There really only was one place we could take Ettie to celebrate her second birthday and that was to meet her hero Peppa Pig at Paultons Park outside Southampton. Like any girl Ettie’s age, to Ettie Peppa is GOD. She could happily sit four hours watching Peppa on repeat if let her and I’m sure I’m not the only parent who’s found herself humming that silly theme tune when no one else is around..
Dum dum dum dum dum dum dum dum dum dum dum!! [if you know you know!]
So when I heard there was a whole park dedicated to our funny pink friend and her family I just knew we had to go!
Ettie’s birthday coincided with my last day at work before going off on maternity leave (well strictly speaking I still have a month to go, but I’ve finished early to spend an extra month with Ettie before baby arrives!) so as a double celebration we loaded up Stu’s van one sunny Saturday morning and took ourselves on a birthday adventure to Peppa Pig World in Hampshire.
Peppa Pig world is based in a small area of the wider Paultons Park just outside Southampton. Entry to the park is around £35 each which is pretty expensive for a two-year old (discounts are available for families and children under 1m go free!) For that, you do get entry into the whole park which I suppose justifies the price if you have older children that will make use of everything, but for a 2-year-old I thought it was pretty steep. There are often discount schemes available buy saving up tokens from newspapers and cereal packets so it’s always worth looking out for those.
Walking into the park I literally had goosebumps thinking about Ettie’s little face lighting up once she realised where we were. I remembering the joy I felt visiting Disney World for the first time when I little and that feeling coupled with the overflowing pregnancy hormones made a little tear pop into my eye!
As it happened I didn’t need to get too teary as it took her a little while to click on to where we actually were – I think she thought we were a bit loopy at first getting so excited walking into a big crowd of people and she spend the first half hour just wanting to play on the swings, but once she realised everything was Peppa related, she was absolutely over the moon!
The first stop was into a little play park area called Mr Potato’s playground where there were swings, slides and the muddy puddles splash park. Parenting Fail number 1, I had forgotten to pack Ettie’s swimming things but she was quite happy to run around in there in her vest (well actually she wanted to run around in her birthday suit but we made her wear a vest which made her grump a little 😉
For those of you who are a little more organised than me, I noticed a locker area near the entrance which you could use to stow away swimming things if you did remember them but didn’t want to carry them around all day. There was also a place to hire push chairs if you needed one.
The whole of the Peppa Pig world area is like walking to a cartoon with lush green grass and little wooden buildings. It really is like Disney Land but with a Peppa Pig theme. There’s also an area you can meet the characters with Peppa, George, Mummy and Daddy Pig popping out for photos every now and then. The times for these meet and greets were displayed on a board, but it was a really hot day and the que was massive so we decided to give it a miss. I think Ettie would have just got frustrated in the sun waiting.
We visited Peppa Pig World on a Friday towards the end of June – so within term time! The park was busy but not ridiculous, however there was still a long wait on some of the more popular rides. Had it been a weekend or within a school holiday, I imagine it would have been pandemonium so that might be something to consider if you are thinking about taking a toddler who may have a lower tolerance to busy crowds than an older child.
Ice cream addict that she is, the second stop after playing in the water was straight to the shop to buy an ice cream. I just love this photo of Ettie, Stu and man Dad munching on their cones. It’s not even a very good photo as they don’t have a smile between them, but I love the concentration on their faces – no one comes between a Faith (or Parnaby) and their ice cream.
There are nine main rides at Peppa Pig World and we found them all perfect for a toddler of Ettie’s age. Ranging from Grandpa Pig’s little train ride that went round on a loop, to quite a scary ride up Windy Castle there was something for all levels of confidence and because the park was quite quiet we managed to have a go on them all. I think our favourite was the Queens Flying Coach Ride which is a monorail around the new area of the park but Ettie also loved George’s dinosaurs. It was so much fun watching her little face shine with delight when we went on everything – four adults, one giant bump and a tiny tot – I’m really not sure who had the most fun!
As well as the rides, you can also visit Peppa’s house, Madame Gazelles school house and there’s an indoor soft play area called Georges spaceship for if the weather was a bit off, but it looked so manic on the day we were there when the sun was splitting the trees, that I think it would have been chaos on a rainy day! There was also a giant toy shop selling all the Peppa merchandise you could ever wish for so we had lots of fun in there looking at the things she ‘could maybe have for her birthday next year’ ;).
The loos are also brilliant! They have inbuilt trainer seats on for smaller bottoms which can be lifted up for older children and grown-ups. Ettie is newly potty trained so this made taking her to the toilet a dream. They were also super clean with minimal questions when we visited too.
Ettie really did have the time of her life at Peppa Pig World! At first we thought she was going to be too tired to get round everything because we’d had such an early start, but after a spot of lunch at the cafe onsite she seemed to get a second wind and was darting round everywhere waiting for her next adventure. At 36 weeks pregnant it was hard to keep up in the heat, but luckily I had three other willing volunteers with me who were happy to accompany her on the rides.
I think the highlight of her day (and Stu’s) was him winning her a giant George Pig on the ball in a bucket stall. They went missing for a good ten minutes while I enjoyed a little rest in the sun. When there arrived back again they both looked pleased as punch brandishing a giant Peppa toy. She is so like me with her indecision, initially she chose a Peppa in a red dress, but as she came running over to show me, I could see she was looking a little confused. When I asked why she said she wanted to change it so the kind men on the stall let her change it for a George. My darling Ettie you are so like your Mummy it’s scary.
All in all it was a perfect way to spend her second birthday, we left tired, sun-kissed but with a lot of extra joy in our hearts thanks to that little pink pig (and if we didn’t have the theme tune in our heads when we entered, we definitely did as we left because it is played on a loop throughout the whole park!).
Thankyou Peppa for such a lovely way to spend Ettie’s second birthday. I am sure we will be back
Dum dum dum dum dum dum dum dum dum dum dum!!
Have you ever been to Paultons Park? I’d love to hear all about it in the comments below x