Expressions #7 – A much needed family day out

After the best part of two weeks of sickness in the Let Them Be Small household, we were in need of a family day out. My husband has been working some crazy hours in recent months due to project demands at work, so when I was invited to a VIP blogger event at Stockeld Park I knew it would be the perfect excuse for some family time.

Stockeld Park is in Yorkshire, between Harrogate and Leeds and is owned by Peter and Susie Grant. They offer a range of  events and it was the launch of the Summer Adventure to which we were invited. The summer events are aimed at children aged 2-12, so Daniel and Emma don’t really quite fit that demographic at the moment, although I am sure as you look through the pictures you will be able to tell just how much Daniel (and I!) enjoyed the day!

We set off to make the trip across the Pennines just after lunch – you can tell my husband and I were excited.

Daniel is going through a stage of being quite grumpy after his naps, so when he got in the car he was a bit moany…. Emma however was unusually happy – she isn’t a fan of the car at all and with it being a really warm day I was a little worried as to how she would fare in the car for a reasonably long journey.

Thankfully the traffic was OK – that stretch from Manchester to Leeds can be awful – we found the park really easily – once you get to Wetherby (which looks like a stunning little place to visit) it’s sign posted with the yellow tourist signs, so really easy to find.

We parked up and Daniel was much happier, and was very intrigued as to where we were and quickly set off.

We went across the car park and into the park itself – the first thing that struck me was just how green and lush the fields and trees looked – sometimes these sorts of areas can look a little parched when we have such hot weather, but as you can see from the pictures it was really green!

Daniel took his goody bag and we had a look at the map before deciding what we would do first. 

At first glance I was a little worried that we would struggle to find anything to occupy us beyond the play area we could see – the electric scooters looked brilliant, but wasn’t something we were able to use due to having such young children. However, Daniel soon started heading over to the play area to explore.

The play equipment was all really well maintained and really colourful and there were lots of things for children of varying ages to play on – Daniel enjoyed ‘driving’ the tractors and once he got the hang of it, enjoyed the slides.

There was also an inflatables area which looked brilliant –  a giant slide and ‘pillow’. Daniel and I went on the pillow – he was a little reticent at first but enjoyed it, I think, I know I certainly did! I think to be honest a lot of the adults enjoyed this one. The inflatable slide looked like good fun and I saw a lot of parents enjoying this too. Sadly our two are too young for that at the moment so we didn’t get chance to test it out.

After we had had a bite to eat (well Damian and Daniel did – disappointingly there wasn’t a vegetarian option available nor was the cafe open for me to buy something) we had two tired children on our hands so we decided to pop them in the carriers and take a walk around the Enchanted Forest.

This was brilliant, and my favourite part of the day. I wasn’t too sure what to expect but it was beautiful and it’s the sort of thing that Daniel and Emma will love when they’re a little older to explore. Both Damian and I think it would look amazing in the autumn and winter as it will be so pretty all lit up.

We did a slow walk around, probably somewhere between 30-40 minutes, but this area of the park could easily take half a day as there is so much to explore with children.The forest walk circles the park and is just stunning. The lovely Colette from Going on an Adventure snapped this family pic for us.

There are a number of play areas dotted around the enchanted forest – all are themed and we liked the Noah’s Ark area a lot. Again these play areas have a lot for different ages, from climbing frames and slides to rope based play equipment. As we walked around there were lots of little interesting things, such as musical instruments to play (which Daniel really enjoyed) and a lovely lake too. As well as a witches house complete with cauldron and a troll bridge that talked as went over it.

My favourite bit was at the end of the walk where there was an empty plinth for you to create yourself as a sculpture…. So Emma and I did! Lots of fun could be had here I suspect.

We had a really lovely day out, and I think it is a place that we will look to visit in the future, especially at Christmas time as I think it would look beautiful. The day out came at a good time for us.

I was a little sceptical initially as to whether you could spend a full day here, but I think you probably could, there is enough to see, do and explore and older children would be able to make use of the skating area and the electric scooters, as well as the wide open space for playing football etc.

It was a lovely day, and one that really helped all four of us enjoy some quality family time together. 

Amazingly both Emma and Daniel stayed awake on the journey home, but thankfully were soon sound asleep once we had put them to bed.

Stockeld Park is lovely, and is quite a different type of day out from the usual theme park sort of thing. I think on a very wet day some of the play areas may be closed, and I’d be interested to see if some additional shelter is made available on super hot days in the main field. The park itself is super accessible for families using pushchairs – something that really impressed me as I hadn’t expected it to be. The eating areas and toilets were clean and bright (although I think the only baby change area was in the women’s toilets rather than a ‘neutral’ place or one in both women’s and men’s). It’s the sort of place I could see us going to with friends in a few years’ time when Daniel and Emma are a little older and they can fully appreciate all the different activities and play areas.

Expressions photos

Entrance to Stockeld Park (at the time of publishing this post)is £12 (same for adult and children) and a family ticket is £42 (2 adults & 2 children). I think this is a little expensive when considering how much it costs to go to Eureka which is fairly close by. That said the quality of the play equipment is second to none and the staff were really friendly and helpful and got down to Daniel’s level to speak to him. It’s a day out as a treat on a lovely summer’s day, and it is most certainly a place for us to go back to when the children are older to experience the Christmas adventure.

 More pictures of the park can be found here on my Google + profile


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