There’s an excellent country park called Irchester Country Park which is in Northamptonshire. I have visited a number of times over the years with my two children, but in July 2020 having heard there was some excellent new play equipment, we decided to return to do an updated review. It’s a great cheap day out for kids. If you do find this post useful and create some wonderful memories with your children, please do consider buying me a coffee to help with the running costs of this website, Milton Keynes Kids is run independently with no advertising in addition to my day job and looking after two children. Thank you.
Where is Irchester Country Park and how much does it cost to visit?
Irchester Country Park is in Northamptonshire – about 30 minutes from where we live in Milton Keynes. There is no entry fee but you pay to park. At the time we visited in July 2020 it cost £3.20 for up to four hours or £5.20 for up to eight hours. It’s worth checking their website before travelling in case it’s changed. The address is Gipsy Lane, Wellingborough, NN29 7DL. It’s easy to find. There is a small car on your left as your arrive. If you drive further down there is a much bigger car park as well as overflow car park. Once in the park it’s not that well signposted to find everything so I highly recommend looking at the map below and planning where you want to go.
What’s the new equipment like at Irchester Country Park?
Irchester Country Park is a large site made up of a big play area with lots of different equipment, woodland walks, a railway museum and a jungle ropes area (which is payable). In July 2020 some new play equipment was installed which is absolutely superb. We had heard it was located on the woodland walk rather than in the main play area, so having checked the map on site (I think it was somewhere on a building near the loos) we decided to start the walk into the woods from the side of the cafe and hope we were on the right track. We were and kept following the green arrows. We soon came to the fantastic ants nest. It’s a fab bit of equipment where the children can climb inside and then there’s a slide on the outside. My two sons were seven and five at the time we visited and they absolutely loved it. We then continued on our walk and found the eagle themed climbing frame. It’s big – probably better for their age than young children and they spent some time playing on there. It’s really well designed, a great theme, and fits in well to the walk. We continued to follow the green arrows. Much of it was accessible although part of it did take us down a narrower route so it would be trickier for buggies and wheelchairs. The route was circular and took us back to the car park. At various points they could run up and down hills to the side of the paths. The addition of the play equipment is brilliant and enables parents to have a lovely walk too. It also meant children stayed for a while before moving on so the equipment wasn’t crowded constantly.
What else is good at Irchester Country Park?
There are dinosaur bones! If you haven’t been before it’s not signposted and they’re not that easy to find. Do you remember I said there was a car park as you drive into the country park just on the left? From that car park instead of going down the hill cross over the road and walk – you’ll seen an old train trailer type thing. There’s a path. If you head into the woods next to that path you’ll find a few dinosaur eggs and bones. It’s a great place to stop for pictures. Also since we last visited there is a lookout bridge. Once you’ve found the dinosaur bones with the head come out of the woods and on to the path. Follow the orange arrows – not all the way – when the path curves around as if to take you on a big circular walk carry straight on and you’ll come to the lookout bridge. I suggest looking at a map before trying to find it so that makes sense. I walked across it with my two sons – my seven year old was fine but my youngest found it a bit nerve wracking. The main reason we used to go to Irchester Country Park was the big play area – it’s quarry themed and there’s lots of different equipment including a snake swing, climbing frames and a roundabout. It’s the area we spent the least amount of time in on this visit as it was just so busy but if you do get to go on a quieter day at any point then there’s loads of the kids to play on.
What else do we need to know about visiting Irchester Country Park?
There are toilets. At the time we visited they seemed to have combined male and female. We had to wait to use them but not too long. There is a cafe. When we went it was just a takeaway kiosk. There are no bins apart from the ones next to the kiosk. They want you to take picnic rubbish home. There is also a railway museum there. We have been before and it’s small but another thing to do when you’re there. It is only open on Sundays when it is open. I don’t know at the time of writing this whether it had re-opened though due to covid-19 we didn’t have time to look.
What were Covid-19 measures like – if any – when we visited Irchester Country Park?
Hand sanitizer had been put in place around the new pieces of equipment in the woodland trail area. You also had to wait to use the toilet buildings whilst they were occupied with one other family. Otherwise the country park excepts you to take responsibility for social distancing. The big play area was one of the busiest we have visited so it may be worth leaving it some time to go if you do worry about that. I think there is enough to enjoy with the walks there anyway.
Any tips for visiting Irchester Country Park?
Definitely take lots of water if you’re going on a hot day, you can cover some distance walking around. Check the map before you do start walking. Get there relatively early if you suspect it will be busy – peak time we found was around 2pm. Enjoyed this review? Have a look at the country parks section on my website for more reviews of cheap days out for kids in and around Milton Keynes.
I'm Laura, mum to two boys aged seven and five. I run this website independently and free from advertising in addition to my day job. If you have enjoyed this post and found it useful, here are some ways you can say thanks and support Milton Keynes Kids.
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