Milton Keynes Play Association – Free Easter Play Sessions

I’ve always been a big fan of the work that MKPA do. They are a charity organisation that focus heavily on the well being, development and enjoyment of all children, through play. Their sessions encourage child centric play, allowing children to direct their own play in an open, free and accessible environment.
Their holiday sessions are free and often have inflatables (bouncy castles, slides), art and craft activities, sports activities including Tag rugby and Korf Ball and the Wikidizer (at selected venues). They are free sessions and are really lovely for kids to get involved in. The staff are really passionate about their ethos and that really comes out in the work they do and the sessions they run.
In addition to their free holiday Parish Play Sessions they have also started to do ‘Craft Events’ at MKPA Kiln Farm. The Februrary half term Craft Events were a huge success and included, a creative table (making out of scrap) and crafts including making play dough and dream catchers. These sessions unfortunately aren’t funded by Parish Councils. Therefore, there is a small fee to attend (£1 per child over 5).
Click on the link below to see the sessions they are holding over Easter and visit their Facebook for more information.

Easter Sessions

50 Family Days out in Herts, Beds and Bucks

It’s taken me an age to put together but I have finally got together a list of local places that I have visited myself and would recommend! some of the places are only open during certain times of the year and on certain days so please check their websites to find out more if you aren’t sure.

All this information was correct at time of posting. If you are aware of any changes please let me know in the comments section below!

Knebworth House, Park and Gardens

Price – Entry excluding the house is £10 (under 3s are free).  A family ticket (4 people) is £36 excluding the house. If you would like to visit the house there is a small extra cost per person.

Parking – There is plenty of free parking available on site.

Location – Knebworth, SG1 2AX

Info – I have always liked Knebworth House, the vibe is lovely and it is a really nice family day out. The park and Fort Knebworth there are amazing – my daughter said she loved that they had a lot of equipment there that she hasn’t seen anywhere else. There are large slides, a bouncy castle and a water play area as well as well as lots of other bits to explore.

The house and gardens are beautiful (thought when visiting with kids I personally don’t think that visiting the house is necessary)  and they have a Dinosaur trail which is home to 70 life size dinosaur statues. You can also visit a hedge maze which my girls really enjoyed.

Find out more.

Tring Natural History Museum

Price – Free (donations accepted)

Parking – There are 2 free car parks for the museum.

Location – Tring – HP23 6AP

Info – Tring NH Museum was built over 100 years ago to house the zoological collections of Walter Rothschild. It isn’t for everyone, essentially its a massive taxidermy exhibit but the really kids love it!

They have a huge collection of animals including lions, monkeys and dogs as well as so much more all spaced across 6 galleries. There is plenty to see and you can grab a clipboard, paper and pencil when you get there so the kids can draw some of the animals as you go around. They have a few interactive bits such as a tortoise statue you can sit on and dressing up clothes.

They have an indoor picnic area so you can take a packed lunch (open weekends 12-2). It is accessible for pushchairs and wheelchairs but on wet days it can get very busy and pushchairs are recommended to be left in the cloakroom.

Find out more

 

Roald Dahl Museum and Grave

Price – £6.60 for adults, £4.40 for children (5-18) and concessions, £21 for a family ticket (2 adults and up to 3 children), under 5’s free

Parking – There is no parking on site but there are pay and display car parks in Great Missenden. These can get busy during peak times so if possible it is advised that you arrive by train.

Location –   81-83 High St, Great Missenden, HP16 0AL

Info – The museum itself is quite small but is very interactive. There are 3 galeries where you can learn more about Roald Dahl and see his original writing hut (obviously not the actual hut itself but all the contents have been brought to the museum and set up). So it is great for fans. The space is really colourful and there is a great interactive gallery where children can create an animation and do loads of other bits.

The grave is situated at Saints Peter and Paul Cemetery in Great Missenden. This is a bit of a walk away or a short drive but is well worth a visit. We are so lucky to live so close to this.

Find out more.

Mead Open Farm

Price – Prices vary but the most expensive it is £12.95 for an adult and £11.95 for children – under 2s are free.

Parking – Plenty of free parking onsite

Location – Billington, LU7 9JH

Info – Mead Open Farm is a good full day out for children probably up to the age of 10. They have all the usual farm animals that you would expect to see such as goats, pigs, cows and lots of others and they also have other stuff for kids to enjoy like a climbing wall and amazing high ropes – where they have some suitable for both older and younger children (as well as other bits) so there are lots to keep different ages amused. Some of the areas are indoors so you can still see a lot if the weather isn’t as good and they have a really good soft play with different sections for different ages and they have different animal activities on throughout the day like lamb feeding and sheep racing (which is really good!).

