With the arrival of Baby No 2 imminent, we wanted to treat our digger mad toddler to some special days out with mummy and daddy before his life is turned upside down as he knows it. We’d heard of Diggerland from friends and decided to take him to ‘the place where the diggers live’ for the May Bank Holiday.
Having looked into it further, we discovered that there are four Diggerlands in the UK, with the closest to Sutton/Epsom being in Strood, Kent, just a short 45-60 minute drive away.
From the moment we pulled into the car park, where a giant digger greeted us to our left side, we had a very excited toddler on our hands and knew we’d made the right choice.
Although Diggerland’s slogan is ‘an adventure park where children and adults can drive real diggers’ we were actually amazed at just how true this statement was.
With our little one being only 2 years and 10 months old, we didn’t hold much hope of him being able to go on many of the attractions due to height restrictions and thought he’d spend most of the day watching the diggers or playing with coin operated models – how wrong we were.
In fact, most (at least eight or nine of the 18 attractions) were suitable for children 0.8m or 0.9m in height – a recent growth spurt had just put our toddler into this category.
Safety is clearly a priority at Diggerland and ride attendants check the height of all children before allowing them onto the attractions. Our little one enjoyed proudly standing up against the height chart at each attraction, demonstrating his right to ride.
With the help of mummy and daddy, our toddler was able to dive a dumper truck, scoop up the earth operating a giant JCB digger, knock down skittles and hunt for treasure on the mini diggers, ascend over 50m on the Sky Shuttle digger, be a passenger in a JCB and 4X4 for bumpy off road adventure drives, drive a Robot around a muddy track and ride the Diggerland train.
As if that wasn’t enough, our toddler was also thrilled to discover the indoor two-storey soft play area with bouncy castle, ball pit, baby zone and giant slide, a great wet weather option. There is also outdoor play equipment and a giant sand pit where we spent a good half hour, building sandcastles in the glorious May sunshine.
So with all this and more, we left before trying out the racing cars and Dig-a-Round, you may assume that Diggerland is an expensive day out….
Whilst we did spend a fair amount at Diggerland, we felt that it offered exceptional value for money when compared to some adventure parks, especially as it is so well geared towards toddlers and pre-schooler’s as well as digger mad adults.
Entry is free for children under 90cm and £19.95 those over 90cm and adults. Once inside, we found prices to be very reasonable.
We purchased three ice creams and a bottle of water from the ice cream van for £6.50. A variety of hot children’s meals were available in the cafe from £3.50 with adult’s meals – burgers, jackets and baguettes – from around £4.
As with most theme/adventure parks, you exit via the gift shop, but even here we found souvenirs to be reasonably priced with toddler’s PJ’s from £6.99, toy diggers from £7.99 and pocket money options such as digger story books, stickers and hats from £1.99. All children receive a free Diggerland certificate and stickers on the way out, which we though was a nice touch.
Parking is free and for those bringing their own packed lunches, there are plenty of benches and open spaces around the park where you can eat. All attractions are easily accessible with pushchairs in tow. There are baby change facilities and highchairs in the restaurant.
All in all, we felt that Diggerland was a fantastic family day out and one that our little boy will be beaming about for some time to come.
Diggerland is open from 10am – 5pm at weekends from March to November. The park also opens weekdays throughout the school holidays. Book online in advance to save on full day admission prices, reduced from £19.95 to £16.99.
Visit www.diggerland.com for further information.