Reviewed by Erica Bourn
With a very adventurous six and a half year old and 16 month old twins it can sometimes be quite a challenge to find days out that suit our children's varied age's. However, this need not have been a concern on Saturday, as Stockeld Park ticked the boxes for everyone.
It was a fairly overcast, and at times drizzly, October day but we donned our wellington boots and headed over to Stockeld Park near Wetherby, not really knowing quite what to expect from the Halloween Adventure. The attraction is well sign posted, and not far off the A1 (M) making it easily accessible from the surrounding area.
On arrival we headed to the ticket office, where you can choose to buy tickets for either a specified number of elements or a day pass which will give you the opportunity to explore everything (the Wizard's Den during the Halloween Adventure, or a visit to Santa during the Christmas Experience are an additional charge). We had day passes on this occasion, but for future visits we may well opt for individual elements which help families tailor their day out dependent upon budget and time available.
Our first stop was the magical Enchanted Forest, which we explored by foot, (and double buggy), but for the energetic amongst you can be view the Nordic Way via a mile long ski run. From the initial walk through the (talking) gates, we were all mesmerised, as the woodland trail encompassed a myriad of interactive activities, excellent and varied play areas and beautiful illuminated sculptures. There was clearly a lot of investment in the attraction, as it was all done to a very high standard and not in the least bit tacky, with reference to many a fairy tale along the way. In all fairness, we could have spent a lot longer than the hour or so we spent on this, and had to chivvy our 6 year old up, but as any mum of toddlers will tell you, their tummies past lunch time wait for no-one and we knew we could return later in the day. Can only imagine how magical this walk would be at dusk or in the evening, and can't wait to return to see it in person.
We headed for the cafe for lunch, which was large, clean and had a good supply of high chairs and buggy park. The food was all cooked to order and homemade, which did mean a little delay, but was a good quality and fairly reasonably priced for this kind of an attraction.
The ice rink was next on my husband and son the elders agenda, whilst our littlest people had a well-earned and contented nap. The rink itself is a reasonable size and real ice, and friendly marshall’s not only ensured no silly behaviour but also helped out some of the more wobbly participants. For the younger skaters, penguins, (ice equivalent of stabilisers I suppose), could be pushed along to give them more confidence until they found their ice legs. Both really enjoyed their time on the ice, (which was unlimited on the day we were there), and topped it off with a hot chocolate complete with the requisite marshmallows and cream… yum!
As we drank our chocolate, we were entertained by the many dressed up little people participating in the Halloween Catwalk to suitably themed music. Never seen such an adorable hoard of little monsters, and the friendly staff entered into the spirit of the occasion and made sure everyone felt at ease.
The excellent farm based playground was next on our agenda, with wooden trains, 4×4's and tractors to keep little people entertained. Pumpkin picking and the maze still remained on our hit list, but calls from our eldest to look around the enticing gift shop won through after that. It is really a great shop, with an array of gorgeous Christmas decorations and gifts… do challenge parents to leave with wallets intact though, but at least you will be pleased to know it was all of a good quality.
All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable day out, and although not necessarily cheap if you go for the full package, it does, I feel, represent good value for money and a magical experience for the whole family to enjoy. Budgets can be lessened by opting for fewer activities, and to be fair, I think a very good day out could be had with the fabulous enchanted wood walk. We will undoubtedly be back, and special events are held on a regular basis throughout the season so please do check the events calendar at www.stockeldpark.co.uk.
For more infomation or to book tickets online visit www.stockeldpark.co.uk.