Now theme parks may fill some families with dread – the queues, the food, the prices. But Paultons Park is a great fun day out for the whole family packed full of pleasant surprises. With its famous Peppa Pig World, and the newly opened Jurassic Park themed zone, there really is now something for everyone – all ages, and all levels of adventurousness.
The rides are obviously a big draw to the park. There is a great selection to please the biggest adrenaline junkies, but also those who prefer something a little tamer. You will find traditional carousels, water slides, rapids, and teacups, but also the big showstoppers. Since the Lost Kingdom opened in Spring 2016 the theme park definitely has more range, and also more appeal to teenagers as it was previously seen as the ‘baby’ theme park of the region.
The Velociraptor and the Flight of the Pterosaur are the biggest and fastest rides on offer. The thrill seekers among you are sure to want to ride again and again. The Cobra is a medium-sized rollercoaster which may be more to the taste of 7 to 11 year olds. The Pirate Ship is a great theme park staple and the Edge is something a little different for those who prefer to stay upright during their rides. Magma is a great way to overcome your fear of heights.
At the other end of the spectrum we have Peppa Pig World. The area based on the TV favourite is perfect for those with younger children. There is an adventure playground for the little ones to use up some of their energy and there is even the chance to meet Peppa and George themselves – an experience your toddlers will struggle to forget. There is also a toy shop and a splash park which is welcome relief from the heat in the warmer months. You can also enter Peppa’s house, in which a world of fun awaits.
The gardens are a lesser known part of Paultons. They provide a nice quiet getaway from the noise and excitement of the main parts of the park, and therefore may be preferable for any grandparents coming along. The Main Garden has beautiful trees, and is where Paultons House once stood. Then there is the lake and the weir where you can spot a lot of local wildlife. Jungle Falls is an African themed area with some impressive topiary animals and more of those can be found in the Forest Friends Garden. There is also the Snakes and Ladders garden, and the tropical greenery that adds to the mystic nature of the Lost Kingdom. The Rockery is a great place to picnic which is certainly preferable to the extortionate and unappetising fast food on offer.
As well as the greenery, there are also the animals! There are Humboldt Penguins which can be seen from an underwater viewing area - try to catch them at feeding time. Beastie Burrow is not for the faint of heart with its bug emporium and array of unusual insects and lizards. Birds of Prey are always a crowd pleaser and the Great Grey owl will not disappoint, and neither will the vultures, flamingos or pelicans. You can also visit the Giant Tortoises which really are the most fantastic beasts (see what I did there).
Paultons is located on the edge of the New Forest in Hampshire, near Romsey. You can check their online calendar for opening times as they change depending on events and maintenance. It is also worth checking this if you have your eyes on a certain ride or attraction as sometimes they may be closed for maintenance. You can save up to £5 per person by booking online in advance, and you can also get discounts for booking family tickets. Those under 1 metre or who use a wheelchair go free. I prefer to visit when it is less busy, and to get there good and early to ensure you don’t miss a thing!
Paultons is a truly diverse day out with something sure to please every member of the family.