Fun hits new heights at Wicksteed Park in Kettering with new climbing attraction
It wasn't that long ago that if you visited Wicksteed Park on a Sunday in the middle of November the chances were you would almost have the whole place to yourself.
All that has changed in recent years, with a concerted effort to turn the venue into more of an all-year-round attraction with the likes of the indoor play area Wicky's Play Factory.
The latest addition to the Kettering pleasure park is Clip 'n Climb, a colourful indoor climbing experience for all abilities and for anyone aged four or over.
My two sons, aged eight and nearly six, haven't done a lot of officially-sanctioned climbing - just a few goes on the wall at Kids Play in Kettering - so weren't too sure what to expect.
And it's fair to say they were blown away by the challenges on offer at Wicksteed.
There are almost 30 different experiences on offer, and not all just straight up and down climbing either.
There's the 6.5m-high Stairway to Heaven, which consists of increasingly tall green pillars arranged in a spiral, the Astroball (large balls placed on top of each other) and the Speed Climb where two climbers can race against each other to the top.
Our favourites were the Big Cheese and Amazing, but they all have their own individual quirks to keep every challenge interesting.
But before you get going you have to have an all-important safety run-through with a member of the team - all of whom were very supportive and made us beginners feel at home straight away.
Once you're all harnessed up you're essentially free to wander around the venue and give the climbing experiences a try - there's no pressure to take on anything you're unsure about and it's very simple and safe to come back down to earth once you've gone as high as you want to.
What's great about this activity is you can see the confidence grow in children even over the course of the session.
Mine started out unsure of how far to push themselves, but by the end had both managed to get all the way to the top of a few of the walls - earning a high five from the instructor in the process.
Other challenges include The Twister and the Leap of Faith, the only one for which an additional cost applies. For this you have to jump off a platform and cling on to a punch bag - not as easy as it sounds and not one that was accomplished while we were there!
The attraction also features a special adaptation to the TruBlue auto belay climber support device for use by people with disabilities.
There is plenty of seating for those who are not climbing and the Play Factory cafe is just next door for refreshments.
A 55-minute session, which includes a briefing on how to use the equipment, costs £12.
For details on all the Clip ‘n Climb climbing walls and attractions visit wicksteedpark.org/clipnclimb.