Visiting Wat Tyler Country Park With Children

Wat Tyler Country Park in Basildon, Essex, has 125 acres of countryside to explore. As a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) there is also lots of wildlife to spot. There is a fantastic assessible playground, bird hides, RSPB Wildlife Garden, small marina and lots to see on woodland walks. They also have a miniature railway but this is currently closed until further notice (it is being repaired).     

View of the village green at Wat Tyler Country Park towards the playground and white cottage
Wat Tyler (Basildon) is a lovely park to visit with children

Visiting Wat Tyler Country Park

Why Wat Tyler Is A Good Place To Visit With Children

  • Go for a walk and see if you can find the giant shield bug (cockroach), Pill Box from WWII, wooden sculptures and a pirate ship area by the little marina. 
  • Walk along to the bird hide to see the wildlife on the pond. We’ve spotted geese, ducks and moorhens before. 
  • Head to the playground for some fun.
  • Finish up with an ice cream or a snack from the kiosk or cafe which is due to reopen soon.     

A view of the playground at Wat Tyler with a music box in the foreground
Wat Tyler Country Park has a large playground with lots of accessible aspects

What Is there To Do At Wat Tyler Country Park ?

There are 3 trails you can follow: Explosives trail, WWII trail or the Sculpture trail or you can explore choosing your own route. If you click on the relevant trail on this page you get a map of the route and information about what you are looking for.

The new play area has a wide range of equipment, it was updated in 2022 to make it more inclusive and wheelchair accessible (it is one of the most wheelchair accessible park playgrounds I have seen). There are zip wires, a sand pit, and other adventure play equipment.

In the summer and school holidays you might find a bouncy castle on the Village Green area. The Village Green is the main events area so much of the activities happen around here. There are also two pretty thatched cottages on the edge of the green which were actually brought to Wat Tyler from other locations to save them from development.

Check out their website and social media where you can find out about lots of activities they run throughout the year for children including pond dipping, Easter egg hunts, and inflatables days. Many of the activities need to be booked in advance.

At present the Wat Tyler Cafe within the Visitor Centre is closed. However there is a kiosk (in the barn at the car park by the Visitor Centre) which serves hot and cold drinks and snacks. The food available is limited so you can always take a picnic if you want something a bit more substantial. There are picnic tables next to the playground and lots of grass so you can always take a blanket in case the tables are busy. Last time we visited there was also an ice cream van.

some benches, surrounded by plants in a boat shape, a flag and a ships wheel
Sail on an adventure, without leaving the land

A rectangular pill box with a wooden fence round the top at Wat Tyler Country Park
A brick pill box and muddy puddles

A red metal cockroach bug sculpture at Wat Tyler Country Park
This oversized cockroach can be found on the sculpture trail

What age children will enjoy visiting Wat Tyler?

All ages. The playground provides facilities for children from toddler to around 12 years old and also has assessable equipment for wheelchair users. You can decide how far you want to walk through the country park depending on your children's energy levels.

Is the park suitable for pushchairs?

Yes for certain trails you can definitely get around using a buggy and have a good time but there are some areas of the woodland walks that won’t be assessable (including steps). Be aware that during winter months some paths may get muddier. Many of the paths are adapted for pushchairs and wheelchairs - deck walks, paved, etc, so there’s definitely walks that can be done all year round. 

A different view of Wat Tyler playground after refurbishment
Wat Tyler playground has elements for toddlers to tweens to enjoy

View of Wat Tyler playground
The playground at Wat Tyler Country Park has plenty of space and different types of play equipment

Fully accessible playground swings at Wat Tyler Country Park
The new playground includes several features, like these swings, that are suitable for wheelchair users

What You Need To Know Before Visiting Wat Tyler Country Park

  • Get there early. It’s a great country park so it is popular, if you get there early you will get to enjoy it while it's quieter. 
  • Wat Tyler Country Park is gated so you can only enter during opening hours which during Spring is 9am to 7pm (and changes seasonally so check the website). 
  • The visitor centre has it's own opening hours which are currently 10am to 4pm and includes a gift shop. 
  • There are toilets and baby change available at the Visitor Centre but these are only open when the Centre is open. 
  • The website isn't the most user friendly so check their Facebook page too for the information as it seems to be updated far more often than the website, especially with information about events  

Is It Dog Friendly?

Dogs are welcome at the Country Park, but as it is a Site of Special Scientific Interest they ask dogs to be kept on leads for the preservation of wildlife. Having said that however whenever we’ve been, there have been lots of dogs off lead. 

An old anchor and boats at Wat Tyler Country Park
Wat Tyler Country Park is surround on most sides by creeks and water

What To Take With You When Visiting

In the winter wellies or walking boots are a must if you are going for a walk. Wat Tyler is lowland so it gets very boggy and marshy which is super fun for squelching in welly boots! The car park is tarmac and has a path to the playground so if you are only heading for a play then you can manage without packing welly boots. You can end up spending a lot of time here so we often take a picnic for lunch then buy a treat from the kiosk.     

Part of the sculpture trail path at Wat Tyler
Paths at Wat Tyler include grass, mud and all weather paths, but you might want to bring wellies

How To Get To Wat Tyler Country Park and Where To Park


Pitsea Hall Lane, Pitsea, Basildon, Essex, SS16 4UH 


Wat Tyler Country Park is easy to find as it’s well sign posted and the postcode (SS16 4UH) is correct for the Sat Nav.  It's also only about a 10 minute walk from Pitsea Station if you want to go by train.


There are two parking areas. One near the main entrance and one further down by the Visitor Centre. Both are free to park in. I recommend using the parking by the visitor centre so there is less distance to walk with children.     

A tunnel beneath trees
Paths take you through woodland, by the water and open grassland

What To Do Nearby Wat Tyler Country Park

Essex Horse & Pony Protection Society is just up the road and has activities to book such as ‘Groom a Pony’. 

Wat Tyler is about 15 minutes drive to Basildon’s Festival Leisure Park which has a cinema, mini golf, soft play, bowling and plenty of restaurants. Food options include the child friendly: McDonalds, Pizza Express, Wagamama and Aroma (chinese buffet).

Hadleigh Castle is about 20 minutes drive in one direction and Thurrock Thameside Nature Discovery is about 20 minutes drive the other direction. 

Photographs & recommendations by Charlotte who can be found on Instagram as The Wolf Mother Project

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