Wicksteed Park was the first and
original Leisure Park in the UK, a blueprint for many
other parks since being opened in 1913. Charles Wicksteed
purchased a tract of Northamptonshire meadowland near
Kettering with the intention of developing a Village
Estate for the poor with parkland and lakes to promote
healthy living, however the plan was soon modified when
the government introduced Council Housing. He also owned
an engineering company, Stamford Road Works, and after
re-inventing himself again, started to supply park seats
and playground equipment to public parks after the war.
Now called Wickstead Playscapes, this company today still
provides this equipment and can be found in many such
parks across Europe with some of the products in
Charles Wickstead established
Wickstead Trust in 1916 to carry on with his dream for
the park. Since his death and throughout the 20th Century
the park continued to develop, offering new rides and
attractions that would attract families. The development
included the Water Chute, originally designed and built
by Charles Wicksteed in 1926 and one of the first water
based rides in the world which is now over 80 years old
and to knowledge the only one still in operation.
The famous Wickstead narrow guage train
Wicksteed Parks famous narrow
gauge railway carries in excess of 200,000 passengers a
year and itself is celebrating its 77th anniversary this
year (2008). Development of the largest free playground
area in the UK with some of the most modern playground
equipment has been a high priority as is the maintenance
and development of the landscaped gardens and lakes. The
lake, which was used for regattas, was created just after
World War I before the park opened to the public in 1921.
Now in excess of 147 acres of parkland and lakes,
Wickstead has rides and attractions to suit all ages,
including roller coasters, pirate ship, laser tag,
carousel, and lots more. The parkland is open all year
round but the rides open from Easter until October. it is
the only leisure park in the UK which offers the elements
of a country and theme park in one.
pre-fabricated bungalows at the park used to form a group
of accommodation built in 1930 for workers at the park.
They have been lived in until fairly recently, but are
now to be demolished to make way for new chalet style
holiday accommodation. The area that has now been
allocated can take between 60 and 200 caravan or camping
pitches with a maximum stay of up to 2 weeks and a
development of 32 Log cabins for people to buy or
visitors to rent for short stays on the park.