Thompson Park, Burnley

Sunday is the day to visit Thompson Park in Burnley if you want to spend a couple of hours having some real quality family time together.

Although we visited on a Sunday in August and it was quite busy, it wasn’t so crowded that we couldn’t access the facilities.

I’d seen a page on Facebook called The Boathouse and had been following it for a while. They hire out rowing boats and canoes for just a few pounds and I thought it would be great to take the boys one afternoon. What I hadn’t realised was that there is so much more to do at Thompson Park as well. It’s quite a small park compared to many we’ve been to but it has so much packed in to it!

The Boathouse

Rowing boats, kayaks and Canadian canoes are available to hire from The Boathouse, which is open on fine weather days only. If you check their Facebook page before you set off they’re great at keeping people informed on the day.

Rowing boat hire is £5 for 25 minutes and each boat will seat up to six people. Some of the boats can be a little bit tricky to operate so be patient. One of the oars on ours was loose and kept coming out of the bracket but we still managed. In fact, even the bigger two boys could operate the oars – sort of!

Prices for the kayaks and canoes were between £2 and £4 – again I would suggest checking the Facebook page.

Miniature Railway

This was truly a wonderful and unexpected highlight of our visit to Thompson Park. The Miniature Railway is operated by volunteers for the Burnley & Pendle Model Railway Society on Sunday and Bank holiday Monday and a ride costs £1 per person.

Because we are a family of five and the train was almost full, the staff put us on a teeny tiny train of our own and honestly, it made our youngest son’s day. He talked about the train for the rest of the day and it was the thing he mentioned first when he woke up the next day. The best five pounds we’ve spent in a long time! We went around the tracks for a good five minutes too – I was expecting a quick once around and then get off but it wasn’t like that at all. Then when we did get off the train the boys were given a lollipop. Such a lovely gesture and really appreciated by the children!

The Italian Garden

What a beautiful little haven for wildlife. The small but perfectly formed garden was impossible for me to capture in an image as a whole because it was so popular with visitors. We sat just outside it for our picnic and played a game of hide and seek with the toddler amongst the abundance of brightly coloured wildflowers.

I wish I’d had a professional camera with me because the bees and butterflies were spectacular to watch and I could’ve stayed all day.

The Paddling Pool

The Paddling pool is free to use and looks clean and well maintained, but it was too cold for our liking. For everyone else’s too by the look of it because I didn’t see a single person go in while we were there. It isn’t very deep at all and I’d be happy for my three year old to splash in there with his brothers as I kept a watchful eye from the side. Now I know its there though I’ll hopefully be able o take the younger two boys over to play when schools go back and places like this quieten down again.

The Woodland Walk

We didn’t get time to do the walk his time but we shall return! There are plenty of tree within and surrounding Thompson Park and they are just waiting to be explored. Perhaps if we go back I’ll be able to update this post on how we found it. Or perhaps you’ve been and can tell me what you think?


It’s worth noting that dogs are not permitted in Thompson Park except to access the canal tow path just inside the gates.

Play Area

There is a large area of play apparatus suitable for all ages from toddlers to teens. There is also a really fun sand and water area where our toddler would’ve stayed forever given the opportunity.

Great for developing a whole host of learning areas for little ones from turn taking to motor skills and developing logical thinking – and lots more too.

The Café

We sampled the ice cream here and we weren’t disappointed! Some really interesting flavours and so tasty. I had white chocolate and raspberry, and my son had marshmallow bubblegum… don’t knock it until you’ve tried it!

Where is your favourite park and why would you recommend it to others?

Let me know over on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter – it might even be our next park trip!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.