Avonmouth Park – “The Surprise Playground”

Good for: Train enthusiasts, all ages

At the risk of showing my ignorance once again, I’ve always thought that Avonmouth was just a huge industrial park. Pass all the warehouses and you come to a lovely little well maintained Victorian park. Better still, take the train here. Even on a rather bleak midwinter day, it is a lovely park with most of it being given to play equipment of some kind. There’s something for everyone. There’s also a lovely looking library opposite the park. It was closed but we’ll have to return one day.

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Is this how you picture Avonmouth?

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Lamplighters Open Space – “The Fishing Boat Playground”

Good for: wide open spaces, river views, pub gardens, fishing boats

Not for the first time, our adventures took us to a lovely bit of Bristol which I had never experienced before. It’s just off the Portway so I had driven within minutes of it hundreds of times. It is right by the river, surrounded by fishing boats with views of Pill. It’s worth a visit for the location as much as the equipment, though my kids really liked the playground too. I just wish the weather had been better and I was a better photographer!

It’s actually really near Shirehampton train station so it would make a fun day out on the little train.

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Boats are a common theme in playgrounds but this one was a good one

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My 9 year old found this one quite challenging which is becoming a rarity

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Awesome roundabout – could fit loads of kids

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Loads of space to run around with a couple of football goals

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Pretty views

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This pub had a lovely looking beer garden and gets good reviews on TripAdvisor

Pitsville Playground Cheltenham – “The Boating Playground”

Great for: a family day out a bit further afield, all ages, water enthusiasts, duck lovers, sunny days.

Today felt like the first really nice day for a while so to mark the occasion we took a bit of a gamble and following a recommendation from a friend (thanks, Vicky!) we drove over an hour to check out Pitsville Park in Cheltenham. I have to say, I was hugely impressed.

We went straight to the main playground on arrival which was pretty amazing, if a little overwhelming. It had tons of well maintained equipment for all levels, including sand, double zip wires, swings, trampolines, monkey bars, water play for the summer (not working in February) – almost anything you could think of. It also had a lovely little cafe kiosk as well as an aviary with rabbits, chipmunks and, of course, birds.

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Awesome, if a little manic and, it turns out, quite hard to capture!

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Kiosk selling drinks and ice creams

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The aviary which also included rabbits and chipmunks

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I love these seesaws!

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Water play for the summer looked awesome

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Hot chocolates…hmmmm

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Even my 9 year old approved of the equipment

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Awesome climbing frame

To be honest it was probably awesome enough to make the trip worthwhile by itself but then we wandered down to the pond nearby which was really beautiful and peaceful  and not far beyond we found another lovely little kiosk serving really nice paninis. We then found our way to the other side of the road (via a tunnel – could this park be any more fun?) where there was yet another pond/lake complete with pooh sticks bridge, boating lake (with another cafe), golf, more play areas and a lovely obstacle course. We didn’t take out a boat as it was too cold but it would be a lovely thing to do.

It really is a lovely park and well worth the trip though I would say it would be worth going on a sunny day as none of the 3 fab cafes have indoor space. I love that it’s got the manic playground bit to please the kids and then the calmer lakeside bit so everyone is happy!

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Such a cute machine for getting bird feed. Shame it was empty!

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The Boathouse cafe where you can hire rowing boats and get drinks, snacks and more ice cream

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Beautiful obstacle course

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One of our favourites!

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Another fave – so much fun!

The Bath Soft Cheese Company Shop – “The Cheesy Playground”

Great for: Cheese lovers, wet weather, walks in the countryside, seeing real life cows.

If you love cheese like our family does then this is a real gem. It’s in the beautiful countryside between Bristol and Bath (important note: Apple Maps does not take you to quite the right place so try Google Maps or good old fashioned paper maps!) There’s a lovely cafe where you can get delicious cakes, coffee, cheese platters or toasties, ice creams or milk shakes. There’s a really cute, well designed play area outside suitable for all ages and seating upstairs with a fab play area and a view of the cheese being made. My kids were fascinated. I have to mention the swish toilet there too. Always a bonus.

We live near Bristol Zoo and have membership so my kids are much more familiar with lions and penguins then cows and horses so we thoroughly enjoyed a stroll around dodging the cow pats and seeing the pretty countryside. We just head off randomly to look around but their website has a map of a circular walk nearby.

Please note although the cafe is open at the weekends, I don’t think any cheese is produced then so you won’t get to see it in action. Still worth a visit though!

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So well designed!

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Loads to do in this play area

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My kids watched for ages absolutely fascinated.

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Real cows!

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Victory Park – “The Circus Playground”

Great for: Older children who enjoy climbing, see-saw enthusiasts

A little while ago we ventured out to Brislington to check out Victory Park. It’s a cute, well thought out little playground in a really quiet secluded green spot making you feel like you’re in the countryside. We were there on a pleasant Sunday morning for almost an hour and didn’t see another child! It was a lovely little outing.

The highlight for us was probably the Kids’ Circus made by and English company called Huck. My 8 year old daughter really loved the rubber floor climber which you could try and scale or slide down. It was well designed and could accommodate loads of kids in many different ways.

The giant see-saw was also great fun

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All three loved this slide and the fact they could go on it at the same time.

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Cute little play area

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Lovely green surroundings

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The one sad piece which didn’t have drainage holes so had a puddle in the middle.

Crook peak – “the view walk”

Great for: spectacular views, tracking animals, earning your delicious pub lunch. 

Today the forecast was cold but sunny so we thought we’d attempt one of the walks from Nigel Viles’s “Kiddiwalks“. It was a perfect choice. It took us on a two mile hike up through beautiful countryside to a peak from where you could see all of Somerset. 

It was pretty muddy for much of the trip but there was not a singe grumble from the older kids as they could clearly see tracks in the mud of some exciting wild creature (probably deer). We took our standard winter snack of hot chocolate with whipped cream and marshmallows 

 

Woodchester park – “the Play Trail”

Great for: escaping to the countryside, getting your kids to walk without whining (disclaimer: I offer no guarantee of lack of whining) 

 If you fancy getting out into the countryside with little ones I would highly recommend this national trust park in Gloucestershire. It took us 40 minutes to get there and there is a lovely little play trail with great activities every few hundred metres – we managed to get our three kids around the 3 mile clearly marked path pretty easily. 

There is a manor which apparently has a cafe but we didn’t manage to check it out this time as it’s closed until the 1st April 2017. Click here for more info. 

Entrance is free but the car park is £3 per day unless you’re a member of the national trust (then it’s free).