A-Z of Summer
It is a little under a month now until the children will break up from school for the summer and the joy of finding them things to do and keeping their cries of ‘We’re bored’ at bay will start!
Working parents will often only have one or two weeks unspoilt time with their children so will probably try to cram as many ‘Family fun’ activities into 7- 14 days as is humanly possible. Others may work term time and have to find things to do for everyday for the entirety of the holidays.
Some of you may not have children and just be looking for something to enjoy with your friends or significant other. Whether you are flying solo or looking for somewhere to take your brood, here we have created an A-Z of things, both usual and some slightly more obscure that you could enjoy this summer.
Abseiling: although hanging off of a cliff face isn’t for everyone there are plenty of centres across the Four Shires where you can find this activity. You may even wish to try it down the National Lift Tower an old, now listed, 127m lift shaft at Northampton – you can’t miss it as it rises high over the skyline of the city! – It claims to be the tallest, permanent abseil tower in the world, offering a 400 foot descent.
Amusement park: often a staple of any holiday time is a trip to an amusement park. We are lucky where we are situated to be within an hour – an hour and a half of many of the top amusement parks in the country. These also don’t have to be cost inhibitive as many offer any number of deals to entice you in.
Bowling: Can you get a strike?! Always a popular activity, you won’t have trouble finding a bowling centre close to where you are. Many also offer various deals throughout the week. It is always worth checking.
Bubble fun: from blowing bubbles in the garden with your children to creating a giant bubble you can go inside, these little spheres of magic will never fail to raise a smile in your children and even the adults in the group probably won’t mind too much either. These are also a cheap way to have fun…washing up liquid, a little water and some objects to use as bubble wands is all you need.
Climbing: Four Shires Editor, Jeremy Wilton can vouch for the joy of climbing. Even if you don’t fancy scaling a real mountain we are fortunate to have a number of local indoor climbing walls on our doorstep; Bloxham, Warwick and Weedon to name a few.
Camel Riding: Yes this is possible in our area; Shipston has Joseph’s Amazing Camels where you can get up close to these sultans of the sand.
Den building: Always a favourite past time of children and grown ups alike, weather inside or outside there is something tremendously forfilling about creating your own secret den or hideaway. Also this is a cost effective way of having fun.
Dungeon: Go deep down in the dungeons at a number of local castles. Warwick and Oxford are great for this.
Escape room: These rooms are becoming increasingly popular, and there are many within the Four Shires area to try. Indeed the Scramm Escape rooms opened in Banbury earlier this year making it easier than ever to have a go at a locked room mystery.
Events: We are in the height of the summer event season. There will be many local fetes, fairs and shows taking place throughout the next few months. Why not take the chance to visit one or two. These are always super places to visit with fantastic entertainment. You will also be giving something back to your community as many support local schools and villages.
Fishing: many can wax lyrical about the joys of fishing. The peace of the riverbank and the thrill of the catch offer a great way to spend a day or maybe two. Once again the Four Shires has a burgeoning amount of beautiful spots to enjoy this hobby.
Frisbee (disc) Golf: Yes this is a ‘thing’ not only that but it is a ‘thing’ you can have a go at locally as Leamington Spa has its very own at Quarry Park. Similar in concept to traditional ball golf, the object is to get a frisbee disc into a basket in as few shots as possible.
Festivals: It’s that time of year again, plenty of festivals to choose from; Cornbury, Fairport, The Big Feastival, Party in the park to name just a few in the local area.
Gardening: Why not create a new space in your garden. Be it sensory, water or vegetable plot, with the weather being on the warmer side it is the perfect time to enjoy a bit of your very own outside space.
Go Karting: With race tracks in Leamington Spa, Oxford, Northampton and Milton Keynes amongst others there is likely to be one that is easy to get to from where you are.
Horse riding: New to the hobby or an old hand many local riding stables cater to all ages and abilities.
Ice Skating: This can be done locally at Coventry, Oxford or Milton Keynes
Ice creams: go ahead and enjoy one – after all it is summer!
Jousting: watch an historic joust – these will be taking place in castle grounds throughout the summer. The one at Warwick is particularly good.
