There is plenty at Common Ground to keep you entertained. But if you do want to plan an independent day trip, here are some options, in order of distance from camp. Please note there are no places nearby to swim outdoors. So if your young people are used to swimming a lot in the sea, in a lake or a river, your only option would be to visit a public (indoor) swimming pool.
Market Harborough is a typical English small town, full of little shops, independent cafes and pretty buildings. You can reach it by bus X7 in just 10 minutes, and spend a few hours exploring the quaint streets and the canal. A one-way ticket costs around £4 and you buy the tickets on the bus. There is also Welland Park with a very nice playground. Hunting for bargains in charity shops in the UK is a great activity for people of all ages. It’s a way to save money and find second-hand gifts and souvenirs, which are good for the planet too. Shops will carry names such as Oxfam, British Heart Foundation, Scope and many more. All goods will be marked with fixed prices (no haggling). All the profits go to a named charity. Please try to avoid entering shops as a large group, especially during pandemic times. Keep to small groups at a time, with enough adults to supervise.
Leicester is a lively city (population 400,000) famous for British Asian culture and food, nice independent shops, football and rugby. The National Space Centre makes a good attraction for all ages, and there are some free museums and the ruins of a Roman bath. A river and a canal runs through the city centre. We recommend New Walk Museum, and Newark Houses, both small enough for even little campers. The city centre is easily walkable. You could even do just a half-day trip by bus from Kelmarsh. A one-way ticket costs around £6 (price checked June 2022) and you buy the tickets on the bus. To familiarise yourself, have a look at the Haymarket bus station photos here. Contact the Common Ground team for restaurant recommendations.
Birmingham is the second biggest city in the UK. It has a mix of modern and traditional architecture. There is also some interesting industrial / working class history around. You can reach Birmingham by a combination of bus and train, or you could hire a minibus or a coach to make the journey quicker. Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery is re-opening in spring 2022 after a refurbishment. This is usually free of charge to visit. ThinkTank is an award-winning science museum but there is an admission charge and needs to be booked in advance. If your group members are very young and non-English speaking, you may want to think carefully, how they will be able to engage with the exhibition. Whereas the Birmingham Museum has a special area for very young children for free play. There are also smaller specialist museums, such as Jewellery Quarter Museum and Back to Backs. And for those into underwater creatures, the Sea Life Centre is more ethical than the typical aquarium. On a hot day, you could just decide to splash in the free water fountains on Centenary Square!
You all know London! You could take a local bus to Market Harborough and then a train of about one hour to St Pancras. Please book all train tickets in advance to make a big saving. St Pancras is next to King’s Cross and platform 9 ¾ for any Harry Potter lovers wanting a photo opportunity. Walk along the Thames and enjoy the famous sights, explore the interactive exhibits of the Science Museum (it’s free but you need to book online in advance) or see a play or musical in the West End. There are ticket discounts for children in August for ‘kid’s week.’ Some activities in London can be expensive but if you plan carefully, there are also many things you could do free of charge. Wellcome Collection, opposite London Euston station (a short walk from St Pancras) is a free museum exploring health and human experience.