Stockeld Park Summer Adventure Review

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StockeldParkThe Summer Adventure
Stockeld Park, Yorkshire

19 July to 1 September 2014

www.stockeldpark.co.uk

We were recently invited to visit Stockeld Park in Wetherby, Yorkshire to try their new Summer Adventure, running through the summer holidays from 19 July to 1 September. We had 3 reviewers and their families go along and they all loved it and rated it 5 out of 5, you can read their thoughts below.

For memorable days out, find active Adventure Zones in the beautiful woodland of Stockeld Park, you’ll find retro roller skating, jumping pillows, chopper go-karts and electric scooters! Discover adventure play and installations at every turn in the Enchanted Forest before getting lost in the maze. Ice cream and treats, picnics and sweets can be found in the woodland cafe and Magical Gift Emporium. If you are looking for things to do in Yorkshire during the easter, spring and summer holidays we have lots of adventure play and indoor fun for all the family to enjoy!

Tickets cost: Adult: £12, Child: £12 (Children 2 to 12 years), Family: £42 (based on 2 adults and 2 children, or 1 adult and 3 children). Under 2s are FREE.

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Reviewed by Gemma Ingham
My family and I were invited to Stockeld Park for a preview of their Summer Adventure. I had never heard of Stockeld Park, but upon looking at their website they are conveniently situated in Wetherby off the A1(M), which is a location ideal to travel to from most parts of Yorkshire.

There is nothing worse than stressing out on the way to a day out because you can’t find it, or it’s not clearly signposted, but we had no problems finding Stockeld Park. It was clearly signposted from the motorway exit and when we arrived had a clear entrance and huge gravel car park. First impressions were it looks clean, open, modern and inviting.

We first arrived into a central area that all the other areas are accessible and signposted from. From here you can find your way to the gift emporium, café, ice cream parlour, maze, the Enchanted Forest, electric scooters or to a large expanse of open grass where you can find a play area and the inflatable zone. The grass has picnic tables, a football area, and space hoppers scattered around. My 2 year old was delighted with the large open space to run around in after being stuck in the car, and even happier to play with the ‘bouncer bouncers’ (space hoppers to us adults!). It’s a fabulous area to eat, meet family, or just sit down to rest and let the kids run around within sight.

We first visited the inflatable area where we found what I can only describe as a giant pillow in the ground. It was huge and immediately my inner child screamed to go on it! Adults are welcome on it as well as children, and there was a member of staff supervising that would be able to step in should anyone get too boisterous, or to control the amount of people on it. In this area there is also a huge inflatable slide, also supervised by a staff member.

We moved onto a farmyard themed playground with really good quality and sturdy wooden tractors, a play house, a 4×4, and a train and a tunnel. I was really impressed with the quality of the equipment and they were suitable for a variety of ages to play on. We spent a lot of time in this part of the park as there was enough equipment for all the children to play on without having to queue or squeeze on.

After a bit of playing we decided to ‘quickly’ visit the maze before going for some food. Bad idea. There was nothing quick about it! I did expect the maze to be simpler with an easy way to get out, but it was actually quite a large maze we got spectacularly lost in. My husband even resorted to tracking where we were in the maze on a map application on his phone to try and get us out of it! There was plenty to discover on the way round, we went gnome hunting, found 2 Tardis’, and I believe there are other exciting things to find within it, but we gave them a miss in favour of finding the way out. At some point in the maze all routes are taken to a central area where you can find a map, and a telephone number for help which I seriously did consider calling at one point! However, after about 45 minutes we found our way out but could have easily spent way more time in there had we wanted to find all the things there were to discover. I was told by another visitor that they found their way out of the maze in 20 minutes, so maybe we are just really bad at getting out of a maze. Either way it was fun and exciting!

One thing to note is that on the route out there was quite a large bridge to go over with steep steps either side. We had a pram and luckily had my husband to help get the pram over, but had I been on my own I would not have been able to get over the bridge and would have potentially been stuck, so I feel a warning about this may have been helpful before we went into the maze. There may have been another route out without crossing the bridge but this is the only route we found. There are gates in the maze that are able to be locked and unlocked by the staff so I assume these are changed regularly to keep the maze different so it’s not the same each time you visit.

