Newest Review: ... busiest narrow gauge railway. Think those toy trains that chug around the market square at Christmas and you are in the right ball... more
The highlight of Kettering, which isn't saying much...
Wicksteed Leisure Park (Northamptonshire)
Member Name: thedevilinme
Wicksteed Leisure Park (Northamptonshire)
Advantages: Good day out for kids
Disadvantages: Expensize to enjoy the rides
As kids there was no Alton Towers or Six Flags Magic Mountain anywhere near Northamptonshire for me growing up. We had Wickstead Park and that was it, one of those 'things to do' leisure parks that had a paddling pool, a small fairground and a model train running around the lakes. This was not the place for rollercoaster's and screams of excitement! Today it has improved but only as ever as ambitious as the nearby town of Kettering to be a flagship destination in East Anglia. The resort of Great Yarmouth dominates that particular thrill seeker arena with places like Pleasurewood Hills the most notable, which is understandable, any reason to get out of Great Yarmouth when you are on holiday a good idea. For a decent rollercoaster for people from Northampton it's at least a 100 mile journey.
Wicky describes itself as 150 acres of 'grade two parkland', whatever that means, and a family theme park with 'Europe's busiest narrow gauge railway. Think those toy trains that chug around the market square at Christmas and you are in the right ballpark. It has three miles of track so the railway fun in its own way for kids. Its other claim to fame is its founder Charles Wickstead was the man that invented the kid's playground back in 1915, so lots of playgrounds here, from swings to adventure. It has some small thrillless rollercoaster's for smaller kids and fairground type rides and a day ticket option system to use them. All the rides are very much aimed at smaller children so nothing in the park for mum and dad or big brother and sister. Rocky River Falls is always good for a good soaking though. There are lakes for row boating, canoes and pedalos and they do school events and summer holiday specials so mum can go off and do other stuff. With lots of green spaces to run around it's also a decent open space to escape to from the retrace (and there's lots of those in Kettering!).
Adult Annual Wristband Great Value! £48.00
Adult Ride Wristband (Single visit) £12.00
Child Annual Wristband - full price £67.00
Child annual wristband £67! (Two for £100)
Child Ride Wristband (Single visit aged 16 and under) £16.50
Group Rate Wristbands (Group rates apply to purchases of 20 wristbands or over in a single visit) £12.00
Senior Citizen Annual Wristband Great Value! £33.00
Senior Citizen Ride Wristband single Visit £8.50.
The parks rides and pay things to do are pricey for what it is and I can't see it being place you would visit more than twice a year so no value in annual passes for those rides and things to do. It's probably best to get up a group of parents and kids to go to earn summer discounts that way. The last time I was there it was clear it was for tweenies and so not the sort of place to see stroppy 15-year-olds looking bored and kicking cans. But if you have a young family then it's a great place to stroll in free and use the playgrounds as you would your local park and a good safe atmosphere.
They do private hire in the new conference facility they have recently rebuilt, The Wickstead Pavilion rather stand out. It has bands and shows on all year around and popular with the locals. They also have camping and caravan pitches but not really that kind of place. Two consecutive nights caravanning for £25 (caravan units under 20ft) or £40 (unit over 20ft). Tents are a tenner a night.
As I say it's free to get in on the gate because of its charitable status and great for younger kids and mums to spend the day. The local red buses drop at the gate and not too far from Kettering train station. It reminds me a bit of Krusty World on The Simpsons. If you are older than 15 then this is not for you and Billing Aquadrome in Northampton more your thing. There is not a lot else to do in Kettering so reason enough to avoid Wickstead if you are paying for a day out.
Summary: One Flag Magic Mountain
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