Peppa Pig World SURVIVAL GUIDE
By Holly Tuppen
My kids are regularly denied any form of manufactured entertainment—iPads, toys that aren’t from charity shops, soft-play, fun fairs, overpriced merchandise. I want to claim that this is part of a righteous quest to give them a wholesome upbringing, one worthy of an Enid Blyton storybook (without the casual sexism), but it’s actually because I’m a bit tight and soft-play makes me nauseous.
Whatever the motive, the upside is that a trip to the ‘big Sainsbury’s’ holds considerable entertainment value. The downside is that they’re in danger of being branded weirdos (even Wilf’s school teacher told us to slow down on the ancient Egypt knowledge and concentrate on the basics of reading and writing). So, as part of my efforts to give them a more well-rounded view of the world, I signed up to a day out at Peppa Pig World. For the uninitiated, Peppa Pig World is a squeaky-clean corner of Paultons Park, the UK’s number-one theme park. Despite the initial gritted teeth and reservation, the day was an undisputed triumph.
To celebrate, here’s my reluctant-theme-park-goer survival guide to Peppa Pig World:
Make a long weekend of it
Rather than spending three hours in the car just getting to and from Paultons Park, make the most of its location on the edge of the New Forest and stay overnight. This needn’t cost too much; a family of four can camp in the New Forest from just £20 per night. We opted for Ashurst’s Camping in the Forest site, where horses roam between tents, showers are hot, kids go feral among ancient oaks, and a large kid-friendly pub is just a five-minute stomp across a field (watch out for toddlers and cow pat collisions). Other good accommodation options nearby include Warbourne Farm, New Park Manor Hotel, Forest Yurts, Feather Down (Midgham) Farm and Sandy Balls Holiday Village.
Bag an adrenaline kick
If, like me, the last time you went on a rollercoaster was a frightening number of years ago, don’t miss the opportunity to relive your youth. Peppa Pig World is just one corner of Paultons, which includes over 70 attractions. The tummy-flipping hilarity of the log flume was a hit with all members of the family, and I scored serious bravery points on the Flight of the Pterosaur (be warned your pelvic floor probably isn’t what it was). Dinosaur-mad kids will love Paultons’ Jurassic-themed Lost Kingdom corner, with a dinosaur safari tour, adventure playground and Alive dinosaur experience. Look at the lineup of attractions before you go so you don’t get stuck in Peppa-themed rides for the day.
Queues at Peppa Pig World were 30 minutes long on a Saturday in mid-June, so I can only imagine what they’re like in the height of summer. Aside from the water-play, there’s no need to save a Paultons visit for when the sun’s out. With little ones in tow, it’s best to opt for cooler days with minimal queues. If you do tire of waiting in line, take time out to enjoy the many bird and animal attractions and attractive park areas dotted between rides. If you’re organised enough to pack one, the Japanese Garden is a very pleasant, shady and relaxing spot for a picnic.
See it through their eyes
I’m sure I’m not alone in constantly fighting my own impatience towards my kids. Make this day about them and go with the flow. Even though the crazy golf looks a bit knackered and panning for fake gems in grubby sand is frankly one of the most boring things you could imagine doing, if that’s floating their boat, try to imagine it’s real gold and embrace it. After all, seeing the world through our kids’ eyes for a day is probably as good for our mental health as it is for theirs.
For information about prices, opening times and attractions go to paultonspark.co.uk.