Stockeld Park

A bright, sunny and hot day in August took me to one of the most talked about places to go, Stockeld Park in Wetherby. The sad fact is before having a child, I had never even heard about it. However, it is possibly the most famous thing about Wetherby, passing the Whaler and the racecourse!

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Finding Stockeld Park is quite easy although if using Sat Nav, make sure the correct postcode is used. Using the wrong one takes you to a field! There is plenty of free parking and most of the park is flat and easy to walk around (there is a lot of walking!)

When you get into Stockeld Park, it is easy to be a bit underwhelmed. Panic not! There are lots of things hidden away and that is the beauty of this place. You could probably go 5 times and still notice different things.

We started off in the maze and the idea is to find 6 little attractions/toys and then find the main attraction which leads you to an exit/freedom!

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Find this and you’ve almost escaped!

I am not sure if it is cheating but it is an idea to take a photo of the map on your phone to help. As Heidi is only just 2, we wanted to make sure we didn’t spend too much time in there. However, she loved the little ornaments and toys.

The maze took about 30 minutes and after we had a picnic lunch on the main lawn. The lawn is huge and would never get full. On here, there are a few footballs and toys for the older ones to burn a bit of energy. This was actually a really nice touch.

However, we headed into the farm themed playground, which was just the right size for kids up to about 8. The rides were really well made out of wood and was something a little bit different to the ones you normally see. The slides are a bit quick, although not massive, so be careful!

Also on the main lawn is an air cushion, bouncy castle slide and go kart bikes. This was the only place we encountered queues, which was good considering it was a perfect day in the middle of the school holidays. The air cushion was the only one we went on. If you have a toddler it might be an idea to go on as well, especially if the rest of the kids are a bit older. A word of “warning” you can feel as though you are still on there hours after leaving the park!!!

The bouncy slide was a bit imposing for me with Heidi and the go karts had a very long queue. Or was it that people had a lot of time when they got a go on them?! Maybe next time!

We did the obligatory nappy change and the facilities were excellent and clean. I did only see 2 changing rooms, but I think there was another in the ladies toilet. Also inside was a cafe and some indoor softplay activities including a smaller air cushion and a playhouse. There was also a crafts corner which could come in useful for a quiet half an hour!

At this point, we thought that we had seen everything and was going to go into the Enchanted Forest as a bit of a throw-in, but how wrong we were! This was the star attraction, hidden away within the trees (obviously!). It is about a 2 mile walk with numerous small, quirky attractions, some operated by button, others by sensor! There is an influence of music/songs in the attractions, so much so that on the last one, Heidi wanted a “song please” after pressing the button!

Along the walk are about 5 playgrounds, just in the off chance that the kids have any more energy to burn!! A couple were a bit too big for Heidi, but the rest were perfect. There is more than enough space for everyone and we spent a good hour going through the forest and it was the highlight of the day.

There were a couple of things we didn’t do, including the roller skating (I couldn’t do that as a child!) and the scooters. For the scooters, the little ones had to be at least 4 to go on with an adult (I think that was the only activity you had to pay for)

All in all a brilliant, yet tiring day out. A few tips to help you if you’re planning on going to Stockeld Park:

  • pick a good day weather wise. While there are indoor activities, most of it is outdoor and you want to be able to enjoy it.
  • drink plenty and wear good shoes. There is a lot of walking and while it is flat, you need to be comfortable.
  • avoid the school holidays if possible. We went in the middle of the school holidays and while it didn’t feel crowded at all, obviously it is best to go when it is quieter

All in all, a fab day out and I am sure we will be back next summer. Stockeld Park do themed Halloween and Christmas events and so it will be good to see what they look like.

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Ripley Show

We went to the Ripley Show, which is a countryside show/fair held in the grounds of Ripley Castle, Harrogate. It cost £8 per adult and free for toddlers. There are various price points for various ages, young and old. Car parking is free, plentiful and well organised.

The first thing I should point out is that most, if not all, transactions were in cash so don’t rely on the plastic!

Ripley Show is split into 2 sections either side of the lake. The fair side was more “toddler friendly” as the animals were smaller and you could get up close to them. At the heart of the show is the judging of various animals, crafts and other activities. As such, it isn’t a traditional “farm” day out. However, this only adds to the experience of seeing how animals adapt and react to different scenarios.

Speaking of animals on the far side, there were pigs and sheep, along with ferret racing and exhibition

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Perhaps the highlight was the sheep shearing show which was highly entertaining and well worth staying for. For the little ones, you are best getting to the front as the crowds do flock to it. However, because of the outdoor nature of the show, there will always be space.

On the near side of the lake are stalls (numerous and diverse), a cow tent which is exactly how it sounds as well, as well as 4 show rings where the horses seemingly were. There was also a show jumping ground and a dog activity track and there was plenty of activities to watch for the little ones. In some of the tents were some of the entries into the vegetables and crafts competition:

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As¬†Ripley Show is an outdoor event, if it is raining, you are in trouble and so an advance check on the weather is needed! I didn’t see any baby changing facilities so if you need to, take a towel to act as a changing mat! We took a pram because of the size of the grounds and it is difficult for the little ones to walk the large distances. However, some of the terrain is difficult simply because the fields are seemingly used for farming the rest of the year, so it is good exercise! You can also bring dogs (on a lead) so that adds to the atmosphere as well!

Ripley Show is (apparently) a scaled down version of the Yorkshire Show. However, that is a complement as it is excellent value for money and it has everything that you want/expect form such an event. While not marketed for young families specifically, it is pretty much ideal if your little ones are into animals. If not, and they don’t like the Great Outdoors, it won’t be for you!

We have put Ripley Show on our list to visit again next year, so long as the weather is good!!

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