Peppa Pig and Dinosaurs Combine for a Fun Family Day Out
My three year old adores Peppa Pig so we thought we'd take her down to Peppa Pig World in Hampshire and see what all the fuss was about. We were a little dubious, as we were also bringing our nine and seven year old along. Would there be enough to entertain them too, or would they consider it too babyish? There was only one way to find out.
A magical place to explore for tots and preschoolers
If you are planning on visiting, I should tell you that it is cheaper to book your tickets online in advance. If you pre-book your tickets (at least a day in advance), they are valid for several months, so if the weather is awful on the day you originally planned to visit, you can rearrange. Discounts for Paultons Park seem to be rare. There are no vouchers on cereal packets, and you cannot use Tesco's Club Card vouchers for access, but to be honest, we felt that the entrance fee seemed pretty reasonable. Tickets allow access to both Paultons Park and Peppa Pig World, and children under 1m tall go free. Unlike some theme parks, there is plenty for them to go on if they are over 90cm.
As most people had pre-booked, queues were short when we turned up as it opened. We simply showed the ticket on our phone and in we went. The majority of visitors seemed to be at Paultons Park for Peppa Pig World as, even though it was school holidays, there were preschoolers as far as the eye could see.
We, along with everyone else, headed excitedly straight for Peppa Pig World. Once there, there are plenty of rides to choose from, including Daddy Pig's Car Ride, Grandpa Pig's Boat ride, and Peppa Pig's Balloon Ride. There is also the chance to visit Peppa and George's house, and George's Spaceship Indoor Playzone looked huge and would have been perfect if the weather had been miserable. With everyone heading straight for Peppa Pig World, some of the queues were quite long and we had to queue for George's Dinosaur ride for 40 minutes, which is a long time for a three year old.
Getting up close and personal with George and Peppa
Turning up early to Peppa Pig World did give us a chance to meet Peppa and George outside their house. They only seem to make an appearance a couple of times a day, so make sure you check times on entry so you don't miss it. I thought my three year old would love to see them, but she went all shy and was happy to look on from a distance.
As the queues were relatively big, and the older kids wanted to explore the rest of the park, we decided to see what else Paultons Park had to offer, and left the happy, repetitive Peppa Pig music behind. I'm so glad we did. My nine year old and seven year old were in seventh heaven when they discovered the Dinosaur Lost Kingdom. As well as several rides for thrill seekers, including Flight of the Pterosaur and Velociraptor , there were rides for the younger ones too. The Dinosaur Tour was delightful as it takes you on a safari to spot various dinosaurs.
Another favourite was Boulder Dash, where you sit in a spinning boulder, narrowly missing the other boulders, which my two youngest loved and went on again and again. For braver kids, there was a chance to meet a "real" dinosaur at Alive! Dinosaur Encounter, but my youngest daughter took fright so we avoided this bit.
There are plenty of other rides scattered throughout the park to keep kids entertained, including the Pirate Ship, The Sky Swinger and the Viking Boats. All good theme parks must have a log flume, but there was also a smaller version of this for tiny ones called Seal Falls, which was a lovely little ride designed for children up to the age of seven.
Queues at this side of the park were tiny compared to Peppa Pig World, and I would say my three year old enjoyed this area just as much, although she was more restricted on what she could go on. There are plenty of playgrounds scattered around the park which all the kids enjoyed.
It's worth mentioning that there are two splash zones - one located in Paultons Park and the other in Peppa Pig World. They are brilliant for letting the kids run riot whilst you enjoy a coffee. We knew they were there and had come prepared with wetsuits and towels. April in the UK can be a little cold, but the kids had a whale of a time. The one in Paultons Park is definitely superior, although for tiny tots, the one in Peppa Pig World is perfect.
Enjoy a coffee whilst the kids run riot in the Splash Zone
We grabbed a simple lunch of hotdogs and burgers from the stalls in Paultons Park. Food isn't cheap though, so a packed lunch might be preferable if you want to keep costs down. There are lockers in the park for holding bags, but it takes your £1 each time you unlock them, so it can add up if you want to go back and forth. It looked like there was more of a food choice around the cafes at Peppa Pig World.
We thought we would end our day at Peppa Pig World, and we were so glad we did it this way, because it was almost empty. Clearly all the toddlers and preschoolers had tired themselves out by 3.30pm, so we had a chance to go on several rides, to see the penguins and spend some time in the playground, which is really lovely for little ones. The rides at Peppa Pig World are obviously designed with young ones in mind, but my older children were happy enough on most of the rides too. They are bright and colourful, and all three kids enjoyed driving cars, heading up high on the balloons and waving to each other from the back of George's dinosaur.
We stayed until the bitter end, and had to drag three reluctant kids with us when it was time to go. Be prepared to exit the park through a very huge toy shop. Everything in it seemed reasonably priced though, and there is a brilliant selection of toys to choose from.
All in all, we had a brilliant day, and all three kids announced that they wanted to come back again. We spent an entire day at Paultons Park, and there were still lots of rides we didn't get time to go on. As we were leaving, my three year old stated she wanted to sleep at Peppa Pig World and stay there forever. True praise indeed.
Opening times and prices vary. Paultons Park offers lots of ways of making your visit a little easier. You can pay extra for a Peppa's Early Play Pass which allows you into the park an hour early and gives you chance to meet Peppa and George before the park opens but we thought this worked out to be quite expensive. If you're keen to avoid the crowds though, it could be an option.
The park also offers Tot Swap, which means parents don't need to queue again when taking turns to look after their baby/toddler. Simply request a Tot Swap ticket when you exit the ride and a maximum of two people can skip the queue by entering the ride via the exit and showing the ticket. This facility is only available on certain rides, and we didn't try it out, but it sounds a great idea.
If you are thinking of visiting, check out the Paultons Park website for more information. There's also a Paultons park app that you can download for free.