Family fun guaranteed in the Nene Valley this summer

It can be a challenge to find a destination that offers something of interest to every member of the family, but here in the Nene Valley we’ve got a few brilliant family-friendly and dog-friendly solutions…

Rushden Lakes is a modern lakeside venue with big name shops, entertainment and eateries all in one well-laid out location. We recommend you schedule a day here to make the best of everything that’s on offer. Outdoors you can all have a go at water-based fun with Canoe2 who offer Swan and Dragon Pedalos for hire as well as canoe trips along the river. When you’re done on the water, why not take off on one of the cycle routes or walking trails? If the sun hasn’t made an appearance and you’d rather be inside – no problem! There’s indoor climbing and trampolining, soft play for the little ones — and a cinema too.

A short drive away, Stanwick Lakes is a unique 750-acre countryside attraction and nature reserve. It boasts extensive and imaginative play areas for children, with open spaces and paths that families, dog walkers, and nature lovers can explore. You could take your bikes to enjoy the 7 miles of trails or hire some from the store on site. There’s a visitor centre, with café, shop and a function space where craft workshops are often staged. Check out the family-friendly films being shown at the Movies by the Lake on August evenings!

Although the focus of any visit to Castle Ashby should be its beautiful gardens, there’s plenty to keep children entertained too, including a menagerie with pigs, rabbits, monkeys and meerkats. Set in the heart of a 10,000-acre estate, the gardens were designed by Capability Brown and you can wander through the romantic Italian Gardens, a unique orangery and impressive arboretum. Don’t miss the plant centre, tea room and gift shop!

A day (or a stay) at Sacrewell Heritage Farm and Country Centre is a must for learning about the countryside, farming practices, and food and drink production. There are friendly farm animals to meet, outdoor spaces to discover, a restored 18th century watermill, a large children’s farmyard-themed adventure playground, and an artisan courtyard where you can watch makers at work. Camping at Sacrewell is especially popular with families.

Lovingly restored heritage steam trains await to take you on a fun journey at Nene Valley Railway. You can learn all about the railway’s history at the Wansford station then take a ride through the picturesque surroundings to Peterborough’s Nene Park, our next destination of recommended family-friendly days out.

Nene Park is an ideal location for active families with energy to burn. Our friend the River Nene meanders through this wide-open space made up of parkland, meadows, woodlands and lakes. There are numerous children’s play areas, and a miniature railway, a boating lake with fun pedalos to hire, as well as sailing, and a choice of walking trails. Take your own bikes to explore Nene Park or hire them on site. And when it’s time for a break, there’s a choice of cafés for lunch or drinks and snacks.