I grew up in Peterborough, and because my parents didn’t drive, I spent much of my childhood going to places I could walk or cycle to. One of them was Ferry Meadows Country Park. I have fond memories of playing there, not particularly because I remember it having particularly good play areas, but because it was a great place to ride my bike safely and play in the sand. So feeling nostalgic and on a recent visit to see my parents, I decided to take my boys there to see what it was like now. Well, I’m delighted to say it’s brilliant and being under an hour from Milton Keynes, I’d highly recommend a trip there – it’s a great cheap day out. The layout is of course the same as I remember in the 80s, but it now has brilliant play equipment, a modern visitors centre and a cool miniature train. Watch our short video below to see all the best bits, and then scroll down for more information.
What did we discover at Ferry Meadows Country Park?
We found three good play areas. The first is next to the visitors centre and is great fun for young children. There’s a water pump which my boys (aged 4 and 2 as a I write this) loved playing with. There are some stones to walk on, a slide and a pirate ship shaped structure. We then turned right, stopping to play on the brightly shaped crocodiles before walking down to the badger play area. That was very cool. There’s a large wooden climbing frame which my 4 year old found easy to climb with a good sized slide. There’s a floor trampoline which my youngest loved and there are also lots of wooden beams to walk along. We then carried on walking up to the bridge, but then turned around and walked back again as my boys were keen to go on the miniature train. On the day we visited the train rides started at around 11.30am and ran every 15 minutes so we didn’t have to wait long. The train is called ‘Charles’ and looks like a Thomas the Tank Engine character. The train takes you up to a third play area near the watersports centre where you can hop off, have a play, and then get back on the train (keep hold of your token if you buy a return ticket) or you can just stay on the train for the return journey. The entire journey was under 10 minutes.
What else is at Ferry Meadows Country Park?
It’s a big country park, and we only had time to explore part of it, but there are four walking trails you can do; two cycling trails; a watersports centre; and there’s a boat that can take you around one of the lakes near the play area but it wasn’t running when we visited. Next to the country park is a 12 hole pitch and putt course which is great fun for slightly older children. And if you’ve got some cash to spend, then there’s also steam trains which run on the Nene Valley Railway – one of the stations is next to the country park.
How much does it cost to visit Ferry Meadows Country park and where is it?
Entrance is free but you do pay to park. When we visited in September 2017, it cost £1.50 for up to an hour then 50p for each additional half an hour up to a maximum of £5 for the day. Do check up to date prices before you go. They had ANPR cameras which read your registration plate when you go in, you then input your plate details on the machine before you go and it calculates how much you owe. When we visited the cost of the train was £2.50 an adult, £2 a child. The address is Ham Lane, Peterborough, PE2 5UU – it’s under an hour from Milton Keynes. We went up the A421 to join the A1 and it’s easy to find using the postcode above.
Any tips for visiting Ferry Meadows?
Yes, take spare clothes for children, they’ll enjoy getting wet in the water play area. The country park is big, so take a buggy for young toddlers, and a bike or scooter for older ones. If you go on the train there is somewhere to put your buggy / small bikes so you can take them to the other park with you. Take a picnic to save money. Since we visited, we’ve learned that you can apparently buy a daily pass for the miniature train which could be worth it if your children love trains. The train is running at weekends and the school holidays until the end of October 2017 so bear that in mind if your visiting in the winter it won’t be open. It also doesn’t run in high winds or heavy rains. If in doubt do check the Ferry Meadows Railway website before travelling to avoid disappointment.
We liked Ferry Meadows, where else can we go that’s similar?
There are loads of country parks to explore. You can find them all on the country parks section of this website – our favourites are Stanwick Lakes, Irchester Country Park and Sywell Country Park which are all in Northamptonshire, and Rushmere which is in Bedfordshire.
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.