Ok, so that’s a bold statement, let’s say it’s the best play park, in Berkshire, that we’ve found so far.
When you have a toddler you quickly learn where all the play parks are, don’t you? The close-by ones for a quick bit of fun, the ones a bit further away when you want to waste time and wear them out, and the extra exciting ones that are best visited with the assistance of daddy! Their obsession with play equipment quickly becomes your obsession as you try to find different or better parks, and you sort of forget that not all adults get as excited as you about play parks.
Last weekend we met an old University friend at Dinton Pastures. I had envisaged a stroll around the country park, a look at the ducks, a quick trip to the park and a bite to eat; this seemed like a brilliant compromise between how an adult and a toddler might want to spend their Saturday.
But I was not prepared for the awesomeness of the Dinton Pastures play park! If you’ve ever been to a National Trust children’s play area then think along these lines – natural materials and fun structures – but bigger and suitable for a wider range of ages.
Rosalie is two and found more than enough to keep her amused for a morning, from giant dinosaur eggs, a hollowed-out tree tunnel, a sand pit, a giant chair, and a willow walkway, to more traditional play equipment including swings, slides and a roundabout.
There are lots of little nooks and crannies to explore, like caves and tunnels beneath mound slides, which Rosalie found brilliant fun.
There is so much for bigger ones too – scramble nets, zip wire, climbing frames, and some giant logs that daddy enjoyed scaling (he can’t resist climbing anything!), and probably other things we didn’t discover because we all got too hungry!
The cafe has a lot of lovely outdoor seating (much of it undercover) and an extensive menu with a children’s menu too. My bacon sandwich was delicious and Rosalie had a little sausage sandwich which she wolfed down – she really needed to re-fuel after all the energy she had burned in the playground!
You do have to pay for parking at Dinton Pastures (£1.50/hour when we visited), but that’s it, then you can play to your heart’s content, stroll around the lakes, take a long walk, feed the ducks and enjoy something tasty from the cafe.
Needless to say, a fun Saturday was had by toddler and grown ups alike. Thank goodness for old friends who are happy to while away their time at play parks with you and your toddler, perhaps because they realise that might be the only way they get to see you these days.