My posts about fireworks are inevitably vague and full of dark, fuzzy photos so I’m pleased to announce that this post is no different. But, unlike 2014, it doesn’t contain any references to explosive diarrhea so that’s a bonus.
We’ve been to a few different displays over the years – Brockwell Park, Battersea Park, Clapham Common and Crystal Palace in the south, Coram’s Fields in Central London and Gunpowder Mills in M25Land – but are always looking for a good, early-evening solution. Last year Eva was terrified of the loud noises, so a mild version aimed at toddlers might just work for her. Plus, Nathan and I had a Disco 2000 to get to in the evening so couldn’t be doing with any of these 8PM starts.
The one I found was a little way away – 20 mins on the North Circular according to Google Maps, even with what seemed like endless North Circular traffic. Still, at least there was a pretty sunset to look at along the way:
Scout Park is near Bounds Green station so we could have gone on the tube but it would have been a bit convoluted and the kids would have been tired and grouchy afterwards. So we decided to drive, even though we were pretty sure that parking would be a nightmare. As it was, we mananged to find a space a 6-minute walk away from the entrance so it wasn’t terrible but we were circling long enough for me to start formulating all manner of Plan Bs in my head, all of which would have involved wrangling those aforementioned tired and grouchy kids home on the tube on my own. I was quite relieved when we found a space.
The display is hosted by Wild Wolf Explorers and is fairly intimate as these things go – it’s a wooded site, with lots of different areas to explore and it wasn’t too crowded for the early display (There was a later one at half 7ish I think). The gates opened at 4PM but of course we weren’t anywhere near ready in time for that so scraped in around 5, half an hour before the display started. I didn’t know how much there would be to do beforehand but the answer was “Enough to make Eva feel like she’s missed out thanks to out poor planning”. Or maybe her refusal to put her shoes on, Who knows?
The one thing we did manage to do was go on the bouncy castle, which was an extra £2 per child bringing the cost of the 4 of us to £22 overall including entry fee. Again, if we’d been more organised we could have booked in advance and got that got that quite a lot cheaper. The bouncy castle was floodlit but still quite dark which explains why this photo is quite so ropey:
We were queuing next to the queue for the campfire, which is the thing that Eva would later wail about missing. She’d smelt the bonfire on the way and made an instant memory association with toasted marshmallows and, obviously, then wanted some. I don’t even know whether there were any marshmallows at the campfire or whether it was just sitting around and singing that classic Scout anthem “Baby Shark”.
So we should have got there earlier, done the campfire, had a marshmallow and followed the sign to where it said “Kids’ Games”. Lesson learnt for next time. But we were in position in the car park in time to watch the fireworks, which was kinda the whole point really.
Now, Roo was disappointed at the lack of bangs but it was a display specifically targeted at the under 6s and children with additional needs that require a quieter display. He’s 9 and doesn’t have those specific needs but really just needs to go along with it if he doesn’t want his little sister crying and hiding behind my leg the whole time. The fireworks were definitely tamer than the later display would be but plenty to wow the younger viewer:
The main selling point of Scout Park though, would be its atmosphere. The fairy lights hung up in the woods gave it a really lovely feel and there was live music drifting through the trees as we wandered around.
If we’d had more time to explore, I would have been able to give it a more useful review but hey, I warned you about the mediocrity of this post from the off. Fancy a really blurry firework picture? Of course you do:
So a nice family-friendly display and not inconvenient for us NE Londoners at all. On the way back I was excited to see that we’d be taking a slightly different route and so would be turning onto the North Circular just by the Protex “Pest of the Week” sign – always a highlight of our family trips out. Sadly though, this was my view as we waited to turn:
And then I forgot to look while we did the turn itself. Denied! I’ll never know what this week’s pest was.
Still, if you want to get more of an idea what the Wild Wolf Explorers fireworks were like, here’s a handy video:
Probably a touch more helpful than anything else in this post. We’ll do better next year!