10 Best Days Out in the East Midlands

There are so many great days out in the East Midlands, from magnificent castles and cathedrals to incredible national parks to awe-inspiring caves to exhilarating theme parks. Here are just some of the best East Midlands days out…

Days out in the East Midlands

Comprised of Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire, Leicestershire, Rutland and Northamptonshire, there are tonnes of brilliant days out in the East Midlands just waiting to be discovered. Whether you’re looking for things to do with your other half, with the whole family, with young kids, or just on a solo excursion – you won’t be short of fun activities!

So let’s dive into 10 of the best days out in the East Midlands…

1. Day out to Poole’s Cavern

Poole’s Cavern and Buxton Country Park is a whopping 2 million years old, and this natural limestone cave sits near Buxton in the Peak District. Poole’s Cavern has been designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest, and it’s not hard to see why when you pay this place a visit.

This is one of the best days out in the East Midlands if you like history and geology, as your guide will take you into these expansive limestone caverns to learn about the stunning crystal stalactites that line the chambers, and have done for millions of years.

While there you can also take a walk through their woodland trails to take in truly epic hilltop views of the Peak District, so it’s a unique day out for some great family memories.

Guided tours of the caves are around 45 minutes each, but make time for your walk, a peek in the visitor’s centre, and if you have some adventurous young ones with you, perhaps book the Go Ape experience that is situated nearby – they’ll love it!

Poole’s Cavern is located in the county of Derbyshire! Here are the best days out in Derbyshire if you want more ideas.

2. Day out at Warwick Castle

Warwick Castle is firmly on our list of the most fascinating castles in England to visit, which makes it one of the best days out in the East Midlands in our book.

Warwick Castle, England

A day out at Warwick Castle offers the chance to uncover over 1,100 years of history, as you explore one of Britain’s best medieval fortresses and all of the stories and wonder that come along with it.

With regular events and festivals, opportunities to sleep over in the castle, afternoon tea to be had, Zog Playland for the kids, themed dining experiences, and many more fun activities available for all ages, this is quite a day out.

There’s also the castle dungeons to explore, as well as gorgeous gardens that the grandparents will love walking around in too.

This is a brilliant day out that will suit everyone in the family. You can book the best tickets for your day out at Warwick Castle here.

3. Day out hiking in the Peak District

Hiking fan? You’re in luck, because the iconic Peak District is one of the most beautiful places in the East Midlands.

Peak District, England

The Peak District is comprised of many gritstone edges, limestone dales, hills perfect for climbing, and farmland that contributes to the stunning scenery in this well-known area. As the name suggests, the Peak District is hilly, so it’s great for a day out if you love hiking, walking and being outdoors-y.

The landscape here is known for its photo-worthy views, wildlife, and connection to nature and history. There’s so much to see and do there, and you’ll discover 6 brilliant days out in the Peak District here if you need some ideas for when you get there.

It really is one of the most fun free days out in the East Midlands, so definitely don’t visit the area without at least stopping by this famous English spot.

4. Day out at Alton Towers

Alton Towers is one of the best theme parks in England, hands down. In fact, people travel from all over the country to experience the many thrills that this park offers.

Theme park and water park in one, Alton Towers is known for its iconic rides; Nemesis (which has been revamped for 2024), Galactica, The Smiler, Rita, Phalanx and Th13teen are all hair-raising if you like to scream at the top of your lungs.

Or if you’re bringing much younger children along you’ll find a whole kids section with age-appropriate rides, plus the indoor water park is full of splash-about fun and perfect for all ages.

This is one of the most fun and smile-inducing days out in the East Midlands, and you can book the best tickets for Alton Towers right here.

5. Day out at Lincoln Castle

You can never visit too many castles! Lincoln Castle is fascinating, and well worth adding to your list – particularly if you’re also taking in the city of Lincoln.

Lincoln Castle, England

If you’re wondering why this is one of the best days out in the East Midlands, we don’t need to say more than Lincoln’s Magna Carta; the story goes that on the 15th of June, 1215, King John and the barons met at Runnymede and agreed upon a charter of liberties that would go on to change history. The Magna Carta holds the principle that the king should act within the rule of law, and this went on to become one of the most celebrated documents in history.

Lincoln Castle is now the only place in the world where an original 1215 Magna Carta and 1217 Charter of the Forest can be viewed together, although keep in mind that at the time of writing the Magna Carta is off display there, so check before you visit if you are keen to see this. Currently, you can see the 1217 and the 1225 Charter of the Forest on display, plus there are plenty more things to do in stunning Lincoln Castle that make for a great day out in the East Midlands.

Fancy doing more in Lincoln? Here’s the best itinerary for a day out in Lincoln, including what to do, see and eat!

6. Day out at Chatsworth House

Chatsworth House, or Chatsworth Estate, is a stately home located in the Derbyshire Dales, and offers jaw-dropping interiors and exteriors to marvel at.

Chatsworth House, England

Located on the banks of the River Derwent, this stunning stately home has been the filming location for many a TV show and film, such as Peaky Blinders, Pride and Prejudice, and The Duchess, among others.

