By Bernie Bell
The Wellpark Garden Centre in Kirkwall recently opened an indoor play area for children. I must admit, the area actually selling plants, is contracting, whilst the areas selling nice things, garden related things, and the café, are taking over! For a Garden Centre, this may seem a bit odd, but I’m not complaining, as The Willows café is really very good indeed – my favourites are baked tattie with cheese and beans, or the vegan lentil dhaal. I’m not vegan – I choose it because it’s just very, very tasty. The nice things area has a lot of…..very nice things, and the garden related things area is very useful. For plants, I’d recommend Tranquillity Cottage Nursery in St. Ola, and Schoolha’ nursery in Evie. These both sell plants which have been grown in Orkney, by folk who know how tough plants need to be, to grow in Orkney!
Back to Play @Wellpark. As we don’t have children, I didn’t actually step through the magic doorway
But, whilst enjoying my lunch in the café, I was very much aware of the parents and children coming out of the play area. The children were happy, excited, and what can only be described as ‘Squealy’. They’d obviously had a whale of a time. The Willows café, makes up cheery little lunch boxes for children, too, so it can be a real day out, which, on a wet day, must be a god-send to parents. The Play @ Wellpark area actually includes a section with tables and chairs, with the same menu as the main café. This means that adults and children can eat there, or adults can sit and keep an eye on the children, while they play, so the children can play together, in a safe environment
Maybe best to check that it is open, before you go.
Have any Orkney News readers had the Play @ Wellpark experience? If so, would they like to fill us in on what happens behind the magic doorway?
Orkney is a wonderful place to live, and to visit, but, when the weather is dreich, or the wind is blowing your woolly hat off, an indoor place to take children, is a gift. The other ones which come to mind are – The Orkney Experience in Kirkwall https://theorkneynews.scot/2018/08/17/the-orkney-experience-is-the-business/
The Fossil & Heritage Centre in Burray https://www.orkneyfossilcentre.co.uk/ which also has a v. good café – v. v. good. Possibly for older children, the Tankerness House Museum in Kirkwall https://theorkneynews.scot/2017/08/07/the-orkney-museum/ and Stromness Museum in….Stromness http://www.stromnessmuseum.co.uk/ . Also, the Tomb of the Eagles on South Ronaldsay, has an interpretive centre, so, you can either visit the tomb, or, if the weather is against you, just visit the Visitor Centre, where there is much of interest. http://www.tomboftheeagles.co.uk/
“For a different kind of experience, there’s Fern Valley Wildlife Centre at Tingwall
Mostly indoors, partly outdoors, and with another v. good café. My favourite there is the hummus platter – ok, I do like my food and, as my Mum would say “The signs are on her.”
And, when the weather is good – there’s the whole of Orkney!