If you’ve got children and haven’t already been to Paultons Park and Peppa Pig World, my first question would have to be – why the hell not?
We’ve just been and can honestly say it was one of the best days we’ve had since becoming a family of five. And let’s face it, with three boys under four, it’s not like every day is a whole load of fun!
Whilst on holiday in the New Forest, the fact we were 25 minutes away from the Theme Park was an opportunity too good to miss, and it was hands down the best part of our holiday (and that’s saying something considering I spent every evening drinking prosecco in a hot tub…)
For those of you who don’t know, Paultons Park is a family theme park near Romsey on the edge of the New Forest – about 8 miles from Southampton.
So much to do
Anyone with young kids may well know it as being the home of Peppa Pig World, but if you have older children who are beyond the Peppa and George stage, there is SO much more for them to do. I literally had no idea, so don’t let the Peppa connection put you off. You could EASILY spend a day there without evening laying eyes on the pig.
Before we went, friends had given us tips on how to plan the day so we could make the most of it and try to avoid queuing as much as possible.
But it seems we (and a few hundred others) had picked a perfect day – a sunny term time Wednesday in mid May, and we queued for ONE ride all day. And that was only for 10 minutes. We couldn’t believe our luck. Clearly it won’t be like that if you go during holidays and weekends so it was great to be able to go during term time before my eldest starts school in September.
All three of my boys (I also have 23 month old twins) are dinosaur mad, so whilst we knew the little ones would enjoy Peppa Pig World, it was really the dinosaurs at Lost Kingdom, that my eldest was excited about. And I mean massively excited. Let’s face it, I’m way more into dinosaurs than Peppa Pig too!
We’d been advised by friends to leave Peppa Pig World until around lunch time when it was quieter, so had planned to head to Lost Kingdom straight away. I’m not sure anything could have kept my eldest away once he started hearing the music and spotted a Spinosaurus.
There are seven rides in the Lost Kingdom, and this is where the biggies are. I was thinking we’d just go on the tamer ones, such as the Dinosaur Tour Company’s gentle 4×4 Jurassic jeep ride through the Kingdom – where we came face to face with all the dinos, so this is where we headed first.
The kids all loved it, and it was great that we could all go on together and have the toddlers on our laps or right next to each other.
That seemed to whet their appetites so we found the Boulder Dash ride next that they could all go on. Think old-school fairground Waltzers that spin around and crush you into the side of the seat. So make sure you sit in the right place to avoid a squashed and whingeing child. That said though, my three giggled the whole way through.
And basically that was that. The bug was caught and they wanted to go on everything. Luckily they could also go on their very first rollercoaster ride at Lost Kingdom called the Dino Chase. As long as they’re 12 months, all children can go on and over 5s unaccompanied. I have to say Twin One’s face was a picture.
There is also a play area and sand pit in Lost Kingdom which they all loved.
Big ‘BIG’ rides
But the highlight for my eldest were the BIG rides. And I’m talking rides that even I was nervous to go on – the Flight of the Pterosaur which is a 395m suspended roller coaster, the Velociraptor which drops from 20m in the air and hurtles round tight bends at 40mph before reversing and doing it all again. Oh and then there was the Cobra which is Paultons Park’s wildest rollercoaster, with a mix of thrilling drops, exhilarating spirals, twists, turns and breathtaking ‘camel humps. And did I mention this thing is seriously HIGH?
So there was me thinking that my eldest would come off the first ride crying and screaming, never to be repeated, despite him asking to go on it. But no, he went on all of them again and again. And again. Grinning from ear to ear the whole time. We were so lucky on some of them he didn’t even have to get off, he was allowed to stay on for another go. And another. So it seems we have a thrill-seeker on our hands.
If you don’t think your child is the adventurous type (mind you – I didn’t until we got there), don’t worry. There are so many other things for them to do, whatever age they are.
Head to Critter Creek for a ride on the smaller Cat-O-Pillar rollercoaster, or take your little ones on Professor Blast’s Expedition Express – a gentle little train that is perfect for younger ones. They can also visit Beastie Burrow’s bug emporium to see fascinating insects, fish and lizards. Or there are loads of other rides adults can take them on with no height restriction.
Peppa Pig World
But chances are if you’ve got young children, you’re going to want to head to the Peppa Pig World area of the Theme Park – which is AMAZING for younger ones or those who like the gentler rides.