After food and a wonderful ice cream from the parlour (try the mango and passionfruit – it’s lush, and a surprisingly reasonable price), we took a walk around the Enchanted Forest, which was far better than I expected. Along the peaceful woodland walk we found fairy houses that my toddler could ring the doorbells on, giants, toadstool houses, a teapot slide, witch’s house amongst a load more interactive displays such as xylophones to play, and a musical tree. There were also a couple more adventure playgrounds. One was more of a climbing playground that was too old for our toddler, but the second one she really loved was a Noah’s Ark theme with a couple of boats to climb and run around on, wooden animals the children can sit on, and all situated in a huge sandpit.

The forest was a lovely walk around and really stimulates the imagination of the children and encourages play. I would’ve happily gone around it again if our daughter hadn’t suddenly decided she was terrified of all things enchanted! Even without the attractions, the woodland itself was beautiful and well looked after and it was lovely to get away from the hustle and bustle of the main park.

After our walk through the Enchanted Forest we decided to give the electric scooter trail a go. There is an age limit and obviously our toddler wasn’t allowed, so we went on one at a time. It was a brilliant experience! I had been in two minds about trying it as I suffer with back and hip problems, and am on the larger side but I had no need to worry. As long as you have basic good balance you’re good to go. You do have to do a little basic training before you are allowed to go on the trail that involves doing a figure of 8 on the scooter so the staff can see you’re competent. When it is time to set off the group is led by a member of staff at the front, and one at the back so you don’t have to worry you’d be left on your own while everyone else raced off. The trail runs the same course as the enchanted forest walk but is kept separate by barriers and a green carpet to ride on. It is a fairly simple route with a few corners but it’s not like a race track so you can go at your own pace and enjoy the ride. I really enjoyed it and it is definitely worth a go and is something a bit different you don’t tend to see in most family parks. I had assumed the scooter ride was more for children but people of all ages and sizes were going on it. For children not comfortable riding the scooter on their own there is also the facility for them to sit on a small seat on their parent’s scooter so you can share the experience.

As for the facilities of the park, they were good but I think there is room for improvement in some areas. The main toilets were fantastic and had a baby change in the women’s toilets as well as a separate baby change (always pleased to see a separate baby change so Dad’s can do it). However, half way around the Enchanted Forest walk there is a small hut for refreshments and toilets behind that. These weren’t so great and are basically porta-cabin toilets that were clean enough, but smelt awful and were very, very small. Given that they are next to a café and halfway round a fairly long walk where smaller children will inevitably need the loo, I would imagine they are used a lot and think a purpose built toilet block in an enchanted forest theme would be perfect for the environment and be much more comfortable for guests to use.

I was very impressed with the quality and maintenance of the entire park, and it is clearly well looked after. However, I do feel the Farmyard playground near the inflatable area could do with some safer, softer flooring. Most of it is grass, and the floor around each attraction is Astro Turf and not particularly soft. My toddler was pushed off one of the tractors by another child and had a particularly bad fall from a height face first onto the Astro Turf that didn’t really offer much protection. I would expect that a soft rubber flooring, or even woodchip would be softer and more suitable for an area where children are climbing up and down things.

Luckily the accident my daughter had wasn’t as serious as it could have been, but had it been more serious I have no doubt it would have been easy to get help. There were always staff members milling about with radios throughout our visit so I am confident we would have been looked after immediately.

At one point my husband and daughter did fall awkwardly down the inflatable slide (his own fault for trying to climb up it while holding her), and the staff member supervising was immediately available and asking if they were okay, so I do give top marks for very attentive, caring and friendly staff who do seem interested in the well being and enjoyment of their customers.

We spent about 5 hours on our visit to Stockeld Park and managed to do everything at a comfortable pace. Should you want to go at a slower pace, explore the maze in more depth, or chill out on the grass and let the kids run free you could easily spend a whole day there without ever feeling bored which makes it fantastic value for a family day out. I wouldn’t hesitate to visit again and will certainly make it a regular visit whenever they change their adventures with the seasons. We left the park with one very tired but very happy little girl which is a sure sign of a successful day out.

Rating: 5/5 thumbs_up

Tickets cost: Adult: £12, Child: £12 (Children 2 to 12 years), Family: £42 (based on 2 adults and 2 children, or 1 adult and 3 children). Under 2s are FREE.

For more information or to book tickets visit www.stockeldpark.co.uk.

Stockeld Park. Harrogate Road, Wetherby, Yorkshire, LS22 4AN

5Star

See review number 2 here.

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