I’ve known how I wanted to spend Henry’s birthday this year since about Christmas time last year. We wanted to take him to Paulton’s Park to have his first proper experience of a theme park, perfectly sized for our mini adrenaline junkie.
We won tickets last year as part of a photo competition and have been saving them for a special occasion, and this seemed like the best time to use them.
I have to admit, I was a teeny bit sceptical about how much Henry would really get out of it. And prior to going, I’m not sure I would have relished the £35 per adult ticket price either, especially as we really didn’t know what to expect or how Henry would react.
Needless to say, Henry loved it. And has been talking about our trip for days since too.
So I thought I’d share some bits about Paulton’s Park for anyone that hasn’t visited but wants to, particularly if you have toddlers.
So obviously the rides are the main feature at Paulton’s Park, and the Park is pretty much split into two main zones – The Lost Kingdom and Peppa Pig World. We intentionally headed to the Peppa Pig World section thinking Henry wouldn’t find it that interesting (he’s never watched Peppa Pig, to him, it’s just a pig) but we knew he would be obsessed with the Dinosaur section so saved that for later. Or we’d have never seen anything else.
The first section we found was the Creepy Critters including a mini zoo which Henry loved. I think we went inside the Bug House about three times in total because he loved the animals. After a go on the Train, Viking Ships and Carousel, we headed into Peppa Pig World. And I have to admit, I was seriously impressed. Yes it was much busier (it’s much busier than the rest of the Park to be honest, and I imagine can be heaving and a bit stressful with kids on a sunny weekend or during the holidays) but it’s also really well thought out and has a great selection of rides.
We were even able to take Dexter (age 1) on almost all of the rides as well, and there’s a little buggy park around the back of Grampy Rabbit’s Sailing Club, which is handy for that and the Queen’s Flying Coach Ride.
On the other side of the Park, in the Lost Kingdom, is rides for older kids and adults, though most can be used as young as four. There’s a few mini rollercoasters, but Henry’s favourite was the Dinosaur Tour Co. which is basically like a tracked safari through a dinosaur jungle.
There’s basically something for everyone, with few height restrictions, unless you head for the more “traditional” rollercoasters.
I think one of the things I loved the most about Paulton’s Park was it’s play areas. I never under estimate a good play park when it comes to my kids, but I wasn’t actually expecting to find so many at Paulton’s Park.
The brightly coloured play area in Peppa Pig World was popular with both boys, and I wish I’d packed more of Henry’s wet stuff so he could have played in the splash pad (he did play in the main Water Park at the very end of our day, and he loved it. I can see this being incredibly popular on sunny days). But most importantly, it gave Dexter a chance to have a bit of playtime and freedom too. Although he was allowed on a lot of the rides, he did spend a lot of the day in the pushchair too, so it was nice being able to let him have a crawl around safely. And he thoroughly enjoyed the mini play equipment which was perfectly sized for him to use which is somewhat rare for play areas.
We decided that as we didn’t have to pay for our tickets, that we would buy food at Paulton’s Park, and I am so pleased we did. They have a lot of food locations to choose from,and their map even tells you which places have indoor seating which we found very helpful as we were forecast a bit of rain (it actually held out weather wise which we were very grateful for). We ended up dining in Base Camp, which caters, chicken, nuggets, burgers and the like. Their set meals come with a drink, and the kids meal with beans too. I had the vegetarian meatballs with rice, and I have to say they were really good, and made a nice change from the ordinary bean burger you find in most places as the accepted vegetarian option.
There’s also a lot of food outlets, which looked handy for busier days, and an abundance of places to get ice cream. Highly recommend the outlet by the Water Park as they serve it with sauce piped with the ice cream. The blue vanilla is incredibly sweet which Dann and Henry loved, and the Mango is pretty great for fruit lovers.
One of the main things I found great about Paulton’s Park was the inclusivity of the Park, including its rides (every board describes how a disabled person can or can’t use the ride), meaning the whole family can join in. It’s also incredibly wheelchair and pushchair friendly, and with some many of them around it felt nice to be able to park up, take our bag with us, and not worry too much that our pushchair might go walkabout. You can also hire park strollers which looked fun, but are a tad on the pricey side.
I also loved all the green space, and animal features (check out the Hornbill above!), and the environmental considerations the Park has made. Their main building is really green, and I found the board with all the info about how it tries to be as sustainable as possible so interesting (see above). I also really loved the “green roof” in Peppa Pig World. The building houses the soft play area (which we avoided because soft play just isn’t my jam 90% of the time and usually means one of us having to retrieve Henry with him screaming) but to offset some of their building work and ride space, they have an entirely wild growing roof. It’s beautiful to look at from the Flying Coach Ride. I also loved the attention to detail on the Trekking Tractors which had fruit and veg growing with markers saying what they were, as well as lots of wildflowers. As someone who is trying to be a bit more sustainable, this ticked a lot of boxes for me.
Finally as a potty training parent, I was very happy with the toilets. There’s a good amount of them spotted around, and most importantly, every seat has a second kids seat included within the main seat which was so helpful. we literally didn’t need our travel potty seat at all. Also they were really clean which is a pretty big deal for a popular attraction.
So will we be returning?
Yes absolutely. We still have a couple of tickets left, and although next time we may have to pay for Henry’s entrance (under one metre is free, and he’s 940mm currently) I would happily pay, and I would quite happily pay for our entire family to go, though probably only for a treat. However the season ticket looks pretty great for locals, four trips in a year and it’s paid for itself which is good going, and something we’re considering for a few years time as something special.
I’d definitely recommend going during the term time on a weekday, and perhaps on a day when the weather is a little downcast, if possible. Because we were forecast drizzle for most of the day (Come on June what are you playing at?) it was reasonably quiet, though still with plenty of people about. We didn’t really have to queue much at all, and on many rides we didn’t have to wait at all.
We spent an easy five hours there, and we didn’t do every single ride (though we did do a couple twice) and had so much fun. It was one of the best day’s out we’ve had as a family, and I think I’d like to go again when Dexter is walking too so he can properly enjoy himself and get a bit more involved.