While my OH thinks that anyone who uses social media and forums is a stalker, I like so many other people love the fact that you can end up making real life friends after talking online. Today, we were meeting up with a friend from an old baby forum when we were pregnant. Several of us still manage to meet up occasionally, and it’s great being able to chat about the same things we’re going through with our three year olds.
We’d decided on Coombe Country Park as it’s almost middle ground for us to meet, and has lots of outdoor space, plus a cafe and some indoor activities if the weather hadn’t been too good.
The weather wasn’t as clear or warm as I’d thought it was going to be, definitely coat weather, and the wind chill was pretty high. The two boys didn’t seem to be affected, but then they spent a few hours running around, while we mooched following them and feeling the chill a bit more.
The park’s in the grounds of Coombe Abbey which looked quite spectacular as you headed off to the car park. As there was a cafe, I was quite surprised to see other refreshment stalls, but I suppose in warmer weather the place would get packed out in the summer. Although there’s plenty of picnic benches and space for picnickers, the cafe obviously wouldn’t be able to cater for everyone at the height of summer.
The playground at Coombe Country Park was great. There was a mix of equipment for different aged children with some quite unique pieces I’d never seen before. There were plenty of swings (sensibly all split into areas for 2, so less danger for children wandering into a swinging space of someone else).
The wooden climbing frames were interesting, as quite a few seemed to stop at a platform with nowhere else to go.
N and his friend F got the hang of things pretty quickly, with N in his element on the various bridges. Any bridge is definitely his new favourite piece of playground equipment.
The slides were also in evidence, and wide enough for friends to go down together (if they remembered to wait for one another).
The boys loved trying to climb up ropes that we thought would be too tough. But it’s great seeing the determination to prove themselves right and the parents wrong. Overall they were quite happy playing in the large playground area. Easy entertainment for only the cost of the car park.
We’d spotted the Easter Bunny trail advert, but it turned out not to be starting until Monday. This struck me as a bit strange, given that the Easter holidays have already started, so it seemed like they were missing a trick. There are other events and trails for different ages so something for everyone. We didn’t head anywhere away from the main area, but the maps of the park suggested there was lots to see and some nice walks.
We did venture into the Discovery area. This was full of activities for children – sensory touch ‘holes’, puzzles, animal and bird noises, and other natural environment fun education ideas and tasks.
N had a go at crayon rubbings
and mixing up the daisy puzzle for me to then correct.
It’s good to have somewhere indoors to go if there’s bad weather. The cafe restaurant is fairly basic, but had good deals on hot food. Bizarrely there was a children’s lunch box meal…hot though – think in a Big Mac box, rather than the usual sandwich pick and mix that most places provide for children.
The boys had a great time playing with their meal boxes. Talk about making others notice them though, as afterwards, we spotted 2 other tables with children doing the same. Oops.
It was a little disappointing that the woodturner’s workshop wasn’t open on the day were were there. There is also a paint your own pottery shop. We’d have loved to have had a go, but as we wouldn’t have been able to pick it up at a later day, we gave that a miss.
We had another go round the playground which had got a lot busier post lunch, then time to say goodbye and head home. I love that the boys don’t see each other often, but how easy it is for them to play together, and how much they talk about each other before and after. Easy friendships.