Weekend Ideas - Bedfordshire
Spring is here so its time to get out and about and this week I am going to focus on Bedfordshire where Hazelbou is based. There are actually some great local places which are great for kids and parents too.
Watergate Farm - Lambing weekend
Watergate farm is a working farm but each year they open their doors to families to come and experience their lambing period. We went to Watergate Farm last year with Reuben and some friends and he loved it. A chance to see and hold baby lambs, tractor rides, talks, pony rides, and sheep shearing. Watergate Farm is a great day out for a family of all ages and good value at Adults £5 / Children £4, so go out and support your local farm. Runs every weekend until 17th April. For more information visit here http://www.watergatefarmturkeys.com/lambing-days/
Tips for parents: This is a working farm, bring light waterproofs and wellies and prepare for mud. Buggies should be fine but if you have a little one a baby carrier might be easier.
Our major local attraction right on the doorstep of Dunstable, Whipsnade Zoo is the sister to London Zoo and hosts lots of exciting and interesting animals which kids will love. In particular, our oldest loves the butterfly centre where he can walk through as butterflies flutter over his head and watch the dwarf crocodiles and their babies - he gets very excited watching them swim around. The staff at the zoo are very good and there is always a program of talks and shows - we love to watch the sealions through the underwater viewing windows and also when they do their show.
Whipsnade also has other attractions to keep you busy including a soft play centre (basically means members have access to pre-paid soft play for the year), a steam train which runs around the park in warmer months, and a large adventure playground. You can also use your membership at London Zoo.
Tips for parents: It can be a little pricey for a whole family, adult £28 / child (3-15 years) £20.35 but if you book online before you go it's quite a bit cheaper - adult £22.90 / child £16.60 so there are savings to be made. If you live locally it's also worth considering an annual membership which allows you to go as much as you like over a year, so if the little ones get tired you don't have to worry about a wasted trip, you can always come back. Parents are pretty well catered for with well-maintained paths for pushchair access. There are some muddy areas so bring wellies and some parts of the Zoo are quite open so we always take layers. There is a restaurant but it does get very busy and we've often found we couldn't get a seat so now we always take a picnic - there are indoor picnic areas for wet days.
Stockwood Discovery Centre
We visited here a couple of weekends ago on a typical British spring rainy weekend. Based in Luton, Stockwood Discovery Centre is free to enter but we recommend donating to support the centre. They have very well-tended gardens with an outdoor play area for kids, a picnic area, restaurant, and a museum housing the Mossman collection, which has the largest collection of horse-drawn carriages in the UK.
We didn't quite know what to expect at the Stockwood Discovery Centre but our little one loved running around the gardens and investigating the carriages. On a sunny day the outdoor playground would have been even better.