Tuesday, 9 April 2013
We had planned to visit Paultons Park & Peppa Pig World for E's 2nd birthday in April last year, but things go on as they do and we didn't make it there until August, on L's 9th birthday, so we made it a sort of double celebration - just a few months late for E!
So that day we packed a picnic and set off in the car to just outside Romsey in The New Forest, where Paultons Park is located. I had paid online and printed off tickets beforehand, it is worth noting that tickets are discounted if you buy online in advance. Children under 1 metre are free, and Wheelchair & Mobility Scooter dependent guests are also admitted free of charge. It cost me just over £130 for my family of 7 to visit the park, but considering the amount of attractions I think it is very reasonable & good value for money.
Paultons also offer queue assist for park visitors with special needs. When we arrived at the park, I went with L to the first aid centre with our Paediatrician letter, which allowed priority access to rides because of his Autism. This made a huge difference to the enjoyment of our day, with less anxiety for both him & me! He also got a birthday badge from the kiosk just inside the gates which he was very pleased about.
We packed our own picnic but also bought more drinks & food during our visit. Refreshments are a little pricier than your normal rates (as expected from a theme park), but not extortionate.
My issue really was the speed & attitudes of a handful of the staff on kiosks within the park, considering how busy it was and that it was rather warm, I think perhaps less chatting & standing around while there were large queues of customers would have been preferable. Standing in an excruciatingly slow moving line on a hot day with thirsty children is no fun by any stretch of the imagination & I was suitably miffed by the time we were eventually served.
The park is absolutely beautiful, with lovely well-kept gardens and lots of areas to sit and enjoy a picnic. The 'Land of the Dinosaurs' walk (complete with sound effects) was good fun & enjoyed by the kids, they particularly liked the giant T-Rex at the start of the walk! The floating globe at the entrance was also a hit, and they had great fun trying to spin and turn it.
There are rides and attractions to suit everyone, my kids vary in age from 14 down to 2 and there was plenty there to keep them busy and happy all day long. Muddy Puddles in Peppa Pig World was brilliant and E had a whale of a time hopping around the mini water playground in her swimming cossie, likewise the big kids thoroughly enjoyed the Water Kingdom and as it was so hot, they raced off to cool down under the jets & fountains intermittently during the day. Remember to take your swim costumes & towels if you're visiting during the Spring/Summer season.
A & J took off together to enjoy the bigger thrill rides, while L & H stuck with The Mister who accompanied them on the rides that they wanted to go on.
E really loved Mr Potato's playground and the rides in Peppa Pig World (especially Windy Castle), she was so exhausted she crashed out so we definitely hope to visit again so she can experience it all.
I think the highlight of the day for her was meeting Peppa & George, although she did try and steal Teddy!
There are also a couple of attractions that have an additional charge, like the Aqua Zorbing and Panning for Gold so be sure to factor in the extra cash if you plan to have a go on these. L & H enjoyed the Zorbing, and it was £5 each for them to have a go (price from August 2012).
All in all, I think it is a wonderful family day out and I am also impressed by their provision & consideration for the disabled & carers. It is well worth a visit in our opinion, and we certainly hope to visit again sometime soon.