One of my very good friends lives in Coventry which itself is only an hour away from Milton Keynes. When we get together with the children we often meet at one of the Northamptonshire country parks. But sometimes we enjoy a change of scenery and travel a bit further their way in search of a new adventure. In December 2017 we joined them at Ryton Pools – a country park near Warwickshire – it’s about 50 minutes away from where we live in Milton Keynes. Part of it is pirate themed which really excited my boys. Watch our video below to get an idea about what it’s like and then continue reading for more information.
What is Ryton Pools, where is it and how much does it cost to go there?
Ryton Pools is a 100 acre country park in Warwickshire not very far from Coventry which has some cool play equipment, walks, a train and a den-building area. It’s really easy to get to. From Milton Keynes we went up the M1, then took the M45 then A45 and followed the postcode CV8 3BH. It’s a really cheap day out. When we visited in December 2017 parking cost £3 off peak and £3.50. Check those prices if you’re reading this article some time from when we went there as you’ll need change for the machines. There are no other costs.
What are the play areas like at Ryton Pools?
We’ve been to a number of country parks now and have identified something in common with all of the good ones. We like several activities that are all spaced out so you’re encouraged to walk between them – you get a good walk – and the kids are kept occupied with a variety of areas to explore. The first play area you come to is more suited to younger children. It has a really good pirate ship themed climbing frame which my boys loved and spent some time going up and down. We decided to leave the trail until later and instead took a walk to the big play area. It has a big slide and loads of wooden play equipment. The children loved the zipwire and the slide. Some of the climbing equipment was too big for my sons but would certainly be good for children aged 7 upwards. The boys also liked a pretend surfboard.
What else is there to enjoy at Ryton Pools?
There’s a miniature train. It wasn’t open when we visited at the end of December. It does look like a good one though. It’s run by the Coventry Model Engineering Society and runs from the first Sunday in April until the end of September so if you’re travelling some distance and you have children who love trains then it may be worth waiting until the spring / summer to avoid disappointment. There’s also a pirate trail along a pathway. My sons enjoyed pretending to steer the front of the ship, searching crates for buried treasure and a pretend cannon. It’s not that big but is worth walking along. If you carry on beyond the trail it takes to you a cool den building area.
Any tips for enjoying Ryton Pools?
Definitely wear wellies unless you’re going in the peak of the summer. If you have young children like me then they’ll bound to fall over so it’s worth taking a change of clothes – it was really muddy when we visited. Take a few pounds in change for the parking machine as well as extra for an ice-cream or coffee. When we visited there was an ice-cream van near the bigger play area selling all kinds of crazy ice-creams – my boys chose once covered in marshmallows. We took a picnic but there is a cafe. You can take dogs but have to keep them on a lead in certain areas and they’re not allowed in the play areas. It’s open all year apart from Christmas day. We took chocolate coins left over from Christmas and one of the adults ran ahead and hid them somewhere along the pirate trail.
Where else can we visit that’s cheap and relatively close whilst we’re in the area?
It depends when you visit. If it’s cold then it’s worth heading into Coventry to go somewhere indoors like the Herbert Museum and Art Gallery or the motor museum which are both free. We’ve been to the Herbert, all be it at some point in 2016, they often have good activities or exhibitions on aimed at children so have a look online to see what’s going on. If you go in the summer then the War Memorial park in Coventry is an excellent park that has a free splash park.
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.