If there’s one family attraction that’s guaranteed to please children of almost every age, it’s Stockeld Park. On the outskirts of Wetherby, just a 25-minute drive from York, it’s a place that’s big on play: outdoor and indoor play, active and interactive play. If you’ve visited in the past but haven’t been back during the last year or so, you’re in for a treat. What was already an excellent day is now even better, thanks to the addition of The Playhive. We went along with our three children, who have been visiting Stockeld Park since they were really little, to find out what’s new and see if it’s still worthy of a Little Vikings thumbs-up. Spoiler alert: it is. Here are five reasons we’d recommend Stockeld Park for a day out with kids from York.
1. The Enchanted Forest is amazing
Nestled in the woodland is Stockeld Park’s Enchanted Forest, undoubtedly one of the most exciting adventure play areas in Yorkshire. It’s a forest walk unlike any other, with imaginatively themed adventure playgrounds along the route. There’s something for all age groups, with amusing interactive elements that even the tiniest tot will enjoy. From talking trees to musical zones and a slide within a huge book, there’s lots to see and do. Clamber at the Tangle Tree Climb, slide at the Teepee Encampment but make sure you save some energy for the vast spider’s lair playground, teapot slide and sandpit at Woodsands Cove.
We love that you’re welcome to take your own food to keep costs down, but we’ve never managed to leave the forest without being nagged into buying ice cream from Gretel’s Cabin along the route. The bottom line is that if your children love an adventure playground, they’ll adore the Enchanted Forest. Unlike some of the activities, it’s included in the admission price (although you can pay extra to hire a boat along the way if you like). It’s active e in the great outdoors, whatever the weather. We’ve visited in all seasons and have always had a good time. They climbed, slid and played until the end of our time slot (allotted at the ticket desk) and would quite happily have stayed longer given half the chance.
2. There’s an epic indoor play area (The Playhive)
Think you need to hop on a plane to experience one of Europe’s largest indoor play centres? Think again! Stockeld Park’s new Playhive is one of the biggest on the continent, and one of the most exciting. Forget boring ball pools and sticky slides: this is next-level indoor play, with four interconnected worlds to explore: space, air, jungle and sea.
It’s a well-designed, ceiling-to-floor experience, with plenty of safer, lower-level activities for younger children and more adventurous areas higher up. All of our children found plenty of things to do, and they loved that they hadn’t seen anything like it before (and they’ve been to a LOT of play areas). They found plenty to amuse themselves with for the whole time slot (allocated on arrival at the ticket desk) and could happily have stayed longer. There’s an extra charge to include the Playhive in your day at Stockeld Park, but we would wholeheartedly recommend it.
3. There’s a great variety of activities
As well as the play areas, indoor and out, there’s also the Magical Maze. Not for the fainthearted, it comprises over 2 miles of paths! Stuck? Climb the castle tower and you might spot your family. Along the way you’ll find bridges, instruments and other surprises. During the festive season, it’s illuminated with thousands of twinkling lights – gorgeous. Access to the maze is included in the admission price. Over fives will love whizzing around the go-kart track during the warmer months (Easter/spring/summer), and is also included in admission.
4. It changes with the seasons
Stockeld Park is best known for its seasonal activities: The Christmas Adventure, Easter Adventure, Spring Adventure, Halloween Adventure and Summer Adventure. During each themed adventure, there are extra elements to enjoy, from giant Easter egg hunts at Easter to pumpkin picking at Halloween and visits to Santa at Christmas. The activities change, too, with an ice rink and nordic skiing appearing during the winter!
5. It’s a full day out
With so much indoor and outdoor play on offer, one of the biggest reasons to visit Stockeld Park is that it’s a full family day out. For those of us who like to get our money’s worth (that’ll be the whole of Yorkshire, then), it feels good value when you’re returning to your car with tired children several hours after you arrived! As always, we’d recommend getting there early to make the most of the day and avoid the crowds (it can get busy at peak times). To fuel your day, there are good food and drink options (the pizzeria at The Playhive is particularly popular) or pack your picnic – there’s no shortage of lovely places to sit and enjoy it.
Stockeld Park, Wetherby Rd, Wetherby LS22 4AN