An afternoon at Trilakes


Firstly please excuse my stolen photos here – yet again I turned my camera on to find it out of charge *sigh*. Such a shame as there were some wonderful photo opportunities!

Trilakes (or ‘Jake’s at Trilakes’) is a venue in the Blackwater Valley close to the borders of the tri- county zone between Berkshire, Surrey and Hampshire. There are a number of lakes near Yateley and Sandhurst and amongst these lakes is this play zone which consists of an indoor soft play and an outdoor space around and amongst the lakes with play equipment, farm animals and birds which you can feed.

I’d been stuck indoors all morning and going slightly stir crazy so I suggested this little outing to the hubster as we’d never been before despite having heard about it from a couple of friends over the years. It’s only about a 15-20 minute drive from us and I knew the hubster wouldn’t be up for indoor soft play so it was always our intention to stay outside (fortunately, there was enough sunshine for that to be an option!).

When we arrived we discovered that what I’d described as ‘a nominal fee’ for the outdoor bit was actually £14 for the four of us which would have been ok if the play equipment had been a bit more up to date and the facilities a bit nicer although having said that there were elements that the children really enjoyed and the luxury as an adult is in the beautiful setting which you don’t get in your average playground.

JJ’s favourite bits were the ‘animal passports’ they give you on entry which have boxes for pigs, sheep, goats, rabbits, chickens and ponies and you have to search out each animal and use the stamps provided to fill your card. It took us ages to find the ponies & rabbits!

There were also a couple of activities – a (very small) bouncy castle and a little ‘pan for gold’ area – which had additional charges which I thought was a bit cynical on the part of the business given that they charged a fair amount for entry already.

At its worst the place feels tired and a little run down – even the poor peacock looked like someone had attempted to rip out it’s tail feathers – but at it’s best it has wonderful views out across some very pretty waterways – vibrant pink water lillies drifting on twinkling surfaces with koi carp slipping in and out of sight, and a backdrop of tall and varied trees giving you the sense of being somewhere a little bit special and magical.

Waterlillies at Trilakes

One word of warning though – lots of easily accessible bodies of water and toddlers don’t always mix! This is not somewhere where you could let your guard down for a second – I recommend a second pair of eyes (preferably in the back of your head!).

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Word of the week… Family

We are family!

I am lucky enough to have seen a lot of my family during the course of the past week which is slightly out of the ordinay in a couple of ways. For a start the hubster has been doing a lot of overtime at the weekends since the beginning of the year. The flooding ensured that our organisation had an extended budget for helping with both rescue and long-term recovery, and the hubster has taken advantage of this where possible. It hasn’t left much time for us to interact as a family together though and it has meant that many limited opportunities to see the Girl have been overlooked.

Last Saturday though, we finally had a chance to spend some time together and she came with us as we all attended the birthday party of a friend’s three year old daughter. The kids had fun playing in the garden despite slightly cold windy weather! Then on Bank Holiday Monday we picked the girl up again on our way over to my parents house for a big family lunch with my sister’s family too. There were eleven of us around the dinner table and I love the buzz when everyone is talking and laughing and  passing the various bowls of goodies that my wonderful mum has cooked for us all to enjoy.

On Tuesday I got to see my lovely cousin who I haven’t seen since her wedding last June, despite only living about ten miles away. She is 35 weeks pregnant and we had planned to have a nice girly lunch or coffee on my day off but unfortunately she picked one of only a handful of days during the year that I have the kids with me on a Tuesday (our childminder was on her hols!). My cousin gamely agreed to meet us at a local leisure centre with a cafe and softplay. I really hope I didn’t fill her with dread at the impending chaos that will inevitably be motherhood!

My Mum came over on Wednesday as she always does, to take over child care while I went back to work. She had rung me the day before to tell me that she had decided that, no matter the weather (and the forecast wasn’t good!) she would take them to Alice Holt Forest where they could play, lunch in the cafe and explore the woodland trails. I left out the all in one waterproof suits she had bought them from Boots a few weeks ago and their wellies. By all accounts they had a whale of a time and I am totally inspired to get them out every day I’m with them over the summer now as the fresh air and exercise noticeably improved moods, appetites and behaviour!

This weekend we lose the hubster again as he takes off to the Lake District to hike through the night and light a beacon at dawn on one of the many peaks (as you do!). In the meantime I look forward to the day when we can all take off for a hike together as a family…


The Reading Residence