Chester Le Street Riverside Park | A Visitors Guide

A huge thanks to our writer Cat for this post about Chester Le Street Riverside Park + photos. 

Chester Le Street Riverside Park | A Visitors Guide

Chester Park

Chester Le Street Riverside Park is located just off the A167, a short distance from Chester Le Street town centre. The park is a flat, 5-10 walk from Chester Le Street market place which is where most buses that pass through the town, stop and the train station is about a 20 minute walk away (but be mindful that a very limited number of trains stop at Chester Le Street now).

If coming by car, you can use postcode DH3 3PL to take you to the car park.


There is a pay and display car park inside the park grounds which does fill up quite quickly, especially during the school holidays and in the Summer.

If you struggle to get a spot in the main car park, you can use the car parks near to the Emirates Riverside Stadium and rowing club which are at the opposite side of the entrance roundabout. You can then access the park under the bridge that the B1284/Lumley New Road runs over the top of. Parking is chargeable in all the nearby car parks, you can expect to pay -

· 80 pence for up to one hour

· £1.20 for up to two hours

· £2.00 for up to four hours

· £3.10 for up to six hours

· £4.20 for over six hours

You can pay by cash or by PayByPhone. The traffic wardens are VERY proactive in the area and and are very enthusiastic with their ticket giving!

Things to do

The park is open all year round, the play park is never locked and the car park is open 24 hours a day so there are no restrictions on your visit.

The park has lots of green open space and it's easy enough to spend a whole day there, especially in the warmer weather. There is lots of space to play ball games, go for walks or have a picnic.

The paths are all flat which makes it ideal for learning to ride a bike and wheelchair users It's also very popular for dog walkers, runners and people with pushchairs. In the Summer, you will often see people BBQing on the grass, having large picnics or just meeting friends for a glass of wine or two.

The park is home to Chester Le Street Bowling Club and there are seats dotted around the bowling green so you can sit and watch when they're playing or practicing.

If you're looking for a quieter park visit, there are gardens with pretty plants, carved wooden creatures, fairy doors and the 'Afternoon Tea' sculpture by local artist, Graham Hopper. There's also a 'Sun Temple' which my kids love playing hide and seek around.

There are plenty of walks along the edge of the River Wear in both directions, you can walk up past the Cricket ground in one direction and the other way takes you towards Lambton estate.There are plenty of seats and benches dotted throughout the park if you need to take a break.

The River

The River Wear runs through the park and is home to a variety of ducks and swans. There are also quite a lot of herons which you can often seen swooping for fish.

The river isn't suitable for swimming and paddling as its very fast flowing with under currents but there is a little beached area where you can stand and feed the ducks.

I wouldn't recommend going into the water as it's quite dangerous. There is a small stream that leads into the river at one end of the park which is shallow and safe if you fancy a paddle but its probably best suited to older kids as the bank leading down to it can be very slippy.

The cafe

The Riverside Cafe is sometimes a little hit and miss with opening times, it tends to be opening during the school holidays, on the weekend and later in the day on a week day but they never seem to be very strict with the opening times.

Chester Le Street Riverside Park | A Visitors Guide  - cafe

They sell things like hot drinks,chips, bacon sandwiches, ice creams and hot dogs but the menu seems to have reduced dramatically in recent months, I'm not sure whether that's because it's Winter or whether it's due to costs. There is an ice cream van parked up at the entrance to the park (near the car park) most days too.

Chester Le Street Riverside Park | A Visitors Guide  - cafe menu

There are public toilets ( including disabled and baby change) adjoining the cafe, they're supposed to be open 9.00am - 6.00pm during the summer and 9.00am - 3.00pm during the winter, but again, they aren't always open when you expect them to be. On busier, warmer days they are much more reliable but we have been caught out during the winter before.

The play park

The park has been updated in recent years and suitable for children pre school age to around 10 years. There's a range of equipment including slides, climbing equipment and swings.

Right in the centre is a 16 foot wooden castle which was inspired by the nearby Lumley Castle and there are different areas suited to different ages. My youngest loves the wooden play train, ticket office window and the seesaw whereas my eldest prefers the zip line which is outside the play park boundary.

The play park surrounded by a fence that runs all the way round with a gate at either end. It's worth noting, the gates aren't very secure, they don't have a bolt or anything and one end is quite close to the river so I do make sure I can see my youngest at all times.

Outside the fenced area there is a small selection of gym equipment, a wooden assault course, tyre swing, zip line and some football games.On busier days, there are often small rides near the entrance to the play park, things like trampolines and a small carousel which you can pay to ride.

The splash park

There is a splash pad is next to the play park but is separated by a fence. It is locked up when not in use. It's usually open from July to September and although it isn't very big, it's lots of fun in the warmer weather.

Pre-covid, it was a free for all, but when when it was last open, there were were timed slots with a limited number of children. I'm hoping it's back to normal this Summer as the queues last year were huge.

The skate park

There is a small concrete skate park at the left side of the park on an evening and weekend it is always really busy with teenagers. We tend to avoid it when it’s busy as the older kids can be quite rowdy. On occasion when it's quiet, my eldest does like to go up and down and ramps on his bike and scooter but we don't tend to head that way very often.

If move away from the play park and cafe area you might be lucky enough to see some of the wildlife within the park. There are often Roe deer, squirrels and herons as well as the ducks and swans.

The park is dog friendly and there is a secure dogs area near the skate park where you can let them off to run freely. The cafe usually has a bowl of water out for a drink too.

The park hosts a park run regularly and there are occasional events that take place. The best place to find out more is the Friends of Riverside Park FB group.

Chester Le Street park is a brilliant park, it's easy to spend a whole day there and it’s  suitable for the whole family. It’s great for a budget day out too as the only thing you need to pay for is your parking. 

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