Review - Visiting Oaklands Park, Chelmsford, With Children

Oaklands Park is a beautiful 12 acre park in Chelmsford, Essex which first opened to the public in 1930. The parkland was previous part of the gardens of the Victorian house. It has plenty of open spaces for picnics, football, walking dogs, playing tennis and play area. It combines woodland, grassy areas and picturesque gardens including wild flowers and a rose garden.

one of the playgrounds in Oaklands Park with play equipment for younger children
Oaklands Park has two play areas and free parking

Visiting Oaklands Park, Chelmsford

Why Oaklands Park is a good place to visit with children

  • There are 2 play areas for children approximately 1 to 12 years old.
  • There are public toilets.
  • Parking is free (for up to 2 hours on weekdays and all day at weekends).
  • If it starts to rain you can head into Chelmsford Museum (which is free) or the Hive Cafe.
  • There are often trail maps and activities you can get from the museum which cover the park. 

Oaklands Park is a a great place to visit with children

What Is There To Do At Oaklands Park?

There are two play areas. The council recommends the infant play area for up to 8 years and the junior play areas for up to 12 years of age. 

The junior play area is more adventurous with a large climbing web, high slide, large climbing equipment, and sturdy fallen trees laid on the ground for climbing along.

The smaller park is more suited to younger children, and includes a crawl through tunnel, small slide, swings (baby seats and regular seats), musical instruments and a roundabout. The smaller play area also boasts a zip wire swing which transports children from one end of the play park to the other.

There are tennis courts which are free to use, and in a good condition, but you will need to bring your own rackets and balls. 

If you’re hoping for a quiet spot to sit and have a picnic then there are plenty of areas to choose from- a firm favourite was the sheltered garden next to the Museum (a short walk from the smaller play park) which has an octagonal bench wrapped around a Giant Redwood tree and is very quiet on weekdays, and very picturesque. There are lots of benches and picnic tables throughout the park.

The open space is abundant and there were a few separate games of football happening during my visit, which still left plenty of space for families to sit and play with little ones, and for dogs to play fetch. 

What age children will enjoy visiting Oaklands Park?

Children will enjoy exploring the park and the playgrounds once they are able to move around independently as there is plenty for toddlers. The larger play equipment and open space are great for older children. 

Is it suitable for pushchairs?

Yes, paths and slopes mean that you can access the whole park with a pushchair. 

Playground for younger children in Oaklands Park
The playground designed for younger children

The playgrounds are well designed so there is lots to do

What You Need to Know Before Visiting Oaklands Park

  • The park is open from 7.30am until dusk.
  • There are public toilets near the entrance to the park, next to the car park- these are fairly clean. There is also disabled toilet, but requires a radar key. 
  • Baby changing facilities are very good inside the Hive cafe and the Chelmsford Museum. 
  • It is worth bringing wellies if it has been wet as the playgrounds can get muddy. 
a walled garden with bench around a tree next to Chelmsford museum  modern extension
Chelmsford Museum is in Oaklands Park

Ford and Drink

The Hive cafe is on site within Oaklands park and has a variety of hot and cold food, hot and cold drinks. 

Picnic tables are located at the front of the park, in front of the Chelmsford Museum, and benches are dotted around the whole park. There is lots of open space for a picnic on the grass too. The picnic benches are snapped up quickly in good weather, so it’s worth bringing a picnic blanket if the grass is a bit damp and you want to be sure of somewhere to sit.

Is Oaklands Park dog friendly?

Yes, very. There were lots of dogs around the park, although not in the play areas. 

There is plenty to see and do for all ages in Oaklands Park. This is an instrument

How To Get To Oaklands Park and Where To Park

Address: Oaklands Park, Moulsham Street, Chelmsford CM2 9AQ

Oaklands Park was easy to find using a sat nav. The council website also provides clear directions if you’re travelling by train, bus, bike, foot or car. The entrance is not obvious, because it is fairly small, but is signposted. 

There is a good amount of parking. Parking is free for two hours between 10am and 6pm on weekdays, but charges apply if you stay longer than the 2 hours. After 6pm on weekdays, and all day on weekends and bank holidays the parking is free all day. There is a small section of parking immediately as you drive through the entrance, which fills up quickly, but if you drive a little further into the park there is a larger car park with plenty of spaces, and 4 disabled parking spaces.  

The car park gates open at 7.30am and close at different times throughout the year ranging from 5.30 November to January, 6pm February and March and 8 to 10pm in the summer months.

What Is There to Do Nearby Oaklands Park?

  • Chelmsford Museum and the Hive Cafe are in the park itself and both worth visiting. You can read more about them here. 
  • It’s about a mile to Chelmsford town centre and all it's shopping and restaurants. 
  • Chelmsford has plenty of attractions including:
    • Riverside Leisure where you can go ice skating, 
    • Jump Street Chelmsford where there is trampolining and climbing 
  • Hylands Estate is about 5 minutes drive away with lots of parkland to explore and the brilliant castle adventure play area.
  • Lathcoats Farm which has pick your own fruit (in season) is less than 10 minutes drive.
  • Danbury Country Park is about 15 minutes drive

Photographs and recommendations by Meghan who can be found on Instagram as @tipiandtedsoftplay

A wooden climbing frame with slide in Oaklands Park Chelmsford
The park is fun for all ages

Oaklands Park used to be gardens of Oaklands House which is now Chelmsford Museum

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