Leave the crowds behind and head to one of our wonderful reserve shops. There you can get your nature fix and still go Christmas shopping! Here’s three family-friendly reserves to try:

Minsmere by David Tipling

Let’s start with Minsmere...

Nestled on the Suffolk coast, this expanse of woodland, reedbed and scrub has long been a favourite with anyone who loves nature.

Not least me; it was the first RSPB reserve I visited as a kid. I still vividly remember the huge (well certainly to a seven-year old!) red deer stag that emerged resplendent from the undergrowth and crossed my path.

Visit the scrape to watch the vast array of wildfowl, waders and gulls. Look out across the forest of swaying reeds towards the giant golf ball that is Sizewell B nuclear power station from the bittern hide.

Don’t forget to visit the brand new Island Mere hide, before winding up at the visitor centre for a well earned cup of tea and rummage through the shop.

Saltholme by Andy HayOk, from an old favourite to the new kid on the block: Saltholme

Opened in 2009, Saltholme combines state-of-the-art buildings and hides with breathtaking scenic views.

There’ll be waders, ducks, geese and gulls galore. Maybe even a water rail will put in an appearance. The cafe has gained a reputation for great food with a great view. It’s great for the family too as there’s even an adventure playground!

Have I mentioned welly wanging? No, well, there’s even a welly wanging event taking place on Saturday and Sunday. If I lived anywhere near Middlesbrough, I’d certainly be taking a trip to Saltholme this weekend.

So, going further north, we have Vane Farm...

Located at the southern end of the Loch Leven National Nature Reserve, there’s plenty to see and do...

On Saturday, there’s a crafty Christmas event for children where they can make Christmas cards and decorations. Why not leave your wildlife explorer there whilst you pick out a present for them?

Vane Farm by Andy HayIn terms of UK wildlife, it doesn’t come much bigger than a white-tailed eagle. There’s been one around this week, and in amongst the wonderful wigeons and stately pintails you might even spy the rare green-winged teal, there’s been one of them too. So there really is something for everyone!

Loads more!

There are loads of other great reserves with shops. You can find one near you on our website. So this weekend, get out, see some wildlife and find that Christmas present, all in one place!

Have a good ‘un