This is part of our series of posts detailing our mini-break to the South Coast. There have previously been posts on:
- Flying with a Toddler – Part 1 – (here)
- A Day in Bournemouth – Part 2 – (here)
- Longdown Activity Farm – Part 4 – (here)
and this is the next instalment.
Without being rude to the rest of the Southampton/Bournemouth area, Paultons Park (www.paultonspark.co.uk), or more specifically, Peppa Pig World, was the main reason for us to make the trip, and it certainly didn’t disappoint!
In the planning phase, I contacted Paultons Park as they do certain deals on hotel/tickets and their customer service was brilliant in terms of tailoring their offers to us. The prices didn’t quite match up compared to buying the hotel and tickets separately, but it is worth asking to see what they can do.
To the surprise of some, Peppa Pig World is only one part of a larger theme park (Paultons Park) although it does seem to be the most popular. There are 7 toddler friendly rides in the area, which will entertain the little ones for as long as they can stay awake, as well as a number of “static attractions” including a wonderful, large indoor play area.
My own personal favourite was going into Peppa House and Madame Gazelle’s classroom, although Heidi loved the Dinosaur ride and the cars! There are a couple of rides which are slow, Ferris wheel type rides and so if your child isn’t good with these, then I would give them a miss.
In terms of waiting times, we went on a cold, cloudy Saturday at the end of February and we had to wait 20 minutes or so for each ride. However, after lunch, it was only about 5 minutes. We returned on the Monday and the waits were about 10 minutes long before lunch and after lunch, there were no queues at all. If we were to do it again, I would possibly have the morning in the hotel before going after lunch. However, I dread to think what the queues would be like in the summer holidays!!
The star attraction is Peppa and George and they have meet and greets (the times are on the back of the classroom building…) and these were really good, informal and you didn’t feel rushed at all, even though they are very popular. The staff looking after the characters are really good with the little children, making sure that they are not overwhelmed by it all, as I imagine that it can be quite a scary proposition!
There is also a beautiful playground of the children to run around in and while not specifically in the Peppa Pig theme, it is a really good way for kids to run around and play, as opposed to being in a queue!
The park is littered with models of the characters of the show throughout and the little ones loved seeing them and recalling who they saw. The models are absolutely wonderful and I’m sure one would look good in my back garden!!
In terms of food, there is a kiosk in the area serving good quality food and drinks, and quite a few picnic tables. The prices were quite good, although you are allowed to bring food/drinks into the park and so that might be an option. The area has an amazingly good gift shop as well, stocking all things Peppa, and it can be difficult to take a child in! There is a bigger, more generic, shop at the entrance/exit, which has a massive selection of a wide range of toys and gifts.
In terms of baby change facilities, there is limited ones in the toilets in the area, but there are plenty back towards the centre of the park. They also have toilet seats for those who are potty training, which I was really impressed with! (How sad am I?!). The toilet facilities, as well as the park as a whole was really clean and tidy.
You have to remember that there is an entire theme park to enjoy as well, and I think that we were guilty of not spending enough time there due to a tiring toddler (you can get your hand stamped and return to the park). There are quite a number of rides that the little ones can go on, including a gorgeous carrousel and tea cups, as well as play areas, a 4D cinema, and crazy golf.
A word of warning is that the park is quite big, especially for little legs and so I would make sure comfortable shoes are worn, and I would recommend taking a pushchair, if your child is in one. You can hire pushchairs (or similar) at the park as well.
Perhaps a hidden attraction is the number of animals/wildlife that the park has as they are somewhat hidden away. We saw pelicans and flamingos and there is a lovely garden with smaller birds around the edge as well. We came across this as we were leaving and the big open spaces nearby would be perfect for picnics etc. Another hidden attraction was the free Wifi in the park – although it will never be as good as what you have at home, given the huge space the park covers, it worked really well.
For those with older children or able to split off for a couple of hours, there are a number of white knuckle rides, with a new area opening in May 2016. These are certainly not my cup of tea, but will obviously appeal to some and mean that even if you didn’t set foot into Peppa Pig World, you could still have a full day out.
It says something that we would go back to Paultons Park again, even though we spent 2 days there already, but that is how good it is. Upon our return, Heidi has been telling people about her time at Peppa Pig World with such enthusiasm, which means that she has definitely had a good time and I’m sure that we will be contacting Miss Rabbit again at some point to enquire about prices and availability!
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