School's Out for Summer!
23rd July 2011
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Schools across Heanor and Ripley have now broken up and the summer holidays have arrived. There are lots of activities going on all over our area to keep our kids occupied during the long break, whether they are sporty active types, or prefer a quieter, more relaxed atmosphere.

Leisure Centres
We have 2 fantastic leisure centres in our area, one in Ripley and one in Heanor and both have a full programme of events throughout the holidays.  From Street Dancing to Ballet plus an extensive range of fun sessions in the swimming pools, there are activities for all age groups and all abilities.  The full programme will be up on our events pages in the next few days.

Local Activities

Amber Valley Borough Council have teamed up with Derbyshire Police and a number of other local agencies to provide an amazing range of activities for young people throughout the summer holidays.  From slacklining and free-running to craft classes and a wii tournament, there really is something for everyone.  We'll list as many of the activities as we can in our events pages, but check out the following link to download the full brochure,,-leisure-and-wellbeing/summer-holiday-activities.aspx

Play Barns
These ever popular facilities offer a safe place for the little ones to let off steam and have fun in a vibrant, fun environment. Lanky Bills in Langley Mill is running its normal programme but the team at Ripley’s Planet Happy have put together an amazing line up of themed events and activities every day throughout the holidays. From a week full of movie themed activities, to a Teddy Bear’s Picnic, and even a beach, (yes, a beach in Ripley!) there’s too much to get in here, so we’re going to run a separate blog to bring you all the details, as well as individual features in our events listings.

Paint a Pot
Della and Maria love to welcome children of all ages to Della’s Paint a Pot shop and workshop on Church Street in Ripley.  With a huge range of pots ready to paint, they offer interactive sessions where children can paint their own designs on their pots, then take them home to keep, or to give as a really special present.  New for this year, Della and Maria have introduced clay modelling and painting, adding to the variety of activities available to teach and entertain the kids. Drop in sessions are available from 10am to 3pm, with prices ranging from £5 to £7.50. Children must be accompanied by an adult. A great activity for if the weather’s not so good!

Days Out at local Tourist Attractions
We’re really lucky to have some great attractions on our doorsteps, and because we are local we can really take advantage of the deals on offer. 

Midland Railway at Butterley is open every day except Christmas Day, running a variety of different trains and activities along its tracks and stations, from Ripley to Swanwick.  There really is something for everyone, including guest visits by Thomas the Tank Engine.  They even have a license to hold weddings! Fabulous!

Crich Tramway Village is just outside our patch but it’s so great we’re claiming it as our own.  Nestling high up in the heart of Derbyshire overlooking the famous Derwent Valley and open almost throughout the year, Crich Tramway Village is a lovingly restored period village that is also home to the National Tramway Museum and its world renowned archives, plus authentic period shops and other features to recreate the mood of bygone times. With regular themes days and weekends, there is loads to do and always something new to see. A great value season ticket makes this a must for local people and regular visitors.

Codnor Castle is an amazing hidden gem that is now starting to get the attention and exposure it truly deserves. These remains of a medieval castle will capture the imagination of every generation, and the Codnor Castle Heritage Trust is working hard to preserve the remains for local people and visitors to enjoy well into the future.

How fantastic to have a world renowned 200 year old Denby Pottery in our area. With an amazing history and a knack for staying with the times, the company have developed their suite to now include a visitor centre and factory shop, and run regular events and activities, including cooking demonstrations and even a pottery beach for the younger visitors. And for mum, there’s usually a good deal to be snapped up in the Pottery Shop

From the amazing Shipley Park to local play and recreation areas there are loads of choices for getting the kiddies out in the fresh air. Heanor Memorial Park even has a newly refurbished outdoor paddling pool with facilities for those really nice days when the kids want to cool off and have a play in the water.  Shipley Park is also running a full programme of events throughout the summer to keep kids entertained and informed about the great work of the Park and its Rangers.

Walking and Cycling
For those who like the active side of life, there’s the brilliant Nutbrook Trail, a safe cycle route through amazing countryside running from Shipley Park down to Long Eaton, and our area is littered with fantastic walking routes and local greenways to cater for casual strolls through to more strenuous hikes and longer challenges.

Local libraries are a great way of keeping the whole family entertained.  All libraries carry a huge range of books and resources for different ages, plus internet access and CD’s/DVDs.  The library service have organised a fantastic Summer Reading Challenge for children aged 4-12, with the aim of getting every child to read at least 6 books through the holidays.  The theme this year is Circus Stars and everyone taking up the challenge will receive a colourful, cut-out circus stage with stickers to collect to complete the stage and mark their success.

There will also be giveaways on a circus theme including scratch and sniff stickers, yoyos, bookmarks, a wrist band and fridge magnet.

With the success of UK golfers Rory McIlroy and Darren Clarke, golf is going to be a really popular sport over the next few months, and we have plenty of options locally to get out on the greens.  Ormonde Fields is our own home course and with a special offer at the moment for no joining fee, it is a really great way to get started and give the sport a try.  Further afield are Morley Hayes and Horsley Lodge golf clubs, with Breadsall Priory also not too far away.

And of course, for those who love a bit of retail therapy, we have plenty of shops and outlets throughout the area, with the main focus being on the centres of Ripley and Heanor, but also more local shops in Loscoe, Codnor, Denby, Waingroves and all the surrounding villages. 

We will be promoting as many local events and activities as possible over the summer.  If you know of a fantastic local event or activity that you want to share with Heanor and Ripley, let us know, email us at, call us on 07557221972 or use the links on this site to add the event yourself.

About the Author

Sarah A

Member since: 10th July 2012

Hi, I'm Sarah. I've lived in Heanor with my family for over 10 years and I'm passionate about our beautiful little corner of this historical county. If you know of something that's great about our area,...

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