Family days out: Wicksteed Park

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There’s fun for all the family at Wicksteed Park.

With a Certificate of Excellence from TripAdvisor, the travel review website, in 2012 you can be sure a visit to Wicksteed will be a great one.

The park was founded by Charles Wicksteed – the inventor of children’s play equipment – and it is home to rides, attractions, a nature reserve, entertainment and camping.

Plenty of fun for everyone. And fun is what we planned to have on our visit!

I have to admit that I love Wicksteed Park and all it has to offer.

Its acres of open space mixed with rides and play areas has kept my children entertained over the years.

Located in Kettering, it’s just a short journey from our home in Corby.

On this particular day it was a very sunny day – perfect for a day out.

From the moment we got in the car to head to the park, the kids were excited.

As we’ve got a parking season ticket, we drove straight through the gates and parked up.

Ruby’s pram was then packed in the bottom with a picnic and rug, ready for lunch later.

First we headed to the ride area near the astro slide.

All rides are payable by tokens so buying them was first on the list.

There’s a ticket booth inside the amusements here, so I bought a sheet of 30 tickets for £25 or they are £1.10 each.

I didn’t plan on using them all today but as it’s better value for money, I’ll keep any remaining for a future visit.

Bear in mind though that tickets are now printed with the year on them, so any bought this year will need to be redeemed in 2013.

So off to the rides we headed. Kai and Ella had a fab time going on the caterpillar rollercoaster and tug boat while Ruby and I watched.

At age one, she’s too young to go on the rides but was quite content to watch and wave at Kai and Ella!

After a few rides, we headed to the main park with the swings, slides and climbing frames. These are all free to use which is great.

There have been several times when I’ve brought the kids here just to play on the climbing equipment and have a picnic in the lovely surroundings.

It certainly can help save the pennies in your pocket.

Ruby loved having a run around and had fun exploring the slides and mini-climbing frame.

After playing for a while, we headed to the large grassy area overlooking the train track (yes, Wicksteed has its very own train which travels around the park!).

We tucked into our picnic and, I have to say, it was lovely eating outside on such a lovely, sunny day watching so many other families do the same thing.

After lunch we headed to the far end of the park to the ‘bigger’ rides.

Kai and Ella were really excited and loved going on the ladybird rollercoaster and then the umbrellas.

It was a little busier this end of the park but they didn’t have to wait much more than 30 minutes to get on the umbrellas.

There is also a log flume, go karts and big rollercoaster here though Ella was too small to go on them.

Kai was just tall enough to go on the rollercoaster but he didn’t fancy it!

Next we had a wander to the sand pit play area near the lake. There are also two small climbing frames here – one for toddlers and the other for older children.

With a little help Ruby was able to use the smaller frame while Kai and Ella played on the larger one.

The kids were having so much fun (and me, might I add!) but it was time for an ice cream break – a must on such a sunny day!

During peak opening times at the park, there are plenty of food and refreshments on offer so even if you did forget to pack a picnic, it doesn’t matter as you won’t go hungry here with so much on offer.

It was starting to get late so the kids had another hour of play on the free play equipment before we headed home.

I had ride tickets left over from this visit so will be coming back again soon!

Entrance fees

Entry is free – you’ll just need to pay for parking.

Weekdays in June, parking is just £2 (as rides won’t be open) and during peak times (weekends and daily during July and August) parking is £6.

There are plenty of climbing frames, slides and swings which are free to use.

However, admittance on rides requires tokens. These are £1.10 each or you can buy a sheet of 30 tickets for £25.

To give you an idea of cost, most rides require one or two tickets per ride.

Wristbands can also be purchased and cost from £17 for children and £13 for adults.

Online deals

This Father’s Day dads go free at Wicksteed!

When you purchase two or more wristbands for Sunday, June 16, dads will get a free wristband.

To redeem this special online deal, just select ‘Father’s Day Offer’ wristbands from the ticket page on the website.

Save on parking with your own parking pass.

Pay £36 for a season parking ticket and you won’t have to worry about paying each time you visit!

Opening times

The park operates different opening hours and parking fees depending on the time of the year.

Rides open at 10.30am. For more information, call 01536 512475 or visit www.wicksteedpark.co.uk.

Where to find them

Wicksteed Park is located on Barton Road, Kettering, Northants, NN15 6NJ.