Outdoor family fun in Telford
Officially labelled a “new town”, Telford may have only been on the map since the mid-20th century, but its roots stretch back for hundreds of years. Located on the leafy banks of the River Severn, its family-friendly attractions include museums, zoos and some very special parks.
You don’t have to be an aviation expert to be mesmerised by this spectacular show. One of the top aviation events in Britain is held in Cosford every year, just 15 minutes’ drive from our Park Inn by Radisson Telford. 2015’s awe-inspiring performance is set for 14 June, but it’s well worth booking your tickets in advance. This year’s show takes on particular significance, as it marks the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII. In commemoration of the RAF’s important role in the conflict, on the ground there’ll be a Victory Village with reenactments and vintage style market stalls, while Spitfires, Ansons and P-40 Kittyhawks will soar across the sky.
This museum has more than 70 internationally acclaimed aircraft in its hangars, including the world’s oldest Spitfire. You can marvel at the three ‘V’ bombers, travel the skies in a flight simulator and test your piloting skills in the interactive Fun ‘n’ Flight section. Entry is free for all the family.
You don’t need to cross continents to come face to face with giraffes, elephants and rhinos. This excellent centre includes four miles of self-drive safari, a petting zoo where you can feed sheep and goats, and the fantastic Land of the Living Dinosaurs, bringing prehistory into the modern era with animatronics. Add that to the conservation education programme and an adventure theme park, and it’s easy to spend a whole weekend exploring this park.
This immersive, open-air museum provides a living history of Britain’s industrial past. Until 2018, the museum will be commemorating WWI, with special events and collections dedicated to the home front. Actors will tell the stories of real people from the region who lived through the Great War, giving visitors a valuable and personal insight into life in the West Midlands between 1914-1918.
Known for its unusual big cats, Hoo Farm also lets you get up close and personal with farmyard creatures like pigs, ponies and spring lambs. There are around 120 species to see all year-round, plus fun seasonal activities like the Sheep Grand National on 4 May, which sends the park’s sportiest sheep speeding down the Hoo Farm Furlong. Only one can win – which woolly wonder will you cheer on?
Set in the grounds of the 11th century Dudley Castle, this zoo protects rare and endangered animals including lions, bears and a host of exotic birds. For spooky thrills, check out the Eerie Evenings Ghost Hunt, or if you want to create an extra-special day for someone, book a private Close Encounter with lemurs, monkeys, penguins, or giraffes.
Adrenaline addicts will love trying out different challenges at this rope-centric climbing park, where the platforms start at 15ft above ground and rise to a whopping 30ft high. You can also try your hand at the 100m-long zipwire, or enjoy the thrill of the freefall in the Powerfan Descender.