Oriel Park at Ascot is a charming park with a good playground, stately trees, and a lovely heritage feel.
My family visited the park for the first time last Saturday morning, when we took my sons to attend a free paper-plane workshop there.
After finding an easy park for the car (there's good parking on all four sides of the park, which is surrounded by roads of varying sizes), we headed off to a picnic table on the far side where the workshop was being held.
On the way, we stopped to admire the tall palms dotted around the place, and the big, beautiful trees that shade the playground.
The playground itself was also of good quality. It's of medium size (about the same as the Froggy Playground at Orleigh Park in West End), and includes slides, swings, rope nets, platforms, climbing rings and more. It's well-fenced and well-mulched, a safe and fun environment for children from real littlies to primary-school age.
Beside the playground lay a flat, grassy space, big enough for running around or kicking a ball -- though, as I said, there are roads on all sides, so you'd need to be a bit careful with a ball. There was also a pretty shelter-shed, decked out with balloons for a birthday party.
The trees, layout and shelter-shed all had a gracious heritage feel that made my think of a bygone Brisbane. Even the toilets are quaint wooden structures, and the playground includes a vintage steamroller painted in bright colours.
Beyond the playground lay a barbecue and the picnic table that we needed. While our boys settled happily into their free Bazil Grumble workshop (which I've covered in a separate review for Weekend Notes), I read the paper in dappled sunlight, under still more shady trees.
My husband, a serious coffee man, went in search of liquid satisfaction, and wasn't disappointed. The Vanilla Pod Cake and Deli Cafe was a minute's walk away, in a small strip of shops. He pronounced their short black 'very good', rare praise from a man with stringent coffee standards.
I was also impressed by the Bakery on Oriel Park, just across the road. I headed over there to buy pies and pastries for our lunch once the boys had finished folding and flying. The bakery staff were friendly and helpful, the pies contained big chunks of steak, and my cinnamon scroll was light and lovely. A real find and a good lunch for four for around $25.
All in all, our excursion to Oriel Park was a delight. It's a reminder of an older, more gracious Brisbane, and its green grass and spreading trees exude a sense of calm, despite the park's busy location. The playground is great for younger children, there's running room for bigger kids, and the nearby eateries are a bonus. Next time you're over Ascot way, I recommend a visit.