There are many benefits of living in Milton Keynes. Being close to the seaside is not one of them. Of course it’s fabulous to take a trip to the coast during the school holidays, but it’s going to take you a good couple of hours in whichever direction before you’ll reach one. So I’ve put together this guide to the top 10 FREE beaches in Milton Keynes and Bedfordshire. Ok, bear with me. I’ve been quite liberal with the use of the term ‘beach’. When I say beach I actually mean sandpits. Unless specified, take your own bucket and spade. Where appropriate, click on the blue writing for more info and pics about a place. Oh and if you want even more ideas you may find my blog post about 10 free days out within 45 minutes of Milton Keynes useful too. Enjoy! And remember to send me any pics of places you visit.
1. Frosts Garden Centre in Willington, Bedfordshire – Don’t confuse this with the one in Woburn Sands – you pay for that one. This one is free! The beach is under a blue tent so is shaded for babies. There are plenty of buckets and spades to play with. There are quite a few picnic benches to sit at. Kids get bored? There are Little Tykes cars and tractors to play on which are also free. We enjoyed playing on the small crazy golf but there is a £2 charge. The only downside is understandably you can’t take your own food and drink in. There is a kiosk which sells drinks, ice-creams and sweet treats and a lovely large restaurant. But if you’re keen to have a cheap day out then I recommend going in the morning and stop off at the Wixams Parks (no.2 below) and have a picnic there. Or just go after lunch. Parking is free. MK44 3QP – about 20-25 mins from MK. IT’S ONLY OPEN UNTIL 4TH SEPT 2016. Watch my video below.
2. Wixams Parks – the parks on this housing estate in Bedfordshire are great fun. There are three of them and they’re all covered in sand. Bear in mind if it’s hot and sunny then the sand may be very dry, and there’s little shade for babies. You can walk from one to the next. If you forget to take food then there’s a local Budgens you can pop in to. Be considerate when parking. MK42 6AE – about 25 mins from MK.
3.. Russell Park – This lovely park in Bedford is great fun. There’s lots of sand and fab climbing frames for all ages. It’s next to the river and you can see the ducks. There’s a café and usually an ice-cream van. Free to park if you park on the road and walk up. MK40 3SG – about 25 mins from MK.
4. Emberton Country Park – Your children will have a great time playing at Emberton Country Park. There’s a really fast slide, floor trampoline and an excellent pirate ship. If they want to dig there’s a good sandpit with diggers. Next to it there’s another good area with small stones – my little boy loves using the pulleys to lift them up and drop them down again. Great place to visit. It does cost £4 to park though. MK46 5FJ
5. Leighton Buzzard Splash Park – Most people take their children to Parsons Road Recreation Ground for the splash park ,but there’s actually a really good size beach there as well. Great for sandcastles as you could collect some water from the splash area if the sand is a bit dry. The play area has a variety of equipment for all ages. The splash park can get really busy though so you may have to park in town and walk there. LU7 1SD – about 20/25 mins from MK.
6. Centre MK. This is undoubtedly the biggest beach you’ll find. It’s outside John Lewis in the big shopping centre in Milton Keynes. There are deckchairs to sit on. There is a helter skelter and other rides but you do pay extra for them. It can get busy though if it’s raining and you may be tempted to buy refreshments with three coffee shops in your eye line. You don’t quite get the outdoor seaside type feeling of the others but it’s still fun and certainly something for the kids to do if you need to go shopping. MK9 3GB
7. Brooklands Park – This is one of the best parks in Milton Keynes and has some fab play equipment and a really nice sandpit with frame where you can put sand down the chutes. It feels like there should be some water there. There isn’t though. Worth a visit and a lovely place for a picnic. MK10 7ER
8. Pirate Park in Loughton – This is a fab park in Milton Keynes. Ahoy maties! It has an excellent pirate ship surrounded by sand as well as a climbing frame suitable for bigger children. Well worth a visit. Park at the social club. MK5 8DJ
9. New Bradwell Sandpit Park – Known locally as the rec apparently, we really like this park in New Bradwell. My 3 year old loves the rocket – the best bit in his opinion. But there’s also a good sandpit and other fun play equipment. MK13 5LG
10. Rushmere Country Park – So I needed a tenth for this list so I’ve squeezed in this one. This is a fab country park with a good sculpture trail and huge slide. There’s also a sandpit with a digger. Don’t go specifically to build castles, but it’s a welcome addition to a fun place to visit. LU7 0EB – about 20 mins from MK.
I'm Laura, mum of two boys - aged six and four. I started this website at the end of Sept 2015 whilst on maternity leave. I now work four days a week and do this blog late at night once the little boys are sleeping. It's won several awards over the last four years and I continue to run it for free and mostly focus on free, cheap, and good value days out. Do drop me an email email@example.com if you want to contact me. Don't forget to follow all of our latest adventures on facebook, instagram and twitter and have a look at all of the videos of the places we visit on the Milton Keynes Kids YouTube Channel - subscribe to it for notifications every time I add a new place. And remember... you may been reading this post months after we visited, do check with the destination you're visiting for up to date opening times and prices. If you find this blog useful then please do comment on my posts and leave me a Facebook review - it makes doing this all the more worthwhile.