Welcome to the first in our series of articles on family-friendly days out. For the first installment of this series we headed to the Monkey Forest in the grounds of the Trentham Estate. This is about a one hour drive from us.
When you arrive you pull into a large car park which is free of charge. The entrance to the Monkey Forest is a short walk away. The surroundings are beautiful, you feel as if you are deep in the countryside and yet you have easy access to that major road networks, including close proximity to the M6.
The monkeys live in total freedom inside the forest, which allows visitors to get an in depth insight into their lives. The woodland trail allows you to walk amongst the monkeys and immerse yourself in their everyday antics. You are able to see them as they swing from the trees, lounge on the grass and even walk the path straight past you!
I think that this is quite unique as attractions go and it is certainly so much better for the children to be able to observe the monkeys in this environment, rather than at the zoo.
What to expect:
- You will not be able to eat or drink inside the monkey enclosure
- If you have any open bags with you you may need to leave these with a member of staff just outside the enclosure – you will be given a ticket
- The path is pushchair friendly
- The path is generally wheelchair friendly and there are benches all the way around BUT there is a stretch of the path that has quite a steep slope downwards
- You are not restricted on time and you may go out and re-enter the enclosure if you wish
- Even if it is busy you will see monkeys
- Toddlers can happily walk about – don’t feel you have to have them strapped into a buggy or pushchair
What they have spot on:
- Good value for money
- Great for families with children of a range of ages
- Knowledgeable staff giving talks on the monkeys
- Lots of opportunities to see the monkeys
- A good day out for all the family – perfect for taking grandparents too!
- Good baby change facilities
- Quality play areas
- Covered and open air picnic areas
- Large indoor cafe/restaurant
- A gift shop that you are not forced to walk through to get out of the place (this is a revelation!)
- An extensive menu in the restaurant with plenty of options for younger visitors
What they need to work on:
- The restaurant had run out of a lot of things when we were there such as jacket potatoes, leaving little option for a non wheat eater
- The restaurant service was slow and rather chaotic
- There were lots of staff but they were not very effective, meaning food was cold by the time you got around to paying for it
- There was no soap in the men’s toilets for the whole time we were there
The negative points about the place are easy to fix. It was obvious that the staff just needed some more co-ordination, organising and direction and all these factors would be fixed in no time.
We think this is a wonderful family-friendly day out and we give it a Mummy Fever rating of 4/5 but it really wouldn’t take much to make it 5/5.