2017 has arrived so fast, and I am still trying to catch up with my 2016 review list – here is to all my friends, parents, grandparents, and carers alike, also anyone who’s interested in children’s play centers, farms, and family entertainment venues, I have compiled a list for everyone as a reference in Northwest England, hope it helps your decision on your day-out trips.
1. Go Create
- Address: 3, Bridge Court, Preston PR4 5BF
- Phone: 01772 616898
Go Create! is an arts and crafts studio designed for kids. It is based on the A59 near Longton, halfway between Southport and Preston. It has a spacious car parking facility and opens daily from 10 am-5 pm except for Mondays. You can simply drop in without booking in advance. Inside Go Create, you will find child-friendly sized tables and chairs suitable for ages 1 to 7+.
My active girl B came in love with this place on our first visit. There are many craft materials to choose from – foams, fabric, fuzzy wires, polyester modes and shapes, playdough, paints, and all the tools needed for craft-making. Craft models are already displayed in the workshop for us to reference. Look at the supergirl we made; pretty awesome, isn’t it?
2. Mrs Dowsons Farm
- Address: Hawkshaw Farm, Longsight Rd, Blackburn BB2 7JA
- Phone: 01254 812407
This family-run dairy farm has diversified into making ice cream using cow milk. The philosophy is to make real honest ice cream for their own brand and with real natural ingredients that are much healthier for its customers. The farm provides children (and adults alike) the opportunity to see, touch and even handle their animals under the handlers’ supervision. The park has special safety features to ensure visitors an easy tour around. After being out on the farm, the onsite cafe allows visitors to sit back and relax in a children-friendly diner with coffee, homemade cake, ice cream, etc. Opening time is 10:30 am to 5 pm from Spring till August, including weekends and Bank Holidays.
We visited the farm in August; the kids enjoyed seeing the farm animals – cows, goats, and pigs- so much. They also got the chance to hold the little chicks with such in-awe faces! Of course, the ice cream there is absolutely yummy!
3. Funtazia Soft Play
- Address: Merchants building, Kent Street, Blackburn BB1 1DE.
- Telephone: 01254 699768
- E-mail: email@example.com
Fantazia is one of Lancashire’s newest and largest indoor play centers, with over 24,000 Square feet of play space and equipment. They have a variety of facilities to cater to kids of all ages: disco dome, quad bikes, cannons, football table, football pitch, family entertainment center, mega slides, bouncy castle, trampolines, air hockey, pool table and separate toddlers area for under 4yrs old.
This play center is particularly good if you have kids of different ages – my girl B and boy M have a 6-year gap. At Fantasia, both of them find exactly what they want to play. My boy M (4-year-old) enjoyed so much of the ‘Mary Go Round Horses’ play (see picture above); he just ran after the horses around and around, not even bothering to get on the horseback!!! My girl B (10-year-old at the time) just found the mega slides more risky and exciting; she went through the slides so many times with her friends with high-pitched screaming all the way!
4. Mini MaGee
- Address: 60 to 62 Lodge Street, Preston, Lancashire, PR1 8XE
- Telephone: 01772 556541
Mini MaGee Party and Play Centre are for children aged 0 to 12. It provides a safe and fun environment for kids to jump about in the huge ball pool, slide the 3 lane wave slide, and kick around on the football pitch whilst mum and dad grab a cappuccino and homemade cake. They have a separate area for babies and toddlers with a tiny kitchen, blackboard, and everyone’s favorite toys!
I come here often with my kids due to their location being so close to me. I prefer a visit on a Sunday morning, as it’s a quiet time there, and kids can have fun in all areas without the risk of bumping into other kids.
5. Samlesbury Hall
- Address: Preston New Road, Samlesbury, Preston PR5 0UP
- Phone: 01254 812010
Samlesbury Hall is one of the stunning stately homes of Lancashire, a haven for history lovers, where the past meets the present – a fantastic family day out. Everyone can enjoy intrigue, witchcraft, and centuries of fascinating history throughout their archive rooms. Have coffee in their award-winning restaurant, enjoy the freshly cooked waffle in Dottie’s, and have a milkshake at the end of the day! From the Victorian kitchen, schoolroom & 1950s bedroom, there is plenty to see, along with changing exhibitions in the Long Gallery. Find a hidden gem in their delightful gift shop, tour the grounds, feed the rescued hens, throw a penny into the fountain and make a wish while away a sunny afternoon.
