The playground area is also huge, with signs of extensive recent investment. My son had a great time in the pirate ship area, and the big slides set into the bank. Toddlers get swings and a fire engine climbing frame and older children can play on big rope climbing frames.There are plenty of picnic benches if you’ve brought your own lunch.
Most of this is provided for free. Additional charges apply for hiring canoes on the boating lake, and the light railway, but these are reasonable, and you can have a good time in the park without doing either.
So far so good. But this blog is about coffee and cake. The only coffee I could find was at a takeaway kiosk where it came out of an instant coffee jar, topped up with boiling water. Add your own milk and sugar, for £1.20.
I’ve since looked at the website, and there is apparently a café. We missed it completely, and even if it is there, it seems to be missing a trick to have it so far away from the children’s play area.
Café latte price: £1.20 for an instant coffee
Favourite cake: those my friend packed in the picnic
Child friendly highlights: Great paddling pool, huge playground, miniature train
Buggy friendly: Yes, very
Parking: £1.50 for up to 2 hours, £2.80 for up to 4 hours, £3.70 for over 4 hours
The park is great, and full marks for the investment. But my plea to Markeaton Park: invest in a cappuccino machine in your kiosk, add some homemade cake to the chocolate and ice cream selection, and this would be a perfect family destination.