When a half term approaches I start to panic because 9 times out of 10 I haven’t planned to do anything or thought about how I am going to keep the kids entertained, without having their faces stuck to their tablets. I love getting them outside in the fresh air, sunshine or rain, they aren’t made of sugar and they wont melt (famous saying from my mumsy). We were Invited to come and have a day out at Wicksteed Park this Easter half term and we had a fantastic day.
A little bit of history about the park
In 1913 Charles Wicksteed purchased a tract of beautiful Northamptonshire meadow land so that he could create an open, safe parkland area where families and children could play, as it was very rare back then to have gardens to play in, so children would play in the street.
He also owned an engineering company that supplied park equipment far and wide (some of which can still be found at Wicksteed park; how cool is that!) As the park developed, excited crowds were drawn in from all over to see attractions like the Train, Charabancs and the Waterchute. Wicksteed Park was one of the first ever leisure parks in the UK and today, The Wicksteed Charitable Trust continues the work and goals set out by Charles when the park was first created.
Where is the park?
Wristbands and Tickets
We arrived at the park around 11.30 and went to guest services to pick up a map and to get our wristbands. Wristbands allow you to go on any of the rides, as often as you want. You can also purchase single ride tickets if you are in the park area and fancy just one or two rides. In addition, they also offer annual wristbands, which you can use all year round; so if you visit a lot then this way may be more cost effective for you.
If you have a member of your party who uses a wheelchair, then users can obtain their wristbands for free. They also have special discounted wristband rates for disabled adults and children who are not wheelchair users.
If required, you can also hire wheelchairs for a refundable deposit of £5, but these are on a first come first served basis, so be sure to call and pre-book.
There is a car park charge and the cost is dependant on how long you stay, so make sure to check the prices on there website. Disabled parking is by the entrance.
After picking up our wristbands we went on our first ride of the day, which was the teapots – something I am far too old for now. haha. Emily isn’t keen on rides and she would of just been happy being there. We managed to get her on the cups, with a lot of screaming, but by the time it had stopped, she was smiling. We then decided to go on the bumper cars and convinced Emily to come along and ride in the ‘pink car’ – a car colour Emily is always saying she wants. She cried again but once I had explained to her that no one is allowed to bump the cars and we drive around the track she quickly warmed to it and by the end was having lots of fun.
We then moved through the various areas, choosing rides for Emily – after much convincing most time – and rides for Lydia and Leo. The ‘Sway’ ride, which is a swing ride that goes up high into the air, being the most amusing of all as Leo’s face went from enjoyment to white knuckled clinging on for dear life. The park is nicely set with different areas in and amongst the large open fields. There were a lot of dogs walking around and while you cannot take dogs into some areas, the majority of the park is open to them – so any dog lovers among you, this is a great place to take poochy with you. There are also animals for the children to see. One particularly worth mentioning is the Meerkat Burrows, where you enter through tunnels and pop up inside a glass dome that is within the actual Meerkat area, allowing the children (and you) to see these cute little critters up close.
Unfortunately, while it didn’t rain on the day, it had been raining prior so a lot of the fields were muddy and wet. We therefore stuck to the amusement areas. Moving to the ‘Thrill’ area for Leo and Lydia, we continued going on the rides. The fast rollercoaster is a lot of fun, but the race track with go karts was great fun, and all of the children could go on it – with an adult driving of course. Some of the Fayre type huts were closed, which we didn’t mind at all, and on the day we went it was quiet enough to get on most rides quickly. I also loved how you were never far from a toilet, which is very handy with little people.
The employees were all very friendly, especially a man called John who was working with the Meerkats. He didn’t know I was there reviewing – I didn’t tell him – yet he was the nicest, friendliest, most positive man we had met. He enjoyed telling us the history about the park and about the meerkats.
Pushing a wheelchair in the park was a little tricky, particularly where there were stones, but the majority of the area had paths and it was manageable. Fortunately, Leo uses it mostly for breaks when his legs got tired.
The children, and us, had a great day at the park and we are under strict instructions to go again – something we are certainly not going to argue about. Next time we will be taking Rosie with us and hoping that some sunshine comes with us. So if you are looking for a day out at a park, but a park that has the option of something more thrilling, Wicksteed Park is highly recommended.
I hope you enjoy this short video with footage from our day . Please feel free to leave a comment and subscribe to my channel. 🙂
You can plan your visit here.