There is a café in with the soft play and they have an indoor picnic area which I think is a great touch. The parks are really good there too with lots of fun equipment.

Find out more.

The Lodge

Price – Free – donations welcome

Parking – Parking is £6 for non members or free for members

Location – Sandy SG19 2DL

Info – When you arrive at The Lodge the have a shop that sells sandwiches and a hot drink machine. picnic areaa and there is an information hut where you can speak to someone and pick up maps and activity sheets. The activity sheets were great for my kids – they loved going around on the walks and taking part in bird spotting and finding colours in nature. They have lots of different ones and their staff are very friendly and on hand to offer advice and recommendations. The maps detail different walks that you can do.

The national park is beautiful and was full of trees to climb and beautiful scenery to enjoy.

Find out more.

 

ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

Price – Adults – £28. Children (3-15) – £20.35, Children under 3 – Free. Discounts available in advance online

Parking – Parking is free. There is the opportunity to take your car in at an additional cost.

Location – Whipsnade, LU6 2LF

Info – Whipsnade Zoo is the largest zoo in the UK and once you get in you can tell! If you don’t want to pay to bring your car in there is a bus that runs round as it can be pretty tiring for little legs. You have to fold pushchairs down every time you get on the bus which is understandable but awkward as you tend to be packed up like a donkey. They have lots of spaces indoors and outdoors so even on a rainy day there are bits to do including the butterfly house which is really really good and soft play (if you want to do soft play you have to book your slot on the day if its busy so if thats something you want to do go over there early).

They have a range of shows and talks on throughout the day (we never miss the sealion show!) . There are indoor picnic areas which is always a nice touch (I know of one located in the butterfly house). It is a great day out and they have all the animals you would want to see from the big ones including lions, elephants and giraffes down to meercats, birds and lemars.

The zoo itself is really pretty and they have a farm there as well so really do have everything!

Find out more.

Woburn Safari Park

Price – Adults are £24.99 and Children are £17.99 but its cheaper to buy them online

Parking – You take your car into the road safari at no extra cost and there is a free car park inside for the foot safari.

Location – Woburn MK17 9QN

Info – Woburn Safari Park offers both the road safari and foot safari. The road safari can allow you to get amongst some of the big animals including zebras, tigers and bears and you can obviously experience the monkeys which ofter jump on the cars to much delight of the kids! (any of the areas can be avoided if you want to). You can go round the road safari as many times as you like.

The foot safari follows the same theme for much of it allowing you again to get amongst the animals such as squirrel monkeys, wallabys and lemers. They have an indoor play area and shows on throughout the day including the elephant show where you get the opportunity to touch a real elephant.

Find out more.

Aldenham Country Park

Price –  The 100 Aker Wood is free but there is an additional cost for the farm and the other activities.

Parking – There is parking on site at a cost of £4 per car

Location – Elstree WD6 3BA

Info – Aldenham Country park is a lovely place to visit! the 100 Aker wood was once called magical by my friends daughter. It features places from the Winnie the Pooh books including Pooh and piglets house. There is lots to explore and going to that alone is a good few hours trip! It is quite exposed to if the weather is cold make sure you wrap up warm  Outside of the wood there is a reservoir you can walk around which is also for free with nature trail and outdoor play areas.

There are also lots of activities that you can pay for individually on the day to make more of a trip of it including the farm, adventure playground and pony rides. I have never visited the farm or adventure playground before but the pony rides are fun for the little ones.

Find out more

Grove Pick Your Own Farm 

Price – Free entry just pay for what you pick

Parking – There is free parking on site – the car park can get very very busy at times.

Location – Ivinghoe LU7 9DZ

Info – We always love it when the PYO farm opens for the season in mid June for strawberry picking. I love how it teaches children where food comes from and I also love how you are doing a food shop and a day out in one. They have a huge variety of foods come out from June to around October time. My favorite time is autumn when more of the veg is out. They have forks to help you dig up underground vegetables which my girls LOVE doing.

Find out more 

Milton Keynes Museum

Price – Adults £9, Children age 5-16 £6, Children under 5 free, Family ticket (2 adults and up to 4 children) £26. The entry price allows entry for a whole year.

Parking – There is plenty of free parking on site.

Location – Milton Keynes, MK12 5EL

Info – Entry to MK Museum is an investment if you live close. Entry price allows entry for the whole year so you can keep popping back. There are some great areas within the museum including a Victorian street scene, school class room and telephone exchange where children can ring each other on different phones and even pretend to work on the telephone exchange, connecting calls (which is the best bit in my opinion!).

