Family days out: Stanwick Lakes

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The perfect destination for your little adventurers is at the heart of Northamptonshire!

The recent warmer weather tempted me outside to Stanwick Lakes earlier this week with my three children.

A 750-acre countryside attraction and nature reserve in the heart of Northamptonshire’s Nene Valley, it seemed perfect to burn up some of their energy.

My two eldest, aged six and four, were really excited when I told them where we were going and what they could expect there.

(Ruby, my youngest at 18 months, is too young to understand the adventure ahead!)

I last came to Stanwick Lakes a good year ago so I knew there were water features in which the kids could play – and potentially get very wet.

So a bag was packed with spare clothes and a towel, just in case!

Arriving on site over the bridge (you’ll need to press the button on the machine to get your parking ticket before you can get in to the park) and the kids were instantly excited to see all of the outdoor climbing areas.

There are extensive play areas to help keep adventurous families entertained.

But it’s also worth noting that nature lovers, walkers and cyclists are catered for too with the acres of wide open spaces and paths.

With wellies donned and jackets and gloves on too (it might have warmed up since the colder weather last week, but it was still a little chilly), we headed to the large climbing area.

Kai and Ella scrambled through hidden underground tunnels, ran up steep steps and whizzed back down on various slides, laughing and squealing as they did.

There was a rubber tyre swing which they clambered on together – giggling all the time while trying to manoeuvre themselves on so that they could fit on together.

Of course, it was up to me to push them higher and faster!

While the two oldest were having fun, Ruby had a toddle about but after ten minutes was quite content to sit back in her buggy (she’s still getting over a cold, bless her).

Next up was the water feature. Running water glides down various pieces of sculpted wood, causing pools of water.

Kai and Ella had a little splash before the sand beckoned them to play.

There is so much here for kids of all ages to explore and enjoy.

There are two swings for younger children and a very cool looking four-person ‘swing’ for the older ones (and adults, if you dare).

Once you all sit on it, use your feet to make it go round. But beware – it goes up and down too! Great fun.

After lots of play outside, it was time to head indoors for a well-deserved drink and some lunch.

There are plenty of hot and cold drinks and meals and snacks on offer in the café in the visitor centre.

And if the weather has got a bit wet, then the kids can play in the indoor play area – The Hideaway – which adjoins the cafe.

Perfect for them to enjoy while you relax. Entrance to The Hideaway is £1.50 for children up to 140cms (£1 for children under 90cms).

Once we quenched our thirst and satisfied our hunger, we headed outside for another play before heading home, full with lots of happy thoughts about our visit – and already planning the next one back!

How to get there

Stanwick Lakes is situated off the Stanwick roundabout on the A45 in East Northamptonshire between Wellingborough and Thrapston.

If using Sat Nav for directions, use the postcode NN9 6GY.

Opening times

March to October: Site open 7am-9pm, with the visitor centre open from 10am-5pm.

November to February: Site open 7am-5pm, visitor centre open 10am-4pm weekends and school holidays.

Entrance fees

There is no admission fee although there are parking charges to use the car park, which differ depending on the time of the year.

Prices start from £2 per day.

A pay station to pay for your car parking is situated near the log cabins opposite the car park, so ensure you pay here before trying to leave the site.

Check their website at www.stanwicklakes.org.uk/northampton for the full list of charges.

Special events

There are lots of events taking place over the coming months, including regular activities such as the Health Walk which takes place every Tuesday at 10am.

Just meet at the Visitor Centre at 10am to join in for the walk which takes about 45 minutes (normal car park charges apply).