Wednesday, 17 January 2018

13 Family Days out in Northamptonshire

Northamptonshire is lucky to have a great variety of family days out.  There are some brilliant country parks, farms and play areas in Northamptonshire for families to enjoy.  

Below are 13 of my families favourites for you to try in no particular order

Family day out #1
Sywell Country Park NN6 0QX

There is a large reservoir, 3 mile walk and areas to fish.  There is a nice small café with toddler play area next door, toilets, lovely enclosed sand and water play area and a woodland themed area with carved animals, tunnels and slides.

Sywell Country Park

Sywell Country Park

Family day out #2 
Irchester Country Park NN9 7DL

Fabulous children's play area as well as trails through 83 hectares of mixed woodland. My kids love climbing up the hills although we did get stuck once and had to double back on ourselves. There is a cafe, Jungle Parc UK and the Irchester Narrow Gauge Railway museum.

Irchester Country Park
Irchester Country Park Woodland

Irchester Country Park
Irchester Country Park
Family day out #3
Brixworth Country Park  NN6 9DG

You can go cycling, sailing, fishing and there's loads of lovely signposted walks.  There is a nice children's play area with activites for most age groups. There's also a café, bike hire and toilets.

Family day out #4
Salcey Forest NN7 2HX

This is as the name suggests a large forest. They are lovely walks, a large bridge so you can see the tops of the trees, small play area, café and toilets.  You can also cycle, horse ride, walk the dogs and there's a new adventure rope course.

At various times of the year they operate The Stick Man or Gruffalo trail. Your children can follow a signposted walk, spot the characters and take part in activities on the posters.

The treetop walk is currently closed but all others walks/café open.

Salcey forest play area family day out in Northamptonshire
Salcey Forest Play Area

Salcey Forest Treetop Walk Family Day Out in Northamptonshire
Salcey Forest Treetop Walk
Family day out #5
Stanwick Lakes, Northamptonshire NN9 6GY

At Stanwick Lakes there are loads of activities. The central adventure play area with climbing tower and water play appeals to all age groups. On 2 of the walks you will find assault courses, tyre swings and zip wires.
There is a bird hide and feeding station to watch the wildlife. You can use the café or picnic sites dotted about the site.
I think this maybe my favourite.  We have visited loads as the play area is so good and walk manageable with young children. This is popular with cyclists and has bike hire. Parking varies from £2.60 to £5.60 depending on time of year and length of stay.  My top tip if busy is to pay for parking in the visitors centre.

Family day out #6
Abington Park NN3 3HN

Abington Park is Northampton's oldest and most popular park. It contains a museum, sports facilities, a cafe, lakes, and a garden for the blind. There is a band stand where live music is played on Sundays during the summer, a large play area and church.  Lots of events are held throughout the year such as Race for Life, Fun Fairs, National play day, Half term activities in the museum. 
I love Abington Park and it is my local but am finding the play area could do with a few larger pieces of equipment for the older children like a zip wire or larger climbing frames as it does not suit teens who have outgrown the equipment. Free parking all around the park.

Family day out #7 
Castle Ashby NN7 1LQ

Castle Ashby is a beautiful house and gardens & my happy place. You can wander around the gardens, visit the selection of animals including the famous meerkats, let the kids let of steam in the play area and enjoy the tea rooms. It has summer and winter opening times. During the winter you pay £5 to park and can still use the gardens but tea rooms and other facilities are closed. In the summer adults are £8, children 5-16 £2.00 and under 5's free. (These prices are current Feb 2020).
The scones here are delicious and its a lovely place to escape for a few hours. Even with children in tow it seems peaceful, although the tea rooms can get very busy but there is now loads of outdoor seating.
It has themed events throughout the year and we love the Easter egg hunt and Halloween pumpkin hunt.
Closed over the winter months but you can still visit the gardens and pay £5 to park.  Cafe and shop closed but still a lovely place to visit.

Castle Ashby Meerkats family day out in Northamptonshire
Castle Ashby Meerkats

Castle Ashby play area family day out in Northamptonshire
Castle Ashby Play Area
Family day out #8
Wicksteed Park, Northamptonshire NN15 6NJ

Theme park & play area.  Over 30 rides, lake, picnic areas and food outlets.  Prices vary depending on time of year and whether you have wristbands or tickets so it is best to check the website

We have been for various birthday trips and the kids loved it. For their age group there was loads to go on and we had a brilliant day. The food wasn't too expensive and you can take picnics.  Most queues were quite short so you could fit a lot in and not have moany children waiting to go on things.

