We took a wee daytrip out to Kelburn Country Park a while back during the Easter Holidays. (I know, it’s taken me this long to write about it.) We’ve been along to the park before, but this time their James & the Giant Peach Easter event was on and as a big Roald Dahl fan I really wanted to head along to this one.

Kelburn Estate is a brilliant park. Event without any events on. For playing on, there is a fort style play area, an indoor playbarn and a wooden adventure play area. There are some lovely walks throughout the beautiful glen down by the river and up past the castle. You can even find some waterfalls in here!

The castle itself is a must see – the exterior was painted by a team of Brazilian artists and it is absolutely glorious. You’ll have seen a photo of it! There are also some farm animals & small animals to see.

Their pièce de résistance though, is The Secret Forest. In there you’ll find a crocodile swamp, a Chinese pagoda, the witch’s gingerbread house, Chinese Gardens, a maze, a fairy village and the Castle With No Entrance. There are bridges & stepping stones & tunnels. We had an amazing time exploring the forest. The kids both found it incredibly magical. As did I!

We probably spent about an hour in the Secret Forest this time, but this was with the kids high as kites, belting around trying to find password clues to get to the exit. (This was part of the James & The Giant Peach Event). Normally we’d have been there exploring the forest a good while longer, but they loved it regardless!

(Note: It’s not really suitable for buggies in the forest, but dogs are allowed in.)

The Special Event

The James & the Giant Peach event was packed full of Roald Dahl & fairytale & Easter fun: Easter egg & peach hunts; bean planting; a duck race; searching the Secret Forest (renamed the Dream Forest for the event) for the password (which I knew from the very first clue because I watched the BFG cartoon that many times when I was kid) to get out again!!!

They had actors playing different parts, including one as James. And the park rangers led some of the activities too. All of the rangers & the event staff were brilliant with the kids. The whole thing was done really well. So much that it made me want to go back to another event!

The Extra Info

  • The whole place is pup friendly. Dogs are even allowed into the Secret Forest. Mine doesn’t like walking over wooden bridges and various other things (exacerbated by her lack of eyes) so one of us waited with her while the other went through some of the bits with the kids.
  • The Secret Forest isn’t exceptionally wheel friendly. There are wooden walkways and stepping stones and various other bits so we ditched the buggy outside while we went in exploring. The rest of the park is pretty buggy friendly though.
  • Kelburn run special events throughout the year including one at Halloween that I really cannot wait for my kids to be old enough to go to (I’ve heard it’s a bit scary).

The Cafe

There is a cafe at Kelburn serving up sandwiches, toasties, soups etc. It’s been about 2 years since I’ve eaten in it and I actually can’t remember what it was like. Sorry!

The Cost

Entry costs £7 for adults, £5 for kids, and it’s free for under 2’s. Special events are slightly more expensive, at £9.50 for adults, £8.50 for kids and again, free for under 2’s.

The Verdict

Kelburn Country Park is a fantastic place to spend a day. The Secret Forest is one of the most magical things I’ve done with the kids. The whole place is rustic and lovely and the glen is beautiful, especially in springtime.

The James & the Giant Peach event was exceptionally well done. I loved it, as did the kids. (I also like it when there’s no events on, because it’s a lot quieter!) Either way, it’s such a brilliant day out. Highly recommended.

Kelburn Country Park is located at Kelburn Estate, Fairlie, Largs, KA29 0BE.