UPDATED – This post has been updated as Springfields has seen a lot of changes recently (for the better). For our new and updated post about all the things to do there please head on over to –
A day out to Springfields Retail Outlet on the outskirts of Spalding is so much more than a day out shopping. There is so much there to do, especially for the kids. What better way to get away with doing some shopping, with the kids in tow, than there being things for the kids as well. It’s a win win!
We usually visit at least 3 times a year and it’s a good 45 minutes drive for us, but totally worth it. There is usually something extra on every school holiday. Not everything is open or running every day and information on the website can be a little vague. To make sure there’s at least the land train running I recommend that you visit at the weekend. Other activities always seem to be running during school holidays. I’ve never been when the café with playground and Dinosaur golf hasn’t been open.
What is there to do at Springfields in Spalding
We will start with the café and its things to do. If you walk straight down the main shopping strip at Springfields you will come to the gardens. Just beyond this, there is a pyramid shaped building. Inside here is a café. If you purchase any food or drink from here your kids are allowed to use their playground. It’s quite a good playground and suitable for most ages.
Dinosaur Adventure Golf
We paid £3.50 each for a 9 hole round of Dinosaur Adventure golf. I would say that it is suitable for children aged 4+. Jamie played it at just over 3.5 years old and got a little frustrated at times. Mum and I had a great time though. It’s a fun course with lots of very large dinosaurs watching over you. There was obviously some interactive elements to this course at one time, sadly we couldn’t get them to work. The nearby radio controlled boats and mini digger appear to no longer be working. You pay for the mini golf inside the café, where the outdoor playground is.
Young child tantrums aside this was a fun course and good value for money. He only had a strop on one hole!
Miniature Steam Train
This train does not seem to run in the winter nor on any bad weather days. It is a miniature steam train so you sit in mini roofless carriages. For £2 per person you are taken twice around the track, through pretty woodland. There are a few mini local monuments to spot along the way. This is great fun and well worth doing. The miniature train is located in the woodland opposite the playground and just before the Dinosaur golf.
Feed the Ducks
The festival gardens at Springfields are really lovely and right at the entrance to them is a small pond with fountains. Some of the local ducks have sussed out that this is a good place to live as lots of people bring them food. Please take them proper duck food if you can as bread really is not good for them. We often take a Tupperware container of duck food (when I remember). The fountains spring to life and do a little dance every hour or so.
Land Train (or Percy as Jamie calls it)
I’m sure the price of the land train varies. But I’m pretty sure it’s no more than £2.50 per person and Jamie has travelled for free each time we’ve been on it. It goes on a long ride around the festival gardens and as Jamie always thinks he’s riding on Percy it’s more than worth it for us.
The train boards just outside Sports direct near to the fountains. There is a small bus stop sign there and it usually indicates if the trains are running that day or not.
Walk around the Festival Gardens
There is actually quite a bit to explore in the festival gardens. They have flowers from springtime until the autumn and there are quite a few sculptures to be found. There are fountains, another pond with a few more ducks, benches for a rest, a mini maze and much more. There are all sorts of nooks and crannies waiting to be found.
The access to the water taxi point at Springfields is in the far left of the main car park, away from the shops. Jamie and I had a fun ride into Spalding on the water taxi last year. It was a lovely warm day and there were just 3 women on the boat with us. The water taxi is seasonal and will be starting again in Spring 2018.
We purchased our tickets at the information booth in Springfields and then caught the first water taxi of the day at 10am. I paid £6.00 for a return ticket and Jamie was free. The journey took approx. 30 minutes there and 30 minutes back. I would like to do it again soon and spend a bit of time in Spalding next time as it looks to be a lovely little town to explore.
Trails and Events
Every summer Springfield hosts a series of free events for kids. In 2017 they had a seaside week, basil brush for a week, then the Sooty show and Rastamouse. Both years Jamie has chosen to see Sooty and both times the shows have been really good fun. Mostly with lots of audience interaction and spraying of a water pistol by Sooty. If you want a seat you need to get there really early. There’s limited seating and if people are sat on the bank they won’t appreciate you standing in front of them. The popularity of these events could perhaps benefit from being held at an area with a bit more space so there is space for everyone to watch. They do usually have two shows on a day though.
There is usually a trail of some sorts on during the school holidays. Usually you can purchase the trail card with clues to the location of some letters. Then you find the letters to spell out a word to enter a prize draw or receive an easter egg etc.
Places to Eat
There are a few places to eat such as a large café called The Noshery. There’s also a Subway, Costa Coffee, Starbucks, and Caffe Nero. The Kitchen is a relatively large restaurant. But the place we always eat at is Frankie and Benny’s. It’s great for the kids with an activity pack and large menu. We have never had a bad meal there and I can highly recommend it.
Coming soon…and hopefully in 2018 to Springfields will be a Diggerland themed play centre. The centre would see one of the biggest ever JCB young driver zones including a large track for pedal diggers, huge JCB slide, scaffold themed climbing frame and other unique interactive play equipment.
If you get to Springfields at least half an hour before anything opens the paths make a great place for a bit of cycle practice. We struggle where we live for decent pathways so I sometimes take the bike here when there is no one about to mow down. It has really helped with his confidence.
You can park for up to 2 hours for just £1. Parking all day is the bargain price of £2. It’s cheap because it actually used to be free.
I hope you enjoyed my blog review. Have you ever been? Do you have anywhere like this near to where you live? Please comment below, we’d love to hear.
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