A bright, sunny and hot day in August took me to one of the most talked about places to go, Stockeld Park in Wetherby. The sad fact is before having a child, I had never even heard about it, but it is possibly the most famous thing about Wetherby, passing the Whaler and the racecourse!
Finding the park is quite easy although if using Sat Nav, make sure the correct postcode is used as using the wrong one takes you to a field! There is plenty of free parking and most of the park is flat and easy to walk around (there is a lot of walking!)
When you get into the park, it is easy to be a bit underwhelmed, but panic not, there are lots of things hidden away and that is the beauty of this place, you could probably go 5 times and still notice different things.
We started off in the maze and the idea is to find 6 little attractions/toys and then find the main attraction which leads you to an exit/freedom!
I am not sure if it is cheating but it is an idea to take a photo of the map on your phone to help. As H is only just 2, we wanted to make sure we didn’t spend too much time in there, although she loved the little ornaments and toys.
The maze took about 30 minutes and after we had a picnic lunch on the main lawn, which is huge and would never get full. On the lawn are a few footballs and toys for the older ones to burn a bit of energy and was actually a really nice touch.
However, we headed into the farm themed playground, which was just the right size for kids up to about 8. The rides were really well made out of wood (I think imported from the US) and was something a little bit different to the ones you normally see. The slides are a bit quick, although not massive, so be careful!
Also on the main lawn were the air cushion, bouncy castle alide and the go kart bikes. This was the only place we encountered queues, which was good considering it was a perfect day in the middle of the school holidays. The air cushion was the only one we went on and if you have a toddler it might be an idea to go on as well, especially if the rest of the kids are a bit older. A word of “warning” you can feel as though you are still on there hours after leaving the park!!!
The bouncy slide was a bit imposing for me with H and the go karts had a very long queue or perhaps more appropriately, people had a lot of time when they got a go on them – maybe next time!
We did the obligatory nappy change and the facilities were excellent and clean. I did only see 2 changing rooms, but I think there was another in the ladies toilet, which wouldn’t have gone down well if I had used it! Also inside was a cafe and some indoor softplay activities including a smaller air cushion and a playhouse (bigger than some houses in London!). There was also a crafts corner which could come in useful for a quiet half an hour!
At this point, we thought that we had seen everything and was going to go into the Enchanted Forest as a bit of a throw-in but how wrong we were…this was the star attraction, hidden away within the trees (obviously!). It is about a 2 mile walk with numerous small, quirky attractions, some operated by button, others by sensor…our favourite was the talking tree!! There is an influence of music/songs in the attractions, so much so that on the last one, H wanted a “song please” after pressing the button!
Along the walk are about 5 playgrounds, just in the off chance that the kids have any more energy to burn…!! A couple were a bit too big for H, but the rest were perfect. There is more than enough space for everyone and we spent a good hour going through the forest and it was the highlight of the day.
There were a couple of things we didn’t do, including the roller skating (I couldn’t do that as a child!) and the scooters, the little ones had to be at least 4 to go on with an adult (I think that was the only activity you had to pay for)
All in all a brilliant, yet tiring day out. A few tips to help you if you’re planning on going…
– pick a good day weather wise. While there are indoor activities, most of it is outdoor and you want to be able to enjoy it
– drink plenty and wear good shoes. There is a lot of walking and while it is flat, you need to be comfortable.
– avoid the school holidays if possible. We went in the middle of the school holidays and while it didn’t feel crowded at all, obviously it is best to go when it is quieter
All in all, a fab day out and I am sure we will be back next summer. Stockeld Park do themed Halloween and Christmas events and so it will be good to see what they look like.
With many thanks to Stockeld Park and Yorkshire Tots for this write-up.