Reviewed by Louise Totton
I’m really not sure where to start with reviewing our day at Stockeld Park’s Summer Adventure, other than to say “what a day!”
My two girls, aged 5 and 2, had both been delirious with excitement about visiting the Summer Adventure, probably due to visiting the website several times prior to visiting and replaying the videos of the Enchanted Forest again and again! They were excited to the point of my husband and I beginning to regret showing them the videos, as with young kids, I think too much expectation can lead to disappointment and I was concerned that it wasn’t going to be the magical experience the girls expected. I also couldn’t see how we could possibly fill two hours there, never mind five or six. I could not have been more wrong!
Stockeld Park is well sign posted from the main road in Wetherby, and we found it really easily. The carpark was large and well laid out; we found a parking space quickly. We joined a small queue to get into the park, and were met by very friendly and knowledgeable staff, who answered all of our questions and pointed out how to access the various attractions on site. It was immediately obvious that the whole area was clean and really well looked after and maintained.
The girls saw the huge inflatable slide first and immediately made a beeline for it. It was set on nicely mowed and looked after lawns, and really was quite enormous! We lost count of the number of times the girls went up and down it (and I must admit, I had a couple of turns too), and they were almost disappointed to get off so we could try out the giant air pillow.
Again, both girls, and all of the many other kids using it, seemed to be having a ball. It seemed so much more fun (and was many times the size) of a bouncy castle. It is surrounded by sand so from a safety perspective it looks great. We only left because our youngest’s eye was caught by the large farm themed playground right nearby, so off we trekked to that.
The girls were absolutely in their element, climbing up tractors and carts and sliding down some pretty fast slides. The same as the rest of the park so far, all of the equipment was immaculately clean and looked after. There was lots of space between the different structures so even though there were a lot of children playing on them, it never seemed busy.
After this, the kids said they were hungry (after all that fun and physical activity, that was no great surprise!) so we headed down to the picnic area to eat the picnic we’d brought. There were plenty of picnic benches on a lovely flat lawn, we sat and ate our sandwiches and looked at the park guide discussing what everyone would like to do next.
We then went off to find the electric scooters, one of the things we had all been looking forward to the most, and the only part of the park that has an extra charge attached. These are standing up scooters, rather like a three wheeled segway. Some of them also have a small seat on them to allow parents to take children who aren’t old enough or tall enough to ride their own scooter. We were given a brief but thorough tutorial on how to use and control the scooters, and the children were all given helmets to wear.
The course runs on a path through the Enchanted Forest, which itself is all around the border of the park. There was a guide at the front and the back of the group, and they made sure everyone was safe and not left behind. It was immediately obvious why under 8s can’t take their own scooter; they’re actually pretty powerful and fast! It was great fun going round the 1.2km course, and we were able to point out some of the magical things in the Enchanted Forest to the girls, which made them really look forward to walking through it later. Both girls found the ride exhilarating, and were grinning from ear to ear by the end of the route.
The eldest then said we HAD to go on the chopper go-karts next, so we headed down there. Again, every age was catered for because as well as the standard single seat karts that suited my 5 year old right through to a fully grown man, there were a few two seated karts with space for a smaller child. All four of us had several turns on these, and although they’re pedal powered, they actually seem to go pretty quickly and they steered really well. Just like everything else so far, they were really clean and looked after.
We were beginning to be very conscious that time was running out for the day, although we felt we had probably done less than half of what was on offer. Both girls really wanted to see the Enchanted Forest, and also wanted to squeeze a bit of roller skating into the day too.
Unfortunately we had to limit the skating to about 15 minutes because they so wanted to spend time in the forest, but the time we did spend there was really enjoyed. We borrowed some skates, full safety gear was there for everyone to borrow should they want to, and spent a very enjoyable if not challenging quarter of an hour on the skating rink.
At this point we really did have to make the unpopular decision to move on to give us a decent amount of time in the forest. I’m so pleased that we did, although by the same token I wish we’d given ourselves more time as there was just so much to do in the forest we could have easily spent three hours in there.
From the moment you step through the gates, for the children it was like entering their own little magical world full of little houses, magic doorbells, Rapunzel’s tower, interactive musical toys and so much more.
There are three small playgrounds on the way round; a tepee camp, a superb rope and wood adventure playground and a superb Noah’s Arc area. All three of the playgrounds offered something different and all three would have suited a wide age range of children. Just like everything else, all of the equipment was in top condition, and was obviously high quality installations. Our eldest liked the rope adventure park the best and the youngest loved Noah’s Arc. Being really conscious of the time, we had to limit each area to about 15 minutes, but we could have easily spent so much longer at each.
Although the girls didn’t want to leave any of the areas, the magical bits and pieces along the way kept up their intrigue, and they happily ran along looking for the next enchanted clearing, the next doorbell to press of the next bit of music they could make.
The day was just top! Both of the kids were gutted to leave, especially as they could have spent so much longer at each of the areas. There was also an indoor soft play that we only really had time to have a quick look at on the way to the very impressively clean toilets, and a maze that we unfortunately didn’t have time to go into at all. It was the bit that my husband was most looking forward to, but when the kids are having such a wonderful time, it’s impossible to tear them away, although I’m sure they would have loved the maze too.
We travelled from Huddersfield to Wetherby and it was so very much worth the journey. Stockeld Park offers superb value for money and I would urge anyone with kids to give it a go this summer. Every member of staff we came across was friendly and helpful, something that seems not to be very common in other attractions we have visited recently.
A 5/5 day, I only wish the day had been longer!
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
See review number 3 here.