Make summer last a lifetime in the Forest | Visit National Forest

Make summer last a lifetime in the Forest

Posted on Saturday 1st July

Calke Explore

Summer is the perfect time to visit The National Forest, when the days are long and #forestlife offers a wide range of fun, games and new experiences for all ages. So, put down those digital devices, step away from the screens and start making some plans for an unforgettable summer in the great outdoors.


Big days out for little ones

Get out, get active

Get involved in the Out and Active Holiday Club at Rosliston Forestry Centre. Here your budding Bear Grylls, can spend all day learning traditional Bushcraft and practicing their sharpshooting skills with archery and laser combat. Monday 7 – Friday 11 August and Monday 21 – Friday 26 August. Booking essential. 8yrs+

Go wild at Calke Abbey

Enjoy playful summer days living #forestlife to the full at Calke Abbey. Enter the Garden of Imagination through the secret door and lose yourself in one of its many secret places. Outside the garden, brave adventurers can get active, climbing ropes and trees, balancing on logs and even orienteering as part of the Calke Explore experience.

Alternatively, curious kids can pick up a nature pack and seek out some of Calke’s wildlife or even go cloud-spotting!  Calke Explore & The Garden of Imagination open 8 July to 3 September, 10:30am to 4pm.

Sense-sational days out

For a sense-sational day out, bring your babies, toddlers and preschoolers to The National Memorial Arboretum for a Little Saplings Sensory Play. As well as story time, there are new sounds, colours and textures to explore with the help of some exciting sensory toys, a dark den and some light stimuli. Place all this in the beautiful natural surroundings of the National Memorial Arboretum and you have the ideal place to grow and nurture creativity.  (4 August & 1 September).

Learn the bare necessities of bushcraft

Could your family survive in the woods? Build their own shelter? Start a fire and forage for food? Find out on a Woodlands Survival Crafts, Bushcraft Day (14 August) where they will learn new skills, have fun and experience real-life adventures.

For night time adventures, there’s the Family Bushcraft Evenings at Rosliston Forestry Centre (16&30 August), where you can learn to the ways of the wild, in the cool of the evening.

Every day is a Ranger Day at Conkers. Throughout the summer the Rangers can guide the whole family through a wide selection of activities. One day you could be learning to be a Survival Expert, the next could see you tackling Construction or experiencing Sensory Art. Other Ranger-led adventures include Pond Dipping, Bush Craft and Orienteering. All week, during the summer.

Want to try something a little different? How about Axe Throwing at the award winning Field Sports UK? Here you can master the art of axe throwing in a woodland setting. Your Axtravaganza starts with mini axes, before moving up, along with your skill level, to tomahawks. Come on, chop chop!  Minimum Group Size: 2+. 15 years +. Booking essential. Quote #forestlife for a discount.

Free Range Families

I spy a Gruffolo

Gruffolo PictureAs an exception to our digital detox rule, you have our blessing to download The Gruffalo Spotter app at home and go Gruffolo hunting at Hicks Lodge: The National Forest Cycle Centre. Here, you can follow clues, collect evidence and bring the Gruffalo and his friends to life, right before your eyes on the screen of your smartphone or tablet.  All summer.

Shiver me timbers

Come on you scurvy land lubbers, go wild in the pirate themed, maize maze at the National Forest Adventure Farm. Follow the clues around the 3 miles of pathways, bridges and viewing towers to discover Del Gardo’s treasure. 15 July – 4 September.

Ready, Teddy, Go

If you go down to Rosliston Forestry Centre you’re sure of a nice surprise! Bertie Bear is hosting a Teddy Bears Picnic Cycle Ride. Come along with your picnic and join Bertie for fun activities on the picnic area and an easy bike ride through the woods. 9 August.

Pop up Cinema

Star Wars and more, under the stars

Film fans will also love Calke Abbey’s Summer Nights Film Festival. Sit back in this spectacular location and enjoy Mama Mia on one night and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story the next. 3&4 August. 

The time of your life

Take your popcorn and take your seats for the 80s classic, Dirty Dancing. The open-air Luna Cinema at the National Memorial Arboretum makes the perfect venue to relax with your own picnic, or something tasty from the restaurant. 15 July.

Wildlife Watch

Bring your little critters to meet ours, at the fun Pond Dipping Sessions at Rosliston Forestry Centre. There’s no need to book, just follow the signs and join us by the pond, where you’ll discover exactly what creatures live there! All equipment will be provided at Roliston Forestry Centre, all you need to bring is your curiosity. Suitable for ages 4-12 years.
25 July & 1 August.

For all the night owls out there, there’s also Nightwatch at Rosliston Forestry Centre. From 7.30 to 11pm, you can meet the experts who will be your guide to the local nocturnal creatures and explain the sights of the beautiful night sky. Friday 28 July. Suitable for all ages.

What exciting new adventures will you be having this summer? Share your experiences with us by using the #forestlife and @NatForestCo on Twitter or tag us in on Facebook.