During the school term my wife is at work at least six days a week.
We’ve made it a priority to do things as a family whenever we can on a Sunday.
We hadn’t been to Dalkeith Country Park for several years.
As it’s just down the road we decided to take a trip there last weekend.
Here’s what we found there.
A Great Place To Explore
A couple of weeks ago, I did some exploring around the park with my running shoes on.
There are some great forest walks and trails to lose yourself in.
Some of the walks are marked paths or you can make your own way around.
The North and South Esk rivers also merge within the park.
You’re never too far from civilisation though if you find you’ve lost your bearings!
One of the best things about Dalkeith Country Park had always been the adventure playground.
I knew they had been through a bit of a revamp though and the old playground was no longer there.
Having seen the new one from a distance whilst out running, I had high hopes for it being something my kids would enjoy.
We paid £10.00 for entry to the playground and anticipation was high.
It was one of the reasons we chose to go to Dalkeith Country Park instead of an alternative option.
But their brand spanking new adventure playground called Fort Douglas received a thumbs down from my kids.
It was just a bit boring.
The fort which I assume the playground is named after wasn’t impressive at all.
I thought there would be treetop walkways, slides and zip wires like there were in the old one.
My son was bitterly disappointed with the situation.
I definitely wouldn’t pay £10.00 again because I don’t think it was worth it.
Places To Eat
Things have definitely improved when it comes to places to eat at Dalkeith Country Park since we were last there.
You can choose from the Restoration Café which has a full waited dining service or the self service Coffee Bar.
We opted for the coffee bar because it was the first one we came across.
It was very pleasant and served great tea and coffee with a wide selection of freshly baked pastries.
Not a bad place for a pit stop before heading off into the park.
Although in hindsight we may have been better in the café as my son was craving a more substantial breakfast.
The café serves breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea and from what I could see looks very inviting!
On the next visit we’ll definitely check it out.
If Shopping’s Your Thing
Since we were last at Dalkeith Country Park, they’ve opened the Restoration Yard.
There are a plethora of things to buy including homewares and fashion, health and beauty, jewellery and kids.
I was hoping we might escape from the shop without buying anything.
It wasn’t to be though as my daughter put her eye on a toy rabbit which we then had to get.
We didn’t make it up to the first floor of the shop but there’s ceramics and glass as well as lighting and soft furnishings for sale up there.
It also houses a Wellbeing Lab if you’re into yoga and that sort of thing.
It’s certainly a place to visit if you’re looking for some interesting gifts to buy.
A Bit Hit And Miss
Overall I really enjoyed the visit to Dalkeith Country Park.
However, I was disappointed with the adventure playground and it put a bit of a damper on the visit.
It definitely wasn’t worth the entry price and I doubt we’ll visit Fort Douglas again.
If I hadn’t known how good the old adventure playground was I wouldn’t have had such high expectations.
The park itself has many walks and interesting things to see though so we’ll maybe go back in a few months.
If only for a Sunday morning walk and a bite to eat.
I’ll be back for a run through there before that too I’m sure as there are many trails I’ve still to discover.
Have You Visited Dalkeith Country Park Before?
What did you think of the park, the Restoration Yard and Fort Douglas?
Are there any country parks near you that you’d recommend for a visit?
Please let me know in the comments section below.