Summer has finally arrived, the sun is shining (most of the time!), the tennis is on and my own locality is about to be descended on by the F1 circus. The schools are breaking up, some already have and parents up and down the country will be looking for something interesting to do with their little ones.

 My children are teenagers now and so I don’t have to worry about this in the way I used to, but I remember all too well the difficulty of have 6 weeks to fill with interesting, informative and educational activities, until we give up and stick them in front of Horrible Histories.

 Many of my clients have been getting themselves ready for this exact time of year, opening new play centres or leisure activities, making improvements to existing ones and ensuring there are plenty of places available for parents who have to continue to work through the summer.

 

Windmill Farm Park is the kind of place that my kids would have loved when they were small. Beautifully designed play equipment, in large open spaces, both inside and out. Based in Kibworth Harcourt, just off the A6 south of Leicester, we have used murals to bring the beautiful surrounding countryside into the playbarn; giving a bright, interesting place to spend time, whatever the British weather is doing. The play equipment has been creatively designed by Greenspan, built to the highest standards and painted to match it’s surroundings. Farm owners Steven and Lucy have put a huge amount of thought into how they want their business to look and feel and it really shows, and just in case you wanted any further reasons to check it out, Lucy’s cakes are out of this world!

 

Rushden Lakes is bucking the retail trend and attracting huge amounts of shoppers to it’s wide variety of shops. Now, the leisure side is also open for business, restaurants, a climbing wall and even a cinema are now part of the offering. However, earlier this year, I was asked to help turn a warehouse into a jungle plane crash site, which was to be the setting for an Paradise Island Adventure Golf course. The creativity involved in designing and building this course is phenomenal and whilst my involvement was fairly minor, I like to think that it was key in bringing the whole course to life. Adventure Golf at Rushden Lakes is open every day until 10:00pm, 11:00pm on Fridays and Saturdays.

 

At Charlotte Designs, we love to work with companies who do things a little differently, shake things up a bit. Small People Day Nurseries are one such company. Their day nursery in Cropwell Bishop, just outside Nottingham, is the kind of place we would all love for our little ones. With a philosophy of getting children outside whatever the weather, healthy eating and freedom to explore nature safely, it is not surprising that Small People have been very popular with parents. Charlotte Designs role was to bring the outside in, but in a very simple, clean way. We used a narrow colour palette and a simple style to create interest and information in an interior dominated by white and natural wood.

 

Many of our school clients use the summer holidays to improve and update their buildings. We have, over the years brought colour, scale and interest to corridors, classrooms, libraries, halls, dining rooms, playgrounds and swimming pools. Sometimes, it is easier to do these projects without the students around, especially if it is a high traffic area.

Summer is the best time to get out and about in the countryside and we are very fortunate in the Milton Keynes are to have more than our fair share of country parks and open spaces. Marston Vale Forest Centre in Marston Moretaine is a wonderful place to take the children, the dog or just to spend some time in quiet solitude. There is a children’s playground, bird watching hides and a fabulous cafe (did someone say cake again?). Our mural there is a celebration of the forest and a reminder that this is a charity, depedant on the support of it’s patrons to carry on it’s good work.

Whatever you choose to do with your summer, have a great one. Pimms anyone?