As a child I loved to travel and our holidays and weekend adventures were my favourite times. I think that’s why I studied Marketing and Tourism and now I’m passing my passion onto my children. We’re a family of four living in Whitley Bay; I’m Mum (Claire), married to Phil and we have two children who are five and seven. Bay and Beyond was created to share our family adventures and showcase the places we enjoy visiting in the area and beyond.
As a family we love a good road trip; jumping in the car with a boot load of snacks and kids clothes for every eventuality! After a year of very few road trips we were so excited to be able to visit Stockeld Park near Wetherby; a place I had heard lots of good things about and it certainly lived up to our expectations. Bouncy pillows, slides, climbing frames, a maze, fairies, dragons; it was pretty much everything the kids love in one place (and secretly us grown-ups too!).
We booked tickets online before our trip which is pretty much a standard thing these days, but as we’d left early and the traffic was non-existent we actually ended up there early which wasn’t a problem. There was no queue for entry and we got our wristbands and were straight into the park.
The kids were beyond excited at this point; we weren’t just going for another lockdown walk! The lovely lady on the entrance recommended that we do the inflatable slide and bouncy pillow first as rain was forecast and they have to close them for safety if it does rain. It turned out to be a top tip and the kids had a ball leaping across the bouncy pillow like they were jumping on the moon before the heavens opened.
After a few turns on the cutest farm themed playpark and feeling rather smug that I had remembered the kids waterproofs so they had access all areas, we decided to conquer the maze. We were recommended to take a photo of the layout and the emergency phone number in case we got completely lost!
Thankfully that didn’t happen…imagine the red faces if we had to call them as we couldn’t find our way out again. I think our favourite part of the maze was the old fashioned blue Police Box like the Tardis which you could actually open the doors of and go inside. Sadly it didn’t transport us to the end of the maze but we found a lookout tower giving us a fantastic vantage point over the maze to help us on our quest to find the way out…which luckily we did.
The main part of the park was the ‘Enchanted Forest’ which has numerous themed play areas as you make your way through. The forest was full of slides, climbing frames, fairy houses and even a talking tree! We spent hours exploring each themed play area and we were delighted by each one we found. We started with the Tepee Encampment complete with totem pole and wooden tepee frames to climb up and slide down and ended with sunflowers that squirted you with water!
In between we encountered a huge pile of books to climb with a bookworm to slide down, a witches hat, some fairy toadstool houses to enter, a dragon, a mermaid, a spider’s lair (with my son’s favourite thing; a double zip wire which meant both kids could go on at the same time…win win!) and my favourite a teapot where you slide down the coffee spilling out of the spout into a teacup.
We also discovered Gretel’s Cabin with the most delicious cakes on sale (happy mum) and the obligatory ice creams for the kids whatever the weather. After seven hours of exploring the park, we decided to call it a day as it was pouring down by this point. The kids happily headed to the car with promises of a takeaway in PJ’s and the heating on when we got home. We will definitely be returning again!