17. Go outdoors and explore, see wildlife and nature, get messy and enjoy the fresh air.

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We are passionate about being outdoors and believe it is the best thing to do for a family day out. It is free to go and explore outside and it does everyone a world of good. Eric loves nature play and has just started showing an interest in bug hunts and wildlife. There are so many great places to enjoy all of this from your local park, National Trust places such as Longshaw Estate with a free Bogart trail and fairytale houses at Hardwick Hall, undiscovered places such as cemeteries, castles, ruins, woods, caves and more. I love exploring in local parks, woodlands and the Peak District: and best of all, it’s free. You don’t have to go far; try going somewhere close by you haven’t been to before like a different local park and playground or look on a map, find a green space and go and see what there is there. The summer is a perfect time to be spontaneous more than ever… encourage nature play, do scavenger hunts, build dens, go to woodlands and get messy when the weather is mild and sunny. Click here for my outdoors guide with activity ideas.

What is on your list to visit this summer? Have I listed any of your favourites or any you would love to try?

Please leave a comment down below and let me know!



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