The last time we went to Stanwick Lakes we really enjoyed it and N made the most of the water play area. This return visit was more spontaneous with my planned trip to Stowe for their Panasonic roadshow to test out cameras, being jinxed (I’ve not made one since they started the partnership with National Trust) by N deciding that morning that he wasn’t going out on the farm. He wanted to go cycling. At first he realised that his change of plans was inconvenience and ruining someone else’s plans, so there was a bit of a tussle when he then said he’d changed his mind and would go on the farm. Aw, he felt bad and offered to let me still go. But given I rarely see him and don’t get out with him much anymore, I couldn’t pass up that opportunity.
Because of the hot weather I suggested a trip back to Stanwick Lakes where he could go in the water play to cool off, as well as have the cycling to do. I’m also able to walk along the trails too (we think my bike is now in one of the old pig sheds, so hopefully it is and it’s not in too much of a state, but my knee probably isn’t great for cycling still).
I was on a serious get ready that morning once we’d decided at 7 what we were doing. I wanted to get a pavlova made before we left but realised my white wine vinegar was so old it had bits in it, so we would have to bake later after getting to the supermarket. Damn Sunday opening hours! So it was an early trip out instead. Luckily Stanwick Lakes opens early, so heading for 9.30 was still going to get us there before the crowds. When we arrived the heat of the sun was already beating down, and I was glad we were there early.
We decided to cycle and walk first. Last time we’d walked miles, around a full circuit. This time we’d not got far before N started moaning that he was done. We’d only gone about 3/4 mile – reaching the activity trail. But then he didn’t want to play on most of it.
Along the walk it really was looking pretty. All the hawthorn blossom is out (how spectacular is everywhere looking at the moment with that). Then the cow parsley was looking great, as well as the yellow flowers alongside. The ‘meadow’ of buttercups was so pretty too.
We spotted dragonflies on the paths too, but they were too nibble for my camera to get close enough to them.
I’d asked N to pack his swimming gear. Poor thing took that literally, rather than getting beach shorts, so he ended up changing into his swimming trunks. Then he got embarrassed at being in proper swimming shorts rather than baggy beach ones, so refused to wear them, despite other children running around in similar shorts and swimming costumes. Cue further annoyance and shouting by me, and him then deciding he would change back into his normal shorts and not go in the water area. I wasn’t impressed, given if he wasn’t going in the water area, and hardly cycled, we could have just gone to the local park instead of driving for 2 hours round trip.
We had early lunch from the cafe and enjoyed sitting out on the decking overlooking the lake. It’s so peaceful that side of the visitor centre, you can’t hear any sound from the playground the other side.
He did dip his feet in the end, as well as walking across the stepping ‘posts’ to prove he could do it. But mostly he played on the massive wooden structure – climbing up and down, across nets, and running across the walkways. Most of the time I couldn’t see him and didn’t see him come down the slide, so I don’t know what exactly he was up to but he did love it. Last time we visited Stanwick Lakes, there was some building work that was started. But now it’s completed and it is massive. It needs to be considering how busy it gets.
We had to have an ice cream before we headed home. Because, it’s nearly summer, and the weather was so beautiful. Stanwick Lakes hadn’t got so busy that we couldn’t find a seat. We bought from the ice cream van (£2.20 for a 99 ice cream! and £2 for a Mint
Feast Festival. Extortionate prices!) and found a bench and ‘table’ to sit at a bit further from the lakes and playground, to overlook it in peace.
A few hours to recharge, get a bit of exercise, and spend some time together made it a lovely Sunday.
If you’re thinking of heading there, check out the Luna pop up outdoor cinema this summer, as well as activities that are held there.
Do you have recommendations for similar country parks to visit?