Despite us only having weekends to really do many activities, I feel like we managed to cram in a lot over the holidays.  Sometimes free is best, and perfectly suitable for young children.

scooting and paddling pool fun in Stratford upon avon

N loves going to the park, and with no splash parks or good parks in town, we quite often head to Stratford-upon-Avon for an early morning play and relax.  We usually pop N’s bike or scooter in the boot too, so there’s plenty we can do at the recreation ground as well as the playground itself.

Our latest visit was in the summer holidays.  It was a grey start to the day, but meant to warm up, so we packed N’s swimming trunks and towel, and headed over nice and early.  The only costs are the parking, which are expensive in the recreation ground car park.  The alternative is a cheaper all day parking at the marina with a little walk to the park, but the spaces are tight and even in my old Focus I used to find it a little squashed to get in and out of the car once it was full.

scooting-on-the-cycle-path

The playground was empty, but N’s first priority is always a circuit of the recreation ground fields – this time on his scooter.  I get a commentary from him as he scoots but it’s great seeing him happy to just go off ahead and decide the direction.  I just get to up my Fitbit steps!

hedgerow flowers

This time N decided we were heading up towards the cycle path, and decided we’d try and look for some blackberries.  There weren’t many, but it was a nice straight flat walk, and not too busy.  I tried to persuade N to stand and look cool for a graffiti shot, but he wasn’t really playing ball for photos.

scooter on its stand
scooting off

With N leading the way, we always end up all the way up the river and round the mile walk back to the playground.  I’m always amazed that he never seems tired on his scooter.  It’s definitely a great way to get children to move along quickly without moaning like I get when we’re walking.

Once back at the car N spotted the gym equipment.  He wasn’t put off by the fact it was for adults, he was straight in wanting to try it all out.  It was so funny watching him, especially when he made me get on the cross trainer with him, with me making his legs go really fast!

cross trainer park equipment
gymn equipment in stratford upon avon

As soon as he spotted the ice cream van turn up at 10.30, N was ready to go to the playground.  He had a bit of a run around, spent time digging in the sand, and wandered round asking questions before he decided an ice creams were needed.  Damn the routine of the ice cream van.

play area hammock
muddy legs and shoes
digging in the sandpit at the playground
ice cream face

Once eaten, he was bursting to go in the paddling pool.  I knew it was going to be cold as the sun still wasn’t burning down, but he wasn’t put off.  Especially when 3 other older children had leapt in.  15 minutes in and he realised that I was right and it really wasn’t warm enough to stay in.  I think if it had been a deeper pool and he could have gone in fully and tried some swimming he’d have been fine, but just wandering around (because yes, yet again we’d forgotten to take play things for the pool) wasn’t warming enough.

overlooking the paddling pool
getting clean in the paddling pool and reflection
enjoying the paddling pool in Stratford upon avon
splashing out of the paddling pool at Stratford

A quick wander into town via the narrow boats and gardens around the RSC theatre to get some lunch, and then we were heading back home again after a lovely morning out.

swans and cygnets
swan webbed feet
heron in stratford upon avon
firefighters memorial in Stratford upon avon
narrow boats in Stratford upon Avon

Followed by a stop off at the pick your own on the way home for some raspberries.

raspberry picking
PYO raspberries

If you’re near Stratford-upon-Avon I’d definitely recommend the park.  Although I shouldn’t really, because it already gets busy in the summer with all the tourists!

Do you have any splash pools in parks near you?  Do you have a regular park you visit, or do you mix it up?

Why not take a look at these similar posts.

splash parks
stratford river festival
london transport day out

23 Comments

  1. Gosh, that splash park looks a bit chilly!
    I agree about the parking at Stratford, it is a bit pricey but if you park a bit further away the walk into town isn’t so bad
    I can’t visualise where the park and splash park is in relation to the Marina. I’ll have to take a look on Google Maps as we go to Stratford quite a bit but have never found this park
    The ice cream van always means ‘stop’ for my children, too!
    #CountryKids

    • It’s by the butterfly farm, the other side of the river. The marina’s spaces are just so tight. My Focus was hard to get in, let alone the car I have now. Although I always compare parking prices to Oxford and Stratford is probably on a par.

      • Ah, yes, I know where the Butterfly Farm is. I’ll look out for it.
        I think we’re spoilt for car parking charges in Thame and around, often it’s free, so parking in Oxford and Stratford is always an eye-watering experience!

        • Lucky in Thame. In Banbury it all costs, even though in Bicester and Kidlington there is free parking – all the same district council. (It’s a sore point in our town!)

  2. Sounds like you had a lovely morning at the park and glad N had so much fun on his scooter and using the gym equipment! That paddling pool looks cold even in the photos! 🙂 #countrykids

  3. What a perfect morning; I love simple mornings at the park, and the children get so much out of them! This park looks so lovely – we haven’t got any sort of splash park near us but now I wish we did. That ice cream van is naughty though – ours waits till at least 2pm to come round! #countrykids

    • Lol, this one’s there all day especially for the playground. I guess the early morning is meant to be for coffees for the adults, but mostly it’s kids wanting ice creams. The only other splashzone place near us is our outdoor pool in Banbury, or in Warwick which is about 30 mins away. Shame there aren’t more.

    • Ah well, apart from a bit of a walk, it’s not too bad for me. N seems to just keep going and going.

  4. Splash parks are great, but not warm enough a lot of the time. Love the ice cream face. Looks like a great park. #CountryKids

  5. Ooh I’ve never done PYO raspberries before. Looks like a great day out for cheap, can’t beat cheap fun can you. We don’t have a splash park close to us, might have to research and see if I can find one around. Love the muddy legs and ice cream face, best signs of a childhood well spent I reckon. #countrykids

  6. Love Stratford-Upon Avon! We also go around with T’s scooter in our car, just so she can use it any chance she can get. How lucky you guys still managed to have some summery fun 😉

    • Ah, this was a few weeks ago now…still got all of our end of summer holiday posts to write. Scooters are great when you can fold them up and take them with you

  7. Wow the park really sounds worth travelling to – with a pool too! You know you are going to be needing your own Microscooter eventually as he gets faster. #countrykids

    • Ah, already ahead of the game on the scooter front (luckily because he’s a bit speedy). I have an adult one, although it’s not a microscooter unfortunately. Very handy for keeping up when he’s cycling.

  8. What a lovely place for you to be able to stop off and visit regularly, I bet N loves exploring the whole place on his scooter. It’s great that there’s adult outdoor gym equipment as well as a whole play area for the kids to enjoy. It’s a shame the pool wasn’t really warm enough for N to stay in for very long, I’m sure next time you go you’ll take some toys for N to use in the pool!

    Thanks for linking up with me on #CountryKids.

    • Someone mentioned taking wetsuits to splash parks, so next time I must try and remember his. Worth a try, although I think it’s now shut until the end of May next year.

  9. I love the outdoor gym equipment. They are fun. There is so much that you can do for free, not counting travel costs. Shame the water wasn’t warmer, but still lots of fun to be had. #CountryKids

    • It’s definitely fun, although I can’t say I’ve ever tried many of them. Next time I’ll be taking his wetsuit if the water’s not warm.

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