A couple of weeks ago I bought a voucher from groupon for a family ticket to Conkers, National Forest, for £16, a half price saving. As a family we love to be outdoors – running, climbing and enjoying the fresh air, so this attraction really appealed to us. We drove an hour and 45 minutes to get there as we hadn’t checked the distance before buying tickets – family fail number 1, but a few car games of festival and eye spy kept the boys entertained.
We didn’t really know what to expect apart from the fact it was advertised as being
“A world of adventure & discovery at the heart of the national forest.”
So if you are doing things the right way round and are researching conkers before buying tickets, then here are some key pieces of information you may find useful as well as our review.
What is Conkers?
Conkers is a mix of indoor and outdoor attractions across 120 acres of National Forest. It is a wonderful place for a family day out for those that like to be active. There is something for all ages from assault courses to shows and educational areas. There is also a train that connects one side to the other and lots of areas to explore.
Where is it?
Conkers is often referred to as Conkers National Forest as it is situated in the heart of the National Forest.
The exact address is
Our first visit to Conkers National Forest
When we arrived we were given a map and were blown away by the number of attractions and headed straight for the far side in order to work our way back to the middle for lunch and then hit the other side in the afternoon. The boys were immediately in their element being able to run off and explore, hide in bushes, smell flowers and let of steam and it only got better from here on in. It didn’t take long for the boys to discover the activity trail and although it is for 13 years and older and mine are 2 and 5 it didn’t stop them from having a go on some of the obstacles with a little (or a lot) of help from us.
After exploring one side of the park we stopped for our picnic, another added bonus to this beautiful place was that they had no issues with people bringing in their own food and even offered plenty of picnic tables around the lake.
After lunch we headed to the other side of the discovery centre and explored a maze, enjoyed story time and caught a train even further into the forest. The train ride itself was a lovely little adventure as both my boys love trains.
Once we jumped off at the other side we found ourselves outside a huge park with loads to do for all ages from climbing frames to a zipwire, which if you have a child that loves Go Ape they will love this. Again both boys had so much fun here it was hard to convince them to leave and explore elsewhere. But explore we did and we found some goblin wobbly bridges, some dens made from branches, areas for climbing and then stumbled across a clown/puppet show.
As the day was coming to an end we jumped back on the train and headed back towards the discovery centre completing the bare foot walk on the way. If you choose to visit conkers this is a must, its disgusting and brilliant all at the same time. You take off your shoes and socks and walk across a variety of terrains; water, mud, stones, clay, hay – delightful and of course my two boys loved it.
We hadn’t visited every attraction as we simply couldn’t fit it all in but before we went we explored the inside of the discovery centre and found it to be fun and educational with a number of hands on attractions to help children learn about the world we live in, with a soft play area in the middle.
Our overall impressions of Conkers National Forest
Our day at conkers was amazing and our only complaint was that we didn’t have time to fit everything in, but I guess this means we have to visit again some time soon. We bought our tickets when on offer and thought it was really good value for money but would and probably will return even at full price as you get loads for your money. You can read loads more reviews and book your tickets here.
Take a picnic. This will save you a bit of money, although a restaurant is available if you wish. There are lots of lovely picnic spots dotted around Conkers.
Take a change of clothes for the little ones. There is a sensory walk as well as water play and if our kids are anything like mine they are bound to get wet so a change of clothes will be beneficial, especially if you have a long car ride home.
Go early. There is so much to do we couldn’t fit it all into one day. Definitely get there when it opens and plan to stay for the full day.
We have since returned to Conkers National Forest a few times and we still love it as much now as we did on our first visit and would recommend you book your tickets today.
If you enjoyed reading this review then check out our round up post of Days out in the North West to help you plan where to go on your families next day out.