Visiting Peppa Pig World and recovering afterwards… it’s no longer something to dread…
Driving to the New Forest from London or the east. Then you’ll pass this lovely family theme park.
Theme parks are a love/hate thing. The idea of going is often painful, but usually when you’re there, it’s quite good fun. This is our guide to doing a day trip to Paultons Park, staying sane, and how to recover afterwards in style.
This blog covers two places. Paultons Park and Peppa Pig World, plus the nearby pub, The Rockingham Arms.
Our top tip guide for Peppa and Paultons is:
- 1. Go on a school inset day. It’s usually open (check first) and there will be hardly any queues.
- 2. Go from lunchtime onwards, not as soon as the park opens. Queues in peak times are less in the Peppa zone at lunchtime.
- 3. Take grand-parents, hole up in the Japanese gardens with a lovely picnic, share the adventure, there’s a lot to do and see.
Did we feel it was value for money?
Take a picnic and yes. The food was ok but a bit pricey. Otherwise yes definitely.
Paultons Park has been included in the list of top 25 amusement parks in the world, for the first time and beat Drayton Manor, Djurs Sommerland and other category finalists, to be crowned Family Theme Park of the Year at the inaugural Park World Excellence Awards.
We visited the park in June 2018 during the week. Our group was made up of three families, with multiple ages and interests. The kids ranged in age from 4 to 11. Parking there is easy and right from the start, the experience was fantastic. It was a wonderful day of play and discovery and at the end, we’d still not got to everything – even with 0 queuing. Set in 140 acres there is a great deal to cover in a day and we left planning to come again.
First. Peppa. Possibly the most famous chap in the New Forest. Obviously the tiny children loved Peppa Pig World. It’s a bit like being in the cartoon and with the same level of humour. Endearing for the most part. There were double the number of rides from the previous year which was done to help the queuing issues that can happen in summer when the park experiences the heaviest visitor traffic. Manager X told us that this has really helped and wait times have now reduced to X when it’s busy. He suggested that visitors go to the main Peppa areas at lunchtime, when most families are taking a break to eat, and that the afternoons are usually quieter.
The Lost Kingdom is their ‘Jurassic land’. It was beautifully designed and planted. So much thought and care had gone into it’s display and we were genuinely impressed. The dinosaur exhibits themselves were lifelike, not too scary for the little ones, biologically pretty accurate for the bigger ones. The rides ranged from sedate (Landrover tour) to the whopper rollercoaster for the thrill-seekers. The older children (aged 11) weren’t disappointed with the mid-range roller coasters and they were too scared to go on Flight of the Pterosaur: a suspended rollercoaster (we think this means your legs are free to wave about as you whizz along). The mums nearly wet themselves. (Probably should write that in a company blog but hey).
Past Peppa’s area, there is Little America. A new exhibit with an excellent walk-in aviary. The birds are big, colourful and nest above your head. The small animals area was creative and sprawling, especially for the amusing meerkats.
Make sure you take a change of clothes. In summer there is a lovely splash pad where kids can run about and get soaked in 1″ of water and plenty of fountains, sprays, water toys and splashy chaos.
Back to the rides again, we found a water slide, which produced hilarious laughter and mid-size thrills for everyone. A gorgeous swinging carousel ride which was charming, super safe and felt like we could all fly, pirate ship play areas, huge trampolines and much more.
When we were all thrilled-out, the gardens were separate enough to get some quiet. They are extensive and exceptionally well cared for. The Japanese Garden was particularly lovely and curated with a real feel for experience; sound, light, planting, structure and flow. It was delightful. The kids ran about searching out little paths leading to new parts of the garden. They found exotic birds in huge cages, secret paths and trails, sunken gardens, enormous trees. Picnicking here was a lunchtime break from the crazy entertainment. A lovely contrast in the day.
The Rockingham Arms
We strongly suggest that you take a day to come to the park and enjoy it all. Don’t rush home afterwards but instead, stay for supper and a night at The Rockingham Arms.
The team here have done an excellent job at renovating this lovely pub which is set deep in the National Park.
The service was without doubt, the best I’ve had in a pub or restaurant this year. Friendly, attentive, understanding (I had a tired, dirty child who’d done a day of Forest School with me) and adaptable. Such a treat.
The food was exceptional. Unfussy, locally sourced, seasonal, well presented and an absolute treat. Mushrooms on toast in Autumn with foraged produce was amazing. My daughters fish and chips was sustainable fish, locally caught and melted off the fork. She asked for seconds which was a first.
The decor here is country-chic without being pretentious. Busy families with tired kids will be able to find a quiet corner, install an quiet iPad movie and relax. We ate at 6pm before it got busy so the sound on the iPad didn’t disturb other diners. All round a lovely place and I’d drive across the forest to get to it more often if I had the time.