During the Summer holidays of 2020 – you know, the one we will remember forever as the longest school holidays ever – we were invited to East Park in Hull to try out the paid attractions.
East Park is a great place to visit. I was brought up a short walk from here and have witnessed the changes over the years. It’s better than ever before and is a lovely place for a family day out.
At the moment, the park is locked to visitors and the parking is in the new Woodford Leisure Centre car park on Holderness Road. Parking is free but the gates are locked towards the end of the day. From here you can walk through to the main perimeter road close to the children’s playground.
Our first stop was the swan boats on East Park’s huge boating lake. There were rows of swan boats to choose from, so naturally, we chose the only boat that was shaped like a dragon. It fit two adults and three children in there, but you definitely need adult sized legs to pedal it.
We got half an hour on the boat and it was more than enough time to pedal up to the famous lake bridge, under, and back again. In fact, we probably could have done it twice!
The very helpful team member was there if we needed help on and off the boat and thankfully, none of us got too wet.
Our next stop was pirate golf. This is a nine-hole kid-friendly course on a pirate theme. It is going to be there most of the summer but might be there a bit longer. It’s not that big and it didn’t take us too long to get round. It’s perfect for small children who might get bored after too many holes. The pirate theming was very good and it was nice and clean too. Balls and sticks are being sterilised before being handed to you – you even get to choose your ball’s colour and there is plenty of choice available. Again, very helpful team members and it’s well organised.
Then we found somewhere to have a picnic. Outdoor areas are very popular at the moment due to the impact of Coronavirus and the necessity to social distance – East Park is no exception. We didn’t have a great deal of choice over where to sit and eat the food that we had brought but it doesn’t matter – most places in East Park are perfectly fine to stop, have a bite to eat, and admire the view.
I showed the children the East Park rocks and the notorious Khyber Pass and why it was probably a good thing there was a new bridge there to get people over the 10ft wide gap (and about 20ft down!).
We made our way back to the lake and stopped off at what I call the duck food shop for ice-creams, candy floss, and a couple of bags of duck food. Again, getting a bench to sit on took a little wait as the park was pretty busy. The ducks, geese, seagulls, and pigeons enjoyed the food.
Our last stop was the popular land train. We saw it at the station as we finished our ice-creams and hopped on board, and we are glad we did. We didn’t realise it goes as far as it did and it would have been a while before it had come around again. We got ourselves a segment on the train and the guard came and collected our tokens from us. Be warned, if you are a fan of social distancing, there wasn’t much of a gap between our section and the one next to us. There was plenty of hand sanitiser around to use, but I didn’t see any on the train itself, so make sure you do that before you board.
The land train went pretty much from one end of the park to the other and back – and anyone who knows East Park will tell you that’s quite a long way. It goes from the front of the boathouse, around the back of the animal education centre (you can see some of the animals from the train), around the lake, right up to the gates on James Reckitt Avenue, and then does a loop of the Eastern part of the park before coming back on the same route. It’s certainly value for money!
For all of the attractions including the kids swing chair ride, you buy tokens from the boathouse for £1 each – cash or card accepted. It’s 2 tokens each for the swan boats, the land train, and the chair ride, and 3 tokens for adults and older kids and 2 tokens for under 10s on the pirate golf.
Opening times for the attractions is 10am – 5:30pm Monday to Sunday (weather permitting) but the park and the car park is open usually from dawn to dusk but please do check the signs so you don’t get stuck anywhere. If you’re not sure about the parking, you can always park on one of the public roads around the park.
The toilets at the back of the boathouse were open and were much nicer than I remember them – we were never allowed to use them as kids.
The animal education centre is open at the moment and it’s still free but it’s pre-booking only (though they will let you book in online on the day if you just turn up and there is space) – visit https://www.hcandl.co.uk/sport-and-leisure-and-parks/your-local-park/animal-education-centre to learn more and to book your slot
Have you been to East Park since lockdown?
Disclosure – we were gifted the tokens to try out the attractions. All opinion is our own