In the museum, the volunteers are amazing and engaging and there are some great hands on bits.  Visitors are encouraged to touch and interact with many of the displays so it really is great for families and children can get involved. There a nice café with homemade cakes as well

Find out more

Tiggywinkles

Price – They have different prices for summer and winter but the most expensive it would be Adults 6.90, 4-17 year olds 4.70 and under 4s are free (over 65s are also free of charge) A family ticket is £19

Parking – There is plenty of free parking onsite

Location – Haddenham HP17 8AF

Info – Tiggywinkles is a wildlife hospital with a visitor centre. The visitor centre is open to the public to go along and look around. It is a little small so is better for younger visitors and is mostly outdoors so is better to visit on a dry day. It has a really nice feel to it and they have a playground, several animals including tortoises, birds and of course hedgehogs and they have a hedgehog museum. You can watch them care for some of the animals from behind some glass and they have talks and craft on throughout the day so although it is small there is still quite a few bits to keep children amused.

Find out more.

Church Farm

Price – £3 per person

Parking – Plenty of free parking on site

Location – Ardeley, Stevenage SG2 7AH

Info – Church Farm offers loads of space for the kids to run off steam. Its ideal for younger kids but is good for children of all ages. The price is very reasonable as you could easily spend the majority of the day there. There is also a small indoor and outdoor woodland play area though both are better for younger children – the indoor play area is definitely aimed at younger ones, There are some haybales for older ones (and younger ones) to play on,

Through out the farm they have turkeys, chickens and ducks as well as larger animals such as pigs and cows. You can buy feed at the shop and they have little slides where the kids can run the food down to the animals which is really fun. They have a little café and farm shop.

Find out more.

Stockwood Discovery Centre

Price – Free – donations welcome

Parking – Parking is also free

Location – Luton LU1 4LZ

Info – Stockwood Discovery Centre is a really large space with both indoor and outdoor areas to explore. It is free to visit and on a nice day you could easily spend the whole day there with a picnic (or a visit their café). The indoor areas include a number of museums and they’re dotted about the centre including a collection of carts and a small bee museum. There is a tractor, chariot and horse and cart that kids can climb on and plenty of beautiful gardens and a park to get around and they have some outdoor instruments to play with too so there is a lot there to keep little ones amused.

Find out more

 

Bhaktivedanta Manor

Price – The grounds are free to walk around  (donations welcome).

Parking – Free parking onsite

Location – Aldenham,  WD25 8EZ

Info – The Manor is a Hare Krinsha temple with 5 acres of beautiful gardens to walk around. I haven’t been in a long time but have a friend who visited recently and confirmed that it is still just as lovely to visit. You can feed cows when you get there (for a small donation) which our girls found really really fun, they were laughing the whole time! I plan to visit again soon to refresh my memory and write more 🙂

Find out more.

 

Rushmere Country Park

Price – The only cost is parking

Parking – Parking is £3

Location – Heath and Reach LU7 0EB

Info – Rushmere is a nice day out! there is a forest and café on site. There is a lovely walk that is suitable for children. The main walk that we do has lots of hidden fairy doors and some great trees for climbing as well as gaps in the trees and bushes that the kids love running in and out of.. Its a round walk (not really suitable for pushchairs depending on the weather) where you can find a giants chair, spider and a few other bits all of which the kids can climb on and play around. Its not too long so is great for little legs and finishes in the meadow which has picnic tables and lots of space to run around. They also have a park for toddlers which has a little slide and house and some other bits to play on and there is a giants slide and swing for older children  Make sure you are dressed for the weather. It is also great for dogs.

Find out more.

Ashridge Forest

Price – You don’t have to pay to go into Ashridge forest but there is a cost to go up the monument.

Parking – Parking is free

Location – Ringshall, Near Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, HP4 1LT

Info – Ashridge Forest is loved by many many people. They have lots of great walks and it has a lovely vibe. If you wanted to visit the monument there is an additional cost and it isn’t always open but if you have notional trust membership it is free.

Recently they have added a natural play area with tree carvings and stumps that children can climb on. They have a lovely café (which is outdoors) and you can build a den and get yourself an ice cream :).

Find out more

Dunstable Downs

Price – Free

Parking – Parking is free if you have National Trust membership, otherwise it costs £3.50

Location – Dunstable LU6 2GY

Info – Dunstable Downs is great for a day out , particularly on a warm day. It is very exposed so if the weather is bad then you will feel it. When you get up there the view is absolutely beautiful and you can walk along the top of the downs if you have older children with you – though it would be suitable for pushchairs!

