I’ve heard that Belton House nr Grantham in Lincolnshire has the best National Trust adventure playground in the country. That’s quite a claim! Now the summer holidays are here I thought we’d take the opportunity to drive up to Belton House and do a review! From Aylesbury it’s pretty much bang-on 2 hours door to door. It’s a fairly easy drive, but it pretty much the edge of where we’ll visit in a day. It’s absolutely worth it though!
The adventure playground at Belton House
As I said before, the adventure playground at Belton House is supposed to be the best of any National Trust property. It certainly is the biggest – it’s MASSIVE! There’s stuff for a range of ages, but the highlight has to be the huge tower in the middle. This is definitely only suitable for older kids, but there’s a whole play frame before you get to the tower that younger kids could have a go at. There’s soooo much other stuff here though. There’s swings, loads of different slides, zip lines, multiple play frames, see-saws, the list goes on and on. Just look at this!
The one thing I have to mention here is that this review of the adventure playground at Belton House is written whilst some covid-19 restrictions are still in place. In fact, they have reopened the playground as a pilot scheme to see how it works. I only know of one other playground area that is open currently, and that’s at Waddesdon Manor (which is run differently). Sadly this does mean that a huge section of the playground is still closed. What’s open does also have some areas that are closed, sadly that includes the tower. There’s also a one-way system in place. We were here for over 2 hours – and that’s despite the bits being closed. If it wasn’t for the fact it was getting extremely late for lunch I’m positive we could have stayed there all day. In “normal” times there’s a cafe and picnic benches here. The toilets in this area are currently open. There really is no reason to leave the adventure playground at Belton House if you don’t want to!
Play equipment for younger children
One think I will say is that much of this big frame really isn’t suitable for very young kids. Smallest Child had one turn and it didn’t go that well. There’s a section towards the end where they have to walk across a scramble net. She really really struggled with it. There are, however, plenty of pieces of equipment they can play on.
There’s a gravel section with these two play frames on it. They both have a pulley system and chutes and tubes to then pour the gravel down. There’s a smaller version at the front that’s better for smaller kids. There’s also some little houses, some wooden ducks and a mini train to drive. These are in the under 5’s section which is slightly away from the rest of the playground, but actually I think most kids would be better off just exploring the whole thing.
What else is here for kids?
There’s a small water play area (pictured below), a tree house, a drum kit made out of trees and other musical instruments and much more. Sadly I couldn’t see what was at the other end of the playground because it was closed off and visibility from one end to the other isn’t good. Visibility is something that is seriously lacking at the Belton House adventure playground. It’s such a huge site and it’s in the middle of woodland. It’s quite hard to keep track of multiple kids if they’re not playing together.
There’s also a miniature railway here. It’s £1.50 per person and the ride takes 7 minutes.
In the stables area there’s the Ride Play cafe. It’s described as an adventure play area NOT a soft play. Basically it’s a wooden adventure playground built indoors. There’s the Beehive, Bellmount Tower and the Fishing Lodge with nets, tunnels and bridges joining them together. On busy days they operate a timed ticket system.
There is also the Discovery Centre opposite the Ride Play Cafe. This is open at weekends and school holidays. There’s crafts, games and dressing up as well as things to borrow that help you to explore the estate.
I am gutted that both places were closed when I came to do my review of Belton House as it looks brilliant. Missing out on these is a good reason to go back!
Inside Belton House
Sadly the house is currently closed so we didn’t get chance to look around. It looks beautiful. Relatively small by stately home standards, but I wouldn’t complain if I lived there!! Except maybe about the housework!
The formal gardens
The gardens are massive and have loads of features. There’s a Dutch garden, Italian garden, Orangery, mirror lake, temple, giant chair, boat house and lake. A lot of the gardens is open green space so you can just set up camp and let the kids play if you wanted to. If it’s a bit warm (like it was when we visited) then there’s also a lovely wooded area that leads down to the lake that’s a lot cooler than the rest of the garden.
We spent a good hour or so just wondering around the gardens. We then walked up to the lake and spent ages just watching the ducks and enjoying slightly cooler temperatures.
The deer park
Right in front of Belton House itself is the parkland. The evidence of the many deer residents is EVERYWHERE. We got to see five of them whilst we were there, and we didn’t even go looking for them. There were two just wandering along the car park and then we pretty much stumbled across these three in the adventure playground.
We simply didn’t have the time to explore more of the deer park, but there are loads of different walks that you can do. It seems to me that Belton House is one of those places that you cannot do everything in just one day. It doesn’t matter if you’re visiting with the kids or visiting as a grown-up. There’s loads to see and do.
Our Belton House and Adventure Playgorund Review
Quite simply the adventure playground at Belton House makes this the best National Trust property for children. Add in the indoor adventure play and discovery centre and this place is brilliant! The gardens themselves are lovely and well worth a visit in their own right. I’d love to go back to Belton House and update this review when everything else is open.
Don’t forget that you can find all of my reviews of National Trust properties by clicking here.
Entrance is free for National Trust members (join here – affiliate link). A family ticket is currently £20 but this is a different price from normal due to the current covid restrictions. I can’t find their normal price currently but it will be updated on their website as and when it changes.
Parking / How to get there
There’s plenty of free parking on site.
Address – Grantham, Lincolnshire, NG32 2LS (SatNav: NG32 2LW)
There are an abundance of toilets here! There’s a block of loos at the adventure playground and three different places you can go to the loo in and around the stable block.
There’s a cafe on site. The seating is in the stables itself and it’s lovely. There’s also lots of seating outside and there’s a picnic area. We sat on the front lawn under some trees for our picnic, which was a really nice spot for lunch.
Hi, I’m Vicky. My husband and I live in Aylesbury with our three children; a 10 year old son, an 8 year old son and a 3 year old daughter. I (mostly) love spending time together as a family. We visit all kinds of places and we’re quite happy to drive a fair distance for a decent day out. A few years ago I decided to set up Free Time with the Kids as a way to share our experiences of these family days out. You know, the essential information you need to know before your visit that can be surprisingly hard to find out. Where do I park? How much will it cost me to get in? Are there any discounts available? Are there loos? Can I take a picnic or get food? My aim is to be your go-to guide for all your free and cheap family days out across Bucks, Beds, Oxon, Herts & slightly beyond. I really hope you find the reviews helpful. If there’s anywhere that you’d recommend please get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org or get in touch via Facebook