UK, Wanderlust

23 things you need to know before visiting Peppa Pig World

What a difference a year makes. When I was first invited to Paultons Park and Peppa Pig World last May, Minnie had barely heard of Peppa and George and wouldn’t have known what a family theme park was if I’d sat down and drawn her pictures.

Slowly but inevitably the muddy puddle fan and her friends became a staple in our lives – from an unexpected and thrilling meeting at Bounce festival via TV and stickers to what can only be described as toddler heaven: a day out at Peppa Pig World.

peppa-pig-world-grandpaYou can see a taster of our day in my new vlog, so rather than tell you everything we got up to, here are 23 things you need to know before you visit Peppa Pig World.

1. Choose your day carefully. Although we visited on a Saturday, we’d managed to pick a day where rain was forecast – and then the sun mostly shone. A tricky one to arrange but if you can visit during the week or out of season, you’ll find it quieter.

2. Plan ahead – you can download a map from the website as well as look at details of the different rides and areas to discover.

peppa-pig-world-rides-view3. Measure in advance – a lot of rides have some kind of height restriction. Some have a minimum, some have a maximum, others have a minimum for kids to ride alone. However, it’s worth knowing before anyone sets their heart on something particular.

4. Time your visit right. If you arrive early, head straight to Peppa Pig World towards the back of Paultons Park (there’s helpful signs, and you’ll quickly spot the ginormous Peppa towering over you). If you arrive late morning or evening, you could explore the rest of Paultons Park and head over to Peppa later when it’s quieter – toddler permitting.

peppa-pig-world-rides5. You will get to meet Peppa! And George. It’s best to be slightly more organised than me and check the listed times they’ll be appearing so you can plan your day – I stumbled across them almost by chance and managed to get into the queue before it got too long. Depending when you visit, various other characters might appear too.

6. Don’t pin your hopes too high. Having got in touching distance, Minnie had an attack of shyness/sulks and flatly refused to either hug or high five either of them. Or to pose for a photo without me there as well.

7. The staff are really helpful. You get the feeling they’ve seen every type of preschool meltdown at least twice, plus they’ll happily take photos. I was mildly disappointed that it’s not entired staffed by Miss Rabbit though.

peppa-pig-world-windy-castle8. Start with the slower rides. As Minnie’s first experience of a theme park, she seemed a bit unnerved when we walked in and spotted Windy Castle, so we started with a nice gentle tractor ride and a photo in Madame Gazelle’s schoolhouse but there’s also the library and Grandpa Pig’s house to explore.

9. There are lots of official photos taken on rides and various points in the park. But what I loved was that there’s no hard sell and no-one to stop you taking your own too.

peppa-pig-world-balloon-ride10. When the sun shines, the blue sky and primary colours make you feel vaguely like you’re inside a cartoon, a happy colourful land where everyone is cheerful. Which actually put me in a very good mood.

11. There’s lots of background music – but you won’t really mind. I had mild fears of hearing the theme song a million times but I didn’t really notice all the different tunes that much. Except the Birdy Birdy Woof Woof song, which got stuck in my head. (Sorry if I’ve just passed that on).

peppa-pig-world-playground12. Avoid a few queues in the play areas. Perfect if someone wants the instant gratification of a slide or you want a break from standing in a line. The only drawback is trying to get them out again.

13. There’s also soft play with lots of areas for different ages, so take socks if your kids want to go in. We walked in, Minnie looked wildly excited then hugely overwhelmed, before deciding to head right out again.

peppa-pig-world-figure14. Resign yourself to having to queue occasionally. During our visit, the helicopter by the entrance and George’s Dinosaur Adventure were two of the longest lines and slowest to move. The balloon ride, on the other hand, was pretty quick.

15. Expect meltdown/boredom in that queue. Usually when you’re finally almost at the end, your toddler has had enough and you’re determined not to quit after 20 long minutes waiting.

peppa-pig-world-helicopter-ride216. Expect at least one meltdown at another point during the day. Mine came after I’d forgotten any cash so couldn’t compete for a giant stuffed toy. Ah well.

17. Expect wild excitement the rest of the time. Look – Peppa! And George! And Daddy Pig! And Mummy Pig! And Grandpa Pig! And Rebecca Rabbit! Even the ducks in the pond kept her mesmerised for about 10 minutes.

peppa-pig-world-toddler-ducks18. Do expect to share your picnic with ducks – just as in the TV show, as we settled down for lunch, a duck (and three ravens/crows) hopped over optimistically to see what they could scavenge. As the picnic tables were full of small children, there’s a lot of dropped goodies.

19. But the food isn’t too expensive. I was cajoled into buying some chips and an ice cream (plus some coffee for myself) although it’s not particularly varied though so don’t expect a wide choice.

peppa-pig-world-railway20. Save some cash for the shops – one in Peppa Pig World itself, including some exclusive products, another as you leave. I think I was one of the few people who made it out having bought nothing. I’m not quite sure how.

21. Bring splashproof clothes – swimming costumes for sunny days, wellies for colder ones so everyone can play in the puddles zone.

paultons-park-victorial-carousel-ride22. Don’t forget the rest of the park – there are rides for younger kids within Paultons Park itself, including a Victorian carousel and a Viking boat (which went faster than I’d expected). There’s also new section Critter Creek, although there’s slightly less for smaller toddlers here, apart from spotting the bizarre animals.

paultons-park-garden-toddler23. Spot the real animals – you can watch meerkats, see the penguin feeding, and there are birds galore in a separate section including parrots. We ended up visiting as our last stop before leaving, perfect for helping Minnie wind down as we walked in the gardens and past the aviary. Oh and there’s a baby dinosaur at certain times of year, getting everyone excited for the new Lost Kingdom area opening in 2016.

Need to know
Tickets cost from £24.25 for a one-day pass bought online in advance, for adults and children over 1m. Children under 1m (in shoes) are free. Two-day tickets (which needn’t be consecutive days) and family tickets are also available.

peppa-pig-world-signThere are also special early play and ride passes, allowing you in at 9am on selected dates, including meeting Peppa and George, access to the playzone and playgrounds, and to the rides from 9.45am. These cost £9 for adults, and £6-£19.50 for children.

It’s also worth checking out the short break options, with two-day access and an overnight hotel stay from £43.

peppa-pig-world-rebecca-rabbitPeppa Pig World is open from 10am, closing between 4.30 and 5.30pm depending on the day. It’s closed entirely during January and some of the winter months. Check on the website here.

Disclosure: I was given entry free of charge for the purposes of review. All opinions and overexcitable toddlers are my own.

Images/video copyright MummyTravels