Jumping: With the burgeoning popularity of trampolining there is now plenty of opportunity to have a go at local centres across the Shires.
Kite Flying: If you haven’t been up to the Butron Dassett Hills with a kite, you simply must! Wait for a warm but breezy day and enjoy the grandeur of the hills and open skies perfect for Kite Flying.
Kayaking: many local places offer kayaking, including Warwick, Leamington Spa and Oxford amongst others.
Llama trekking: increasingly popular and now more widely available this is a day out that you will remember for a long time. You can try it locally at Weedon Lois.
Local Landmark: take the time to visit that local landmark that you have seen from a far. Being in the heart of history, the Four Shires has plenty of places of historical interest worth a visit.
Metal detecting: Weather visiting the beach or the local park, grab a metal detector and see what you can find.
Museum: Visit a local museum; many will have summer activities to enjoy or travelling exhibitions worth seeing.
Night Sky: With the warmer evenings why not stay up a little later and marvel at the beauty of the night sky? See if you can spot a constellation or planet sparkling up high.
Nostalgia: With so many attractions locally it won’t be hard to find a little nostalgia. The Roald Dahl Museum at Great Missenden is brilliant for both parents and children alike, books that span the generations.Equally down the road at Gaydon marvel at the history of the Motor Car at the British Motor museum.
Outdoor Cinema: This is the time of year when many local attractions will house a number of outdoor cinema nights. A chance to see a classic in a different type of venue.
Open air swimming pool: All of the local outdoor pools will be open to enjoy an alfresco swim in the sunshine.
Picnic: There is something quintessentially English about a summer picnic and with so many beautiful spots to sit and relax, why not enjoy more than one.
Paintballing: Not for the fainthearted, paintballing is a fun, fast paced game that is available locally at Hinton
Que ready: It is unfortunately an inevitability that visiting any attraction during the summer months will see you end up having to wait in a que of some sort. It may well be a good idea to have some ‘boredom busting’ ideas on hand particularly if you have young children…Phones with age appropriate games downloaded are an invaluable source that our parents never had the option of when we were younger – make the most of them! Or maybe a favourite book or magazine will do the trick. Many attractions will also now offer apps that may include interactive maps of where you are visiting and included quizzes and games. It is worth checking before you leave and downloading as appropriate.
Quad biking: whizz around local terrain. There are many quad bike venues to choose from so it will not be difficult to find one near you.
Riding: weather bikes, horses or skateboards enjoy and explore the great outdoors this summer.
Roller Skating: Get your skates on this summer! Locally,Witney offers roller discos and Northampton roller skating amongst others
Segway: A unique way to see the countryside and widely available throughout the Four Shires area.
Space man: If you’ve always wanted to go into space than a trip to Leicester’s Space centre is a treat not to be missed.
Tank riding: yes this can be done and just a stone’s throw away from Banbury. Brackley based Tanks A lot gives you a chance to get hands on with these beasts of war.
Train journey: Take a train journey, weather stem or diesel – maybe to a place you have never visited before and explore.
Underwater: Snorkelling or scuba diving – take your chance to see the sea from a different perspective whilst on your holiday this year.
Volunteering: with many shows taking place over the next few months there will be ample opportunity to volunteer and give something back to your local community.
Vacation!: Weather local or further afield most will take the opportunity for a few days away. It is a perfect way to relax, unwind and to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Waterfowl: You know you love it! – No matter what your age there is something so peaceful about feeding the ducks. And what’s more it is free and widely available.
Wing Walking: For the adrenaline junkie, a wing walking experience is available in Oxfordshire
X marks the spot: geocaching has increased in popularity or why not create your own treasure hunt for your children to enjoy?
Yurting: offering the most unusual ‘Glamping’ experience this can be done locally at Limes Farm amongst other locations
Yummy!: weather you are looking to try a new type of restaurant or treat yourself to a local cookery class there is plenty to please the pallet across the Four Shires this summer.
Zoo: With several zoos and safari parks within an hour of the local area it won’t be long before you are taking a walk on the wildside.
Zorbing: who wouldn’t want to roll down a hill in a giant inflatable ball!? This ‘sport’ is also widely available as it has gained in popularity.