daisy puzzle

Fun with friends at Coombe Country Park

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.

climbing frame

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.

rope bridge
rickety bridge

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.

into the light
bouncy wooden play equipment

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

crayon rubbing

and mixing up the daisy puzzle for me to then correct.

daisy puzzle

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.

happy meal box hat

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.

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  1. Emma this is sounding like an utterly perfect outing! its lovely to hear that even with a gap in time they still get on really well x

    thanks for linking up with #magicmoments

    1. I think it helps that it’s on neutral ground as well, so there’s no conflict over toys that they have to share. It’s all just fun and something new to explore together. It does make me a bit embarrassed though because although N looks forward to going to places and seeing people, once it’s over, that’s it. Whereas, lots of his little friends go on about it and N for days before and afterwards! Obviously he makes a big impact!
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting Jaime

    1. The bonus with it being colder, was that it wasn’t ridiculously busy. It’s definitely great when you meet like minded people that if you met in real life they’d also be friends.

  2. It’s so nice when online friendships can lead to something long-lasting in real life. Looks like a nice day was had all round

    1. I’ve been really lucky with my online baby/mum friends, as all the fairly local ones get on really well and are of quite similar backgrounds/values. The boys loved getting together too

  3. Despite the activities that were not open, which I agree is very odd given that the Esster holidays had already started, it still looks like a great place to visit with a lot of fun things for kids to do. Your son looks like he enjoyed his day out and even better when you get to meet up with new friends. xx

    1. It’s great to catch up with friends. We didn’t touch the surface of the actual country park, so possibilities if we go back are numerous. Thanks for commenting

  4. It sounds like you had a fabulous day; it’s so lovely to find a place that keeps everyone entertained and I’m sure you will return many many times in the future. It’s lovely to meet up with people who you don’t see on a regular basis as you can really see the progress made in one another’s children and I think it’s great for the children to have friends who they may see rarely but have a close bond with nevertheless.

    1. You’re so right. Definitely one of the best things is seeing how they’ve progressed and how different or similar they are.
      Thanks for commenting

  5. Reasonably priced with lots of activities and a great playground too – perfect for children to have fun and burn off some energy. As you say it was a bit chilly but I’m sure the boys didn’t even notice, I’m sure it’s very popular and would get very busy in the summer. Thanks for linking up and sharing with Country Kids.

    1. It was quite busy by the time we left, so I bet it would be packed out in the summer. You’re right, the boys didn’t notice as they were the ones running around all the time. (If it had been hot, we’d probably be moaning about that too!). Thanks for commenting

    1. It usually takes N a bit of time somewhere new, but he was well away yesterday. Really got his confidence up recently. Thanks for commenting

  6. This park is right near my house! We go a lot in the summer. Shame you didn’t venture further the garden of the Abbey is beautiful and further into the park there is a bird watching hut that looks over the lake and the sites are amazing we have some lovely photos from in there. Looks like you had fun anyway and you know what I didn’t even know about the pottery thing lol!

    1. If it hadn’t been so cold we’d have ventured further. And we were meant to have a couple of other people join us, so needed to stay at a central area. It’s not far so we might go again and head a bit further for a walk.
      Thanks for commenting

  7. I am having a hard time dealing with homesickness and then I got so many comments on my blog and twitter about how they understand and know what I am going through. That made things better. Knowing that I am not alone and these people are the people I met through blogging. I am happy that you made friends fr social media as well. #countrykids

    1. It’s definitely great to meet like minded people online, especially if you can then get to meet them in real life and they’re just how you imagined.
      Thanks for commenting

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