Outside the visitor centre (where they have a shop, toilets and a café) you can fly kites. I LOVE going up there to fly kites! you can buy a kite onsite but you would find one cheaper before you go. From to the left of the visitor centre there is Chute Woods which has a lovely natural woodland play area and a little walk for you to do with kids. The play area is really great! it can get muddy in there so take wellies.

Find out more.

 

Tring Reservoirs 

Price – Free

Parking – There is a free car park at Wilstone and a pay and display car park at Startop’s End.

Location – Tring, HP23 4PA

Info – Tring Reservoirs are very pretty to visit. You can walk along the canal and look at the boats, feed the ducks and walk around the reservoirs, take a picnic for a nice day out.

Find out more.

Gullivers Land

Price – Adults £24, Children £24, under 90 cms free

Parking – Free parking onsite

Location – Milton Keynes MK15 0DT

Info – Gullivers Land do a lot of offers throughout the year including cheap entry, free entry to mums, dads, grandparents, armed forces and all sorts of events so its always worth checking out their website and planning a visit around these offers – I have never paid full price to visit. It is a little run down but is a good day out. They have different rides suitable for different ages so its good to go to with a wide range of ages but there is only limited bits for under 90cms (which is why you don’t pay for them to go in). It is easily a full day out and they have places you can eat (although I haven’t heard great things) but you can take a picnic.

They have all the traditional theme park rides like a pirate ship, log flume (which I LOVE!), rapids and lots of roller coasters!

Find out more.

Willows Farm

Price – Their prices are ever changing depending on the day or the season so check their website for more information

Parking – Free parking on site

Location – St Albans AL4 0PF

Info –Willows Farm is great for under 10s! They have an amazing Peter Rabbit playground complete with Mr McGreggors garden which my girls LOVED! it really is a must if you have a litter Peter Rabbit fan!. They also have lots of other bits included in your entry including lots of animals in both indoor and outdoor enclosures) with animal handling opportunities, fair ground rides, indoor areas including a soft play and indoor toddler village, tractor and trailer ride which is a nice long trip, panning for gold, sheep racing and shows including Peter Rabbit shows. They also have Peter Rabbit meet and greet and the costumes are really good quality so its quite believable for younger children. I like that in the meet and greet they didn’t hurry us along so it was nice to not feel rushed.

It is quite expensive but is great for a treat day out and is perfect for younger children especially those that like Peter Rabbit! When we visited I just wished I had taken my girls sooner.

Find out more.

The Forest of Marston Vale

Price – The only cost is for parking.

Parking – Free for members otherwise its – up to 1 hour £1; Up to 3 hours £2; Over 3 hours £3.

Location – Marston Mortaine, Bedford, MK43 0PR

Info – At the Forest of Marston Vale the paths are suitable for bikes, scooters and pushchairs so you can take your own along to enjoy the scenery or you can hire bikes onsite (costs apply). They have a park and a café and visitor centre. They have details and suggestions for walks at the visitor centre so you can choose one that’s suitable for children whatever their age. The lake is very pretty and my daughter enjoyed constantly getting on and off her bike to “go explore” :).

Find out more

Wrest Park

Price – English Heritage members are free otherwise (all these are with gift aid) adult entry is £12 and child entry is £7.20 (under 5s are free). A family ticket (2 adults and up to 3 children) is £31.20

Parking – Free parking on site

Location – Silsoe, MK45 4HR

Info –  Before you pay to go into Wrest Park there is a free playground outside. Once you pay to get in you can access the house, inside they have a few interactive displays in the museum part of the house which are good for children to play with. The gardens are beautiful with lots of space and through out there are little bits to explore such as the orangery and the pavilion which has little staircases that lead you to the top.  They also have a few good trees for climbing and sculptures throughout the gardens.

Take a picnic along or they have a café if you wanted to eat in there.

Find out more.

 

Woodside Farm

Price – They have peak and off peak prices. Peak prices are Adults – £7.50, Children – £7.50. Under 2s are free. For off peak prices visit their site.

Parking – There is free parking on site

Location – Woodside, Luton LU1 4DG

Info – I have visited Woodside farm for many many years! even as a child I visited. It is a little tired but is good for younger children. They have a really good animal encounters, hands on experience that runs several times throughout the day where children get the chance to handle different animals such as the bearded dragon, snake and rat (they aren’t always the same). It is quite reasonably priced and once you get in you get everything included including reactor and trailer ride, mini fairground and crazy golf. They have a few good parks throughout the farm and the indoor play is good – particularly for toddlers.

You can buy feed for the animals in the shop.

Find out more.

 

Hitchin Lavender Farm

Price – Adults are £6, age 5-14 are £4 and under 5s are free.

