We’re always keen to find new, exciting and cheap places to explore relatively close to home so when a friend recommended Rushden Lakes to us, we knew we had to go. It’s unlike anywhere else we’ve been. It’s essentially a retail destination next to a lake which has sculptures around it and a good play area. Watch our video below which features the best bits and then scroll down for more information.
Where is Rushden Lakes and what is the play area like?
Rushden Lakes is in Northamptonshire and is about a 35 minute drive from where we live in Milton Keynes. It’s not too far from Irchester Country Park. The postcode is NN10 6FH. It’s a big retail park. The biggest flagship store is House of Fraser, but there’s a rather large Primark and other mid-higher end high street stores. It’s free to park for 5 hours which is enough time to be there at the moment. If you walk through the car park you’ll get to the lakeside with a rather nice boardwalk. There’s a visitors centre there and toilets. We started exploring by turning left and walking in the direction of the restaurant – there was only one open when we visited as well as a number of coffee shops – but more are due to open and an IMAX cinema was also being built when we visited. There’s a splash area next to the lake. It’s not a splash park as such, but a number of water jets that will be great fun for the kids to play in when the weather is much nicer. If you carry on walking you’ll come to a play area which my boys loved. There was a lovely wooden climbing area which had rabbit warren type tunnels to explore; there was a wooden overturned boat; a birds nest platform with eggs in; and a spider with web. It’s not huge but is ideal for young children to run around in.
What else is at Rushden Lakes?
Once we’d finished playing in the play area we then took a walk around the lake. It looks huge, and not knowing how long it would take us we decided just to go for a bit of a walk. However, it’s not as big as it looks. What’s great is that there’s an animal sculpture trail all the way around it. It’s such a great idea, particularly for young children. My sons – aged 4 and 2 – as I write this enjoyed running from one to the next – I won’t mention all of them, but they particularly liked the snake, fish and fox. The end of the trail takes you back to the visitors centre. I can’t remember how long it took – maybe 45 mins?
What could be improved about Rushden Lakes?
When we visited in March 2018, it all still felt very new so actually there’s very little to say about improvements. The site is still expanding, so it looks like there will be more to explore beyond the play area which we’re looking forward to seeing. On the day we went it was relatively quiet so we had a really relaxing time there. I can imagine in the summer it will get much busier – it’s the ideal destination for a summer afternoon / evening out. It has a really lovely feel to it – it’s just how Willen Lake should be but isn’t. We didn’t have a problem getting in to Rushden Lakes although friends who have visited have reported that they queued for some time to get into the car park. Rushden Lakes often has extra activities on for the children. Have a look at their website where you can see what’s on as well as look at what shops there are.
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.