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Café closes at 3pm on weekdays, during term time. This is extended to 4pm during weekends and school holidays. Visitor Centre closes at 5pm. Carpark is locked at 7pm.

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A Family Day Out: Pottery Painting at Stanwick Lakes

by | Oct 21, 2023

A Family Day Out: Pottery Painting at Stanwick Lakes

The 7 Steps to Painting Pottery at Stanwick Lakes

Looking for a fantastic family day out that blends creativity, relaxation, and nature? We have introduced pottery painting at the Visitor Centre So if you’re looking for something to do on a rainy day in Northamptonshire, or little less need a rest from all the outdoor play, look no further than pottery painting at Stanwick Lakes! It’s a delightful experience for all ages.

To help you make the most of your session, we’ve got seven simple top tips for your pottery painting adventure. Please note, as this is an activity new to Stanwick Lakes, our tips may change over time to create the best experience for our visitors.

  1. 1. No Need to Book – Just drop in (before 3pm)

The first tip is simple: there’s no need to book ahead. You’re welcome to drop by whenever suits your family’s schedule. We have a ‘pop-up’ painting area in the café. Arrive early to get a table without a wait. Allow a couple of hours to fit a pottery painting activity into your day – How long you session lasts depend on the piece you pick to paint and your design. If you have your eye on a specific piece or want to tackle a larger project, such as a large dinner plate or a details figurine, then getting to the Visitor Centre early is a smart move. It gives you more options from in the day’s display of blank pieces to pick from, and you can get settled at a pop-up pottery table in the café before it’s too busy. We open at 9.30am. Please note;

  • – Pottery painting tables are available on a first come first serve basis.
  • – If all tables are full when you arrive there may be a wait.
  • – Our café stops taking food orders at 4pm, and closes at 4.30pm.
  • – The Visitor Centre is open until 5pm.
  1. 2. Visit the Welcome Desk to Choose Your Piece and Get Equipped

Upon your arrival, say hello to the friendly team at the Visitor Centre welcome desk. They will help you start your creative journey! First, purchase a blank piece of pottery by choosing from the daily display. These pieces are affordable, starting at just £7, and come in a variety of shapes and sizes, from practical mugs and plates to whimsical figurines like wizards and toy soldiers (perfect for a Christmas gift). Once you’ve made your choice, you will be provided you with everything you need, including paints, brushes, and any additional materials required. Aprons are not included so please come in suitable clothing. You’ll then be shown to a pottery painting table in the café.

  1. 3. Plan your design, get to know the colour wheel and learn about layers

Before you get down to painting, take a moment to explore the colour wheel. It’s a rainbow of possibilities! When you first apply colour to a blank piece of pottery, it might look pale, but this transforms during the firing process… Make a note about layering – applying 2 or even 3 layers of the same colour will make your artwork pop. You can also get handy tips and instructions from the Stanwick Lakes team to assist you in your painting journey.

  1. 4. Initial your work and mind the base

You’ve got a brush in hand: First, add your initials to the bottom of your piece. The next important instruction will be explained by the team, but, don’t paint anything that will touch the table or surface you plan to display your piece on – this is VERY IMPORTANT when it comes to firing – we don’t want your piece to stick permanently to the kiln shelf! Paint short of the base, leaving a millimetre or two spare. (You can also wipe paint off your pottery, too, for certainty). This way, the base of your creation stays clean and can be removed form the kiln, ready make it’s way back to you.

  1. 5. We’ll handle the firing process: 1 week – 10 day turn around.

Once you’ve completed your artistic adventure, the Stanwick Lakes team will take care of the next step – glazing it and popping it into the kiln for you. This will give your painting pottery glossy, finished look, and will make it food safe. Be patient and allow time for this magical transformation to take place. This may vary depending on the size of your piece, (some larger pieces may take longer, too, and we’ll advise you of this). We will contact you to let you know when your masterpiece is ready for collection. And remember, the anticipation makes that final reveal all the more exciting!

  1. 6. Plan for Pick-Up

Mark your calendar! When the time comes to collect your pottery, let the welcome desk know when you have arrived and they’ll retrieve your piece for you. If you’re just collecting your pottery, the parking barrier gives 15 minutes grace, so you don’t need to pay for parking to collect. Please note;

  • – Once you’re contacted, we will only be able to store your finished piece for a couple of weeks. Please advise if you need to re-arrange and we will do our best to accommodate.
  • – At this time, pottery must be collected, we cannot post at this time.


  1. 7. Enjoy the Creative Process!

Pottery painting is fun, and can be a wonderfully relaxing experience. But, paint brushes can slip, colours can look different once fired (it’s a mysterious process at temperatures in the thousands!), and everyone has their own style! No need to rush, just enjoy the process and the company of your family. The Stanwick Lakes café is a relaxed and informal setting, where you can sip your favourite beverage or indulge in a tasty snack while you paint. (Please note, only food and drink from the café should be consumed in the Visitor Centre. There are benches and grassy mounds outside for picnics if you wish to pack your own).   And that’s it! Pottery painting activities at Stanwick Lakes promises fun and creativity, and a fantastic keepsake at the end. Follow these handy tips, and you’re not only taking home a beautiful piece of pottery but some great memories! Variable parking charges apply at Stanwick Lakes, bear this in mind when painting your pottery. Or, plan for a full day, with time to grab lunch, explore The Heritage Museum, or head out to enjoy the playground, assault course, and adventure trails, or simply go on a nature ramble with a bird hide stop or two thrown in. If you have any questions or think we’ve missed anything important, you can get n touch by emailing:

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