Birmingham gets a bad rep, but as my adopted city it’s dear to my heart. I went to uni here, met Rich here, and both my kids were born here. (Well Lyra was born at City Hospital, and Jenson was born at Warwick, a stone’s throw away). I’ve now lived here longer than I’ve lived anywhere else.

With Lyra I had a year off on maternity leave, so we did our fair share of baby clubs and mama meet-ups. Now she’s four, and now that we have her one-year-old brother in tow, I’m constantly on the lookout for fun things to do with kids in the local area. Hopefully the ideas below will give you some inspiration if you live nearby and have exhausted your local playgrounds/soft play areas/cafes, or it might even inspire you to have a little day trip out to Brum?!…

{The New Mums}

Up until recently, one of the things I missed about being footloose and kid-free was being able to go to the cinema. Not any more! Enter THE BABY CLUB at the Everyman Cinema in The Mailbox. It’s a film screening of one of the new releases which takes place every Tuesday morning, and it’s aimed specifically at mums/dads and babies. (The first time I went to an Everyman was when I was 25 years old and staying with my best mate in London for the weekend. Being able to watch the latest releases whilst tucking into posh pizza and carrot cake and sipping cocktails, curled up on snuggly velvet sofas? I thought it was the height of sophistication. And little did I know that ten years later I would be crawling around after a baby in an Everyman Cinema).

The mojito may have been replaced with a hot chocolate (for the £11.50 Baby Club ticket price you also get a hot drink and a slice of cake), but the novelty of being able to go to the cinema again is amazing, and the knowledge that your baby won’t disturb anyone is even better.

Did I mention they do cake?

{The Nature-Loving Mums}

The Midlands area may not have beaches but what it DOES have is miles upon miles of stunning countryside. And the bee-you-tiful Birmingham Botanical Gardens. Lickey Hills are also great for a ramble, and the trails at Cannock Chase are perfect for kids of bike-riding age.

We became National Trust members in October, so it’s just typical that we had what seemed like the longest winter ever and hardly wanted to explore our local NT properties. We have however managed to venture out to Hanbury Hall and Baddesley Clinton, where there’s a fab new natural play trail hidden away in the woodland next to the manor house (follow the animal sculptures).

{The Foodie Mums}

I have banged on about my love of Eggs Benedict on RMS before, so I’m obviously going to love a family-friendly café which serves a savoury muffin and poached egg as part of their all-day brunch menu. The Lounges cafes started off in Bristol and are clearly doing ok for themselves as there are now 85 branches across the UK including several in and around Birmingham, and a new one in Solihull. Although it’s a chain, the Lounges cafes feel like independent little coffee shops, what with their quirky décor and relaxed vibe. They’re nice and roomy for pushchairs, so perfect for an NCT meet up, and usually have a little pile of books and toys to keep the toddlers happy. And how cool is this?… If you download the Secret DJ app you can even control the music. I am not going to tell Lyra this. We will end up listening to Hakuna Matata whilst chowing down on our Eggs Benny.

{The Skint Mums}

Old Rectory Farm is a bit of a hidden gem and it’s completely free. As well as the farm animals, playground and tearoom, there’s also a short, pushchair-friendly walk along a stream to a special viewing point where you can watch the planes taking off from Birmingham airport.

When it comes to parks, the playground in the village of Broadway has got to be one of the best ever, and it’s in the most beautiful location. Shirley Park has good facilities (and it’s around the corner from Desco Lounge – see Foodie Mums above). And LONG MAY THIS BEAUT WEATHER CONTINUE so we can make the most of the little swimming pool and water/sandpit at the playground in the centre of Stratford-Upon-Avon.

{The Mums with the Kids of All Ages}

Next on my List-of-places-to-take-the-kids is the Children’s Play Village in Warwick. There are kid-sized pretend shops, hairdressers, a doctor’s surgery, a tea room…there’s even a mini campsite. It looks to be so well planned, with a baby area right in the middle of the ‘village’. I’ve not yet visited – I had planned to take the kiddos at Easter but left it to the last minute and it was fully booked – so if you’re interested, make sure you book early.

I’m also extremely excited for the new Legoland Birmingham to open up its gates this summer.

So that’s my round up. Did you go to any gems over the Bank Holiday weekend? If you have any more recommendations of places to take the kids in the Midlands area I will love, love, love you forever if you pop them in the comments box below.