We take our children on a family day out to Peak Wildlife Park
Peak Wildlife Park
What is it?
A small zoo with exotic and endangered animals from three continents including wallabies, lemurs and penguins.
It specialises in walk-through experiences.
Where is it?
Peak Wildlife Park is in Winkhill, Leek in the Staffordshire Peak District.
What did we think?
We had a lovely time here, it’s a nice size attraction to explore, not too big to tire out little legs.
Being able to walk among some of the animals, without enclosures, is fantastic.
You can walk among the lemurs, who entertained us with their playing and swinging, especially a cute baby lemur.
You’re allowed go gently stroke the wallabies, which resemble small kangaroos.
The penguins can be seen from three different vantage points, including through a window to watch them swim under water. You can also get right up close to them and they may even cross a path in front of you.
There are different play areas including an indoor soft play which is free to use. Outdoors is a bouncy castle, sandpit and more traditional play equipment.
An outdoor play area at Peak Wildlife Park
*Don’t miss any of the site
We thought we had explored everywhere but when we were near the exit, discovered an extra bit with more animals and play areas past the cafe.
You can pre-order food and drink from your smart phone and collect at a time that suits you by following this link.
We hadn’t done this so ordered, in person, a pizza to share and used the 20-minute wait time while it cooked to explore more. Staff give you a buzzer to carry which alerts you to when your food is ready if you don’t go too far out of range.
If you want go get even closer to the animals or it’s a special occasion, you can buy an Animal Experience.
Where did we stay?
We stayed at a beautiful five-star, spa hotel, the Buxton Crescent, read our full review of it next.
Peak Wildlife Park information
*The Courtyard Cafe serves stone baked pizzas, sandwiches, crisps, cakes and ice creams. There are gluten-free and vegan options.
*There are outside picnic areas and a family room you can eat in.
*Another area serves ice cream.
Opening hours: Peak Wildlife Park opens at 10am. It closes at 6pm in the Spring/Summer season and at 5pm in the Autumn/Winter season.
Cost: Adults aged 17 to 64 pay £12.95.
Children aged two to 16 are £10.95. Under-twos are free.
Concessions – senior citizens from aged 65 and students with valid card photo IDs pay £10.95.
Carers are free.
Annual pass: Peak Wildlife Park offers an annual pass which entitles you to visit as many times as you want for a year.
It costs £35.99 for adults (aged 17 to 64), £29.99 for children aged two to 16 and also for concessions (senior citizens from 65 and students with valid ID cards).
Best for: All ages who like animals but especially two to 10-year-olds.
Time needed: Two to four hours.
Access and restrictions: The park is fully accessible and wheelchairs are available to borrow for free. The paths are wide enough for mobility scooters.
There are disabled toilets.
Baby changing facilities: Baby change facilities are in the ladies toilets, disabled toilets and baby change rooms next to the family room.
Are dogs allowed?: No, dogs are not allowed at Peak Wildlife Park. Foxtwood Kennels, situated 10 minutes from the park, is happy to take dogs for the day, you can call them on 01538 266 667 to make a booking.
Address: Peak Wildlife Park, Winkhill, Leek, ST13 7QR.
We take our children for a picnic, walk and play at Tittesworth Water in the Peak District National Park.
What is it?
This family day out is around a water storage reservoir with walks, a good outdoor play area and cafe/restaurant.
The reservoir, fed by the River Churnet, is run by Sever Trent Water and was built in 1858.
The water from it can supply up to 45 million litres a day to homes and businesses.
Where is it?
It’s in the village of Meerbrook in the Peak District National Park, just off the A53, three miles north of Leek.
What did we think?
This was a lovely day out, with a good mixture of walking and fun for the children in the play area. It was a sunny day and we took a picnic. We also had a snack later at the café, where you can sit inside or out.
*The walk – there are two main, signed routes – a red one of 1.5 miles or a yellow one of five miles, they both start out the same so you can decide further into the walk.
We did the red route – it’s not a circular route around the lake, the first part (which you also travel back along) is open and the second part through woodland. The longer, yellow walk is said to have wonderful views and is hilly but the red is billed as wheelchair and buggy-friendly, but is narrower and certainly not flat in places.
*The play area – a good size with some exciting equipment for different ages and a sand pit.
The play area
*Some navigation systems (including Google Maps when we visited) take you to a farm. Helpfully they’ve put a sign up explaining it is not the reservoir.
*You can’t swim in the water but if you want to get on to it, go to Tittesworth Water Sports and Activity Centre. From there you can try sailing, kayaking, raft building and paddle boarding. For more information see this link.
*If you want to plan a walking route before you get there you can download a map of the site here.
Tittesworth Reservoir information
Food: There are plenty of areas for picnics (barbecues are not allowed). There is a nice cafe/restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating. It has a lunchtime children’s menu, with meals like pasta or sausages for around £4.25 or a child’s lunchbox, available all day, for £4.35. There are baby’s food and bottle warming facilities in the restaurant too. You can also buy ice creams from a kiosk in the corner of the play area.
Opening hours: Open every day except Christmas Day. Visitor centre opening hours are: April to September 10am to 6pm. February, March and October, 10am to 5pm. November, December and January 10am to 4pm.
Cost: Entry is free, car park is £3 for two hours and £5 for all day.
Best for: All ages.
Time needed: As much as you want depending on the child’s age, you could easily fill three hours.
Access and restrictions:
*The red route is signposted as suitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs.
*Dogs are welcome but must be kept on a lead.
*There are toilets around the site, including those with disabled and baby changing facilities.
We stay in a Thomas-themed hotel room before trying out Thomas Land at Drayton Manor Theme Park in Staffordshire
I wake to find a giant Thomas the Tank Engine staring at me.
Then my son’s excited face pops up over the top.
What a wonderful way for a boy to wake up on his birthday – in the top bunk of a Thomas bed.
We are at Drayton Manor Hotel near Tamworth in Staffordshire. It is on the same site as Drayton Manor Theme Park and our stay-and-play package includes breakfast and tickets to the park.
Our Thomas-themed room has no less than four television screens and a railway line printed on the floor which continues into some of the corridor.
We choo choo our way along it and make our way down to breakfast before skipping into the park.
A Thomas-themed room at Drayton Manor hotel
First stop – and our main reason for the visit – is Thomas Land. Having heard tales of long queues over the holidays, on this term-time day, the place is blissfully quiet.
James and the Red Balloon Ride
And with the sun shining, we go quickly from ride to ride, enjoying such delights as Cranky’s Drop Tower and Jeremy’s Flying Academy. And the quite exhilarating Troublesome Trucks Runaway Coaster is clearly enjoyed by us adults as much as the children.
The rest of the park
Then we climb aboard a Thomas the Tank train at “Knapford Station” and ride to another part of the park. Here, our two children enjoy all the birds and animals at the zoo and take the Dino Trail where there are model dinosaurs.
We then try out the handful of bigger rides suitable for younger children in the rest of the park, like the big wheel and the water rapids, which I scream my way through, much to everyone’s amusement.
Daringly, we board the very fast (I think) Accelerator (formerly known as The Ben 10 Ultimate Mission Coaster), suitable from aged four.
We alight full of happy laughter.
And it is this, not just Thomas, which is the theme of our stay.
Drayton Manor is also home to the stand-up roller coaster Shockwave
Accommodation: We stayed as guests at Drayton Manor Hotel for the purposes of this review. All views are our own.