What it is – If you aren’t familiar with Stockeld Park, here’s the deal: it’s like a stately home without what the kids might think of as the boring bits, i.e. the house. Instead it has some of the best outdoor bits of places like Castle Howard and Beningbrough Hall– fab adventure playgrounds, fun activities and lovely scenery. It opens for the school holidays and there’s always something new to do, with an ever-changing programme of events and activities aimed firmly at families.
What’s in it for kids – Everything at Stockeld Park is designed with kids in mind, and the selection of activities changes with the seasons. We visited during February half term when one of the highlights was the outdoor ice rink (thank goodness for the push-along penguins to keep us upright). But the main attraction for the kids was the Enchanted Forest, a trail that winds its way through ancient woodland. It’s fine for buggies and not too far for older kids to walk. Along the way you’ll encounter many magical and mythical creatures from owls to ogres, flamingos, princesses and dragons. It might seem a bit Disney, but I’ve yet to meet a child who doesn’t like a Disney movie. The route is broken up by some fantastic play areas, with something to suit most age groups. This is a day out that’s best if the weather’s good, but there is a small indoor play area if it takes a turn for the worse.
Where to eat – There’s a café serving hot and cold drinks, meals and snacks. It has a short and simple kids’ menu or they can put together a picnic box. Our little Vikings – often picky eaters – polished off their locally sourced chicken dipper meals without any of the usual encouragement from us. If it’s a nice day, it’s a good place for a picnic. There’s loads of space to spread out your blanket and you can always pick up provisions from Wetherby on your way through.
Our verdict – Stockeld Park is a great option for outdoor holiday fun. We’ve been a few times now because there’s plenty for our two oldest children (5 and 2.5) to enjoy and they’re always happy and tired on the way home. And because the range of activities changes so often, they never get bored.
Good to know –Some activities have age restrictions; children under 2 go free; there’s no loo in the Enchanted Forest! There’s lots on at Stockeld Park over Easter. See our What’s On Guide for more details.
The damage – £12 day pass; family passes available.
Stockeld Park – The Easter Adventure – 28th March to 19th April – Stockeld Park, Wetherby, Yorkshire, LS22 4AN
This article was first published in issue 2 (summer 2014) of the Little Vikings magazine