Parking – Free parking onsite

Location – Hitchin SG5 3UA

Info – Hitchin Lavender Farm is lovely to visit on a nice day. Once you pay for entry you are given a good sized bag and a pair of scissors (with each entry)to pick lavender, wildflowers and sunflowers (sunflowers for 50p a stem when they are in bloom). It is perfect to get lovely pictures of the family and the kids will have a lovely time smelling and picking the flowers. You can take a picnic along and they have a little shop and museum.

Find out more.

 

Whipsnade Tree Cathedral

Price – Free

Parking –  Free, Donations welcome

Location – Whipsnade, LU6 2LQ

Info – Whipsnade Tree Cathedral has been maintained by the same gentleman for many years. Its great to visit on a warm (or at least dry) day. They have created different rooms with the trees to represent the different areas in the cathedral so there’s lots to see, There are also little wooden sculptures dotted about to find. There aren’t any facilities onsite and it isn’t really suitable for pushchairs.

Find out more.

Verulamium Park

Price – Free

Parking – You can park for 2 hours for free at Westminster Lodge – this car park is quite far away from the splash park. If you wanted to stay longer you could pay to park there or in the car park for the lake.

Location – St Albans

Info – Verulamium Park in St Albans has a really nice vibe to it. I have loved visiting my whole life and with children it is a great place to go to. In hot weather you can visit the splash park – is it can get very busy and very very noisy but the kids love it. In the splash park there isn’t much shade so bear that in mind if you go on a hot day.

Around the park there is also a play park and a small indoor area that houses a roman floor and a few artefacts.. The lake is beautiful and is great for scooters or bikes. There is plenty of space to run around, you could take a football or frisbee to enjoy and they have a café onsite too.

Find out more

Warner Bros Studio Tour

Price – Adult £43, Children over 5 £35 (Family tickets £140) under 5s free

Parking – Free parking on site

Location – Leavesden, WD25 7LR

Info – Obviously visiting the Harry Potter Studios is very expensive, I avoided going for this reason but was then lucky enough to be able to go with a school trip. I’m not bothered about Harry Potter but it was really magical! My eldest daughter LOVES Harry Potter and I was a little sad that I hadn’t gone with just her so we could enjoy it together, If you are wondering whether it is worth paying out to visit, it absolutely is and if you have fan at home it really is an absolute must. We are lucky to live so close to it!

You get to visit some of the sets – which are all amazing, particularly the Hogwarts Express and Diagon Alley! and they show you some of the props and costumes as well. The Hogwarts model will take your breath away!

Find out more.

Waddendon Manor

Price – National Trust members get free entry otherwise entry to the grounds only is £11 for adults and £5.50 for children (under 5s free). Visiting the house is extra

Parking – Parking onsite is free – there is a walk front he car park to the house or you can get a shuttle bus.

Location – Aylesbury HP18 0JH

Info – I’ve never actually been in the house at Waddesdon but around the grounds they have plenty to visit. They have a good woodland park for the kids which runs over a few levels in the grounds so it is quite big and spread out. In the park there is a giants slide as well as the usual stuff you would expect. The grounds are very pretty and vast with lots of walks to go on and lots to find. The outside of the house is very pretty too and you can visit the stables and have a hot drink.

Find out more.

Cliveden

Price – Free for National Trust members and non members are £16 for adults and £9 for children or £41 for a family with gift aid. Children under 5 are free.

Parking – Free parking onsite. they also have an overflow carpark which is a bit of a walk

Location – Maidenhead SL1 8NS

Info – I love visiting Cliveden it has a really nice feel to it! You cant visit the house at the weekend (only Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays in season) but the grounds are so massive and pretty. They have buildings dotted about for you to discover and lots of different garden areas, sculptures and walks to do so there is lots to do and explore.

They have a hedge maze which is positioned quite close to the car park. We love doing the maze! There is also a really nice park that has lots of wooden sculptures of characters from classic childrens book such as captain hook. The gardens are beautiful and there is a nice lake to walk around.

Find out more.

Bucks County Museum and Roald Dahl Children’s Gallery 

Price – Bucks County Museum is free (donations welcome) and the Roald Dahl Children’s Gallery is £7.70 for adults and children over 4 are £5.50

Parking – There is only limited parking at the museum for disabled visitors, otherwise parking is available in the town.

Location – Aylesbury HP20 2QP

Info –The picture above is the Roald Dahl Children’s Gallery which is quite small but very interactive. There is LOADS in there for children to get their hands on including a green screen area where you can watch yourself on a screen, change the background and cover yourself with a cloak so you look like a floating head! there is also bits for dressing up and discovering,

The free part in Bucks Country Museum is pretty good, they have different collections of stuff that has been gathered from around Buckinghamshire and a few different bits that kids can play with and get their hands on. It is quite small but is good for a few hours.

