Monday, 29 July 2019

Days out Northamptonshire - Country Parks

In Northamptonshire we are luckily enough to have 5 brilliant country parks to walk, cycle and play and hopefully tire out the kids.

Next time you are stuck for somewhere to go maybe check out one of these.  All country parks are open all day, every day.  Parking is £3.00 daily. Country parks annual car park passes are available.  The cost of an annual season ticket is £49.00 to cover all five parks or £36.00 for parking in one named park.

All country parks have car parks and facilities.  The parking charges are currently £3 for up to 4 hours and £5 for over. For more information click on the link

Sywell Country Park

Sywell has a beautiful reservoir to walk around, sand pit outdoor play area, woodland play area with tunnels/big slide and an indoor play area for the little ones which is attached to the case and open 10am to 3pm.

  • 7:00am to 7:00pm daily (except Christmas Day)
  • Cycling is not permitted within Sywell Country Park
  • Pump House Cafe open daily (except Christmas Day

  • Brixworth Country Park

    Brixworth sits beside Pitsford Reservoir and you regularly see boats sailing/canoes/windsurfing.  There's signposted easy walks, play area and cycle routes.  For the more active you can do the 7.5 mile Pitsford water trail.
    • Free admission
    • Free WiFi
    • Cycle hire
    • Willow Tree Café open 10am to 4.30 pm (5pm Saturday and Sunday)

    Irchester Country Park

    Former Ironstone quarry with lovely walks around the trees, big play area, jungle parc high ropes and Narrow Gauge Railway Museum.

  • Free Admission but additional charge for high ropes
  • Quarrymans Rest Cafe open daily except Christmas Day
  • Jungle Parc Adventurer Course Price per child £14.00 (free for supervising adults)
  • Xplorer Course Price per person £20.00 (participants aged 10-adult) Family Ticket £70.00 for 4 participants.

  • Fermyn Woods Country Park

    By Rockingham Forest this country park is slightly smaller with a great play area.
    • Skylark Café - Open 10:00am to 4:45pm daily March to October    
    • Open 11:00am to 3:00pm weekdays November to February
    • Open 10:30am to 4:00pm weekends November to February 
    • Toilets - Open 8:30pm to 5:30pm daily (except Christmas Day and New Year's Day

    Barnwell Country Park

    This country park is located in Nene Valley. 3 waterside trails, boules court, play area and lots of ducks to feed.

  • Toilets 8:30am to 6:00pm daily
  • Kingfisher Café open daily.  10am until 4pm weekdays, closes 5pm weekends.

    Emma xxx
    Life in the Mum's Lane

    For more parks check out my guides

    Corby - Corby Parks & Playgrounds
    Irthlingborough - Irthlingborough Parks & Playgrounds
    Wellingborough - Wellingborough Parks & Playgrounds
    Northampton & villages - Northampton Parks & Playgrounds


    Sywell Country Park

    Sywell Country Park

    Sywell Country Park has a beautiful reservoir to walk around, sand pit outdoor play area, woodland play area with tunnels/big slide and an indoor play area for the little ones which is attached to the café and open 10am to 3pm. The 3 mile walk around the reservoir is partly gravelled and great to wear out the kids.

    Sywell Country Park

    The sand pit play area & water pump is always popular with younger children & there are 2 baby swings.  One basket swing is good for the older kids & the sand is always clean and soft.

    Sywell Country Park
    Sywell Country Park

  • 7:00am to 7:00pm daily (except Christmas Day)
  • Dogs welcome around the park but not in the sand play area.
  • Cycling is not permitted within Sywell Country Park 
  • Pump House Café open daily (except Christmas Day) 
  • Parking charge is £3 for 4 hours and £5 for all day.
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    Fruit scone recipe

    After many failed attempts I can now make fruit scones. Hurrah! Here's the recipe if you fancy having a go. Easy baking with the kids. My daughter loves helping with these.

    75g butter chilled
    350g self raising flour
    1 1/2 tsp baking powder
    30g caster sugar
    75g sultanas  ( I used mixed dried fruit)
    Between 100-150mls milk
    2 eggs beaten

    Mix flour, baking powder and cubed chilled butter. Crumb these together so it looks like breadcrumbs. My daughter does a fab job of this.
    Pour 100 mls milk and most of the egg (keep back enough to egg wash at the end) into the flour.
    Use a knife to mix together as scones should not be handled too much.
    You may need more milk until it forms a ball.
    Knead lightly and then roll out on a floured surface.
    You want the dough about 2 cm thick I wasn't too accurate though.
    Using a 2 1/2 inch circular cutter make 10 scones.
    Brush tops with beaten egg and bake at 200c for 10 minutes.
    Cool on wire rack.

    As part of my indoor cream tea


    Majorca - A perfect family holiday

    We love Majorca.  The weather is amazing, short flights, great beaches and lots of resorts to choose from make it a perfect family holiday.  We have stayed in Cala Millor & Puerto Pollensa as a family. In my younger days I also visited the infamous Magaluf. If you are travelling abroad with children my number one tip is to book early. Both times we visited Majorca I booked early and got a discount and one child free. Majorca has loads of amazing places to stay & beautiful resorts.

    For bookable excursions I can recommend - 

    Pirates Adventure Show

    Marineland Mallorca

    Western Waterpark 

    The activities can be expensive. If you can only afford one I would highly recommend Pirates which we all loved. It was a late night for the kids but they loved it and my son slept on the coach back to resort.

    When we stayed in Cala Millor we rented a buggy which was brilliant (we hired a six seater). The kids happily sat in the in the front & we peddled along the coastline stopping for a drink & paddle in the sea & also played mini golf in nearby Sa Coma.  They were  both cheap and fun activities.

    The resort of Puerto Pollensa is beautiful and I would thoroughly recommend.


    Cuba Holguin Things to do with kids

    Whilst the main area is known as Holguin where we stayed was called Playa Blanca.  The resort is mostly known for the amazing beaches!

    So what are the best things to do with kids in Holguin, Cuba. Here's my top 5.

    Number #1 Swim!
    The sea is crystal clear and just beautiful.  Get your sun cream on and dive in. Most of the hotels also have amazing pools which is perfect for cooling off and keeping the kids happy.

    Number #2 Water sports
    Sticking with the water you can try a Hobi Cat, pedelos, kayaks, snorkelling at most of the hotels in this area.

    Number #3 Horse & cart ride
    In rural places in Cuba this is still the most popular method of transportation.  We took an hour trip away from the hotel.  It was interesting to see some of real Cuba.  The homes, people and scenery.  Our guide took us to a locals home (described as a zoo) who rescued animals mainly birds.  She was so warm and welcoming.  

    Number #4 Visit the Wednesday carnival (opposite Playa Costa Verde Hotel)
    In our resort several hotels join forces and put on a weekly carnival.  There is a small shopping centre Bolera de Playa Pesquero, market (larger market is in Guardalavaca) and live music and dancing. Our hotel operated a shuttle train for a small fee but lots of people hired the old 1940's/1950's cars which look incredible. You can even try bowling at Bolera el Pescador.

    Number #5 Visit Dolphins at Delfinario de Bahia de Naranjo
    This is a small but well looked after dolphinarium. We ummed and ahhed due to animal welfare but it really was a highlight of our trip.

    We also took a trip into Holguin city which was very interesting but a little too long and hot for the kids.  It was a great way to see more of Cuba.  Large parts are incredibly rural which I had not expected. Holguin City itself is very built up and busy which after the calm of the countryside was an assault to the senses.  Everyone we encountered on our trip was extremely friendly and great with kids.