V10 Brickhill St, Milton Keynes MK15 0DS
We’ve been here so many times over the years, there is so much to do!
There are two lakes but people tend to just walk around the larger lake. The car park is next to the main facilities; there is a pub, a hotel, watersports centre, miniature railway, football pitches, high ropes course and splash park. There are a couple of nice playground areas, each one designed for a different age range. The kids really like the playground and there’s a good variety of equipment for them to explore. The two sections are next to each other, are fenced off and have a gate between them which is quite handy if you have multiple age-ranges. Plus it’s next to the toilets and you can get a coffee which makes life a lot easier. Be warned though pretty much every time I’ve used this loo it’s been gross so don’t let small kids in there on their own until you’ve had a look.
The lake itself (well actually there are two) is a decent size and it takes a reasonable amount of time to get round but isn’t so long that complaints of legs hurting kick in. There’s lots of wildlife to spot, mainly ducks, geese and swans and there is a dedicated feeding platform for them. There is a fitness trail that runs alongside the main route around the lake so you can intermittently prove how fit you are to the kids by doing two push-ups before they decide they want a turn. The footpaths around the lake are good and easy for everyone to get around on. Dogs are allowed everywhere as well. I really like a wander around Willen Lake with the kids. It’s popular and in the middle of a city but once you’re away from the main facilities it feels really peaceful. It’s flat all the way round so it’s an easy walk for even the smallest legs. It’s actually a fairly sheltered spot as well so autumn and winter walks are just as good a summer ones.
You can also easily access the Tree Cathedral and Peace Pagoda from Willen Lake. These are less popular than the lake itself but fascinating and worth the short walk. If you like running then there is a 5k parkrun on site every Saturday.
The miniature railway was a little bit disappointing if I’m honest – there’s not much to see on the ride and it doesn’t last long. There are various, much better, miniature railways locally that you can go on. Tickets are £2 per person.
We have eaten in the pub a couple of times. It’s not haute cuisine but it’s decent enough, reasonably priced pub food. Because the lake is so popular it can get very busy during peak times so there can be a long wait to be seated and served if it’s really busy.
The splash park is relatively new and the general consensus is that it is a bit expensive, particularly when it’s compared to the free park at Leighton Buzzard but it is better maintained. Sessions are 30 minutes each (which includes a 5 minute change-over) and cost £2 per session off-peak and £3 per peak session. They do have a lot of equipment and the kids love it. When it gets warmer again I’ll go and check it out for myself.
We haven’t tried to watersports or high ropes course yet and there is an additional charge for these but they do look good. There’s been a lot of investment recently in the activities that you can do here so you can now also book segway tours, zorbing and a massive aquapark. A lot of these activities are seasonal and may require pre-booking so please make sure you check the website.
They regularly hold events and activities, particularly in the spring and summer so it’s always worth keeping an eye on their website to see what’s on.
Entry – Free. There are a lot of additional activities that you can take part in as well, but these are chargeable. There’s a full list, including prices, on their website.
Parking – On-site but chargeable. Up to 4 hours is £2.50, up to 8 is £4.00. Shorter tickets are also available. Parking used to be a bit rubbish but they’ve significantly improved the number of spaces in recent years.
Toilets – On-site near the playground and the pub.
Food – Pub and coffee shop on-site. Picnics welcome and they have a dedicated BBQ area as well. There is quite often an ice cream van as well.
Rating – 5 / 5. We’re regular visitors throughout the year.