If you have little ones that power through neither of these museums would be suitable as they require time to look at stuff because they’re quite small.

Find out more

Hatfield Park Farm

Price – Adults £6 and Children are £3.50 (under 3s are free). This price includes entry to Bloody Hollow (the park that is pictured above). IF you wanted entry to Bloody Hollow only it is £1 per person (under 3s free)

Parking – Free parking onsite

Location – Hatfield AL9 5NB

Info –Hatfield Park Farm is a smaller farm but there is lots of space to run about. It is less money grabbing than the more commercial farms which is always refreshing. They offer free tractor rides to visitors and you can see animals such as sheep, pigs and donkeys. Bloody Hollow has a 2.5 scale model of the house which always impresses the kids! It also has other equipment too.

They have a picnic area and a café if you want to eat there.

Find out more

Wendover Woods

Price – There is no cost to walk around the woods

Parking – 0-2 hours is £2.20, 2-4 hours is £4.30, 4 hours plus is £8

Location – Wendover, HP22 5NQ

Info – Wendover Woods is lovely for a full day out especially in nicer weather. They have a café and new visitor centre (which I haven’t visited as yet!) they also have play equipment dotted around the forest for your little ones to find. There are plenty of recommended walks and cycle paths so you could find one that is suitable or you could just walk about at your leisure,

There is also have the Gruffalo statue and other smaller wooden sculptures which the children always really love and they often they do Julia Donaldson themed trails (there is often a cost associated with these). You can build dens and explore the forest and there are BBQs that you can use.

Find out more

Paradise Wildlife Park

Price – Adults are £19 and children are £16.50 under 2s are free. You can get a 10% discount if you buy tickets online

Parking – Free parking onsite

Location – EN10 7QA

Info – Paradise Wildlife Park has an amazing World of Dinosaurs attraction with over 30 life sized moving and roaring dinosaurs. It really is a must for any mini dinosaur fan! as well as the dinosaur attraction you get entry to the wildlife park too so although it is a little expensive it is a full day out.  There are plenty of photo opportunities through out the park and they have some lovely animals including white lions and white tigers (that are beautiful!), farm animals, primates and loads more so there is lots to see. They also have play areas, picnic areas, soft play  and crazy golf.

There is so much to do no matter what the weather is like (we visited on a terrible rainy day).

Find out more.

TopGolf

Price – Once you have a membership card (a temporary one costs £2) and adults are £6 per game and children are £5.

Parking – Free parking onsite

Location – Watford, WD24 7AB

Info – TopGolf can get busy at times so its better to call to book just to make sure. They have a driving range and crazy golf so it is suitable for different ages and you can hire clubs as part of your entry. The driving range is great with an upper and lower level! If you hit the balls into holes on the driving range you can build up your scores electronically on a screen. The good thing about it is that you dont have to be great at it and be hitting it really really far in order to get points as the holes are massive and are all across the green. They also have a crazy golf which is suitable for all ages.

They also have a bar and restaurant if you want to make more of a trip of it.

Find out more.

College Lakes

Price – Free

Parking – Parking costs £3 (suggested donation)

Location – Bulbourne, near Tring, HP23 5QG

Info –College Lakes Nature Reserve is a nice day out if you wanted a good a walk and explore. There is a small cafe and gift shop onsite and they have walks that you can do. Unfortunately bikes, scooters and dogs aren’t permitted.  There are little bits dotted aroung the lake including bird look outs, a old farming exhibition and a building (pictured above) that houses wildlife bits that you can handle.

The lake is pretty and they often have deals on Groupon for scones and tea so its work looking at if you plan to go.

Find out more.

The Bucks Goat Centre

Price – Adults £4.50, children £3.50, under 2s are free

Parking – There is free parking on site

Location – Stock Mandeville HP22 5XJ

Info –The Buck Goat Centre is god value for money, I haven’t actually been for ages but when I visited it was quite small and more basic but is great for younger children. They have animals including rabbits, goats, pigs and guinea pigs around the park and they also have a small play area. There are indoor animal areas as well as outdoor areas for children to explore. They have a café and small shop onsite too.

Find out more.

Willen Lake

Price – Free to visit but if you wanted to do any of the activities there would be a cost associated.