Wicksteed Park chairswings family day out in Northamptonshire
Wicksteed Park

Family day out #9
Gullivers land MK15 0DT

Just outside the 'Shire this is a theme park designed for children aged 2-13 years.  Prices vary depending on height, time of year and whether booked online or on the doors so definitely check the website

The park is in zones and easy to navigate.  It is a bit dated but brilliant fun and very good value.  We've been 3 times and always had fun.

Family day out #10
Rookery Open Farm NN12 7SJ

This is a small farm, with a large indoor play area and lovely large outdoor area with massive bouncy castles for when the weather is nice.  You can pet the baby goats and enter the pens which my kids love.  £7 adult and £6.50 child.  You could combine this destination with a walk along the canal and lunch or an ice cream.

Rookery Farm goat pens family day out in Northamptonshire
Baby kid goats at Rookery Open Farm

Family day out #11
West Lodge Rural Centre, Northamptonshire, NN14 2SH

Check website for prices' as can vary but as a rough guide about £6 per person under 2's are free. Family tickets are available and cheaper if you book online in advance. 

Lovely farm with animals you can pet, talks, walks, play area, barrel rides which are very popular, pig races and pony rides. The barrel rides are free but pony rides have an additional fee.  They have themed events throughout the year which are fab. We went during October half term for Halloween and the kids loved it although the spooky tractor ride was a little too scary for my son.

Family day out #12
Boost Trampoline Park & Riverside Hub

Technically this is 2 but I have put together as in some location (Riverside) and can cater for all ages.  Riverside Hub is an excellent indoor play area with the addition of a climbing tree, go-karts and sensory play.  Prices vary depending on age and standard/school days so check the website for details.  Riverside Hub
Boost is a huge trampoline park an hour is £10 but it really does wear kids out and it is £5 a session for under 5's. They do have special offers for 2 hour jumps. Boost is currently being refurbished & 3 new activity stations being installed. The new slide is open (Feb 2020).

Family day out #13
Mini Meadows Farm, Welford, NN6 6HZ

A lovely farm on the outskirts of Northampton.  Play areas, large covered sand pit, animals inside and out.  Café and lots of picnic areas.  £5 per person entry and £2 for a bucket of food for the animals.  Open 10am to 5pm after 3pm admission is £2.50 per person.

Hope this has given you some inspiration for days out with your children.  What's your favourite family day out in Northamptonshire?

Emma xxx

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  1. This is great! Loved seeing the places you chose and it made me think about Abington Park nostalgically - it was where I used to go when I was skiving school or meeting up with boyfriends in the mid 1970s, and scene of many early morning lone walks (or even jogs) over the years, until 2000 when I left the county!

  2. Thank you Terry. Love Abington Park don't think its changed much since 2000!!! We are lucky in Northampton to have lots of greenery nearby :)

  3. There is lots to do in your area. My cousin lives in Northampton so I'm sure she will have visited lots of these places. I did go to my Aunt and Uncle's Wedding in Northampton. It was in a farm but I can't remember the name. I do remember it was a perfect day though.
    Amanda #KCACOLS

  4. Wow there's loads to do in your area! Wish we had that sort of thing where I live! #KCACOLS

  5. Sounds like there's lots going on! I think I might have been to Woburn safari park as a nipper - it was a long time ago though! ;) #KCACOLS

  6. This sounds like such a fabulous day out for the family. The indoor play area is a great idea & can be enjoyed regardless of the weather. My kids would love seeing the animals too. #KCACOLS

  7. Thanks for the comments. We are quite lucky as about 30 mins in any direction takes you to a country park/farm. X

  8. Lovely post, I have been to a lot of these as we live nearby, but a few of these are new to me, so I will check them out! Becky x #KCACOLS

  9. I always get excited when I discover a new park or farm. Want to try Daventry Country Park but just a tad further so puts me off ;) Had a lovely time at Sywell at the weekend. X

  10. Wow this is a great list!! Lots of ideas of places to go and visit. I have been in Northampton before a few times as my ex was from there. It is a beautiful area with lots of green around. Love the Woburn Safari Park. Thanks so much for sharing this at #KCACOLS. I would love to see you again on Sunday! :-) x