- Feed the ducks at the lake, and keep an eye out for one of the many species that live in the park.
- Kids can go wild at the medieval-themed playground, with plenty of activities to keep them entertained.
- Enjoy exploring the landscaped areas, as well as the lake and rare trees.
- Bring your four-legged family member to try out the Copper's Dog Trail, complete with obstacle course equipment!
- Learn some interesting local history and try out a steam train ride on the miniature railway at the Transport Heritage Centre.
Having opened as a country park in 1993, Rushcliffe has an interesting history. Pre-World War 2 the area that the park now sits on was nothing but open land, but during the war, a large factory was built on the site by the War Office. Here, bombs were made during the war, and after D-Day, the factory was used for many different things. After closing in 1983, the factory soon fell into disrepair, so the local council decided to return this area of the Green Belt to nature. Following demolition and the addition of a lake, as well as thousands of trees, Rushcliffe Country Park was finally opened by Rushcliffe Borough Council. Today, the park is home to wildlife and many animals, who have flourished on the land since the establishment of the park.
A popular destination for families with children, Rushcliffe Country Park has plenty of great things to do as a family. Take the binoculars along if you have bird watchers among you, as there are plenty of different species to spot, including sedge warblers, cuckoos, kestrels and skylarks. Not to mention, there are always ducks, swans and other birds swimming around in the lake, so make sure to bring some duck-safe snacks such as seeds or corn to feed them with. Depending on when you visit, you might also see some of the mice, bats or hedgehogs that call Rushcliffe Country Park home.
There are lots of great child-friendly activities at Rushcliffe. With an impressive skate park, as well as BMX cycle track in the nearby woodland, this is the ideal place for thrill-seekers, as well as older children and teens. Younger kids will have a great time at the large play area, which is themed as a medieval town. Here you'll find swings, slides, climbing frames and much more play equipment that is bound to keep kids entertained for hours. There is also free outdoor gym equipment, and two table tennis tables near the play area that are popular with both kids and adults.
There are many Rushcliffe Country Park events on regularly and include sports events such as orienteering, Tai Chi, Park Run (and Junior Park run for kids). With so many different options on offer, the park is a top place to come to learn a new skill. Kids can also get in touch with the local environment at Wildlife Watch, which is aimed at kids aged from 8-13. Pop into the Linger By The Lake event at the Visitor Centre, where you can enjoy some homemade bakes on sale and relax by the lake.
If you feel like doing your own thing on your visit to Rushcliffe Country Park, a walk or cycle around the lake is the perfect way to spend a morning or afternoon while getting some fresh air. Bring the dog too, as not only is the park dog-friendly, but there is actually a dog trail! This fantastic area of the park has lots of activities for you to do with your dog and even includes a mini obstacle course. Those with interest in all things travel, such as motors, trains and more, should check out The Transport Heritage Centre in the park. Here you can learn all about transport history, and even have a go on the famous Rushcliffe Country Park steam trains, a miniature train ride that you can hop on for a small charge.
For something to eat, head to the Visitor Centre where you'll often find a coffee morning selling cakes and hot drinks. There isn't a cafe in the park otherwise, so feel free to bring a picnic and settle down with a view of the lake. Alternatively, the village of Ruddington is just a 20-minute walk away or an eight-minute drive. Here you can find a few different places to eat, including pub food at The Ruddington Arms or fish and chips at the Ruddington Fish Bar. The city of Nottingham is also just a 20-minute drive from Rushcliffe Country Park, if you fancy checking out some more options for food, drink, and accommodation if you are planning on staying in the area.
If your family had a brilliant day exploring around Rushcliffe Country Park and would like to continue the Nottinghamshire adventure, why not head to Wollaton Hall, or learn all about local air history at the Newark Air Museum. Whether you're a family of animal or history lovers, there's something to do for everyone in Nottinghamshire.
What to know before you go
- Rushcliffe Country Park is open 365 days a year, but the car park is open from 8am-6pm.
- The park is accessible to wheelchairs from Barleylands in Ruddington, or the car park. The wide and smooth paths around the park mean that it is also suitable for buggies, as well as wheelchair users.
- There are toilets available on site, including accessible toilets and baby changing facilities.
- There is no Rushcliffe Country Park cafe, but you can check when coffee mornings are on at the Visitor Centre on the Rushcliffe Borough Council website.
- It is easy to get to the park via the A60, and taking the Mere Way exit on the roundabout. The postcode is NG11 6JS.
- Access to the park itself is free, but Rushcliffe Country Park parking is £1 for the day.
- The nearest train stations are Attenborough or Beeston, but you can also take the train to Nottingham.
- To take the bus, head to the Rushcliffe Country Park bus stop, which is located on Mere Way, just a short walk from the car park.