We decided to head up to Martin Mere today after hearing about some new features they had opened from my Mum. We decided to time it to have lunch there as a treat for the bank holiday and as we had a quick errand to run in Southport first. We got to Martin Mere not long after one and headed straight for the cafe. Instead of doing the kids lunches in a cardboard lunch box, they are put together in a metal bucket here which the kids thought was brilliant. We took our lunch (which was delicious) and sat outside overlooking one of the many lakes, and were even visited by a couple of swallows looking for somewhere to perch. After lunch we thought it best to make sure the little ones went to the loo so we didn’t have to make a mad dash across the mere (when going outdoors with the little ones get the kids to go to the loo if you are leaving an area with one- we’ve been caught out before). This is what caused a 30 minute tantrum with Charlotte that resulted in a discussion, a stern chat, bargaining (I’m not proud), 2 attempts and taking back to the car before getting her to go (probably would have left it but she has just finished the pull ups side of potty training and we had just done a fairly big drive. Anyway, eventually we bought some bird feed (a must) and started round the centre, working anti-clockwise around the map and found that there was a free pond dipping session. Charlotte was still pouting from her tantrum so refused to have a go, but Tom was really excited about it. After a quick dip and spotting some water boatmen and water snails we headed to the otters who were putting on a great playful show. From here we wandered along the path towards the first ‘big’ pond to feed the ducks (stopping to jump across the stepping stones in the water along the way). Charlotte jumped at the chance to feed the ducks, one of her favourite animals. We sat on the bench and let them do this independently while making sure they steered clear of the waters edge, something it is easy to get either complacent with or overly cautious of here. A lot of the water is open which is great for allowing people and the animals to get really close but where kids are involved it is something to be aware of, some parents might feel more comfortable with reins for younger children (this is the first time we have been without ours).
After feeding the ducks we headed over to the canoe safari where the little ones had a climb around on the adventure playground and then we took on the new Wild Walk! The wild walk aims to make the wetland more interactive, so prepare to get a bit muddy and to get a real feel for the environments the animals live in, not just see it from a hide. There are swings and balance beams and bridges of all kind to entertain the little ones as well as a giant birds nest! The children loved this part the best and I have to say I think we did too!
We then meandered along feeding ducks as we went passed the MereTun Viking village and back around to the Rushes park, a fantastic play area with sand and water sections designed to make kids think whilst having fun. All in all we had an amazing time, but it was hard work with Charlotte even if she thoroughly enjoyed herself once she forgot she was mad with us.
If you are in the North West you should definitely pay a visit!
Tantrum level: 10/10
Worth it? Definitely! We had a fantastic time and Martin Mere seems to expand by so much every time we visit.
Worth knowing: The walks are mostly paved but if you are planning to do the wildwalk (and I highly recommend it) wellies are a must! Also children can go free for a limited time click here for the details.
50 things achievements: 35. Discover what’s in a pond and 44. Go bird watching
Entry in Adults £10.73 each (£11.80 gift aided), children 4-16 £5.23 (£5.75 gift aided), Under 4’s free (Look at membership prices though if you would consider going more than twice a year, could really save and gets you into ALL WWT centres for free)
Lunch was around £20 for two adults and two children (not a necessity as picnic tables are dotted around)
Bags of feed £1 each
Pond dipping free