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Dripping-fried chips help make West Midlands world-class kids’ holiday spot

Dripping-fried chips help make West Midlands world-class kids’ holiday spot

🕔15.Apr 2016

Young people today. What can you do with them?

While it might be supposed kids would be happiest holidaying in a millionaire’s paradise in Florida, or swimming with turtles on the Galapagos Islands, or even white water rafting in Colorado, no, the West Midlands with its rather more down to earth attractions is the place to take children.

According to a new list compiled by travel guidebook series Rough Guides, Birmingham and the West Midlands is the third best region anywhere in the world for a family holiday.

And since you ask, we are beaten only by Kerala, in India, and Maribor, in Slovenia.

Edinburgh (6th), the Isle of Wight (15th) and Wales (25th) were the only other UK destinations to make it into the list.

Tough, then, for Florida (8th), Bali (11th), Belize (17th, Colorado (18th) and the Maldives (26th). As for Tobago, oh dear, the sunshine Caribbean island is in 30th and last place.

Unsurprisingly, Marketing Birmingham, the city council’s strategic marketing arm, is delighted at this somewhat unexpected turn of events and has written a gushing press release.

Rough Guides selected the West Midlands as a top destination for children, highlighting “tons of great activities”, including the Black Country Living Museum – where you will “taste the best chips you’ll ever have” – and the “excellent Sea Life Centre” in Birmingham.

Quite so, although perhaps there is some politically correct editing by Marketing Birmingham?

The Rough Guides actual entry for the West Midlands praises the Black Country Living Museum’s chips, shock horror, because they are “fried in beef dripping”. Bostin!

The entry also highlights the West Midlands Safari Park where you can see “big game”. This recommendation, strangely, has been omitted from the press release. The elephant in the room, you might think.

Derby, “entrance to the Peak District” finds itself slotted into the West Midlands by Rough Guides, with a confusing mention of the Severn Valley Railway, which the authors seem to think is somewhere near Derby.

The study, if you can call it that, appears to be somewhat unscientific. As Rough Guides note:

Summer is coming and it’s time to think about that trip, so we’ve put our expert travel heads together to collate a list of the top 30 places to go with kids.

Whether you want a relaxing break for the whole family or if you’re looking for something a little more adventurous, there’s somewhere for everyone.

Lottie Gross, Web Editor at Rough Guides, said:

We chose the West Midlands for its sheer variety in child-friendly fun. It’s a region that’s easy to travel around, there are plenty of excellent accommodation options, and the important part the area played in the Industrial Revolution makes visiting an essential educational experience in the UK.

Unscientific or not, the list is published as figures released this week by Visit England highlighted a 22 per cent increase in overnight trips to the West Midlands and a 26 per cent rise in spending in 2015 – the biggest year-on-year increases of all English regions.

Emma Gray, Director of Marketing and Communications at Visit Birmingham, said:

The West Midlands is bursting at the seams with vibrant cultural attractions, globally-recognised cuisine and innovative independent festivals – all proving a hit with local and visiting families.

This latest recognition from Rough Guides follows a record 2015 for the region’s visitor economy, with Birmingham alone welcoming an all-time high of more than 38 million tourists last year.

With an exciting 2016 calendar including Shakespeare’s 400th anniversary, there’s so much here to inspire and enthral children from across the globe.

This summer, the West Midlands plays host to a number of family-friendly days out, including The Sports Show at the NEC Birmingham (25-26 June), created to inspire kids and families to try new sports alongside some of Britain’s sporting heroes; On the Edge (2-9 July), a week of theatre for children and young people; and Family Night at the Black Country Living Museum (13 August), celebrating Roald Dahl’s 100th birthday.

Laura Wakelin, Director of Marketing and Communications at the Black Country Living Museum, said:

We are very pleased to see Black Country Living Museum and the Midlands featured as one of the best places to take your kids in the world! We’ve identified families as a key audience for us to engage with and immerse into the history of the region, so it’s great to hear we’re getting it right by being featured in this list.

Top 30 Places to Go With Kids – full list 

Kerala, India

Maribor, Slovenia

West Midlands, England

Puglia, Italy

Reserva Monteverde, Costa Rica

Edinburgh, Scotland

Brittany, France

Florida, USA

Nairobi, Kenya


Bali & The Gili Islands, Indonesia

Toronto, Canada

Havana, Cuba

Rosario, Argentina

Isle of Wight, UK

North Island, New Zealand


Colorado, USA

Reykjavik, Iceland

Zion National Park, USA


Antalya, Turkey

Tokyo, Japan

Cape Tribulation, Australia

Wales, UK

The Maldives

The Thai Islands

Cape Town, South Africa

Galapagos Islands, Ecuador


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