Ten family-friendly things to do in Northamptonshire this weekend

East Carlton Park play area NNL-160324-122917001
East Carlton Park play area NNL-160324-122917001

The summer holidays are in full swing - so what are you going to do with the kids this weekend?

Here’s a suggestion of free or cheap days out ideas.

The Falconry Centre at Holdenby House. Mike Hewlett with some of his birds.
Black eagle, Harris Hawk and Barn Owl.
Features: Anna
080428KA

The Falconry Centre at Holdenby House. Mike Hewlett with some of his birds. Black eagle, Harris Hawk and Barn Owl. Features: Anna 080428KA

East Carlton Park

East Carlton Park is a small country park situated just outside of Corby.

As well as multiple cultural attractions, a heritage centre and a series of small independent shops for adults to explore, this park boasts an extremely popular playground for children of all ages.

Although this attraction is very much weather dependent, on a sunny day anyone can enjoy a beautiful stroll through the acres of park and woodland that are brilliantly maintained and scattered with a variety of nature trails and planned routes that will guide walkers past abstract sculptures and informative signs.

This day out also offers a brilliant opportunity for young Pokemon Go players and their parents alike to experience the local countryside.

Holdenby Falconry Centre

Experiences on offer at Holdenby Falconry Centre can easily become a catalyst for a real passion for birds of prey.

Experiences start at £60 a session or £70 for a half day, which includes hands-on experience with a whole range of different falcons, hawks, eagles and owls.

Children from Weldon Village Hall pre-school enjoy a visit from Bugtopia. Pictured looking at a Chameleon are Racey Herbert, Aimee Cartell, Tom Bulfin and Ty Herbert. ENGNNL00120130717142851

Children from Weldon Village Hall pre-school enjoy a visit from Bugtopia. Pictured looking at a Chameleon are Racey Herbert, Aimee Cartell, Tom Bulfin and Ty Herbert. ENGNNL00120130717142851

Although this experience requires a bit more planning than a trip to the park, this experience offers something that the entire family can get involved in.

Hunting days, photography workshops and falconry courses provide fun summer oppurtunities for anyone above the age of 10.

Riverside Hub

Young children who love soft play areas (and parents too) will be happy to know that the UK’s largest indoor play area is situated in Northampton.

Planet Bounce frontage NNL-160219-140109001

Planet Bounce frontage NNL-160219-140109001

Riverside Hub offers state of the art facilities, a toddlers village and a sensory room as well as a jam-packed timetable of classes available for the little ones.

When the weather takes a bad turn like it so often does in Britain, parents can let their children blow out some steam in the biggest soft play area they’ve ever seen while under constant supervision.

Children can choose to play on the equiptment, challenge the climbing wall or just relax in the creative studio.

Registration is a one-off payment of £5 and future visits are free, so visitors can be as flexible as the weather.

Bugtopia

This small exotic animal shelter began its life as part of Green Trunks Garden Centre in Great Cransley, Kettering.

Bugtopia offers children the chance to get up close and personal with exotic reptiles and insects as well as daily educational talks about all the animals to keep parents interested too.

Being part of a garden centre, all ages are catered for.

Children are sure to be enthraled by the animals while adults can enjoy a leasurely stroll around the garden centre browsing the huge variety of hanging baskets, rockery and potted plants and finish the day at the newly opened Little Country Smoke House for a bite to eat.

If your little ones do enjoy Bugtopia in Kettering, Bugtopia The Zoo has just recently opened at Rutland Water.

Bugtopia The Zoo is a much larger version of its predecesser and is home to caimans, civets and meerkats as well as a walk through jungle enclosure very similar to the Butterfly House which used the same building before closing down almost a decade ago.

Planet Bounce

The Corby branch of Planet Bounce is a brand new attraction previously only situated in Nottingham and the only one of it’s kind in the local area.

On a rainy day, Planet Bounce is a great way to entertain and exercise the kids.

