Wicksteed Park, Northamptonshire
Wicksteed Park combines the excitement of roller coasters, rides and attractions with the tranquility of a campsite set in a historic country park.
Founded by Charles Wicksteed, inventor of children’s playground equipment, Wicksteed was the very first theme park on the British mainland, long before today’s mega-adventure parks came on the scene. Here you’ll find a mix of traditional playground and modern rides to keep the whole family entertained.
And if you’re looking for a relaxing break there is the nature reserve, 147 acres of beautiful parkland and a lake to explore too.
Situated near Kettering, in Northamptonshire, Wicksteed Park has classic rides, such as the original rope assisted waterchute, carousel and narrow-gauge railway, which remain as popular as go karts, rollercoasters, Laser Xtreme and Magic Ice – thrills and spills in equal measures.
A recent addition is Clip n Climb, featuring 28 different challenges across a range of colourful climbing walls.
And after a day of fun, what could be better than a night camping? Next door to the lake, and within sight of the rides, there’s a huge expanse of campsite, broken up by mature hedgerows and small copses.
Campers enjoy a relaxed spot within the country park, close to nature. It’s all very informal too, with space for around 200 pitches. The camping field has a modern toilet and shower block and impressive views over the lake as well as lakeside walks.
As a camper you have access to all the park’s attractions and as an added bonus, campers get a discount on second day wristbands to the theme park.
Barton Road, Kettering NN15 6NJ
Open March - November
NEED TO DO
- The park and its many activities are probably what will keep you entertained for most of your stay, but there’s always a trip into Kettering to consider. The regenerated Marketplace has been the town’s focal point for centuries and should be your first port of call.
- The Manor House Museum will set you up for local history while Fridays and Saturdays are the main market days.
- Northamptonshire has more than its share of historic houses – Boughton, Cottesbrooke Hall, Deene Park and Rushton Triangular Lodge.
- Kelmarsh Hall and Gardens still hosts the Original Land Rover festival in July.
- Try Rockingham for speedway (Europe’s fastest circuit).
As well as the Park’s numerous eateries, you can head into Kettering for trendy Kino Lounge in the Market Place. The Italian-inspired Palmichael was Restaurant of the Year in a recent Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards. Definitely check out the pubs in the local villages too. If you want upmarket, try the brasserie at Barton Hall, some 400 yards along the main road from the park entrance.