Parking – There are different prices for the parking but up to 4 hours is £2.50

Location – Milton Keynes, MK15 0DS

Info –When you visit Willen Lake there are quite a few bits you can enjoy for free. It is a lovely walk and the paths are suitable for bikes and scooters and they have a great park which is a good size and has areas suitable for different ages! When you walk around the lake they have play areas around the lake and also a trim trail which the kids love doing! there is also the Peace Pagoda which we were told brings you good luck if you walk around it 3 times.  They also have a café and restaurant.

WIllen Lake also offers extra bits but at varying costs, including the splash park, water sports, tree top extreme and other bits too. It is good for a full day out and is free (other than parking) if you were to take a packed lunch and some scooters.

Find out more.

Wardown House

Price – Free

Parking – Free parking available but the car park is quite small.

Location – Luton, LU2 7HA

Info – Wardown House is good for a few hours out they have some interactive bits for kids to enjoy including an electronic pool table. The house is full of pretty Victorian interiors and they also have a small museum with childrens dress up area. There is a nice café there as well and nearby Wardown park is really nice for a walk or scoot or bike ride around the lake and there is a play park there too.

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Stanborough Park

Price – Entry to the park is free but there is additional costs for some of the activities.

Parking – £3.50 for up to 3 hours

Location – Welwyn Garden City

Info – I have only ever really been to Stanborough lakes in the summer as we have a tradition of going there to paddle and fish. It is perfect for that and is always a ! though if you do go try to take some kind of underwater shoes as it is stony on the sea bed. There is a café  and lots of water sports you can take part in at an extra cost. There is also a nature trail and brilliant (and large) park. If you take a picnic you can easily spend the whole day there with everything they have to offer. It can get busy in the summer but this really is a must visit for us every summer.

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Leighton Buzzard’s Children’s Trail and Parson’s Park

Price – Free

Parking – You can park in various car parks in Leighton Buzzard centre

Location – Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire

Info – The children’s trail is free to do and you can do it at any time. It consists of 22 artworks that celebrate children’s stories. You can pick up a map from the library or download one from their website but the self led trail takes you around and has a challenge for you to complete.

Also in Leighton Buzzard is Parsons Park (part of the trail runs through it). If you wanted to visit the park they have a splash park, play park, café and skating park. In the summer months they have also had a beach for children to play in.

Trail – Find out more 

Parsons Park – Find out more.

Fishy Soft Play

Price – Varies

Parking –  As most of the locations are garden centres, they often have free car parks onsite.

Location – Various – see below

Info – There are various locations across the 3 counties for “fishy softplay”. Basically different garden centres ofraquatics centres often have a soft play and fish feeding which are perfect for pre schoolers. You can sit about and have a coffee while they play then feed the fish and view the rest of the fish in the tanks. It is a great cheap option for younger ones, I know of the following locations that are all under a fiver and have various bits to offer.

  • Maidenhead Aquatics (London Colney)
  • Wyvale (Woburn Sands) – This has recently been sold and the new chain has apparently kept everything the same but I was unable to find information of the new owners or location at time of posting.
  • Bicester Avenue Garden Centre (Aylesbury)
  • Wyvale (Royston)
  • Dobbies (Nr Bletchley)

 

Russell Park

Price – Free

Parking – There is free parking available along the road.

Location – Bedford, MK40 3RH

Info – Russell Park is located next the Embankment in Bedford which is a beautiful location! they have some great parks with lots of equiptment for all ages, lots of green space to enjoy and Kiosk in the Park, an outdoor café (the provide blankets and stuff if its cold). Kiosk on the Park do lots of events throughout the year which are great and they have a ping pong table.

Find out more.

Stowe

Price – Entry to the grounds are free to National Trust members or £13.90 for adults or £6.95 for children (with gift aid). Under 5s are free.

Parking – Free car park on site

Location – Buckingham, MK18 5EQ

Info – Stowe is massive! there’s tonnes of space across the gardens so its a great place to go for a nice walk. Around the gardens there are lots to explore including different buildings (some that you can walk inside) and sculptures they also have some outdoor games to play and a giant swing. My girls had a great time rolling down the hills and climbing some great trees so its a good place to let your children use their imagination and experience the outdoors.

It is very pretty with some beautiful scenery to enjoy and there is a nice café and shop.

Find out more.

 

Heartwood Forest

Price – Free

Parking – Parking is free

Location – St Albans, AL4 9DQ

Info – Heartwood Forest is only a few years old but it has lots of footpaths, trails to follow and things to explore. Woodlands Trust have created 3 recommended trails that vary in length. One of the trails is called the Magical Meander is only a mile and a half long with a number of wooden animal sculptured along the way making it perfect for younger kids. Some of the trail is on a hard path but a lot of it is on grass track so it can get muddy in wet weather.

Find out more.