Samlesbury Hall is open to visitors all year round, Sunday – Friday, 10 am – 4 pm (They occasionally close on a Friday for weddings)
When I was told Samlesbury Hall is a haunted place, I checked their website – it amazed me so much that I totally ignored the haunting story and decided to pay a visit. The witty, humorous, and knowledge-packed tour guide/witch of the day was the highlight of the Samlesbury Hall visit. We learned so much about Samlesbury Hall’s history; the kids had great fun exploring all the achieve rooms and the delicious ice cream!
6. Brockholes Windermere
- Address: The Lake District Visitor Centre, Windermere LA23 1LJ
- Phone: 015394 46601
With a packed calendar of events, lots of things to do, and special arrangements for school, college, and youth group visits, Brockhole Windermere got something for everyone, come rain or shine!
7. The Ice-cream Farm Chester
- Address: Drumlan Hall Farm, Newton Ln, Tattenhall, Chester CH3 9NE
- Phone: 0800 133 7000
The Ice Cream Farm is a family-friendly tourist attraction with all the fun you need for a great day out in Cheshire. They have been mixing up a new flavor of activities from ice cream scooping, JCB diggers, Daisy’s themed adventure play garden, candylicious crazy golf, real-life animals in Fudge Farm, and Sand & Water Play that will knock the socks off anywhere you’ve ever been before. Add what is considered the World’s Largest Ice Cream Parlour and nearly 50 flavors of award-winning ice cream into the mix, and The Ice Cream Farm has the perfect day out for all families.
The most impressive part for me and the kids was the ‘ice-cream tree bubbling’; when the scene was on, I could really feel it was like the ‘ice-cream grow out of the ice-cream tree’!!! I hope you do pay a visit and enjoy!
8. Williamson Park
- Address: Williamson Park, Quernmore Rd, Lancaster LA1 1UX
- Phone: 01524 33318
Williamson Park in Lancaster is home to the iconic Ashton Memorial and 54 acres of beautiful parkland with enchanting woodland walks, play areas, and breathtaking views of the Fylde Coast, Morecambe Bay, and the Lake District. The park features a cafe, shop, Butterfly House (formerly a tropical palm house), and resident mini beasts and birds.
If you are looking for a nice view and kids’ play area at the same time, this is where you want to visit! My kids enjoyed it so much they were begging to go back to play ‘one last time! Of course, you know the ‘one-last-time’ isn’t really just ONE last time…
9. Old Holly Farm
- Address: Cabus Nook Ln, Garstang, Preston PR3 1AA
- Phone: 01524 791200
Old Holly Farm is a family-run, working, organic dairy farm located in Garstang, Lancashire. They open daily from 9 am – 5 pm, with FREE entry to the open farm and parking. They have a fabulous indoor soft play, a traditional stone courtyard café serving homemade food, where you can treat yourself to a Coolcow ice cream from their farm shop or go along and meet their traditional farm animals.
This is one of the area’s few ‘free-entry’ animal farms. I think it is particularly suitable for babies and toddlers, where parents can show them farm animals and enjoy a cup of coffee while kids play in the small soft play center. The soft play area is petite but kids friendly.
10. Charnock Farm
- Address: Charnock Farm, Wigan Road, Leyland, PR25 5DA
- Phone: 01772 622934
This is a beautiful wedding venue with a children-friendly pond full of wildlife, an animal barn with donkeys and ponies, and a pet corner in the garden center that kids would find a lot of fun! My girl is so fond of the ponies she was trying to persuade me to get one for her at home (errrr, not a good idea, I had to tell her!) Whereas my boy M enjoyed watching the traditional watermill system running across the farm, he was having his best time finding out where the water flows!
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