A former ironstone quarry and a Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence 2015 winner, Irchester Country Park is home to a large children’s play area and offers several walking trails through 83 hectares of mixed woodland.
The park is also home to the Quarryman’s Rest Cafe, Jungle Parc UK (open April to October and daily during school holidays) as well as the Irchester Narrow Gauge Railway Museum (which is only open on Sundays).
There is ample parking available in the upper or lower car parks although it’s worth noting the gates to the lower car park close at different times throughout the year (currently at 4pm).
So if you plan on staying until later in the day, you will need to ensure you move your car to the upper car park before then to ensure you don’t get locked in!
On the day of our visit, I managed to get parked in the lower car park which is located next to the Cafe and children’s play area.
Parking is £2.70 regardless of how long you stay for. Luckily I managed to find the correct change to buy a ticket, as no change is given.
My four-year old, Ruby, was excited as soon as we entered the play area.
There is plenty of open space as well as different climbing frames to suit all ages, which is great.
There’s nothing worse than visiting somewhere that only caters for older children!
Ruby initially ran over to the sand play area which had its own climbing frame and slide as well as a metal bowl and funnel to help channel the sand through.
In fact, the majority of our time at the park was spent here!
There are also plenty of little shelters – or hideouts – too, so we had a few games of hide and seek.
Ruby hid in the wooden train and under the shelter of the wooden huts!
Also here are swings suitable for toddlers, a funky rotating see-saw, small and large climbing frames, a mini rope bridge, numerous walkways to test your balance and plenty of mini hills to climb up and down.
After an hour of play we headed to the cafe to get a drink which we had while sitting outside watching one of the workers trying to move all of the fallen leaves using a leaf blower.
After a drink and a nibble (we brought our own food although food is available from the cafe too) we headed back to the play area before leaving.
There are also a number of trails available if you fancy taking a walk.
The Woodland Walk is just half a mile and takes about 15 minutes (perfect for smaller children) while the Woodpecker Trail is just over a mile and takes about 50 minutes.
For those more adventurous, why not try the Ironstone Trail.
It’s a two-mile walk so you should allow an hour and 10 minutes to complete it.
There’s plenty of parking available with disabled parking available right near the cafe and children’s play area.
There is a flat fee of £2.70 to park which is great value.
The museum is open on Sundays from 10am to 4pm and admission is free.
Upcoming events in December
Mondays – regular volunteer day, 10am-3pm.
Sunday, December 6 – a chance to learn more about the geological features and ironstone history with Ian Clarke. Walk will start outside the Rangers Office at 11am and will last about an hour.
Saturday, December 12 – from 10am—3pm it’s a family volunteer day. The park needs to replace some of its old bird boxes so you’ll get a chance to build new ones to put up in the park while finding out which birds can be found there.
Sunday, December 13 – a chance to come along as a family and spend half an hour constructing habitat piles in the education areas ready for winter hibernation. Meet near the Nature Hut either between 11am and midday or 12.30pm and 1.30pm.
For more information on events or volunteering, call 01933 276 866.
Pop NN29 7DL into your Sat Nav to get you there.