Emberton Country Park – A Perfect Family Day Out

Three pre-schoolers at Emberton Country Park in Buckinghamshire

Looking for Emberton Country Park reviews? I’ll start by saying this country park is seriously underrated in my opinion.

It’s a super cheap (if not, free) family day out in Buckinghamshire and offers hours of fun for little ones. We spent four hours there, but could have easily stayed two more. We travelled half hour from Northampton to get to Emberton Country Park and it’s definitely worth it.

Emberton Country Park

Emberton Country Park
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Spread over 200 acres, it’s a huge site, but there’s an easy to follow loop walk round the park. The main track is flat and buggy-friendly, scuttling through tree canopies, alongside five picturesque lakes and most importantly as far as the kids were concerned, past numerous playgrounds.

Lakes at Emberton Country Park
Lakes at Emberton Country Park

The loop finishes at the surprisingly cool café that if it was on a highstreet would no doubt be jam-packed. This unassuming café also happens to serve the most delicious gelato I’ve had in ages. Seriously, so good! They serve generous kid portions in an adorable monkey cone, so as you can imagine, it also scored highly with my little ones.

Gelato in kid's cone at Emberton Country Park
The cafe at Emberton Country Park

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The Playgrounds at Emberton Park

The first playground is home to a big sandpit, complete with ride-on diggers that can scoop, lift and drop the sand. I’ve been to other family attractions where you have to pay for those sorts of things, so it’s a strong start.

Diggers at the sandpit in Emberton Country Park
Diggers at the sandpit at Emberton Country Park

There’s also a wooden frame for kids to climb and to shove sand and stones down the funnels. It’s supposed to mimic a quarry. Sure, some of the intricacies of the pulley systems for the buckets need a repair, but for young ones (mine are 2 and 3) it’s great fun and they didn’t notice.

The quarry at Emberton Country Park
The quarry
The quarry at Emberton Country Park
The quarry

Further along, there’s another playground with swings, a retro rocket ship, an arty wooden frame, a climbing web and more. You’ll also find a few picnic tables and seats here, one of which has a board game design and although a little grubby, is pretty cool.

One of the playgrounds at Emberton Country Park
Climbing web at Emberton Country Park
Climbing web

After that one is the best playground there in my opinion. Complete with wooden pirate ship, numerous slides, some of which are in the hillside, a pretty robust trampoline and lots more, it’s a real hub of excitement for little ones.

Pirate ship at Emberton Country Park
The pirate ship
One of the playgrounds at Emberton Country Park
Hill slide fun
Emberton Country Park near Milton Keynes, Olney and Northampton
Emberton Country Park is near Milton Keynes, Olney and Northampton
Trampoline at Emberton Country Park
The trampoline

None of the playgrounds are enclosed and with a road running alongside them you do have to be mindful of any traffic. However, the speed is limited and I only saw one or two cars. Plus, my two were so besotted with the play things that I didn’t have to worry.

One of the playgrounds at Emberton Country Park
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Emberton Country Park Map

There are numerous 5km paths and trails through the parkland, which can be found on this map of Emberton Country Park.

By road there’s one way in and out of the park, so assuming you come in that way, start at the first playground and then follow the track at the rear. It’s pretty self-explanatory.

Puddle splashing at Lakes at Emberton Country Park
Puddle splashing is always a winner

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Emberton Park Entry Fee

The best bit about this family day out? There’s no entry fee. If you park onsite it’s £4 per car, which is still a super cheap day out.

There is a side road just before you enter the site, so if you were being tight you could park there and walk in for free. Assuming you’re walking with a young child it’s about a 10-minute walk from there.

Emberton Country Park trail

Logistics and Tips

  1. You can pay on card for parking and any refreshments in the café. Perfect if like me, you don’t tend to carry cash.
  2. Bring a bucket and spade for the sandpit.
  3. Visit on a week day when the older children are at schools if you can. We had all of the playgrounds to ourselves and didn’t see anyone else on the track. It almost seems a shame considering how good they are, but it was great to have it all to ourselves.
  4. Bring a picnic or a BBQ to enjoy onsite.
  5. The full address is Emberton Country Park, Olney Road, Emberton, MK46 5FJ
  6. The gatehouse is open 1 April – 31 October at 0900-1700 every day and 1 November – 31 March on Saturdays and Sundays only (no weekdays) at 1030 – 1430.
Sandpit at Emberton Park
Bring a bucket and spade for the sandpit

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Emberton Country Park Camping

Want to make your visit a bit longer? You can stay in one of the touring sites (over 200 of them) or 114 static pitches in the park. They all have access to toilet and shower facilities. I haven’t stayed here, so I can’t comment on whether it’s any good though.

Emberton Country Park

Emberton Fishing

If you’ve got older children, it’s probably worth mentioning that you can go fishing at this country park. Permits are available to fish all year round and on all five lakes.

Swans at Emberton Country Park

Dinner Near Emberton Country Park

If you want to make it a well-rounded day, but don’t want to stay it’s worth popping into the pretty village of Olney. There are some really lovely pubs in Olney, including gastro pubs where you can get a hearty meal. The Cherry Tree is really stylish and offers pizzas, burgers, roasts but with a bit of a twist. They also have a dedicated kid’s menu, with mains priced at a reasonable £5. Book ahead if you can.

Emberton Country Park Reviews

This is definitely one of the top country parks near Milton Keynes and Northampton in my opinion. A super cheap, easy, fun family day out. You can find out more on the official website.

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Emberton Country Park Review
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