This is one of the most fascinating days out in the East Midlands for adults who are interested in history, architecture, and gardens – it truly is a spectacular building that you must go see if you are close by.

There are regular events and workshops held in Chatsworth House, with a farmyard onsite where you can pet some of the animals at the right time of year. Their farm shop is a great place to pick up a souvenir and celebrate the local produce. There’s also a restaurant and cafe onsite if you get peckish, so you can make a full day out here and bring the whole family along.

Christmas at Chatsworth House is one of the best festive experiences in the area.

7. Day out in Nottingham

There are many cities in England, and Nottingham is certainly an underrated one in the East Midlands that’s great if you’re looking for a city day out.

Nottingham, England

We reckon this is one of the best days out in the East Midlands for couples, because although the whole family can find things to do here, it can be a romantic city if you’re going with a partner.

Check out sites like Nottingham Castle, a Stuart Restoration-era mansion built on the site of a Norman castle around 1068. This was an important royal fortress and occasional royal residence, and it remains one of the most fascinating buildings to visit in the city.

Underneath Nottingham lies the City of Caves; a network of caves all carved out of sandstone. These caves have been used over the years as a tannery, public house cellars, and even as an air raid shelter, so there’s lots to discover there.

You may also find the National Justice Museum interesting, as it is housed in an old Victorian courtroom, prison and police station that used to be the very place people were arrested, tried, sentenced and executed back in the day. If you have a sense of curiosity about these sorts of subjects, you’ll enjoy a trip here.

You’ll also find an Elizabethan country house from the 1580s called Wollaton Hall, located in Wollaton Park. It’s now the Nottingham Natural History Museum, as well as housing the Nottingham Industrial Museum in the outbuildings – there’s lots to learn if you visit this site!

8. Day out to the National Space Centre

For one of the more unique days out in the East Midlands, you have to pay a visit to the National Space Centre!

The National Space Centre is part museum, part extensive educational resource that offers up a plethora of information for both children and curious adults in the fields of space science and astronomy.

With exciting things to discover such as the Sir Patrick Moore Planetarium, Tetrastar Spaceport, and the Rocket Tower (intrigued?), minds will be blown and eyes will be wide all the way around this centre. And the adults will love the unique events such as their Space Lates, film clubs, visits from real astronauts, science fiction weekends and much more.

You’ll find it north of Belgrave in Leicester, near the River Soar, and it’s definitely one of the more unusual things to do in East Midlands. If your child loves all things space, this one is a no-brainer.

9. Day out at Aqua Park Rutland

Aqua Park Rutland is easily one of the best days out in the East Midlands IF you get the weather for it. But even if it’s not blazing sunshine, you can still enjoy your day out in this natural water park.

With giant inflatables for bouncing on and flying into the air, this is a unique day out that will have the kids squealing with glee. It’s supposedly the UK’s largest collection of bespoke big impact water obstacles, so a) you’re definitely going to get wet, and b) you’ll probably be out of breath several times throughout the day from the sheer fun of it all.

Take on inflatables like the Sea Dragon, the Mammoth, and Tornado Tower, or just enjoy a swim in the open water.

It’s important to keep the age restrictions in mind for this one: it’s open to children aged 6 and up as long as an adult of 18+ is supervising at all times, on a 1 adult to 3 children ratio. Children ages 8 to 15 years old inclusive must have an adult supervising either on the Aqua Park or from the shore. 16+ years old can attend any session unsupervised.

Remember to also check when it’s open, as it shuts down for the winter months.

10. Day out in Leicester

The East Midlands has a few cities worth visiting, and Leicester is one of the best up there with tonnes to do.

Leicester, England

The National Space Centre (mentioned above) is one of the best activities in Leicester, but there’s lots more to do too here, including the King Richard III Visitor Centre, Leicester Cathedral, Tropical Birdland, and much more.

The King Richard III Visitor Centre is definitely worth a visit, as it tells of the history behind the city. The king’s life and death are depicted through displays at his original burial site, but he was reburied in Leicester Cathedral in 2015, which you can also visit.

Check out Leicester Museum & Art Gallery too, as there’s so much to discover there with their artwork and collections that celebrate the natural and cultural world. It’s free to enter, so this is definitely one to take a look at.

Leicester offers one of the most interesting days out in the East Midlands, and is generally thought of as a pleasant and picturesque city to visit.

Will you be heading to one of these great spots in the East Midlands? You’ll never be short of activities in this part of the country, and this list is only a few of them!

If you have come across any other day out ideas that you think should be on this list, let us know in the comments below so we can add to it and keep sharing some of the best days out in the East Midlands!

Quick List: 10 Best Days Out in the East Midlands

  1. Day out to Poole’s Cavern
  2. Day out at Warwick Castle
  3. Day out hiking in the Peak District
  4. Day out at Alton Towers
  5. Day out at Lincoln Castle
  6. Day out at Chatsworth House
  7. Day out in Nottingham
  8. Day out to the National Space Centre
  9. Day out at Aqua Park Rutland
  10. Day out in Leicester
Caitlin McAllister

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