 

Cassiobury Park

Price – Free

Parking – Limited free parking onsite

Location – Watford, WD18 7LG

Info – Cassiobury Park have lots of space to get around, they have paths that are suitable for bikes and scooters and different play areas at different ends of the park. There is a larger park located near the splash park which is open in the summer months, and there is a little train, bungee trampolines and a bouncy castle that are all available at an additional cost.

The splash park there is more like shallow outdoor pools with 2 pools and 1 area with fountains and although I haven’t experienced it myself, you can paddle in the stream at the park in the summer too. Great for a full day out with a picnic and a football in the nice weather.

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Lee Valley White Water Rafting Centre

Price – It’s free to get into with additional costs for activities

Parking –  Unless there is an official event on, parking is free

Location – Waltham Cross EN9 1AB

Info – Lee Valley White Water Rafting Centre is a lovely place to visit. Even if you aren’t taking part in any of the activities it has a really nice vibe to it and is lovely to sit and watch the different boats (do you call them boats?) on the river. There is a lovely café and bar that over looks the rapids which is really nice to sit at (outside) and watch.

Kids love watching what is going on in the water, with the kayaks and stuff and there is also a park and sandpit for them to play in. Lee Valley Reginal Park is right next door if you wanted a walk. It doesn’t seem like there would be much to do unless you were to get involved int he activities but this really is a great free day out.

Find out more.

Dinosaur Safari

Price – Age 12 and up – £9.50, 4-11 – £7.50 and under 4s – £3.50

Parking – Free parking onsite

Location – Arkley, EN5 3HW

Info – As far as crazy golf goes, Dinosaur Safari is a good one! There are lots of massive dinosaurs around the course, some of them move and some of them are massive! my girls loved one of the holes where your ball went down a stream and cam out at the bottom of the course.

There is a café and driving range onsite too and picnic areas so you could spend a good few hours there.

Find out more.

DJs Play Park

Price – Under 1’s – £3 (free with a paying sibling), 1 years – £5,  2 years – £6, 3 years – £7, 4 years – £8, 5 years – £8.50,  6 years + – £9.50
Adults – Free

Parking – Parking in Jarman Park is free

Location – Hemel Hempstead , HP2 4JS

Info – DJs Play Park is really good for a soft play so if you aren’t keen on them (as so many people aren’t) you will be pleasantly surprised! Its ideal for children under 10 and has some great toddler and baby areas. I love how they have bouncers and other baby equipment dotted around the café to if you go with a younger sibling you can use these you also don’t have to pay for an adult which I think is also a good touch.

The café is nice and clean and the seats aren’t jam packed in meaning you can keep a good eye on your children and there are no dark corners for trouble makers, making everyone feel more comfortable. They have a little play street, toddler play area and bigger kids play area as well as different themed sections which are really cool.

There is also on in Berko and St Albans which I haven’t visited but I have heard is just as good.

Find out more.

Houghton Hall Park

Price – Free

Parking – Parking is free for up to 3 hours

Location – Houghton Regis, LU5 5FU

Info – Houghton Hall Park is great for a free few hours out. The paths are good for scooters, bikes and pushchairs so you can take the kids in the short walk around and stop off at the different areas of play equipment dotted around the mile long walk so its perfect for children. There is a café with play area outside, this this is quite small. Inside the café they have games and tablets which are great for younger children, to keep them happy while you have a coffee.

Find out more

 

Gadebridge Park

Price – Free

Parking – There is free parking but it is limited. Paid for parking is also available.

Location – Hemel Hempstead

Info – Gadebrige Park is good for a visit. You could spend a good few hours there and if you take a picnic you could make more of a day of it. There is a café and toilets onsite. There is a really good park that has lots of different equipment making it suitable for a wide age range. It would be good to go to if you had a group of kids of varying ages as they could all find something to enjoy in the park. There is also a splash park but this is more shoots off the floor. There are steps which are good to be used as a viewing point as you can see the whole splash park from them. There is also lot of shade and lots of green space to run about.

Find out more.

Beaconscot Model Village and Railway

Price – (with gift aid) Adult – £12, children £7.80 there are also family tickets available (with different options)

Parking – There is limited free parking available in St Theresas Church Car Park. Take a look at their website for more info.

Location – Beaconsfield HP9 2PL

Info –

Beaconscot is the worlds oldest model village. I LOVE taking the kids to a model village and this one is lovely. As well as the miniature village they also have remove control boats, a train and play area. The model village is so cute and there are lots of bits for little legs to find! There are more than 200 buildings, 3,000 inhabitants, 1,000 animals, hundreds of vehicles and many models move,

Find out more.