An oasis of calm in the Northamptonshire countryside, with miles of walking trails, huge lakes, loads of wildlife, and plenty of activities for explorers of all ages.
Stanwick Lakes is pretty much a dream destination for outdoorsy parents. Your kids can walk, run and cycle for miles along the endless woodland trails; there are bird hides to watch wildlife from; strategically placed climbing frames and tyre swings dotted around the site to keep kids entertained; you can go fishing, ride horses, hire boats, have picnics and BBQs; and if the weather turns bad you can head indoors to the visitor centre with its warm cafe and soft play area.
My initial concern was that it might feel a bit maunfactured, which it does a little bit, but once you get going you forget all about that. Despite being right next to the busy A45 you somehow feel completely connected to nature, which says a lot about how well this 750-acre former gravel quarry has been transformed into a wonderful countryside attraction.
It’s the little touches I enjoyed the most, like imaginitive treehouse bird hides, Neolithic and Medieval artefacts, and zip wires that even adults can get involved with. Not to mention the red kites circling overhead! The whole place is basically a big adventure playground.
We walked a little more than three miles but it felt a lot shorter thanks to the well-constructed paths, then headed back to the cafe for cheesy chips and sausage rolls. All in all, a brilliant day out!
Pushchairs: we visited in winter and even though the paths were slightly muddy, they were no problem at all for our pushchair. If you stick to the marked paths, you’ll have no problems
Dog owners: dogs are very welcome at Stanwick Lakes. They need to kept on leads in certain sections, but this is all clearly marked on the visitor centre maps
Download the route: click here to download this route for free in the ViewRanger app, then follow it on your phone, smartwatch or tablet using the app’s active GPS features.