With six seperate trampoline areas, there’s a whole multitude of possibilities to keep children entertained and jumping around til their heart’s content from basketball to dodgeball and airbags to tumbling tracks, Planet Bounce will see any budding gymnast spring into action.

For those who just can’t help their excitement, Planet Bounce also offers specially timetabled sessions for teenagers and adults alike to enjoy a bounce while a DJ plays all the latest music.

Elsie’s Pottery Painting Barn

This small, independent and very creative day out offers visitors a chance to get arty for the day and leave with some beautiful pottery.

Elsie’s Pottery Painting Barn encourages people of all ages to get as creative as they can with unique bisques and glaze to paint some incredible pieces of work in their own way.

Prices start at 2 to cover glaze and firing costs, after this visitors can pick from a huge variety of plain bisques and glaze to spend the afternoon on their creation.

The laid back environment and support from staff means that anyone of any artistic ability can make something personal to take home or to give to a friend or relative.

Little artists can use hand prints and even canine artists can leave a paw print on plates, mugs, saucers and money banks to add a personal touch to special gifts.

Perfect for all weathers, visitors should contact Elsie’s Pottery Painting Barn before their visit to ensure that there is room on 07986 483493.

Wicksteed Park

Wicksteed Park has undergone a huge transformation in recent years and now offers a tonne of things to see, do, ride and buy for every age.

the 147 acres of lakes, parks and rides offers one of the first water rides in the UK, a double pirate ship, a 140m zip line, laser tag and their latest attraction; Meerkat Burrows.

On a sunny day Wicksteed Park is at its best and the whole family can easily spend the entire day there, if not longer (the wicksteed campsite is extremely popular in summer) but even wet and windy days can be spent at the indoor play area, laser tag arena or in the marquee and restuarant.

Regular events are held at the park all summer long.

Stanwick Lakes

Stanwick Lakes is more than just a well maintained nature reserve.

Whether your children prefer to hunt for insects and wildlife, or play on the swings and rides, Stanwick Lakes offers summertime fun for the youngsters in a natural environment.

The park itself has an assault course, an adventure playground and a discovery zone but visitors are encouraged to explore the lakes by boat, bicycle or even on horseback.

The site is open from 7am to 9pm this summer and the visitor centre from 10am until 6pm

Jungle Parc

The most popular attraction at Irchester Country Park; just outside of Northampton, Jungle Parc is an adventure course in the trees and perfect for those thrill seeking children once the summer holiday boredom sets in.

The woodland is over 200 acres and the childrens adventure course has over 50 different activities to conquer at a safe distance from the ground for children aged three and above.

The brand new Xplorer course is something slightly more challenging for the older children and adults.

This course also has over 50 different activities however these are suspended in the tree canopy and are perfect for families and parties alike.

Billing Aquadrome

Billing Aquadrome offers a whole collection of attractions and things to do.

While the aquadrome itself is a campsite and offers visitors a place to eat, sleep and drink there’s a lot more to Billing than the lakes.

Dizzys club is sure to keep little children entertained all day with nature trails, science club, prize bingo and wild west days.

Older children can enjoy amusement arcades and adventure golf all day and teenagers can get involved with Go Karting for as little as 8 pounds.

Adults can enjoy their time in one of multiple bars at Billing Aquadrome with themed nights, competitions and live entertainment.

General View: Kettering: Wicksteed Park, 
Pavilion
Saturday June 18 2016 NNL-160618-154204009

General View: Kettering: Wicksteed Park, Pavilion Saturday June 18 2016 NNL-160618-154204009

Three new public art installations being unveiled at Stanwick Lakes and Rushden Station. 
Xevi Bayona's installation at Stanwick Lakes. NNL-140815-153928009

Three new public art installations being unveiled at Stanwick Lakes and Rushden Station. Xevi Bayona's installation at Stanwick Lakes. NNL-140815-153928009

The Northampton Balloon Festival at Billing Aquadrome. ENGNNL00120130817132831

The Northampton Balloon Festival at Billing Aquadrome. ENGNNL00120130817132831