Things to do this summer as a family

Fri 14 Jul 2023

It won’t be long before the bell rings and school is out for summer, so we’ve put together this handy guide for how to keep the kids entertained.

Outdoor Theatre and Cinema Season

Back by popular demand, our Outdoor Theatre and Cinema season, sponsored by Smooth Radio, has some great picks for teenagers and their families. Join us at Markeaton Park Craft Village and prepare to be entertained. This season guarantees a double dose of Shakespeare from the renowned Oddsocks Theatre and Derby Shakespeare Theatre Company. Oddsocks Productions brings to life Shakespeare's hilarious Much Ado About Nothing on Thu 13 to Sat 15 Jul and Derby Shakespeare Theatre Company will also grace Markeaton Park Craft Village with their unique take on Shakespeare's comedy classic, A Midsummer Night's Dream, on Wed 19 to Sat 22 Jul. If you’re more of a film fanatic, join us on Fri 28 Jul for an outdoor screening of Bridesmaids(15) or Top Gun: Maverick(12A) on Sat 29 Jul.

Markeaton Park has lots for children of all ages, The Mundy Play Centre’s pay and play activities include all the favourites such as Pitch and Putt, Footgolf, Mini Golf, Canoes, Paddling Pool and the Bouncy Castle, as well as the fun-filled play area including The Adventure Galley pirate ship. The Park is open daily during the school holidays from 10.30am to 4.30pm.

Holiday Activities and Food

Derby City Council’s Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) programme is back for the Summer, and open to Derby children and young people receiving free school meals. Over 29 providers are offering a variety of engaging activities from music, crafts, day trips, sports and more. Every participant will also receive a free meal while attending.

Derby Libraries

There are lots of different activities coming to a library near you this summer. Children aged four to 11 can join a superstar team and their marvellous mascots by getting involved in The Reading Agency’s 2023 Summer Reading Challenge. Developed in collaboration with the Youth Sport Trust, this year’s challenge is themed around the power of play, sport, games and physical activity, and runs from Sat 8 Jul until Sat 2 Sep. All Derby libraries will be taking part with activities including Get Moving with multi-talented children’s author, illustrator, poet, and ukulele player, Kev Payne, or Move Like a Lion! with Derby County mascots Rammie or Ewie.

On Tue 8 Aug, East Midlands-based East Lab Dance Company will perform Frocks, Socks, and the Orange Fox at Alvaston Library. Children aged 3 to 6 are invited to join Fox and Mole on a journey through towns, forests, mountains, and rivers to find missing socks! The performance starts at 11am and is free, but booking is recommended. On Sat 12 Aug, there are more family activities at Alvaston Library, with a chance to learn from Art in the Park how to create unique, dynamic illustrations in a Manga workshop at 10.30am.

Darley Park Weekender

Back for 2023,  The Darley Park Weekender is back from Fri 25 Aug to Sun 27 Aug and is jam-packed with family fun, music and fireworks. Bring along your picnics and join us for this summer highlight. Tickets purchased for The Darley Park Concert before Mon 31 Jul are £4.50 for adults and £1.50 for under 16s. Also coming to The Darley Park Weekender this year is Ultimate 90s and 80s Mix Tape, under 5s go free.

Events in our parks

Our parks are the place to be this summer with a season full of events, starting with Alvaston Park Community Fun Day on Sun 23 Jul, followed by our Superhero Picnic at Chaddesden Park on Wed 26 Jul and Darley Park on Thu 27 Jul, and August blooms at Darley Park’s Hydrangea Open Day on Sun 6 Aug.

Did you know Derby has many fine parks and gardens for public use, with over 375 parks and open spaces covering 13% of Derby City (900 hectares), which is equivalent to 2,200 football pitches? Our Parks have been awarded quality awards, including Green Flag Status and are idyllic places to visit. Whether you want to ride your bike, have a family walk, feed the ducks, bask in the sun on the grass or get wet in the water play and paddling pools, Derby Parks have something for everyone.

Anyone for Tennis?

Markeaton, Darley, Alvaston Park and King George V Playing Fields have recently refurbished their tennis courts, providing Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) playing surfaces for everyone to enjoy. All public tennis courts across Derby are available to book online via the LTA website.

Come along to Alvaston Park Family Fun Day on Sun 23 Jul, from 12 noon and enjoy free tennis coaching and activities for all the family.

Springwood Leisure Centre and Derby Arena

Springwood Leisure Centre and Derby Arena have lots of opportunities for kids to keep active this summer, including the Junior Gym sessions and exercise classes for young people aged 12 to 17. Join this as a Derby Active young person’s member for only £12.99, with no joining fee this summer.

Families can enjoy 50% off racket sports and outdoor courts every weekday in the summer, at Derby Arena and Springwood Leisure Centre.

Cycle Derby

Cycle Derby have plenty of activities planned this summer! From their Holiday Club at Markeaton Park on Wed 26 Jul and Mon 21 Aug, to their Track Days at Derby Arena on Wed 2 Aug and Wed 9 Aug, there’s a lot of choice. Don’t leave it too long as places fill up quickly! Booking in advance is required on the Cycle Derby website.

The fun doesn’t end there, for more information on all the holiday activities being held in Derby this summer and beyond, see all the events taking place all over the city.