Do you ever get those days when you can’t think of a thing to do with the kids? We do, most weekends! I recently discovered a new website called Wiki Places For Kids, which is kind of like a Trip Advisor for families. Parents or carers add a picture and a short description to the site to help other parents find good places to visit. I’ve uploaded some of my favourites, which are on this list. I have also discovered some new ones around Milton Keynes, and plan to go to them soon. Here’s my list of favourites to get your started, and you’ll find more info when you click though. We plan to use it when we go on holiday to Cornwall in the summer.
1. EMBERTON & OLNEY
I used to go to Emberton Park as a kid, and I think I learned to ride my bike there – it’s nice and flat so it’s idea for scooters too. There are a couple of brilliant parks, including our favourite Pirate Park, pictured below) and a little cafe and toilets. It’s the perfect place for a picnic and there is a giant sand pit too, and the lake to walk around. Beware of the geese though!
Whilst you’re over that way, you could walk (if your kids are good walkers or are in a buggy) to Olney for lunch. My favourite place is Teapots cafe. It serves really good food and cake, including some gluten free options. They are also the nicest people in there, and so helpful if you have kids. Next, you could pop over the road to Happy Days Toy Shop, which is gorgeous.
It’s Thea’s birthday on Saturday so we took her to @happydaysolney #toyshop to get ideas. I managed to sneakily buy some Hama Beads and a marble run, to go with the roller skates she requested a few weeks back. It’s such a lovely shop and I’d much rather #shopsmall and support local businesses. Isn’t the outside just magical?! #lovemk
2. CASTLE ASHBY
Castle Ashby is in the grounds of a stately home, and has a great adventure playground next to a cafe. There are also beautiful gardens, with meerkats and exotic birds, plus a few farm animals. It’s a lovely place for a bit of a run around and a picnic, if you can drag the kids away from the playground!
3. SALCEY FOREST
This wonderful forest is actually in Northamptonshire, but is close to Milton Keynes. We go a few times a year at least and the girls love the Elephant Walk, which is a wooden walk way that slopes up above the tops of the trees. There is a nice cafe there and although it’s free to enter you do have to pay for parking. The girls went on a forest school adventure there last year which was good too. It can get quite muddy, as Ava discovered a few years ago, ha ha!
4. MILTON KEYNES MUSEUM
This is a really lovely little museum, which is being extended. It has lots of fun things to keep the kids happy, especially the communications hall which is full of old telephones. They often have events on at the weekend and in the holidays so it’s worth checking out what’s going on.
5. RUSHMERE COUNTRY PARK
We call Rushmere Country Park ‘Goblin Woods’ and the girls have had many a happy hour wandering around peeking at the carved doors in the trees. I take chocolate coins (or at this time of year, Mini Eggs) and sneakily hide them in front of the doors for the girls to find. They love this ‘Goblin Treasure’ though I’m not sure how long I’ll get away with it! It’s south of Milton Keynes, off the A5 and we often tie it in with a visit to IKEA!
6. KILNING ME SOFTLY POTTERY PAINTING CAFE
You can combine a nice cup of tea with painting some pottery here and it’s such a lovely little place. We had Thea’s 4th birthday party here and they loved it.
7. GULLIVER’S LAND
Gulliver’s Land is a really fun, accessible theme park for kids up to around 12. You can read my full review here. The girls have also been to the splash zone a few times for parties and love it.
8. STOWE LANDSCAPE GARDENS
Yet another place with a great cafe, Stowe Landscape Gardens were designed by Capability Brown. There is a beautiful view wherever you look, so make sure your phone has plenty of space for pictures! It is a long walk, so I take a buggy even though Thea is four now, and Ava normally gets in too!
9. WILLEN LAKESIDE PARK
There is a great park next to Willen Lake, close to the centre of Milton Keynes. It’s a nice walk or scoot around the lake, and get a cup of hot chocolate or an ice cream in the cafe afterwards.
10. HOWE PARK WOODS
I have been wanting to go to Howe Park Woods (which apparently has a cafe with A.m.a.z.i.n.g. cakes) for ages – you might spot us there sometime next week!
11. TREE CATHEDRAL
Another one I haven’t visited, but take a peek at the photos here, it looks beautiful!
We went back this week and had a great time feeding the baby animals!
Rookery Farm near Stoke Bruerne is also good, with a soft play inside and a barn with animals, making it good for rainy days too. Our other favourite is Thrift Farm, which is cheap and cheerful with a nice cafe (are you noticing a tea-based theme here?).
What are your favourite places to visit around Milton Keynes? Let me know in the comments! And don’t forget to upload your favourites to Wiki Places For Kids!