Sywell Country Park exists on the site of a former drinking water reservoir near the village of Sywell in East Northamptonshire and has plenty on offer for all.
The reservoir was built at the turn of the 20th century to supply water to the Higham Ferrers and Rushden areas, operating between 1906 and 1979.
Now, it is a country park run by Northamptonshire County Council.
Located in an area of 280,000 square metres, there is plenty to keep families entertained.
There are two circular trails: the Reservoir Trail (2.5 miles) and the Water Works Heritage Trail (0.5 miles) if you’re up for a relaxing walk.
Allow 1.5 hours for the Reservoir Trail and 20 minutes for the Water Works Trail.
It’s worth noting at this point, that no cycling is permitted anywhere in the park.
If you’re not keen on walking (or your little ones aren’t) then there are two play areas near the cafe.
The first is right next to the cafe and has a large sand pit, hide-out house, water play and rocking cow.
My four-year-old Ruby really enjoyed playing with the water and hiding out in the wooden house!
After playing here we headed off to explore the Park. Our adventures took us to the Butterfly Garden.
It’s a lovely little area full with flowers and plants aimed at enticing butterflies – and we spotted a few, including some lovely dragonflies.
It was a lovely clear, sunny day, so we ventured further, climbing up some steps (about 70 in total) to get a view of the reservoir itself.
It was a lot breezier when we reached the top, but the views are beautiful. Perfect if you love the outdoors.
Next on the agenda was the bigger park that Ruby had spotted earlier, The Filter Bed.
This is a large play area filled with sand and has the usual climbing frames and swings you’d expect to find in any children’s park.
It also has a little sand digger, water play and two ornamental silver taps which adds a quirkiness to the area.
Ruby was eager to climb the larger play frame so I gave her some help in climbing the chain ladder, before she crossed the rope bridge.
As the sand was quite wet from the morning dew, it was a little slippery on the rope and Ruby actually fell between the gap in the rope when she tried to get off.
Luckily I managed to catch her as she slipped so it’s worth bearing this in mind if you have little ones wanting to do the same.
Half an hour of playing here was enough for Ruby so we headed for another walk – this time paying a visit to the Amphibian Pond.
We weren’t lucky enough to spot any pond life except for some more dragonflies and water insects.
Parking here is great value for just £2.70 for up to 12 hours.
And if you’re making a day of it, bring a picnic or head to the Pump House Cafe for snacks, hot food and drinks.
More fun indoors
If you’ve explored outside and want to head indoors, why not try out the Wagtail Soft Play area, next to the cafe?
It’s just £1.50 for 45 minutes play (maximum height of children is 1.2m).
Just book your tickets at the cafe before entering.