The Helix is a huge 350 hectare park close to Falkirk and Grangemouth. It is home to The Kelpies, two 30 metre tall horse head statues rearing out of the Forth and Clyde Canal, loads of walking paths and trails, a brilliant playpark and a visitor centre with cafe.
There are two car parks at The Helix. The first one you come to is quite small and close to the play area; the second is larger and is right at The Kelpies.
The Helix park is completely paved (or wooden walkway) and it’s all flat. It’s also very well maintained. So the whole thing is very wheel friendly. We always take the scooter or bikes so the kids can scoot between The Kelpies and the playpark. (Wheels always make life a lot more pleasant for everyone!)
There are lots of walkways and paths beside the canal and throughout the whole of The Helix. And it’s an easy walk between The Kelpies and the play area, either alongside the canal or through the boardwalk path through the wetland area. (It takes maybe about 15 minutes to get from one to the other.) The little wetland area has lots of swans, ducks and various other birds in it which always delights my kids.
Created by Scotland’s leading sculptor Andy Scott, those big metal beasts are absolutely stunning. I get that “wow” feeling every time I see them. It’s hard to appreciate the size of them until you get up close. As you walk towards them they seem to rise up out of the canal ahead of you.
You can walk right up to the sculptures and touch them. You can also try to make echoes by shouting as loud as possible between the metal panels of The Kelpies, something my kids (and husband) love to do. There are also lots of little walls that the love walking along, locks to cross over and little hills to scoot down here.
There is a food hut just beside the Kelpies, selling food from the grill, drinks etc. And there’s a little hut selling local Milk Barn ice cream. This honestly is such good ice cream. So many flavours and so so delicious!
The Visitor Centre
The visitor centre at The Kelpies is where you’d book tours but it also has a little room to one side with some information and some little bits for kids to play with like a couple of puzzles and some colouring bits.
The cafe inside the visitor centre serves up regular cafe fayre like baked potatoes, mac & cheese, pies, soups, a selection of sandwiches and salads, kids lunch boxes and a selection of cakes. It can be really busy during high season so prepare for a queue.
The play area in Helix Park is one of our absolute favourites we’ve been to. It has something for everyone, even catering to older kids which lots of playparks don’t. For the wee ones there are a couple of swings, tunnels, roundabouts, bouncy things and a wooden music box with big pedals to jump on.
For the medium kids there is a little adventure course. For the bigger kids there is a big pyramid wooden play frame. This has some wobbly bridges, lots of ladders and once you get up to the top, some tunnel slides. Next to the pyramids is a big log run with a little slide right at the end. This isn’t too really high off the ground, but it is a pretty tough course for smaller kids.
Just behind the play area is a big rectangle full of water squirters. You know those water features you can run through and get soaked that you most often see in warm countries. Great for running around on a sunny day! Just make sure you have dry clothes (or waterproofs) because this is not the dry heat of Las Vegas.
- This is one of the most wheel friendly parks I’ve ever been to. The paths are very well maintained. You just need to keep a hold of any smaller kids near the water.
- There are two car parks in Helix Park. The first one is free to park in. The one right next to the Kelpies has a charge in peak season. I think it might be £5 but I’m not fully certain.
- There is a lot of water around in Helix Park. There are the canals, there is lots of water around the Kelpies themselves and metal bridges to cross over the locks, there are ponds and a big loch. So definitely take heed of water safety. I felt like I needed a leash for my wee one when he was a toddler because he was a runner. A fast one! (Now he’s a fast scooter. I don’t know which is worse.)
The Kelpies & the playpark are free to wander around. Parking is the only cost. If you wanted a tour of the Kelpies (you can get a guided tour inside them for £5 per adult) you’d need to pay for this too.
The Kelpies and Helix Park is a great few hours out. It’s brilliant for all wheels, The Kelpies are wonderful to see every time, the kids can play in a fabulous play park for a while and there’s plenty of little walks and space for picnics. Even the dog will like it here. And definitely get yourself some of that ice cream!