Our visit started with difficulty - not enough coins to pay the huge parking fees, so I phoned the pay-by-phone number, pressed various options, told a human being my numberplate and card number, then he said he would put me through for payment... and it hung up on me. Ten minutes of increasingly stroppy toddler and baby whilst I hung on the phone wasted. Luckily a friendly member of Brockhole staff saw how annoyed I was getting and came over to offer help - she said that they could sort it out up at the house. They did.
The day was much better from that point onwards. Plenty of free activities - we started with the soft play area which entertained both the 10 and 2 year-old. And the 38 year-old, to be honest. Lots of colouring sheets and quizzes scattered about, and even a couple of climbing walls. Then after a stroll through the nice big gift shop we found ourselves a nice table in the restaurant and ordered lunch - Brockhole burger and minute steak both went down very well, and the kids' food was good. Decent value.
The 10 year-old then had a great time in the big inflatable ball-on-water (he went to find out how much it was, and our bets of £12 and £10 were both way over the mark - it was a manageable £3).
A pleasant stroll around the buggy-friendly gardens was next and a chat to some ponies and their handlers, and we rounded off our day in the adventure playground.
Overall, Brockhole is a great place to let the kids burn off some energy, with plenty of facilities for the smallest one, so if you see the parking charge as more of an admission fee, it's only about £1 a head for us. (Your experience may vary of course depending on size of family and what you're after!)
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