Northamptonshire’s tagline should really be ‘home of fab country parks’. At the time of writing we had already visited Sywell, Stanwick Lakes and Irchester – you can find my reviews of them in the country parks section of my website – and in May 2019 we decided to go to Barnwell Country Park in Oundle having heard there was a sand and water play area, large climbing frame and toddler area. Watch my video below and then keeping reading for more information.
Where is Barnwell Country Park and how much does it cost to visit?
Barnwell Country Park is in Oundle, Northamptonshire. The best postcode is PE8 5PB. Although it comes under Northamptonshire it’s relatively close to Peterborough so was a bit further for us to get to than the other country parks in the county. It took us just under an hour from where we live in Milton Keynes. My mum lives in Peterborough and came with us which is why we decided to go there and if you’re looking to make a longer day of it I’d certainly suggest going Peterborough way – I’ll suggest what to do later. At the time we visited in May 2019 parking cost £3.20 for up to four hours and £5.20 for up to 8 hours. You may be reading this some time after we visited so please check their website for up to date prices before going. We had to pay in coins. Admission otherwise is free.
What are the play areas like at Barnwell Country Park?
There are three play areas. There’s a sand and water area. It’s nothing on the scale of Stanwick Lakes but was big enough to keep my 3 year old son entertained. There was a couple of pumps as well as a small puddle which he enjoyed splashing it. The sandpit includes a couple of slides as well as a stand with a pulley. The area was great for young children although I do think water play is fun whatever a child’s age. Next to the sand area there’s a big wooden climbing frame which includes a slide. It goes right around the corner. It’s looking a bit weather worn but still good fun. My son was able to climb some of it but was a bit reluctant to try some of it as he still prefers a smaller climbing frame. I think my 5 year old would have really liked the climbing frame, as well as the rope swing which we didn’t have time to go on. That area is quite shaded with a number of trees. The third play area – all be it the first you’ll see when you get there – is a toddler area which with a blue wooden house and vegetable sculptures which looks really pretty. My son was a bit disappointed the door on the house didn’t close although he’s still at an age where going in a house is still fun regardless. There was also a small slide.
What else is at Barnwell Country Park?
There are several lakes and several trails at Barnwell Country Park. Much of it is accessible. The trails are relatively short compared to others we have been to at other country parks with the longest one being one mile. We did the middle one which was a pretty walk and more than enough for my three year old. There’s also a cafe which we didn’t actually have time to go in – but it does have a lovely outside area. There’s also a visitor’s centre which had lots in including bones, books and various things to look at, as well as an area to sit down. There wasn’t any members of staff in there when we went so just had a quick look around.
Is it worth a visit to Barnwell Country Park?
We had a lovely time at Barnwell Country Park and would recommend visiting BUT it really depends where you live and how far you want to travel for a country park. If you live within a 40 minute drive then yes go there, it’s a nice day out. If, like us, you enjoy exploring and trying new places and don’t mind driving up to an hour then yes go – you can see from my photos and videos what the highlights are and I think it’s particularly appealing to younger children. If however you’re local to Milton Keynes or further afield and you’re looking for a big country park and don’t want to be in the car for ages then somewhere like Stanwick Lakes may be more appealing for a whole day out. We haven’t been anywhere else in the immediate area of Oundle but there are various other places en route which you could go to – have a look at my map to see where you could go. We have visited both Ferry Meadows Country Park and Peterborough Museum in nearby Peterborough which are about 20-25 min drive further on.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.