Last Friday was an inset day, so we decided to head to Paultons Park - home of Peppa Pig World, of course!
We arrived just after 10am and there was a fairly big queue at the entrance but we were all let in quite quickly. The first thing we noticed was the newly refurbished entrance area with a toy shop and restaurant, all brightly painted and welcoming.
We thought we'd head to some of the family orientated rides first, so we could all go on together. The Pickle loved the idea of the rides but once in the queue decided against it, so we wondered around for the first hour trying to find something he'd agree to go on!
Eventually we came to the Magic Carpet ride which he liked the look of. Luckily there was no queue and after this he realised he actually quite enjoyed rides! We also went on the new Victorian Double Decker Carousel, which was beautifully decorated. Another favourite was the Astroglide which The Princess went on numerous times as there was no queue.
Right next to the Astroglide, The Pickle spotted a huge T-Rex and wanted to see more, so we headed to Land of the Dinosaurs. The large sculptures are set in marshland with sounds of roaring and grunting all around, which really adds to the atmosphere. The dinosaurs could do with a little TLC and the Pteranodon's wires could have been a little more discreet, but I think we've been spoilt recently by seeing the animatronic dinosaurs at Marwell Zoo. In comparison, these just don't have the same impact, but The Pickle loved them and he's the dinosaur expert in this family, so what do I know?!
Next, we wondered around the corner to Peppa Pig World. Wow - that was where everyone had been hiding! The queues here were much bigger, but as Peppa Pig World is aimed at preschool children I imagine weekdays can be just as busy as weekends here.
The queues did go down fairly quickly for the Windy Castle ride, Daddy Pig's Car ride and Grandpa Pig's Little Train. The Pickle really enjoyed 'driving' the car, as you can see in the video below. He was so excited to see all the characters dotted around. George's Dinosaur Adventure must be one of the most popular rides as the queue for this took around 40 minutes, but the ride does last a decent amount of time once you're on. We also visited Peppa Pig's house and played in Mr Potato's Outdoor Adventure Playground, where there were the tiniest climbing frames for the smallest adventurers and even a xylophone to join in with the Peppa Pig theme tune!
We also noticed the Muddy Puddles water park and George's Spaceship indoor soft play area, but The Princess was keen to set off for some bigger rides.
School inset days are definitely the time to visit if you have older children. While everyone else carried on with the fun in Peppa Pig World, we ventured back to the main park where we had almost every ride to ourselves, with virtually no queues for anything! The Princess' favourite ride was The Cobra, the park's biggest and fastest family rollercoaster (I quite enjoyed this one too!) and she also liked The Edge - a rotating disc with outward facing seats, moving back and forth along a track to create a floating sensation. It was good to see something a little bit different and it's definitely worth a go!
Elsewhere, there was plenty of green space to run around, themed gardens to see and lots of different birds, as well as Meerkats.
Another new attraction is the 4D Cinema where we watched Robin Hood. Under 10 minutes long, the show itself is an ideal length for young children. The introduction in the foyer maybe went on for a little too long, but it does help to keep the little ones entertained while waiting to go in. We'd never watched a 4D film before so this was really exciting! We found the jolting of the seats a little bit gimmicky as it didn't really capture the sense of falling and it was done a few too many times throughout the film. However, the air and water sprays were really effective. The fireworks scene in particular was really good, as bubbles were being created at the sides of the screen, which reflected the lights and gave the illusion of the fireworks being all around you, not just in front of you. Amazingly, The Pickle kept his 3D glasses on all the way through and stayed in his own seat. Along with the laughter, these were definite signs he was enjoying the film!
Paultons Park really is a great place to take young children. As well as the Peppa Pig World attraction there are various play areas dotted around, trampolines, plus the Wind in the Willows attraction with various windows to look through and see the story being told - The Princess and The Pickle liked the UV lighting in there too, especially how it made the butterflies on my top glow! All the excitement can make little people very hungry, but there are plenty of picnic areas and places to eat. We stayed until closing time but still didn't get chance to do everything. Next time we'll try the Rio Grande train, Adventure Golf and the Water Kingdom and maybe take a walk around the lake (which was closed when we visited). Here's a little video of some of our favourite rides.