This weekend the TIG family took a trip to Stockeld Park to help get us all into the Christmas spirit! This place certainly lived up to its tagline – ‘where magic is made and adventures begin’ – even without children! We took a stroll through the mystical forest, tried our hand at Nordic skiing, whizzed around the ice rink (whilst holding onto the side!) and then got lost in the maze. Stockeld Park is a unique and enchanting place – children will definitely love it – and who needs Lapland when you can take a magical day trip to Stockeld Park?!
What’s the idea: A day out at Stockeld Park
Where is it: Wetherby, Yorkshire, LS22 4AN
Who for: This is certainly fun for all ages
Cost: Take a look at their price list here (we purchased the day pass for £17 online, and made the most of it with 4 activities; Nordic skiing, the Enchanted Forest, ice skating and the Maze)
Where can I find out more:
This was our first trip to Stockeld Park and we were not disappointed. We arrived at lunchtime and went straight to the Woodland Café, along with all the other visitors! We didn’t eat here as it was slightly overrun with people, and looked a little like a school canteen. Instead we had spotted a different café called ‘Lakeside View’. We ventured in and it was certainly a lot quieter – maybe because they don’t serve hot meals here. They were, however, serving a selection of hot savoury pies, cakes and drinks which definitely satisfied the TIG family.
After refuelling we grabbed the bull by the horns and went Nordic skiing. This is something we had never done before and it was quite the adventure. We put on our boots and skis, grabbed our poles and off we went on the 1.2km synthetic Nordic cross country skiing trail which meandered through the enchanted forest and around the lake. There was a great stop off point half way round for a drinks break (highly recommend the mulled wine!). This was a fantastic introduction to the sport and apparently Nordic skiing burns up more calories per hour than any other sport through low-risk, low-impact, aerobic exercise, so this is another reason to give it a go! We had such great fun on the course, it was a laugh-a-minute and the best thing is that anyone can do it – you don’t need to be an experienced skier. It’s extremely easy to pick up and you can go at your own pace taking in the sights, sounds and smells of the illuminated enchanted forest.
You can really tell that Stockeld Park have thought of everything. It doesn’t matter what time of the day you go as everything is illuminated…even the maze was lit by thousands of twinkling fairy lights! The maze is lined with 8ft high yew trees and has plenty of paths with some surprises along the way! We climbed the castle viewing tower, found some unusual musical instruments and finally reached the Children of the World globe at the centre. This only took about 20 minutes to complete so it is not a difficult maze and I’m pretty sure it must be near impossible to get completely lost in it!
We took a brief trip to the gift shop, which was packed to the rafters full of Christmas gifts and goodies, then made our way to the Lakeside View café for a welcome hot chocolate and cake. It was one of the best hot chocolates and one of the biggest pieces of millionaires’ shortbread I have had in a long time! After that, we took on activity number 3 – the real ice skating rink where we spent the next hour clinging to the sides, whilst trying to stay upright on two feet. The ice rink was quite busy, but there were assistants around to keep the speedy ones in check! The younger children were able to skate around with a penguin to hold onto, or even stand on, whilst being pushed around by a parent – unfortunately these were just for children – not nervous adults!
It was turning dark at this point which was very well timed, as we had wanted to experience the Enchanted Forest at night, in order to see the illuminations in all their glory. At the beginning of the walk, it was extremely crowded and difficult to get near to the displays and interactive buttons to press. As we continued the walk, people began to spread out which was much better and we could then take in the magical delights of the fairytale forest. What a sight to behold – it was particularly beautiful around the lake, and very cleverly done with the motion sensors throughout the forest. My favourite section was definitely the fairies on the bridge (you have to go, just to hear the fairies giggling and chatting to each other!).
Stockeld Park have really thought about making this a fun all year round place to visit. They have some special events throughout the year for Easter, Halloween and the summer holidays, with very different and unique activities, including the outdoor roller rink, go carts, electric scooter trail and inflatable zones.
- If you are in need of refreshments visit the Lakeside View café instead of the Woodland café. The Lakeside View café was much more peaceful! They had some really tasty homemade pies and cakes which I can highly recommend – but don’t expect a view of the lake! If you would rather take your own lunch, there seemed to be plenty of people using the tables in the Woodland café to spread out their picnics.
- There were a number of playground areas for children to explore, some of them in the Enchanted Forest, but they do close when it gets dark
Any bad points?
- I really wanted to experience everything whilst we were there, including the 4D Cinematic Sleigh Sensation Experience. It is one of those rides where you sit down, strapped in and wear 3D glasses, your chair shakes whilst watching a mini feature film, with bubbles and water creating the 4D experience. This was not included in the day pass but I expected this to cost £3.50-£4.50 max. When I went to purchase the ticket I was quite shocked that it was £6! I sadly declined as I thought that was just too much to justify for that activity. We did overhear comments from people who had experienced it, to the effect that it perhaps wasn’t worth the money.
- I was surprised at how close together all the activities were. It was really quite overwhelming to see so many people in such a small area. Being a large park estate I expected the area to be rather more spread out.
- The maze was great fun, albeit slightly too easy – I think this is certainly aimed at the younger age group but I still think it could be a little more tasking to make it more enjoyable for big kids too!
Would I go again?
We absolutely loved our fun filled festive afternoon/evening at Stockeld Park and this is a place we would definitely visit again. I think that next time we will go in a different season to experience the other activities they have to offer – and perhaps borrow a child to share the magic with!
Have you been to Stockeld Park? Share your experiences below…