Wellington Country Park │Review

If there's anywhere I can write a post about it's Wellington Country Park. If you've seen my Instagram account you know that we're there all the time - at least once a week.

We bought an annual pass last year, and renewed again a few weeks ago despite the fact we're moving over an hours drive away in a couple of months. I reckon we'll get our money's worth before the move even happens, but it'll be a good excuse to come back for play dates with our friends. Plus you get some good little perks - free passes to give to friends, vouchers for a few free hot drinks and a few free train rides.

The park is huge, and there is plenty to do for a wide range of ages. It's going to be difficult for this post to not just be a giant list of stuff to do, but here goes!

Charlotte has no idea that this place is called Wellington Country Park - she just asks if we can go visit the dinosaurs as there's a corner of the park filled with some really good dinosaur models. Some days we really take our time, she studies the models, requests their names and asks questions. Some days she runs around them screaming..."they are trying to eat meeeeeee!" or peering into their mouths with binoculars to try see the children they've eaten.

After the dinosaurs there's an enchanted forest. Lots of fairy doors and windows attached to trees (*knock knock knock* "noooo, not in today. I think she's still sleeping")  and a few little wooden play houses. *WARNING* The entrances to these play houses are quite low. I repeatedly have to tell Charlotte to watch her head when playing in these as otherwise she just barges straight in. We've had a few bruises on her forehead due to enthusiastic house entering!

There's a number of play areas dotted around the park. Some are designated toddler areas, but we've recently discovered the Adventure Playground. Bigger climbing frames and slides...and a zip wire! The zip ends with quite a jolt so Charlotte needs someone to catch her at the bottom, but as she's so small she also needs someone to help her on at the top, so it is a 2 man job. When I've been there by myself there have been some lovely parents who have helped her on which I'm very grateful for. I've been trying to help her practice clinging on at the end so she doesn't fall off...but it's a tricky one to practice as I obviously don't want her to fall and injure herself in the process.

A new addition to the park last year was a Splash Zone. Charlotte has already braved it this year. I explained that it was probably a bit chilly to be running around in water in a swimming cossie, but she insisted. She lasted about 15 minutes, but I'm sure once the warmer weather hits I'll struggle to extract her!

We've not yet been able to try out the Welly Wheels as it's for over 4s but every time we visit Charlotte asks if she can have a go as she's "bigger now"! These automated jeeps look like fun but this is one of attractions you have to pay extra for, and I think they aren't open during the week - just weekends and school holidays.

The park holds events and themed days throughout the year. In fact, our first visit to the park was to a Teddy Bears Picnic when Charlotte was just a few weeks old. Obviously these days are a lot busier, but as the park is so big I've never visited and thought that it felt overly crowded.

A fairly recent discovery for us is the nature trails. We'd done the walk around the lake lots of times when Charlotte was a baby in an attempt to get her to nap, but we'd not been through the deer park. Although we have managed to get the pushchair round the nature trails, it is much easier without as there can be some muddy patches. Luckily Charlotte is a really good walker so she is happy to walk around and I pop Benjamin in the sling. Charlotte likes helping to navigate by pointing out the coloured arrows and loves it when she spots any deer. Often I'm so busy making sure the little ones are ok, she spots them well before me!

The one thing Charlotte is never overly bothered about is the farm. I like walking down there to see the animals but she'd much rather be running about and clambering on the equipment. We tend to only do this bit if we're with friends as she's not too fussed, but it's a nice little farm with the animals you'd expect to see and a few petting sessions through the day.

A firm favourite is the minature railway. The little train has just been redone and is so lovely. New train Arthur (the previous train was called Charlotte!) is a little bigger and the carriages are now covered. Squealing whilst going through the tunnels will never get old!

A ride on the old train, before it was replaced last week.
In the past I've read some really mixed reviews about the park but we really enjoy it. I think it helps that we have an annual pass as we can just pop in for an hour here and there, but if you are paying the day ticket price I would advise you visit in peak season, and check the website to make sure that all the attractions are open. The park closes over winter and at the start of the year some attractions are still closed and in the process of being refurbished. If you go in the summer you'll definitely get your money's worth. As you can see from this huge post there's just so much to do - and I've not talked about everything, just our favourite bits. There's also a sand and water play area with diggers and a water pump, a bouncy pillow, a spinning wheel, a small indoor soft play for under 2s, mini golf, and I'm sure other bits and pieces I've forgotten to mention.

We just love it here so much, and as I said, it's so close to home we can just pop in as and when we fancy. I'm really hoping we can find something similar near the new house in north Oxfordshire but I haven't spotted anything yet. If you know of anywhere, do let me know in the comments.