There are nine rides within Peppa Pig World, all of which you can take your baby or toddler on which is so refreshing compared to other theme parks where they are mostly stuck in a buggy watching and getting bored all day.
This place is designed for that not to happen. We only went on four of the nine rides – not because we didn’t fancy the others, but the thrill-seeker amongst us wanted to get back to the more exciting stuff. Although don’t be put off if your child is beyond the Peppa stage – they’d still love the rides here.
Rides for the little ones
Peppa Pig’s Balloon Ride was a real highlight, and one of the few that we could all fit on as a family of five. You got a fabulous view over the rest of Peppa Pig World. And Grandpa Pig’s Boat Trip was also fun for all of us. The only time out of the whole day we queued was for Miss Rabbit’s Helicopter Flight (basically a small ferris wheel type thing) but I have to say it wasn’t worth it. We couldn’t all go on together as there were only four seats, so I took the three boys by myself. We spent more time at a standstill whilst others got on and off below, than we did actually moving – and the kids were bored instantly. And cried. It was just typical that was the one we’d waited for.
There was also the Queen’s Flying Coach Ride which was a gentle monorail ride, Grampy Rabbit’s Sailing Club’s spinning boat ride, Daddy Pig’s Car Ride, Grandpa Pig’s Little Train and the Windy Castle Ride which all looked great. If you want to get in out of the sunshine (in our case) or escape the queues (not in our case), there’s a great soft play centre in Peppa Pig World too.
If we only had our twins we would have spent most of the day in Peppa Pig World and gone on all the rides with them. I just kept thinking how brilliant it was that they could go on so many at such a young age. And I think children up to ages 4 or even 5 would love it, if they prefer gentler fun.
But if you’ve also got older children with you (or young daredevils) it’s great to have the choice of areas to go across the family theme park. If you want a rest from the rides, there is a fab fun park, amazing gardens for them to explore, as well as animals in Little Africa or a wet play area in Water Kingdom.
There are over 70 rides and attractions, clearly I’ve not mentioned them all, and we didn’t go on all of them, but there’s certainly something that will keep every member of your family happy. We couldn’t get to everything in the one day we were there despite arriving as it opened at 10am and staying until 5pm. Partly because we went on the same rides so many times, but also because there is so much to do. Factor in that on more of an average day there would be queues, you definitely wouldn’t get to every ride or attraction – so it might be worth looking at the two day ticket.
We took our own food but there are places to buy refreshments all over the park, so no need for a hangry meltdown to ruin your day. You can hire double or single strollers for tired feet, there are ‘lost child contact’ stickers for your children to wear, and you can even charge your mobile phone at special points. Perfect for when you’re using up battery taking so many photos of all the fun! There’s even a free app you can download which shows you live queue times, show and animal feeding times, an interactive map with directions and special offers. It’s like they’ve thought of everything!
You might have gathered we had the best day here and will definitely be back. If you fancy it, and like us you have young children – get there quick on a mid-term week day and hopefully you’ll be lucky like us.
Top tips for visiting Paultons Park and Peppa Pig World
To make the most of your day, have a read of these before you go.
- Know the height of your children before you visit. They are hot on this and measured my eldest for all the big rides.
- Pick up a ‘lost child contact’ sticker and put it on your child’s back – just in case.
- Paultons Park recommend heading to the rides at the back of the park first as the closest rides tend to be more popular straight away.
- Leave the bigger thrill rides until lunchtime when most people are eating or at the end of the day.
- During school holidays head for Peppa Pig World either straight away or towards the end of the day to reduce waiting times for the more popular attractions.
- Pushchairs and strollers are not allowed in the waiting lines, so keep a separate bag at the ready with your valuables in and drink/sunhat/lotion to take with you when you head for a ride – anything else can stay in the pushchair. Alternatively there are lockers available for hire.
- Bring socks for you and your children for the Indoor Playzone in Peppa Pig World. No socks, no entry.
- Bring swimming stuff for the Water Kingdom and Muddy Puddles splash parks when they are open.
- Take a bucket and spade for the sandy play areas
- Go on the water rides last in case you get wet.
- Don’t forget your camera!
To find out more about Paultons Park, prices, and what there is to do, click here.
Disclaimer – we received tickets to Paultons Park free of charge for the purpose of this review, but opinions, words and pictures are mine.
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Did you enjoy this post? You might like some of my other reviews, so how about you have a read of How having a ‘proper’ holiday with three young children really is possible at Bluestone or How I survived camping with baby twins and a toddler.
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