I read about this place a couple of years ago, we all agreed it sounded like a fun Christmas day out but every time we made plans to go it rained. This year we resolved to be successful. Son’s school Christmas holidays started quite early, the first day without rain we set off for Yorkshire direction Wetherby.
That pesky rain did start up on our journey but when we reached the very quaint market town of Wetherby it stopped. We didn’t stop, all were in agreement the town looked beautiful dressed up in its Christmas finery but the countryside and Stockeld Park was our goal and we pressed on.
Right in the middle of nowhere we arrived at Stockeld Park just after 3pm and found a very busy car park. Some people were leaving though so we got a parking spot. Plenty of mud underfoot, relief that we were sporting walking boots was my first feeling, sturdy shoes are required here.
We had a quick look around and decided on a plan of action. The good thing about this place is you do not pay a general admission charge, you only pay for the activities you want to try out. There were a few wooden buildings dotted here and there and a lake nearby – a very pretty setting.
We spied a lit up tunnel area and walked through, en route realising this was the way to Santa’s Grotto. Lots of little children with nice new looking husky toys were coming from the opposite direction with smiles on their faces. Son was crippled with embarrassment in case someone thought he was off to see Father Christmas. Husband and I were crippled with laughter.
Back to the ticket office we were told that due to unforseen circumstances the ice rink would not be available and as compensation three activities for the price of two would be on offer. Ice skating had not been in our plans anyway so a double bonus for us. We bought tickets for the maze, Nordic skiing and Enchanted Forest and set off.
First up the maze – we would probably not have paid to do this so it was our free extra. It was wonderful. Lush, green, thick and illuminated with fairy lights, we all loved the plethora of special effects and sound effects throughout.
Quirky and funny signs appealed to Son’s sense of humour and the odd unusual prop here and there – like a Tardis – was great. We found our way relatively easily to the centre (I should say Husband and Son did, I tagged along behind them) and back out again but all agreed this was one of the best mazes we’ve done.
By then quite dark, we made our way to a little wooden hut and got fitted out with ski boots and with skis and poles we set off. We’ve been downhill skiing in the past but never tried cross country skiing so no idea how this compared.
Snow in Yorkshire was in short supply, we “skied” along a green carpet through a forest on a trail that is just over 1 km long. It wasn’t too busy, it wasn’t too difficult and we loved it. The odd person had fallen over here and there, mostly though everyone seemed to get the hang of it quickly. It was fairly flat but by the end we were glad to see the finish point in the distance, it did feel like a bit of a work out.
Skis and boots left back, it was time to enter the Enchanted Forest. This runs parallel to the ski route, you could do just one or the other and get the general idea. We were glad we had opted to do both.
By the time we entered the trees it was very dark, the whole place was magically transformed with lights and it was just wonderful. Fairytale characters illuminated in the forest, sound effects here and there, interactive stuff aplenty to climb on and buttons to push it was just great.
In the middle was Gretel’s Cabin, a log hut where you could buy drinks and snacks and beyond that the lake – all lit up and looking stunning. It really did feel magical – we were all thoroughly enchanted by this place.
A peek in the very Christmassy gift shop before leaving…
We found a gorgeous old fashioned pub in the next village – the Windmill Inn in Linton was just five minutes drive away. Heaving with locals it was warm and cozy. We feasted on the most delicious food which was beautifully presented and so reasonably priced. The perfect end to a magical afternoon.