There is nothing better on a sunny day then chucking the kids, the dog and a picnic basket full of goodies in the back of the car and setting off somewhere for the day. When choosing our favourites, I realised just how lucky we are to be near so many amazing outdoor spaces.
Sometimes we don't go very far at all, exploring the numerous parks on our doorstep. See the Raring2go! online feature on Local Parks to find one near you.
Worcester Woods Country Park is perfect for lazy summer days. Go bird spotting around the nature reserves. Play on the swings or perhaps book a barbeque. Set up your picnic blanket on the huge open field and grab an ice cream from the cafe as you watch the children play!
Little train spotters will love Severn Valley Country Park. Take a stroll along the easy accessible walks, explore the nature reserves and open spaces. Climb on the wooden play area then choose a spot to enjoy a picnic. We always sit by the country park Halt Stop to wave at the steam trains as they go by.
Younger children will enjoy spotting the Gruffalo along the trail at the Wyre Forest Discovery Centre. Older children can swing through the trees at the Go Ape centre, based in the forest, or enjoy a family bike ride. There's also a recently developed playground, suitable for children with disabilities.
We also enjoy the walks through Trimpley Reservoir which is great for wildlife spotting. Catch a glimpse of the steam trains as you cross the railway and head towards the river where small beach areas are great for pebble skimming.
You can also watch the steam engines chug by from the beautiful lawns of Arley Arboretum. After your picnic, play in the maze, take up the Scavenger Hunt Trail or enjoy an ice cream from the Tearooms.
Discover history, myths and legends as you make your way to the top of the Clent Hills. Take in breath-taking views of Shropshire, the Cotswolds and the Welsh borders. The hills are ideal for kite flying and are a popular spot for geocaching. Nimmings wood car park has a picnic area, cafe and toilet facilities.
Baggeridge Country Park in Staffordshire is another great place for a picnic as it offers a lot of open space (perfect for a game of rounders or football!) Whilst you're there, children can enjoy the adventure playground, have a go a pond dipping, or try out the Challenge Academy climbing centre!
Sandwell Valley Country Park is only 10 minutes from West Bromwich, so is a little haven in the middle of suburbia. As well as lots of open space, and bike trails and tracks, there's also a working Victoria farm on site featuring a traditional farmyard, walled kitchen gardens, a small museum and award winning tea rooms. Forge Mill Farm also has a farm shop, a small animal area, a farm trail and a children’s playground.
Laura-Jo McConnell, Raring2go! Reader